Last week in my exhortation I extolled the efficacy of the Word of God and its centrality in the work of the Reformation. This was a reminder to all of us of our need to keep the Word at the center of our lives. Today I want to apply this high view of God’s Word to our Lord’s Day worship service, specifically the Word preached in the sermon.
When you gather on the Lord’s Day, you are not coming here as mere spectators, looking for free entertainment. The sermon isn’t a classroom lecture or some kind of talk you can find on YouTube.
Rather, you are coming to hear from the living God. For in His wisdom, God has called feeble and weak men, to be His very own mouthpieces, speaking His words to His people. We see this in Scripture when the Apostle Paul wrote that he and his co-laborers were “ambassadors for Christ” with God making His appeal to men through them (2 Cor. 5:20).
And so consider the sermon like this: When an ambassador relays accurately the word of a king, it is no less the word of the king even though it comes through the mouth of a messenger. And though the word of the king is mediated through a much inferior man, it still carries the authority of the king.
The message proclaimed each week to you by a minister of God is one of life for the dead. It is a message that reconciles the world to Christ. For it is an authoritative message from the very Word of God.
And so the Westminster Larger Catechism lists a number of duties for the listeners of the preached Word, which include receiving it as “the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God.”
Now I recognize that you won’t hear all the sermon, let alone understand or remember it. You are human. God made you that way and He knows your frame. And He has given many of you tiny distractions with mouths and legs.
But know that each week, the Lord is adding to the soil of your heart exactly what you need from His Word. And trust that out of that fertile soil, the Spirit of God will cause the fruit of righteousness to grow.
Shawn Paterson – November 5, 2023