“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” -Romans 10:17
What do you think of preaching? For some, the word “boring” instantly popped into your mind. You’d rather be watching grass grow. Ask yourself, why did the Puritans sit in church services for three to four hours hearing a twenty-seven point message and demand more when it was over? I’ll tell you my opinion – they didn’t have TV!
Today, we have our choice of entertainment from an array of captivating nothingness. From soap operas which make the drama of our own lives seem dull, to “reality shows” which really just capture the most controversial forty-five minutes of the previous week for a group of people, detective shows which portray to us the most degrading side of humanity, citcoms that trivialize life’s most serious issues, and even adolescent programming that heightens every pre-teen’s social sensitivity a few notches. Preaching simply can’t compete… or can it?
For the Christian, hearing the preaching of the word of God is like an oxygen line to a firefighter in a burning building. It is the steady diet of meaty substance which carries us through difficult weeks. Without preaching, life becomes trivial. Without preaching, we live on spiritual cotton candy, but we need meat, we need substance. That’s simple one reason why hearing the Word of God expounded is a significant need for every human being. But consider something else…
Preaching is God’s chosen central feature of Christian worship. It is through hearing the Word of God that our faith is increased. When we hear the Word of God expounded, real worship happens. W. A. Criswell explains:
This is worship at its highest; all the faculties of the mind and all the power of the soul are raised to their highest use. It becomes an offering up to God of the truth proclaimed in his name. Ritual is no substitute for reality; ceremony cannot displace consecration… Faith cometh by purification? by candlelighting? by incense burning? by liturgy repeating? No, but by hearing the word of the Lord.
The next time you’re tempted to skip out on the preaching of God’s Word and opt instead for watching football, heading to the lake, or simply sleeping in, realize that the God of the universe wants to speak directly to you. The Bible is His “thus saith the Lord” for every area of your life. He’s given you a message that contains all you need to survive and thrive spiritually, but you must open it, read it, study it, soak it in, and hear it preached. God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to counfound all the wisdom of the world. Jesus Christ is our object of worship and the Bible is our manual of worship. Let’s return to hearing the Word of God, loving it, “Amen”-ing it, and living it out loud.