Summary: Does preaching really matter? Only if we believe God has a message for us.
Woodlawn Baptist Church
September 2, 2007
(Have a stack of sermons on the stage. Pick them up and flip through them in a reminiscing sort of way and think out loud about them.) Though I’ve only been preaching a little over six years, this is a lot of sermons. Sometimes I flip through them and wonder…does preaching really matter? For all the studying, translating, diagramming, outlining, stressing over relevance, praying, rehearsing, late nights, and sleepless nights, does preaching really matter?
You may or may not have ever asked that question, but it’s a question worth asking today. Four Sundays spent making the case for joyful, expressive worship and silent, solemn faces are still going to be offered in response. Has preaching slowed the divorce rate any? Has it kept believers out of debt? Has it resulted in parents raising their children to live for the glory of God? Does preaching matter?
Every Sunday morning in thousands of pulpits across our nation pews are being filled, Bibles are being opened and sermons are being preached from every book of the Bible on every subject imaginable. But does it really matter? Are God’s people today more forgiving, more loving, less worrisome, less anxious, more committed, more concerned for our families? More concerned for the lost? For all the preaching, are we less caught up in consumerism? Are we less worried about our image? More concerned for holiness, purity and biblical morality than we were last year?
Those are all questions we might debate, but they really are the wrong questions when it comes to answering the question of whether preaching matters. Here is the more correct question we have to ask: Does God have something to say to us? And if so, how has He chosen to communicate it to us? The answer of course is Yes, God does have a message for us, and preaching is that instrument. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1,
“For Christ sent me…to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
God has chosen the instrument of preaching, foolish as it may seem in this day of information overload where voices are crying out from every corner for your attention, to speak His message to our hearts. I was reminded of this this week as I was reading the Scriptures.
“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Paul was excited about getting to preach the gospel. Why? Because his preaching was the power of God? No! The gospel is the power of God! The gospel brings salvation! And it was that gospel Paul wanted to preach.
In Romans 10, Paul said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Why? Because without salvation man is condemned to hell! We don’t have time to study the whole book of Romans this morning, but Paul’s made the case that we need salvation because we’re sinners, and the wages of our sin is death! Eternal separation from God! Man is corrupt in every way, rotten to the core, in bondage and enslaved to our sin, the enemies of God!
But Romans 5:8 says that…
“God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” the Scripture says. It says that…
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with the mouth that you are saved.”
Its as simple as this: until a person knows they’re a sinner, that Jesus Christ died for their sin, that they must believe and put their faith in the death of Jesus Christ for their sin, they cannot be saved. That’s why Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But it begs the question Paul asked in Romans 10:14,