In this video, Steven Lawson describes the importance of preaching in the life of the local church.
The preaching of the Word of God is so critically essential for the spiritual vitality of every church because it is the primary ordinary means of grace. You take that away and you have removed from the church God’s primary means by which He is pouring His grace into the lives of the congregation. God had only one Son, and He made Him a preacher. He didn’t make Him a blogger; didn’t make Him a dramatist. He made Him a preacher; didn’t even make Him a writer or an author. He made Him a preacher. And that should really serve to show us how important preaching is. He then trained His disciples. He had twelve disciples—ended up replacing one of them—and when He sent them out, He commissioned them to preach. In Luke’s Great Commission, they were to go preach repentance to the nations.
When you read the book of Acts, one out of every five verses in the book of Acts is a sermon or is a powerful witness, a verbal witness being given by the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts is a book of preaching. We talk about how we want to have a first-century church. Great; so do I. Then get back to the primacy of the preaching of the Word of God. When you read the Pastoral Epistles—1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus—that is the ongoing instruction for how the church is to function. Just take a pen and underline “preaching,” “teaching,” and “the ministry of the Word of God” and see how primary the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God is to be in the local church. You can just do a walk through the Old Testament, noting the primary role of the prophet, the primary role of even the psalmists, and the ministry of the Word of God.
So, anyone who looks into the Bible can clearly see the primacy of the ministry of the preaching of the Word of God. It’s the lifeline in the church. Just take church history. Every single mountain peak in church history, without any exception, are the high-water marks for preaching. The low valleys, the wilderness times in church history, have been where there has been the withholding of God’s sending preachers. Those golden eras of church history is when God raised up preachers of the Word of God. So this isn’t something that I’ve come up with. This is something that’s set forth in Scripture. This is something that is set forth in church history. This is why preaching is so vitally important. Yet, we live in a day in which the phrase “Stop preaching at me. Oh, you’re just preaching at me” has become almost a slogan.
We’re giving up Wednesday night services. We’re giving up Sunday night services. We’re shortening the preaching on Sunday morning. Is it any wonder that our churches are so weak? The Puritans used to say this: “If you had one hour to give, if you sat at home by yourself and read your Bible, or if you came to church and sat under a one-hour exposition of the Scripture, which of those two would most benefit your soul?” The Puritans would have said ten times out of ten, to sit under the preaching of the Word of God would be the greatest sanctifying effect upon your spiritual life. It’s not an either-or. It’s a both-and. But we cannot allow the preaching of the Word of God to be diminished. We’ll never have a reformation without a wave, a new generation of preachers of the Word of God.
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on November 18, 2019.