The Sermon As An Act Of Worship


(This blog is part of a series.  See my blog entitled "Worship Formation" posted on August 31, 2012 for the introduction to the series)

The ministry of proclaiming the word of God through the preaching of a sermon must be an act of worship.  If the sermon is not an act of worship, then the church may end up worshiping the preacher rather than worshiping God.  “When I declare the Word of God, I offer sacrifice,” said Martin Luther.  “When thou hearest the Word of God with all thy heart, thou dost offer sacrifice.”

Many churches today have lost the view of the sermon as an act of worship.  A great number of the sermons proclaimed in churches today have become overly academic.  We have turned our sanctuaries into lecture halls, complete with overhead projectors and lecture notes.  Preachers feel as though they have to explain and outline everything.  This turns the sermon into an intellectual event rather than a worship experience.  I agree with Warren Wiersbe when he states that “the most important thing about a sermon should be what God writes on our hearts as we see Him in the Word, not what we write in our notebooks!”[1]

We have a tendency to overanalyze and explain everything, leaving out the mystery of God in the process.  True worship invites mystery and wonder, because God is filled with mystery and wonder.  The apostle Paul knew better than to think he had figured out everything there was to know about God.  At the conclusion of his letter to the Romans, after focusing on the sovereignty of God, he is moved to worshiping in awe and wonder:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33)

Even Paul, author of most of the New Testament, didn’t feel compelled to explain everything.  He left room for mystery.

The purpose of the Word of God is to reveal the God of the Word.  In Scripture, the people who saw God were never quite the same again.  Their lives were transformed.  So it should be every worship service in which the Word is proclaimed.

[1] Wiersbe, Real Worship, 123.