Some have suggested in these post-Christian times that preaching is a waste of time. “I don’t remember half the sermons I have heard,” proponents declare, “but I remember the people.” Preaching is clearly useless then and people focused ministries are clearly superior. But before we starve the Church of truth let’s back the grain buggy up.
It is when the Bible is preached, studied and revered that we find spiritual revival, nourishment, and vitality. When the Bible is ignored, scoffed at, or downplayed the opposite is true. Charles Hodge reminds us that through Church history authentic Christianity has only flourished “just in proportion to the degree in which the Bible is known, and its truths diffused among the people,” and the people “where the Bible is unknown sit in darkness.”
It should come as no surprise then that this is exactly what the Bible says. Psalm 119:103 (ESV) says, “how sweet are your words to my taste,” and Jesus—the eternal Word and bread of life— said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4 ESV). Clearly God’s word plays a primary role in drawing us to the Lord.
You may have heard the story that goes something like this:
A man complained as to the futility of listening to sermons week by week in church. “I’ve gone for 30 years now,’ he snorted “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastor is wasting his by giving sermons at all.”
Then a wiser brother rebuked the man with this clincher that was an irrefutable reply. He said, “I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not sat under God’s Word for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger” (Jn 6:35b ESV) and “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for they shall be satisfied” (Matt 5:6 ESV).
Preaching and the study of God’s word are some of the primary means of grace in which the Lord uses to bless His Church. We don’t need less of the Bible we need more. Join with me in giving us a hearty “amen” and let us turn and open our Bibles!