The preaching of God’s Word is a vital part of public worship. It is one of the fundamental ingredients of a New Testament church. Preaching is a strenuous work. If done properly it involves the entire man. It involves his mind, his emotions, his physical strength and of course his heart. It is both a spiritual work and a physical work. While it is a great privilege to preach, it is a privilege that brings great burdens. The preacher must get alone with God before he ever stands before the people. He can spend hours in his study and then he must deliver his soul in what seems to be a few minutes. He must strive to be careful and search out the right words but for all of that he is often exposed to criticism – some constructive and some destructive! Only the preacher himself knows the strains and struggles that are involved in preaching the whole counsel of God. It is not an easy thing to be the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message.
The preacher carries heavy responsibilities. However the other side of the coin is also true. Those who hear the preacher have solemn duties. If the preacher is coming with God’s Word then the hearer must come prepared to hear that Word. He must look and listen beyond the messenger and take heed to the message. That involves careful and prayerful preparation of the heart and the mind. But listening is not enough. The preached Word is not just to be heard, it is to be obeyed. If the message is scriptural then it is to be followed. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Better hearers would make better sermons” I’m not sure if that is entirely true but what is true, is that we all need to take heed to the Word of God. John Calvin put it well when he said listeners should have the, “willingness to obey God completely and with no reserve.” Let the preaching get from our heads, to our hearts and then our hands.