We Talk Too Much – Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering, part 9 of 20

 

God speaks; we respond. Those four words describe biblical worship. But the guy in jeans and un-tucked cool shirt behind the plexiglas podium has been doing too much talking lately.

The sanctuary has become his stage; he’s a talk-show host giving out life-tips to a sorry congregation serving as his audience. Sure, the Bible is his answer book, but he parachutes in and out of texts giving little or no attention to redemptive context. He treats God’s Word not for what it is—the infallible revelation of God’s saving purpose in history; culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Instead, it has become his source book for moral and pragmatic advice on how to have a neat life. The sign outside says: “Fresh, Dynamic, and Practical Teaching that Really Helps.” At least he’s honest, no Gospel and no “Thus Saith the Lord” going on in here.

The Reformers went so far as to call the preached Word a “means of grace”; sadly, in many places, it has become a “means of success.” How could we have fallen so far?

In his “Letters to Malcom”, C.S. Lewis wrote: “The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been only on God.” In other words, the content of our worship and preaching would be about what God has done in Christ and our humble response to such a holy, merciful, gracious, sovereign, and great God.

Maybe we would be getting closer to such a service if we, as J.I. Packer suggests, heard preaching characterized as “letting texts talk”; preaching that proclaimed what God has done. Instead, we suffer from preaching that is really nothing more than just a few edited words different than a typical Oprah show. “O, so that’s how life would work better for me,” the parishioner says as he drives from the church lot.

We need to have the guy with the “un-tucked cool shirt” talk less and have Almighty God talk more; something He does really well through the expositional proclamation of His Word.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
December 9, 2010

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