Home > Brandenburg, Preaching, Worship > Preaching Is WORSHIP (Well, Should Be)

Preaching Is WORSHIP (Well, Should Be)

October 25, 2006

Israel, God’s Old Testament congregation, gathered for worship, which included sacrifices, singing, playing, prayer, and preaching. All of these were offered to God. Attendance was mandatory.

And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. Leviticus 10:11

There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them. Joshua 8:35

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. Nehemiah 8:8

The primary criterion for Old Testament worship was acceptability to God—would God be pleased? Sometimes it is all called “the sacrificial system” to differentiate it from New Testament worship. However, New Testament worship is also a “sacrificial system” of its own—a living sacrificial system in contrast to a dead one in the Old Testament. A holy priesthood offers up spiritual sacrifices unto God (1 Peter 2:5; Philippians 3:3; 4:18). Like the Old Testament, the main requirement in New Testament worship is God’s acceptance.

Preaching is one of the New Testament offerings, part of the church, God’s New Testament congregation.[1] The preacher contributes to this by studying, rightly dividing (2 Timothy 2:15), and then preaching the Word (2 Timothy 4:2), giving attendance to reading, exhortation, and doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13). The congregation is quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, setting aside sin, and receiving with meekness what is preached, not being just a hearer, but also a doer (James 1:19-22). When both do their part, the preacher and the congregation, due to the sufficiency of the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), the congregation is perfected for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12), prevented from being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14), throughly furnished to every good work (2 Timothy 3:17), and provoked to love (Hebrews 10:25).

Paul looked at preaching as worship. In Romans 1:9 he wrote:

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son.

The word “serve” here is latreia, which is a word understood as a kind of offering like the sacrifices of the Old Testament. It is translated “worship” in Philippians 3:3. The work of the Levitical priesthood is described by this word in Hebrews 8:5 and 9:9. When Paul preached the Gospel, he viewed it as a sacrifice offered to God. He worshiped God in his preaching.

So preaching is worship. Well, it should be. As worship, the chief criterion is whether God is pleased by it. Again, preaching should be God-centered, focusing on what God wants to hear. Whether the congregation likes it or not, if God does, then we have succeeded in a sermon. We have worshiped God.

[1]  Since a church is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:17), the locus of worship in the age in which we live, and the pastor is the overseer of a church (1 Timothy 3:1, “bishop,” episkopos=overseer), then the pastor is the designated “worship leader” of a church.

Categories: Brandenburg, Preaching, Worship
  1. October 25, 2006 at 8:11 am

    Amen. This is something that my dad has recently emphasized to me.

    Your footnote reminds me of the time that we had a family visit the church for the first time. The lady asked who the worship leader was. I just said, “You are looking at him.” It is amusing to read articles on other sites where they haggle over the role of the worship leader. If they only knew how simple some of these things are . . .

  2. October 26, 2006 at 4:40 am

    “The word “serve” here is latreia, which is a word understood as a kind of offering like the sacrifices of the Old Testament. It is translated “worship” in Philippians 3:3.”

    Enjoyed your post and don’t disagree with what you’ve written. I studied this word for a sermon I preached last Sunday morning on “Worshiping in the Spirit” and was surprised that other than the sacrifice passages mentioned, fasting and day-and-night prayer are the only outward forms mentioned in connection with this type of worship. Obviously, this kind of worship implies hard work and labor and is not primarily intended for our enjoyment. It does give one a different but also biblical take on worship.

  3. October 26, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks Robert. Glad you’re looking in. I’m guessing the fall foliage is beautiful this time of the year. Thanks for the extras on the word too. I did a word study on it several years ago when getting ready for something in Romans 12, since “service” is the noun form there in Rom. 12:1. I agree that it that believers can and will sacrifice.

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