Catching the Word in Worship


In his book, The Gospel Commission, Michael Horton writes,

The Word is not only taught but caught, and those who grow up in the church often learn more by repeated exposure to the songs and liturgy than by any particular sermon they can recall. (p.171)

Now he is not downplaying the importance of the preaching of the Word in worship, far from it.  He strongly emphasizes its importance elsewhere in the book.  But he is making a point that is often overlooked (if not totally disregarded) in even the most solid evangelical churches today – the ministry of the Word is not just about the sermon.

The sermon is certainly the primary ministry of the Word in worship, but it is not the only ministry of the Word in worship.  The Apostle Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Colossians:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

So how are we to let the Word of Christ dwell among us richly?  By “teaching and admonishing one another”?  Absolutely!  But also in our singing! (This, of course, requires that the “hymns and spiritual songs” that we sing have solid, biblical content.)

Don’t underestimate the importance and power of the public worship of God’s people, not only the sermon, but every other element of the service as well.

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