INTRO: Are worship sermons only supposed to be “devotional” (pleasant thoughts and love for God)or can they be doctrinal (meant to explain the incredible purpose and plans of the kingdom)?
I. WHAT SERMONS ARE APPROPRIATE FOR WORSHIP SERVICES?
Are dramatic sermons or academic messages equally meant for worship, or is one better? Should the pulpit be filled with a preacher, teacher, or combination? Are there legitimate occasions for each to be offered? I contend they are both needful in a full understanding and worship of the magnificent and complex God we serve.
II. WHAT MESSAGES WERE PREACHED IN THE EARLY CHURCH?
READ Acts 2:42, “And [the early church] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.” What were the “apostles’ teachings?”
Gal. 2:16, “and we have believed in Jesus Christ so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law?” Did Apostles have to teach or just admonish Jews on such matters
A. Biblical examples: “Sermon on the Mount”= “Lessons on the Mount.” Jesus’ was often referred to by the title, “Rabbi,” or “Teacher.” Lk. 24:13-35, is the story of Jesus walking with two men on their way to Emmaus who were “discussing [and arguing] about everything that had taken place ]in Jerusalem]” Vs. 27 says, “Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Their response in vs. 32 was, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”
B. The Apostles taught what Jesus taught them. Later Church Fathers (Eusebius, Augustine, Origen, Tertullian, etc.) worked to understand the implications of the Apostles teaching for the long run since Jesus tarried.
III. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE TO THE CHURCH TODAY?
A.Do “teaching sermons” benefit churches today?
1.) They keep churches from forgetting their roots and understanding why we practice our faith as we do. Does knowing these things cause us to marvel and praise God for His incredible plan for us? Matt. 24:36, “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows – neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son – except the Father only.” Should we teach why Jesus did not know?
2.) It will play a part in developing the identity of the church.
What kind of church or preacher do you need? How do people “see” your church (country, good fellowship, strong teaching and biblical preaching)?
1 Peter 3:15, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you?”
The kind of messages coming from behind your pulpit will influence the direction of your church!
Any sermon that only fills the mind but does not enlighten the spirit has no place in worship.
Sermons that make people feel comfortable but do not challenge them to greater knowledge and appreciation of the immensity and power of our God, are not the best offering to offer on the altar. Messages that enlighten the mind and stir the spirit to honor God “with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” are always appropriate.