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reasons for preaching

Craig Larson lists reasons why Christians should listen to, and be under, the preaching of God's word:

1. Preaching brings us before God’s Word in the presence of the Holy Spirit, who indwells the gathered church.

2. Good preaching rescues us from our self-deceptions and blind spots, for left to ourselves, we tend to ignore the very things in God’s Word that we most need to see. Preaching is done in community, covering texts and topics outside of our control.

3. Good preaching brings us into the place of corporate obedience rather than merely individual obedience. This is a uniquely corporate discipline that the church does together as a community, building up individuals and the community at the same time.

4. Good preaching contributes to spiritual humility by disciplining us to sit under the teaching, correction, and exhortation of another person. This strikes right to the heart of individualism, which is such a plague on the church.

5. Good preaching gives a place for a spiritually qualified person to protect believers from dangerous error. To use the biblical metaphor: Christians are sheep; false teachers are wolves; preachers are guardian shepherds. A preacher is a person called and gifted by God with spiritual authority for the care of souls in the context of God’s church.

6. Good preaching does what most Christians are not gifted, trained, or time-endowed to do: interpret a text in context, distill the theological claims that are universally true, and apply these truths in a particular church – all this with the help of resources informed by 2,000 years of the church’s study that average Christians do not own.

7. Listening to preaching has a much lower threshold of difficulty. While many spiritual disciplines sound like exercises for the spiritually elite, young and old, educated and uneducated, disciplined and undisciplined can at least listen to a sermon.

A legitimate question is “If preaching is so central, how can so many Christians listen to it for decades and not be transformed?” Part of the answer may be weak or unbiblical preaching in which the Bible plays little or no role in the sermon. Or.…preaching that moves too quickly to what we should do before establishing who God is and what He has done for us.

--By Craig Larson, in Christianity Today, October 2009, pp 26-27.

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