Preaching is an important part of our worship, but it is not the most important part, nor is it the central focus. That distinction goes the Lord’s Supper. People have differing opinions as to what true preaching is. Some think that preaching is just a motivational speech and some think that it simply serves to rebuke people. While it can include some of those elements, that is not the purpose of preaching according to the Bible. Such misconceptions show why it is important to study the subject in order to better understand the place and purpose of preaching in worship.
    Why is there preaching in a worship service? The answer is, “because of examples and commandments in the Scriptures.” For example, what did Jesus command His disciples to do in Mark 16:15? What mandate was given to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2-4? What did Paul do for the brethren in 1 Corinthians 15:1? There are also many examples of preaching recorded in the New Testament; see Acts 2:14-36, 3:12-26, 4:5-12, 7:2-53, 8:5, 10:28-47, 16:32, 17:22-31; and 20:7. Because of these commands and examples, there is usually someone who will get up and preach as part of our worship service. As a result, thousands of sermons are preached every first day of the week throughout the entire world. But, a sermon must have a purpose.
The Bible us teaches us that the purpose of preaching is:
1. To reveal and explain the scriptures (Acts 7:1-53, 8:35; Nehemiah 8:8)
2. To present Christ as our only hope (2 Corinthians 4:5; Acts 8:35).
3. To promote Christian growth (Acts 2:42).
4. To inform man as to how to receive salvation (Acts 2:37, 38; 1 Cor 15:1-4).
Through this avenue, both believers and unbelievers can get to know Jesus and learn more about God’s will.
    Who is the person that preaches? Is it someone with a special gift? Must one have a special license or specific credentials in order to preach? Although many of our religious friends like to make the preacher part of some special office like “clergy,” or as “reverend,” “priest,” or “pastor,” those are not how Scripture uses those words nor how it describes the preacher (the word clergy is not even found in the Bible). In reality, the preacher is really nothing more than any Christian who shares the Word of God with others. There is no verse that indicates one must have a special license or other credentials to preach. All Christians are to preach in some form or another.
    However, just because everyone should/can preach doesn’t mean just anyone should step into a pulpit. This is because a preacher should have an exemplary life. His actions outside the pulpit are often more persuasive than any words he may speak. He must also be one who knows how to “rightly divide the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15). Therefore, preaching should never be discounted, nor contain only one’s opinions. Peter makes it abundantly clear that preaching is serious business (1 Peter 4:11)! It has been said, “A preacher should hide behind the cross when preaching!” That would certainly keep one’s ego and opinions in check and the true purpose of preaching out front!
    How are we to preach? One of the kingdom’s greatest preachers, Paul, explains, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2) From this, we can deduce that (1) we must preach from the Bible; (2) we must be prepared to preach at any given moment and in any circumstance; (3) we must persuade others by reasoning with the Scriptures; (4) we must point out our shortcomings when compared to the Word; (5) we must build up and edify others; and (6) we must do it all with method that exhibits much love and patience. Lastly, we should be reminded that preaching is God’s chosen method for talking directly to us – through His Word (Hebrews 1:1,2; Romans 10:14-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).