The Congregation and the Sermon
Every Sunday, one of the pastors of Christ Fellowship prepares to preach the Word and to build up the body of our church. Part of our mission at CFC is to be "For His Church" and this is one of the primary avenues we use to build up his people is through the preaching of his words. So the pastors preach for change, yet what is the role of the congregation.
Do you ever stop on Sunday to ask "What am I supposed to do with this sermon?"
Jamie Dunlop and Mark Dever are extremely helpful in their new book The Compelling Community: Where God's Power Makes a Church Attractive. I have been encouraged by reading it this week. In the book they help adjust our sites on what the church's responsibility is when we hear a sermon on Sunday. They write:
The congregation has responsiblity in three areas:
-Responsibility for what preaching they support. In Galatians 1 and 2 Timothy 4:3, Paul admonishes the congregation for the preaching they listen to rather than simply addressing their teachers. Similarly, when the church at Pergamum tolerates the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans, the Spirit addresses the churches (Rev. 2:17).
-Responsibility to change. James 1:22 reminds us that we are not merely to be hearers of the Word, but does of the Word. Similarly, according to Luke 12:48, every good word we hear increases our responsibility before God.
-Responsibility to help each other change. Your people must understand that preaching is a corporate activity, not an individual one. Change comes when the congregation uses preaching to minister to each other, as Paul writes in Ephesians 4. . . .preaching that equips is not simply truth that we hear on Sunday, but truth that reverberates back and forth through the congregation all week long.
Will you strive to do these things on Sunday? Strive to be responsible and encourage the sound preaching you hear. Strive to change in light of God's Word. And then don't leave it with yourself, but use the rest of the week to apply the Scriptures to one another in community.