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THE SOLEMNITY OF THE REALITY

I once heard an elderly preacher pray like this at the conclusion of his message: “Father, I pray that we would not lose the solemnity of the reality that has been preached in thy Word.” This prayer has never been more appropriate than it is today, when so much that takes place in church services seems orchestrated to distract minds and hearts from the “solemnity of the reality” of what is preached from God’s Word.

 

Discernment as to the timing and place of such things as announcements and even music specials was once much more deliberately exercised than it is today to insure that these things didn’t have the effect of causing people to “lose the solemnity of the reality” of the Word of God. It used to be more commonly understood that there is no legitimate place for carelessness in connection with the preaching of God’s Word; no place for the fleshliness and and frivolousness that people are now often subjected to before, during, or after the preaching of God’s Word.

 

The rattling off of announcements (This is what bulletins and bulletin boards are for) just before preaching, the idea that preachers need to warm up their audiences with a joke, and the singing of a special song for the sake of effect following a sermon are modern contrivances. Appropriate exceptions are of course possible, but such exceptions are just that; neither Scripture nor historical precedent indicates that such behavior should ever be accepted as the rule.

 

God has said, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2a). He has said, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  Gravity, soberness and reverence play an essential role in the work of the Holy Spirit in connection with preaching. It’s a tragic thing when the Spirit of God Who worked during the preparation of a sermon and is needed to work during its delivery for the good of a congregation, is grieved and quenched by things injected into a service that distract the hearts and minds of people from “the solemnity of the reality of the Word of God.” Read Ezra 9, 10; Neh. 8:1-11; Acts 2:14-37; 1 Thess. 2:13. (Please consider subscribing to www.thatwemayknow.com).

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