Before we go onto the 2nd mark of healthy churches, we must stop to look at one more item that is more of an implication of the 1st mark.
When we talk of expository preaching we usually talk of the duty and privilege of the pastor to preach in such a manner but NEVER talk of it from the layperson point of view. Yes it is the duty of the pastor to preach expositionally, exposing the Word of God to us, for our good and God’s glory. BUT, it is also the duty of the church member to seek this type of preaching week in and week out. It is the privilege of the layperson to labor to find a pastor in which this principle holds sway.
Why is this so? Souls must be healthy, and in order for our souls to be healthy we must put ourselves in such a position where we getting served an exquisite meal from the Word of God every week. If we do not this, we will shrivel up and die a slow, painful, spiritual death where we are cold the Word of God and feel a hardness to it. Church members who seek this type of preaching cultivate a hunger for God’s Word, focus themselves on God’s will, learn to follow Christ’s voice, and protect their lives from the corrupting nature of sin. It also encourages the pastors over them, and benefits the whole of the congregation. Imagine what a congregation would look like if they all pursued this with fervency?
How does one go about growing a desire within themselves for this kind of preaching? To some it comes easy, to others it does not. But all of us can do things to help this kind of affection blossom in our souls toward the Word preached. We can meditate on the sermon passage throughout the week, either before the pastor preaches on it the week before, or after the pastor preaches on it the week after. We can invest in a good set of commentaries to help guide us through difficult sections of Divine Scripture, we can form small groups based on the sermon where we plumb the depths of the Word preached together, and if small groups are not an option or they are set up differently we can develop habits of talking with our friends about the passage preached on the previous week (thought one needs to be careful not to turn this desire into gossip about the pastor and his preaching). I know this sounds crazy, but you can also re-listen to the sermon via the church website or podcast. You know this is why sermons are recorded right? It’s not just to build up an abundant resource online for no one to actually use, we’re to be using it!
By doing this we will develop a good habit – asking questions (hard or simple) of the Biblical text itself. By doing this we will do one extraordinary thing – cultivate humility. Why do I say this? Because this is the one to whom God looks, “The one who is humble, contrite, and the one who trembles at My Word.” (Isaiah 66:2) Do you want the eyes of the Lord to look on you? Tremble at His Word. It is never a bad time to pursue the Word or to seek to love the Word more.