Antiques and Our Heritage (3) – The Priority of the Sunday Sermon

Three weeks ago we began to quote from a selection by John J. Timmerman, former English professor at Calvin College, found in a collection of his writings titled Markings on a Long Journey (Baker, 1982). It is an article he originally wrote for The Banner in September of 1972, and includes his thoughts on some things “old, precious, and beautiful” in the Reformed tradition.

Markings on long journey-TimmermanThe first one was the “antithesis”; the second one was “a sense of sin”.  Timmerman’s third one he titles “The priority of the sermon in our Sunday services”. I posted some of his thoughts on this previously, in connection with his perspectives on sabbath observance. But here briefly are some additional thoughts on this subject:

I wrote about this before and have since found neither in practice nor rebuttal any reason to alter my convictions about the immeasurable spiritual benefits of good sermons. I use the word good because some of my friends pointed out that I was really assuming that the sermons I was talking about were good, but that fact does not invalidate the importance of the sermon; it only points up the lack of talent or preparation in the minister. The sermon is still a rhetorical instrument of great and abiding power to willing hearts and minds (157-58).

To this we would only add the words of two Scripture passages:

Romans 10:17 – So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Let us remember to pray for our pastors today as they prepare to preach on the morrow. And let us remember to hear the preaching with that hearing “mixed with faith”, else that word will not profit us (Heb.4:2).

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