Many churches struggle with the role of preaching on Sunday mornings. Some want practical, topical sermons that help them get through the day. Others want deep sermons that tackle dicey, theological topics. Others believe that a man standing up and preaching is a task that no longer serves in our contemporary culture, so it is replaced by drama, music, or a devotional that lasts 10-15 minutes (rather than a 25-45 minute sermon).
Even in churches that see the priority of preaching believe sermons should accomplish certain things. Some see that every sermon should be evangelistic, that is, every sermon should be exclusively about how to come to Christ. Others see this act of preaching much differently, wanting to hear the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-28).
My heart chimed with Michael Horton in his book, A Better Way:
Notice that I did not say that through this preaching God merely describes our fate apart from Christ, or that he thereby explains what we need to do if we would be saved. Preaching is a lot more than that: Through it God actually accomplishes what is threatened in the law and announced in the gospel. Through these two edges of the one sword, that double action essential for our “rescription” occurs: judgment and justification. Hence, Paul contrasts the ministry of Moses and the law with that of the Spirit and the gospel (2 Cor. 3: 1–4: 6). “For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”(3: 6). Both are needed, so that we lose confidence in our own resources and throw ourselves wholly on Jesus Christ as “our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Cor. 1: 30).
So preaching not only describes our eternal destiny, but God uses it to accomplish same said destiny. The sword of the Spirit (that is, the Word of God) brings about a confidence in the resources of Christ and a lack of confidence in our own resources. How encouraging this is for small churches in need of revitalizing, and for souls in need of reviving: the preaching of the Word! Ever relevant, ever revitalizing!