Stan Cox


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Worship in the Local Church

Preaching / Teaching


In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Hebrew writer expounds upon one of the primary purposes for the worship assemblies, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”  When we come together, it is for edification.

Edification is accomplished by several means.  As we speak to one another in song (cf. Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16); pray (cf. Colossians 3;16); declare the Lord’s Death in his supper; (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26), etc.; we are built up in Christ.

One of the primary means of edification is through the preaching and teaching of the word of God.  Paul preached to the saints in Troas on the Lord’s day, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7).  He also, in his epistle to the Ephesians, noted that the offices of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher were authorized:

"for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love(Ephesians 4:12-16).

The text above indicates clearly that the teaching of God’s word is needed to cause growth, and to protect the brethren from the false “wind [-s] of doctrine” which could endanger souls.

Three important things to consider as we point out the need for such preaching and teaching:

First, it is important that the “whole counsel of God” be preached to the brethren.  Paul said this to the Ephesian elders as he indicated that he had prepared them for the “ravenous wolves” which would come in among them, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).  Error can come from any direction, and those who have been schooled only in a portion of God’s word are vulnerable to attack.  Further, if the preaching is not balanced, the Christian’s development will be uneven.  For example, he may be “doctrinally strong” due to strong preaching, but sinning morally due to a dearth of teaching in this area.  The pulpit is no place for hobbyists.

Second, there are times when error must be dealt with.  Jude said, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  The necessity of this defense of the gospel was because of errorists who had crept in unnoticed, and were endangering souls.  We, as Paul, must be willing to expose the false teacher, and refute his error.  (cf. 2 Timothy 4:2-5).  The pulpit is no place for cowards.

Third, the gospel must be preached in humility.  It must always be remembered that the purpose of preaching is to save souls.  A proper spirit is needed.  This in no way indicates that the preacher or teacher should be timid in a defense of truth.  However, no teacher can be effective whose message is cloaked in pride.  “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). The pulpit is no place for the arrogant.

Whatever the case, for the edification of the brethren, the preaching of the gospel is needed in our worship assemblies.  “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).  May we all be blessed by the faithful proclamation of truth. 

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