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Essential Elements of Public Worship: Preaching

In the Old Testament, God’s people were given detailed instructions for public worship. When we come to the New Testament, we find the minutia of those commands put away, fulfilled in Christ. But that does not mean there are no prescribed elements of New Testament worship.

Under the heading of essential parts of public worship, Ryle includes what should be most obvious of all: the preaching of God’s Word.


I can find no record of Church assemblies in the New Testament in which preaching and teaching orally does not occupy a most prominent position. It appears to me to be the chief instrument by which the Holy Ghost not only awakens sinners, but also leads on and establishes saints. I observe that in the very last words that St Paul wrote to Timothy, as a young minister, he especially enjoins on him to ‘preach the Word’ (2 Tim. 4:2). I cannot, therefore, believe that any system of worship in which the sermon is made little of, or thrust into a corner, can be a scriptural system, or one likely to have the blessing of God.   one of Satan’s great aims to exalt ceremonies and put down preaching. There is a deep meaning in the words, ‘Despise not prophesying’ (1 Thess. 5:20). A contempt for sermons is a pretty sure mark of a decline in spiritual religion.

—J. C. Ryle, Knots Untied (Banner of Truth, 2016), 321.

Posted 2017·06·21 by David Kjos
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