12.1.6.3.3 Levels within the proclamation of the word

The word of God is perfect, pure, and infallible, and yet it is proclaimed by imperfect human beings. For this reason the sermon can contain imperfect elements. Nevertheless, God, who hears the fervent pleas of both the preacher and the listener, lays His power into the inadequate human words of the sermon. There are therefore two levels. One is the human level: a human being speaks, and other human beings listen. On this level, both linguistic errors and errors of content on the part of the speaker, as well as misunderstandings on the part of the listeners, cannot be ruled out. The other level is the divine: the Holy Spirit speaks through the commissioned servant of God to the souls of the listeners and strengthens or awakens faith within them. Thus, the imperfection of the words and sentences expressed does not prevent God from filling them with power.

But the listeners must also fulfil certain prerequisites in order that they do not perceive the sermon as the mere utterances of a human being. The basic requirement for this is faith. This means that, in believing trust, the listeners must open themselves to the word of the sermon, accept it, and be prepared to apply it in their lives. Then the word of the sermon will also inspire remorse in the listener. The sins he has committed are thus recognised, and regret, repentance, and the longing for grace are awakened.

Prior to the sermon, the listeners should pray for the Lord to provide strength and peace through the word. The Lord will hear and grant the fervent prayers of a congregation that longs for His word.

The sermon is followed by the celebration of Holy Communion, for which God's word has prepared the way.

SUMMARY

God's will is proclaimed in the divine services. This proclamation of the word is known as the "sermon". (12.1.6)

Jesus taught in the temple in Jerusalem, in synagogues, and in other places. An example of Jesus' proclamation of the word is the Sermon on the Mount. (12.1.6.2)

The first Christian sermon was delivered by Apostle Peter on Pentecost. (12.1.6.2)

The proclamation of the word is accorded great significance in the New Apostolic divine service. It is based on a Bible text. Its interpretation in free discourse constitutes the core of the sermon. It is awakened by the Holy Spirit. (12.1.6.3)

The central element of the proclamation of the word is the gospel, which speaks of Jesus' life and sacrifice, as well as His resurrection and return. Beyond that it offers orientation for a life in accordance with God's will. (12.1.6.3.1)

Apostolic proclamation of the word always testifies of the endeavour to prepare the congregation for the return of Jesus Christ. (12.1.6.3.2)

The proclaimed word strengthens faith and trust in God, imparts comfort and confidence, and promotes knowledge. (12.1.6.3.2)

God's word is perfect, pure, and infallible. Nevertheless it is proclaimed and heard by imperfect human beings. This does not prevent God from filling the sermon with His power. (12.1.6.3.3)

See also