Skillfully Combining God's Word

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on June 10, 2010

“Come join us this Sunday for worship and the Word.” I've heard that invitation more than once. It's an unfortunate dichotomy.

Most people understand it like this: Worship is when we sing and experience God's nearness, express our love for him, and allow his Spirit to move in our midst. All right-brain activities.

Hearing the Word, on the other hand, appeals to our left brain. It's mind food. It's for our intellects, designed to make us think, not feel.

Some Christians have so separated worship and the Word that they'll attend one church to experience the Spirit during the music, then visit anotherto get good teaching.

But singing and preaching aren't incompatible or opposed to each other in any way. Both are meant to exalt the glory of Christ in our hearts, minds, andwills. The whole meeting is worship; the whole meeting should be filled with God's Word. And the whole meeting should be characterized by the Spirit's presence.

Eagerly expecting the Spirit's power in our meetings goes hand in handwith a radical commitment to the authority and sufficiency of God's Word.

Does that sound like a paradox? It shouldn't. Our churches can't be Spirit-led unless they're Word-fed. A church that's dependent on the Spirit's power inits worship will be committed to the study, proclamation, and application of God's Word in its personal and congregational worship. The Word and the Spirit were never meant to be separated. In fact, God's Spirit is the one who inspired God's Word.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Not only did the Spirit of God inspire God's Word, he illuminates our hearts so we can understand it. God's Spirit and his Word go together.

But apart from being an evidence of the Spirit's presence and activity, there are other reasons why God's Word is central to our worship. Our relationship with God has always been characterized by the ebb and flow of revelation and response. If God hadn't revealed himself to us, we wouldn't know who to thank, who to obey, or who to serve. We wouldn't know how to worship him. But God does reveal his character, nature, and promises to us,and we respond with gratefulness and obedience. We respond with worship.

At least that's the way it's supposed to work.

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