“Was that sermon relevant?”

“Did I find it helpful?”

“Were we blessed?”

These Christian buzz words and responses for somehow evaluating a sermon are misguided according to Graeme Goldsworthy. Instead, he argues that our first question of personal response should be: “How did the study (the sermon) testify to Christ and his gospel as the power of God for salvation?”

Human nature coupled with our learned expectations often leads us as hearers away from the point of a sermon. Goldsworthy points out how we tend to judge a sermon by how many of our favorite topics were touched upon or how some particular story or point connected with something we feel to be true. A comical or touching story or a catchy saying may produce hearers that come away saying “great sermon.” Often we want to have a sermon fix things or teach us to live better without tying it to the gospel, but it is the gospel which changes lives. We slip from believing that it is the gospel of Jesus which shapes us in every area of our Christian faith; instead we want slogans and slick outlines.

The importance of preaching the whole Bible as Christian Scripture (which is the title of Goldsworthy’s book) is being fleshed out specifically in our current sermons at Providence. The unity of Scripture is being brought out and the focus upon the gospel is being emphasized as we look at some of the big picture points of the Old Testament.

We are to rejoice at the amazing way in which God has brought about his perfect plan and see the greatness of this salvation with ever-increasing awe. All of Scripture serves to build up our understanding of the Messiah, Jesus, and if this is the main point of Scripture, then it must also be our main expectation when we hear the Bible taught.