4 Important Pastoral Questions Part III

Q #3

Does not sanctification happen from clear Gospel preaching in the sermon and shouldn’t preaching be a major focus of the worship service?



Benjamin Morrison

American Missionary and Pastor of Calvary Chapel Svitlovodsk in Svitlovodsk, Ukraine

Yes, it does and it should.





Nathan Mudd

Student at Moody Bible College (and bear hunting guide in Kodiak, AK)

I’m struggling with this question myself, so can only say from where I’m at. Sanctification only comes from the Spirit, and God definitely uses the sermon to sanctify His followers. However, it is the responsibility of the listener of a sermon to yield to the Holy Spirit, and let Him work. God does not force sanctification on anyone. I think preaching should be a major focus of the worship service because God uses the human voice and personality of the preacher to deliver His message. Yet I don’t think the pulpit (sermon) should be the only focus of the worship service. I think the altar (sacrifice and reverence) should be of equal importance along with musical instruments (the human voice, piano, guitar, etc. for celebration and adoration). People can listen to sermons on their computer at home or wherever, but they can only corporately worship God when they’re gathered together–that’s the church. Worship is how we respond to God’s grace. If the sermon is a revelation of God, it should come before music and prayer. In this case it is preparing hearts for worship by ministering God’s grace to the hearers. If the sermon is about self-help or being a better person, it should be after the music and prayer because the focus should be on God, not us. Worship is expressing reverence and adoration for God. I think the worship service needs to be more about God, and less about us. I’d be curious to know your reaction to this.

Nathaneal P. Taylor

Graduate of Westminster Seminary and Ruling Elder at Christ Church Presbyterian in Irvinet, CA

Sanctification does happen from clear Gospel preaching followed by application. Sanctification also happens with Gospel preaching in conjunction with prayer and the administration of the sacraments. All of these should be a major focus of the worship service and are all means by which the Holy Spirit sanctifies our hearts. Here is a text which supports the centrality of Bible teaching, prayer, and the administration of the sacraments in the worship service: Acts 2:42 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.



Jeff Carver

Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and former pastor of Vintage Life Church in Fontana, CA

Yes, yes, yes. Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to believers in Rome and in Corinth. Believers need the Gospel preached to them daily for sanctification. The mission of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus and build up His church. He does both with the gospel. Read John 16:13-14. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says that the Gospel is of “first importance.” If the church doesn’t preach it, it doesn’t believe it and it does not have the Holy Spirit.




David Armstrong

Former Calvary Chapel Ontario Assistant Pastor and Current Executive Director of Tri-County Love INC, a compassion based ministry in Eastern Oregon

At this time, I’d have to think about where and how sanctification occurs.

I’m not certain that preaching is the ONLY major focus of the worship service. I’d say exhorting, biblical fellowship (not the stuff we say is fellowship).




Sean Housman

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Central Maui

I agree with this. I believe Christian love and unity grows best in the garden of Truth.





Jason Martin

Long time friend and avid theology student

Without question. Preaching and teaching is the most crucial aspect of worship in the church.





Abraham Juliot

Long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

The gospel according to the scriptures is the means of our growth in grace and the only hope and strength which faith unto salvation looks for life and peace. We cannot even begin to worship God apart from looking to Christ in the preached gospel. Not only should gospel sermons be a major focus, but also the reading of the scriptures to all the brethren. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” (Colossians 3:16) “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” (1 Thessalonians 5:27) “…when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” (Colossians 4:16).



Peter Sammons

Graduate of Master’s Seminary, Co-Founder and President of Chicago Reformed Seminary

I would say yes to all 4 questions.





Miles DeBenedictis

Pastor of Cross Connection in Escondido, CA

Does not sanctification happen from clear Gospel preaching in the sermon and shouldn’t preaching be a major focus of the worship service?

Yes… Yes…

But… I wouldn’t limit sanctification to gospel preaching.

There are aspects of the Christian faith that we (i.e. those of us who come out of Bible-centric evangelical churches) are rather deficient in. I have been both convicted and amazed by the level of mature devotion that I have witnessed in brothers and sisters in The Lord who come out of developing world environments (think South America and Asia for instance), where systematic Bible and Gospel preaching are at least secondary, if not deficient. Their faith, passion and discipline often times put ours to shame.

We should never lose sight of the fact that sanctification is ultimately a work of God’s Spirit and not my teaching/preaching. That’s not to say that teaching/preaching are not important.

Mark LePard

Youth Pastor at New Song Christian Community Church in Wildomar, CA

Preaching & teaching plays an essential part in sanctification. 2 Tim3:16&17 makes it pretty clear. Ephesians 4:11-15 seems pretty clear that the pastors & teachers are part of that process, and what would a teacher do, unless it is teaching the Bible?




Jim Teri Baugh

Former Pastor who now works in International Leadership Development at Global Training Network

According to Acts 2, their are four essentials for healthy church ministry; the apostle’s teaching, worship, fellowship, and prayer. Each one takes an essential part of the growth (sanctification) in the believers life under the power of the Holy Spirit. in the gift mix of the Holy Spirit, there are preachers and teachers, both used effectively to bring God’s Word to listeners using different teaching methods. Jesus taught the Word to small groups, large groups, and often used different methods to effectively communicate God’s Word. In all this, I believe teaching/preaching the Word of God must be central in the worship life of the local church. Otherwise we will not know the God we claim to worship.



Ricky Andrade

Pastor of The Shelter Church in San Diego

The gospel should always be preached at a worship service and preaching should be a main dish on the plate. Along with fellowship, communion, prayer and singing. However sanctification comes from discipleship in the faith, the maturity Paul speaks of comes from understanding the whole message of the bible, serving, the mortification of sin, the law, grace, hell, discipline, giving, prophecy, the Lords return EVERYTHING takes a part in our becoming fully mature. Preachers need to be prayerful, meditative, involved with thier flock to know what the Lords message is for them that week. They should preach the whole book of the bible over the years and pepper each message with something that ties the book together. (Cross reference) The message is always CHRIST.


Adam Sinnett

Pastor of Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle, WA

Sanctification is a life-long process, carried out by the Holy Spirit, through various means – including gospel preaching. Yes, I believe preaching should be central b/c God’s Word to his people should be central. That was a major element of the Reformation.




Mike Williamson

Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in St Cloud, MN

Preaching should be the major focus of the worship service, along with the Lord’s Table (which preaches!). The gospel taught and applied does sanctify!





Dave Mazella

Former elder, long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

Yes we are sanctified by the word of truth, but things like marriage sanctify us as well.  Preaching is the center of worship.





Gef Ganey

Pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian in Smyrna, Georgia

Yes and yes.





Doug Wagner

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Woodland, in Woodland, CA

Yes- sanctification is the process of the Word of God being planted in the soil of the heart and bearing fruit in season.  That of course should be taking place not only through public preaching but through a personal devotional life.

1 Cor. 3:6-9 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Yes the Word should always be the major component in our services.

2 Tim. 3:16-17 -4:1-2 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.

Bob Burnham

MTW Missionary and Regional Director in Odessa, Ukraine

I believe sanctification comes from a combination of the word, the Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ. Yes, much of that comes from preaching in the worship service, and yes, I believe that the preaching of the word is a major (if not THE major) focal point in a service.




Peter Olson

Long time friend and insightful theology student

I agree. However, I also think there needs to be lots of room for sharing and discussion regarding the message and scripture, whether that be a part of the same service or done independently (which should be strongly encouraged). Our testimonies are growing every day and sharing how God is doing so is a vital part of sanctification as well.




Gee Will

Friend and serious student of theology

Yes and its our responsibility to check what the pastor is saying and be a Berean. That is why we meet every week to grow with God’s Word being presented thru his vessel, like a prophet in the OT.




Jackson Vue

Friend and serious student of theology

No comment.






Question #4

Return to Question #1


designed for helping church leaders think through these issues in some detail