For the rest of my Baptist brethren out there, I apologize for using the ‘S’ word. I know it’s supposed to be ordinance.
And yet there is the sense in which Baptism and the Lord’s Supper may rightly be called ‘sacraments’. They are means by which grace is given to the Christian soul, not salvific grace, but grace nonetheless.
In Baptism, we receive grace which strengthens our faith. In the Lord’s Supper, or, Communion, we experience the grace of special communion with Christ and His Church.
But there is a third Sacrament, or means of grace, that is first in order above Baptism and Communion. This sacrament is in some sense the only sacrament which can be called so in the purest and highest meaning of the word. This sacrament is the Preaching of God’s Word.
A worship service may be conducted without observing the ordinance of Baptism. We may corporately worship God without the observance of the Lord’s Supper. But we can never truly worship God publicly without the public proclamation of God’s Word. Indeed, we observe the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper precisely because we obey the Word of God. The Word of God itself is the means of God to create Christians and, therefore, Christianity.
This Word of God is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), the truth by which we are reborn (James 1:18), and the sound which produces faith in those whom God calls (Romans 10:17). By the proclamation of the Word of God, the grace of faith is imparted to the hearer so that they may believe.
The Word of God is the source of blessings for those who obey it, (Luke 11:28), the authority for the Christian (Luke 4:32), and is the nutrition of the Christian life (Matthew 4:4).
The Word of God is at work in believers (I Thessalonians 2:13), equips believers for good works (II Timothy 3:16-17), and is able to save our souls (James 1:21).
These are just a few of the statements from the New Testament about itself (and the Old Testament as well), and it’s power. But these few verses are sufficient to make my point. The Word of God is the Means of Grace that the Holy Spirit uses to bring us to Christ, to build up our faith, and ultimately present us faultless and Christlike before the throne of God.
So then, preach the Word! It is truly the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes!