Worship - Lesson 9

The Sermon as Worship

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can describe the occasion of Ezra’s reading the law.
  2. The student can draw lessons from this occasion about our listening to the reading of the Bible and its explanation.


  1. Have Bibles for all.
  2. Have pens or pencils for all.
  3. Have the quiz ready to give the class.
  4. Have someone chosen to lead a prayer about our being good listeners to the reading and explanation of God’s word.
  5. Have someone chosen to lead a prayer about our being good listeners to the reading and explanation of God’s word.
  6. Notify your best reader in advance to be prepared to read Psalm 121.


We should listen to the word of God and its explanation with respect.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (15 minutes)

  1. Welcome visitors, check the roll, make announcements.
  2. Give the quiz on Lesson 8 and discuss briefly any answers that need attention.
  3. Discuss the questions on the Worksheet on “Victory in Jesus” and then sing that song with emphasis on the meaning.
  4. Q: What scriptures tell us that Christians had instruction from God’s message in their assemblies? (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:26)
  5. Our lesson today is about how we can make listening to the reading and instruction more a time of worship. Q: With which of the four purposes of worship would you connect the sermon? (Proclamation of our faith, praise as we are led to appreciate what God has done for us and as we see the greatness of God, communication FROM God and our communication back to Him of our response to what we are being taught, edification as the preacher edifies us. So all four of the purposes of worship can be achieved in the preaching when we approach it in the right attitude.

Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)

  1. After the Israelites returned from Babylonian captivity, the new generation rebuilt the temple and the walls of the city. They were not, however, well instructed in the teachings of the Law of Moses. That job fell to Ezra. Read Nehemiah 8:1-12, skipping over the lists of names. Read also Nehemiah 9:1-3.
  2. Q: What principles might we learn that would apply to our worship from this event? (Teacher—write answers on the board. The list should look something like the list that follows. They made preparation for the worship by building a high platform and communicating to the people to come to the event. Ezra read to them the law of God. The people showed respect by standing. Before the reading, Ezra praised the Lord and people responded by saying “Amen” and by bowing with their faces to the ground. They took plenty of time. As the priests and Levites read, they gave the meaning to the people so they could understand. The people felt sorrow for their sins as the word was read and they grieved and wept.) On another occasion, the law was read for a quarter of a day and the people confessed for a quarter of a day.
  3. Q: Based on these thoughts from Ezra’s reading of the law and what they did, what suggestions do you have about how we can be better listeners to the reading and explanation of God’s word and how we can respond strongly as they did. (Teacher—the question here is not how the preacher can do better or those planning the worship can do better but how we as listeners can make our worship more effective. List these on the board as they are given.)
  4. Let’s now have a prayer that we can be better listeners and responders to the reading and explanation of God’s word. Prayer.
    5.Now we will have a reading of God’s word. As you listen to this reading, listen with your mind and your heart. (Teacher—have your best reader read Psalm 121.) Q: What emotions did you have as this psalm was being read? Q: What thoughts might we send to God while this psalm is being read to us? Now we will read the psalm again. See if your response can be stronger now that we have discussed it. Out of respect for the word of God, let’s stand during this reading.
  5. Ask the class to turn to the song “Break Thou the Bread of Life.” Q: On what event in Jesus’ life is this song based? (Feeding of the five thousand.) What do the expressions mean that say, “Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee Lord” and “My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word!” (We want to go through the written word to the true Word of God, Jesus Christ. This does not mean we want to go “beyond what is written” in the sense that we wish to depart from the Word. Q: What benefits does the song say will come to those to whom Jesus breaks the bread of life? Read John 6:35, 63. Now sing thoughtfully “ Break Thou the Bread of Life.”


  1. On the back of your sheet about Victory in Jesus, write two things you will do to improve as a listener when the word of God is being read and explained.
  2. Say a silent prayer to God now about these things.


  1. Be prepared to answer some questions over the story about Ezra’s reading the law at the next class meeting. Re-read Nehemiah 8:1-9; 9:1-3.
  2. Read 1 Corinthians 8 and 9 in preparation for the next lesson which will study giving as worship.


  1. Quiz at the start of next class.

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