Duncan begins by relating an anecdote shared by Mark Dever, who recalled a woman's incredulity when Dever mentioned that the Puritan preachers occasionally sermonized for 2 or 3 hours (at the behest of their congregations!).
She said, "Dr. Dever, if they preached for 2 or 3 hours, . . . what time was left for worship?"
Ooo, don't ask Mark Dever that! Mark's response was something like, "Ma'am, understand that from the Puritan's standpoint, the sermon was the apex of worship, because the conscionable hearing of God's word from the mouth of God's servant was the ultimate act of worship."
Because you are hearing, you are sitting under the searching judgment and the comforting promise of God's word spoken into your heart. It's the greatest act of worship as the people of God gather together . . . It is the culmination of worship.
Remember, that many of (them) would have been able to remember the smell of burning flesh in their nostrils, for the people who had died at the stake so that they could hear the Word of God read to them and preached to them in their own language . . . They knew the great cost, so they didn't care how long their preacher preached.
I think one reason that our people are oftentimes so lackadaisical about the privilege of preaching is that they don't understand the cost that has been born for the word of God to be brought to them in their own language, and they don't understand the magnitude of what it is to have an encounter with the living God which is word-based, facilitated by the servant of God preaching the word of God to their hearts, speaking that truth into their lives.
Previously: 5 Reasons for Sermon-Centric Worship