What is going on during the sermon? And I don't just mean what's happening before our eyes, namely, a man with his Bible preaching from a pulpit. I mean, what is the spiritual situation at hand during a sermon? I've often pondered this and discerned there are a number of ways to describe it. It is the spiritually-saturated word of God going out never to return void (Isa 55:11, cf. 1 Thess 2:13), it is Christ himself administering his benefits to the elect (Eph 2:17). These are both fine ways to describe the reality at hand. Yet, one has come across my mind recently that by the sermon the spiritual glories of the heavenly places (where Christ is) are brought to the people of God.
The passage that displayed this to me was Psalm 43:3, "Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!" Wow! It is by the light and truth of God (which we receive during the sermon) that God brings us to his dwelling in a spiritual though very real sense. This makes good sense considering the blessings we receive in Christ are blessings in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3) and it is these heavenly places where God himself dwells (Col 3:1). What a glory it is.
Do we walk into church on Sunday morning with this expectation that we will commune with God? That God welcomes us into his presence in worship as demonstrated through the preaching of the Word? It is the apex of our Sabbath to be in the presence of God on a Sunday morning. A reality which will be full and final as we enjoy our eternal sabbath rest in glory.