Saturday, January 02, 2010

How to listen to a sermon

At the start of a new year the focus is often on Bible reading, but historically the Church has emphasized listening to the Bible being preached as especially important for growth.

Many of us know from experience that reading a Bible can be done ineffectively and not lead to spiritual growth. We also can easily miss the benefit of preaching by not approaching it rightly. So as we begin 2010 take a moment and commit to the vital work of listening to sermons effectually.

First comes trust. Without trust in the Bible and trust in the preacher, a sermon can be of no benefit to you.

Second comes preparation and prayer. Join with the Psalmist in imploring, "open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Ps 119:18)

Crucially, third, receive the sermon with faith and love, or it will not benefit you. (Heb 4:2) The preaching of the Word speaks with the authority of your Lord. Receive it as the final authority in your life.

Fourth, meditate upon it, and in someway lay it up in your heart. (Ps 119:11) Look over your notes from the sermon, speak about it with others, pray and apply its main points to your life.

Lastly, live it out in your life. Be not a hearer only, but a doer. (Jam 1:25)

Take these 5 points seriously and may you be built up in holiness and comfort this year through the preached Word of God.

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