Listen Up! Seven Ingredients For Healthy Sermon Listening
This week, we continue with the third of the blog post series from the short book called Listen Up from Christopher Ash. The last post looked at how God knows better than us and how we should humbly look to see what scripture reveals about us. This week, the focus is on checking to make sure the preacher is true to the passage.
Have you ever sat down on a Sunday in church hoping that the preacher had something interesting to say? Have you ever listened half-heartedly tracking thoughts in your head while also trying to track what the preacher says just to later have no idea what the sermon was about when asked? If you said yes to these, then you’re not alone! As with anything that we do, listening should be an activity in which we engage and listening to sermons should be the same. When listening to a sermon, we should be asking ourselves these important questions: “Is the preacher preaching what the bible passage actually says?” or “Where did the preacher get that from?” and “Can the preacher show that it came from the Bible?” These are just a few, and asking these questions is a great start in being engaged and making sure that the Bible is being preached faithfully. Taking notes is another way to stay engaged. Ultimately, as listeners, we need to make sure that the message of the sermon unpacks the message of the passage and that the sermon is built from the passage and not a springboard to speak about something else. This is where the Holy Spirit helps us to open our minds and listen clearly to whether a sermon is true to the Bible.
5 PRACTICAL STEPS
1. Read the passage carefully or listen carefully when it is read.
2. What do you think is the main point of the passage? Look for repetition of points and themes.
3. Are there any surprises in the passage (Things we wouldn’t expect the Bible to say)?
4. Who was the passage originally written to? What was the author’s intent in writing the passage?
5. Pray like Martin Luther: “Lord, teach me, teach me, teach me”