Listen Up! Seven Ingredients For Healthy Sermon Listening
This week, we continue with our sixth blog post with an excerpt from the book Listen Up by Christopher Ash. Each post we’ve been learning the keys as listeners to getting the most out of preaching in church each and every Sunday. Unfortunately, if we only hear the word and don’t do it, we won’t be changed. Much of what we read in the Bible speaks to not just hearing the word but also putting it into action (James 1:22, Luke 8:15, 2 Timothy 4:15). Ash quotes scripture from the Apostle Paul stating that “preaching has a comprehensive brief for belief and behavior.” One of the first mistakes we make is expecting the sermon to entertain us. I myself have often heard it said that whatever you bring people into the church with is the only reason they will stay. If our goal is to entertain people then that will be the only reason people will come and stay. Even preachers in the Bible from Ezekiel to John the Baptist faced the same problem; speaking to listeners who were entertained by them but didn’t much take the word to heart. We see the same today with celebrity preachers and church “shoppers” who are looking for someone who fits their taste rather than, as Paul states, “to be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in righteousness.” We must depend and rely on God to open our hearts, to help us respond to Him and His message, and to come expecting to hear from Him each week.
4 PRACTICAL STEPS
1. After this week’s sermon, write down all the ways you wish that other people would obey the teaching. Don’t hold back. When you’ve written it down, tear it up!
2. Write down as definitely and precisely as you can some action you need to take to obey this Bible passage. It may be a change of attitude, or an alteration in the way you speak, or some action you need to stop doing, or start doing. Whatever it is, write it down.
3. In a week’s time, and then a month’s time, look at what you’ve written and ask yourself whether that Bible passage made any difference to you.
4. Pray, pray and pray again for God to work obedience in you to His word.