Sunday, July 18, 2010

How To Listen To A Sermon

Temple Baptist Church - 7-18-2010

James 1:17-27

Introduction: This morning, I preached on the importance of the Pulpit in the local church. A Pulpit is of little or no value when the preaching and teaching is not heard.

A. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” What a wonderful gift God has given to us in our King James Bible. The very Word of God! What a blessing to have bibles all over the house. I do not know just how many that I have but I have stacks of them.

B. What a blessing to sit and read these precious words of God. Some may fault me for this statement but I love to sit with several cups of black coffee and read my bible! I normally sit in my recliner in the living room when I read the bible and it gets my day off to a great start.
C. Many times though, I find my mind wandering as I read the bible and find that I am seeing the words but not comprehending what they are saying. I have had to go back and read whole chapters because of not paying strict attention to what I read. As bible believers, we believe that every word of God is pure an then scan over them.

D. The verses that we read this morning describe the importance of hearing and doing the Word instead of simply “hearing.” In Romans 10:17, there are two hearings. Our faith comes by hearing with the ear and also hearing with our hearts. Many hear the Word but are never saved because they do not “hear” what it says.

E. The same with preaching! In order for the Word of God to help us, we MUST learn how to listen to the sermons from God’s men.

1. We should come to hear what is to be preached. So many times we come to church just because it is either Sunday or Wednesday. In the book of Nehemiah, the people stood while the Word was read for a fourth part of the day. David was excited to go to the house of the Lord. There must be a desire to hear and be helped or we will leave as empty as when we came.

2. We should acknowledge that the Word preached is God’s Word! As the man of God stands and preaches the Word of God, it should be a time of great concentration and self examination. Paul, when writing to the believers at Thessalonica, said, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

a. They received it as it was: the Word of God.

b. It effectually worked in their lives.

3. We should learn to lay aside the cares and circumstances of this world while concentrating on what is being said. Preaching needs our utmost attention. Not the baby on the pew in front of you; not what someone else is doing on another pew; but zeroing in and hearing every word.

4. We should examine lives in respect to what God’s man is preaching. I have found out long ago that, when the Lord lays upon my heart a particular message, there is someone that needs it at that particular time. Most of the time, my preaching is “preventive maintenance” preaching. You may not need it this morning, but by concentrating upon it and “filing it away” in your heart, it will help you later. Instead of seeing others who “need it,” we need to seek God’s will in our lives.

5. We should “earnestly heed” the spoken Word when preached. James speaks of “hearers” and “doers” in these verses. If it is God’s Word, then it should not be optional! God only wants that which is best for you and me. His Word is not given to be a burden or cursing to our lives but to be a blessing and an encouragement. The Word of God defines areas of both safety and danger.

6. We should earnestly pray before, during, and after the sermon. Before the sermon, “Lord, please give me what I need today from your precious Word as I am a sinful creature and need your help.” During the sermon, “Lord, is it me?” After the sermon, “Thank you, Lord, for caring enough for me to allow me to be able to hear and please do not let me forget what I have heard.”

7. We should learn to accept that men of God are still just men. So many times, we receive the preaching of God’s Word as simply one man’s opinion. People “turn off” certain preachers before they hear what he has to say because of personal likes and dislike. We all like and dislike “styles” of preaching as well as the personalities of God’s men but, when they preach, they are God’s men and it is God’s Word. I do understand that preacher’s have opinions and often give them, but when the bible is being preached, it is God’s Word and needs to be heard as such. Every preacher who gets into this pulpit needs to be given the same attention as you (supposedly) give to your pastor.

8. We should come expecting a blessing! If we expect something then we will get something. If we expect nothing, we will get exactly what we expected!

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