What Do You Do with Your Pastor’s Preaching?

How should you listen to a sermon?

“A helpful way to so submit to the Word read and preached is to heed something my Hebrew professor imparted.  Ask yourself two questions.  First, “What does the text teach that I am to believe about God?”  Second, “What does the text teach that God requires of me to do?” 

 

How should you listen to a sermon?

First, realize that you are responsible to actively (and thus, actually) listen.  Like anything, you get personal benefit out of the preaching by what you put of yourself into the listening.

Such self-accountability applies equally to the pastor.  I often say to the congregation, “I first preached this to me.”

What’s more, whether on vacation at another church or hosting a guest preacher at ours, I govern myself from the pew to not preside over the proclamation of God’s authoritative Word, but to sit under it.  I shun the temptation to compare the minister’s exegetical focus, structural presentation, use of illustrations, and emphases of application with what I might have done.  This is not the seminary classroom; it is worship in God’s throne room!  I had better have an ear to hear what the Spirit has to say to ME!  I don’t examine the sermon by myself; I examine myself by the sermon.

In the same way, you need to approach your pastor’s preaching not as a lecture to consider, but a heavenly summons under which you are to responsibly and responsively submit.  After all, it is King Jesus personally preaching to you! (2 Corinthians 4:7; Hebrews 2:12; 10:5-7 or Psalms 22:22, 25; 40:6-10).

Henry Krabbendum enjoins us, “The hearers are not the jury that must give a mental or oral verdict. They are the accused that need to bow before God and cast themselves upon mercy alone.”[1]

A helpful way to so submit to the Word read and preached is to heed something my Hebrew professor imparted.  Ask yourself two questions.  First, “What does the text teach that I am to believe about God?”  Second, “What does the text teach that God requires of me to do?”  This twofold teach-ability reflects how the Westminster Larger Catechism is divided with a subheading between questions 90 and 91, as set up by question and answer five: “The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.”

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