August 13, 2021

Do you know how to listen to a sermon?  On the surface that may seem like a crazy question to ask, but it really isn’t.  Actually, I think it may be one of the big problems in the church of Christ today.  People have ears to hear, but cannot hear – they cannot hear what God is saying to them through His Word.   They don’t know how to listen to sermons.  They are like the people that Jesus addressed on a few different occasions.  These people obviously heard the words that Jesus was speaking and they were even amazed at his teaching, but they really didn’t grasp the spiritual significance of those words.  In other words, the message didn’t penetrate their hearts so as to make a difference in the way they lived.  Sadly, I believe a lot of people sitting in churches on Sunday mornings fall into this same camp.

Why is that?  There are probably a number of reasons, but let me mention a few.

  1.  Our hearts have been hardened by sin (cf. Parable of the Soils in Matthew 13) so that the seed of God’s Word cannot penetrate the heart.  If God has convicted us of sin and we have refused to repent of it, we will not profit from the preaching of God’s Word regardless of who is delivering the message.
  2. We really don’t want to change.  We want our ears to be tickled (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3). We want to feel good so we’re not going to hear what God has to say.
  3. We’re too focused on the messenger rather than the message.  All of us like to hear good speakers but eloquence and spiritual power do not necessarily go hand in hand.  Let me remind you what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:4 – “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”  I’m convinced that a lot of people today would not have enjoyed listening to Paul because of how he presented his message.  
  4. We want to be spoon-fed so we don’t have to think too hard (or at all).  We expect the preacher to fully digest the Scriptures and tell us what we need to know and if he doesn’t do that like we want,  if we actually have to think for ourselves, we become a little peeved.  

Well, I could list some more reasons, but I don’t want to be too wordy here.  The point I want to make is this:  if our hearts are right with the Lord and we really want Him to speak to us so we can change AND if our focus is on the Word and we’re trying to understand it so as to apply it to our lives, God’s Word will feed our souls and it will change us.  We may not think the messenger is the most eloquent in his presentation, but if he is faithfully turning our attention to the Scriptures, God will speak through him powerfully and we will grow as true disciples. 

The bottom line is this:  there are all sorts of preachers out there and some are better than others but if they are true to the Word, God will use them to feed us spiritually and help us grow as true disciples.  So, let’s ask God to give us ears to hear Him regardless of who is preaching.  

Leave a Reply