A few months ago, I posted a section of Joel Beeke’s book The Family at Church here at Allthyngs. That post on preparing to hear a sermon is here. Today I’d like to give you round two and post Dr. Beeke’s recommendations for hearing a sermon.
As a reminder, the three sections he covers are:
- Preparing for a sermon
- Listening well during a sermon
- Applying what we hear from a sermon
Here is Dr. Beeke’s counsel on hearing a sermon well:
1. Listen with and understanding, tender conscience.
Remember the parable of the sower, the seed and the soft soil!
2. Listen attentively
“…banishing wandering thoughts, dullness of mind and drowsiness.”
“Such attentiveness…regards the sermon as a matter of life and death. (Deut 32:47)”
“We must not listen to sermons as spectators but as participants”
“Too many people come to church expecting to be spoon-fed…Jesus did not spoon-feed his hearers”
3. Listen with submissive faith
“If the chief ingredient of a medicine is missing, the medicine will not be effective. So be sure not to leave out the chief ingredient, faith, as you listen to a sermon”
4. Listen with humility and serious self-examination
“Do I seriously examine myself under preaching, listening for my own instruction rather than the instruction of others?”
“When a doctor tells you how to maintain your health or that of your children, do you not listen carefully so that you can follow his directions?”
So much more could be said. One thing should suffice. Just yesterday I did not heed any of these principles and much to my shame, walked away hardened by the preaching of God’s word, rather than softened and grown. I tell other men to love their wives, to be diligent in expressing that love and vigilant to fight against the enemy’s assault on their marriage and I blew it yesterday morning before church. All the books in the world, all the pointers, tips, counsel and recommendations don’t help at all without a genuine humility, gentleness and grace toward others in times of temptation and struggle.
Heed Dr. Beeke’s counsel above. But pray too. Pray hard. The enemy prowls about, eager to snatch the preached word from our hearts, seeking whom he can devour. Be sober and vigilant, watch and pray.