1. In most of our assemblies, much of the time is devoted to preaching
a. In which the focus is (or should be) on the Word of God
b. In which God's Word is expounded upon and applied to our lives
2. Why so much time devoted to this activity?
a. It certainly has scriptural precedent - Acts 20:7
3. Despite its potential, preaching sometimes affects people differently:
a. Some are informed and inspired
b. Others are bored and unimpressed
4. Why the difference?
A. THE BENEFITS OF PREACHING
1. One can be blessed by what they hear
a. For those willing to listen properly, there are wonderful things to learn - Matthew 13:16-17
b. Things which great people (David, Daniel, etc.) did not have the opportunity to learn
c. Things pertaining to wonderful blessings that are now available in Christ! - Ephesians 1:3
d. We may miss out on these blessings if we do not carefully listen
2. One can develop saving faith by what they hear
a. God has ordained that we be saved through faith in Christ - Romans 1:16-17
b. Such faith often comes through listening to a preacher - Romans 10:14, 17
c. Does our 'listening' during the preaching hinder the development of our faith?
3. One can be more fruitful by what they hear
a. Bearing fruit comes from 'understanding' the grace of God - Colossians 1:5-6
1) Note that the gospel was bearing fruit in Colosse
2) But that was "since the day you heard and knew (understood, NASB) the grace of God in truth;"
b. By careful listening we can 'understand' God's grace, and thereby motivated to bear fruit to His glory
4. One can avoid apostasy by what they hear
a. There is a real danger of drifting, by neglecting "so great a salvation" - Hebrews 2:1-3
b. The solution is to "give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard"
c. This assumes that we have been listening to the Word in the first place
5. These are just a few of the blessings that can come from listening to the preaching of God's Word
B. DIFFERENT KINDS OF LISTENERS
1. Yet some listeners are "dull of hearing"
a. Like some of the Hebrew Christians - Hebrews 5:11
1) When a person has this problem, it is hard for others to explain things to them
2) The fault is not with the subject material, nor the preacher, but with the listener
b. Isaiah wrote of such people, and Jesus applied it to many in His day - Matthew 13:13-15
1) People are this way because they are dull of heart
2) Which prevents them from understanding God's truth, turning from sin, being healed (saved) by God
2. And some listeners have "itching ears"
a. Paul warned Timothy about such people - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
b. They listen only to that which is pleasing to them, rejecting truth for 'fables'
c. They do not like "sound doctrine" (which often requires the kind of preaching mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:2)
3. But the best listeners hear with "a noble and good heart"
a. Jesus spoke of these in His parable of the sower - cf. Luke 8:15
c. They were 'fair-minded' (NKJV), thus willing to give Paul a fair hearing
d. It showed in how they 'received' (or listened to) the word: "with all readiness"
4. What kind of listeners are we when others preach the Word of God to us?
5. We all should be listeners like the Bereans - If we are, then every opportunity to hear the Word preached to us will be an opportunity to be blessed
A. MAKE LISTENING AN ACT OF WORSHIP
1. How you listen to God's word being read or preached is as much an indication of your devotion to God as to how you pray or sing
2. When you have opportunities to listen, do it with 'a worshipful attitude'
3. Think of how you would listen if some great person were speaking
4. Imagine your rapt attention if you were listening to some famous person
5. Does not the proclamation of God's Word deserve as much attention?
B. LISTEN FROM FIRST TO LAST
1. That is, pay attention all the way through
a. Do you expect to understand a novel by simply reading a sentence here and there?
b. So it is with preaching: sentences, phrases, words, to be understood must be heard in light of the context in which they are presented
2. Preachers must follow basic rules of speech so as to be understood:
a. Introduce the subject
b. Present main points with supporting arguments
c. Conclude with a summary
3. Listeners must listen to ALL the parts to truly benefit from what they hear
C. TAKE NOTES
1. This greatly aids your concentration
2. This requires self-discipline
3. Try it, and see if it does not make a difference
D. READ ALONG IN YOUR BIBLE
1. You remember more of what you both see and hear over what you simply hear
a. Which is why visual aids are often used in sermons
b. But the greatest visual aid is your own Bible
2. Your knowledge of the Scriptures can be greatly improved by doing this
3. It may be hard at first to keep up, but persevere and it will soon become easier
4. We encourage children to do this, shouldn't adults set the example?
E. LISTEN WITH FAITH
1. That is, listen with a willingness to accept and believe what is shown in God's Word
2. Those Israelites who died in the wilderness did not listen with faith - Hebrews 4:1-2
3. If we don't listen 'with faith,' the same sort of thing will happen to us
4. Do we want to fall short of our heavenly rest?
F. LISTEN WITH A MIND TO ACT
1. Are we like the people in Ezekiel's day? - cf. Ezekiel 33:30-32
a. They loved to hear him, but for the wrong reason
b. Do we love to hear sermons because of how well the speaker presents them?
2. Hearing must be accompanied by doing to be of any profit – James 1:22-25
3. As important as good preaching may be, the blessedness comes only if the listeners are doers as well as hearers!
1. The role of preaching has an important place in the kingdom of God
a. Jesus used it in His ministry - Matthew 4:17, 23
b. Jesus wanted His gospel preached to every person - Mark 16:15-16
c. It has the potential to do much good - Romans 1:15-16
2. We owe it to ourselves as listeners to give the Word of God its due
a. To receive the Word with all readiness - Acts 17:11
b. To receive the Word with good and noble hearts - Luke 8:15
c. To receive the Word with every intention to do what it says – James 1:22,25
3. For those willing to so listen, preaching will aid us in serving the Lord with gladness
-- Don Treadway, January 2010 --