As we continue, let’s ask and answer the question, what should we listen for in a sermon? In other words, what should our ears be dialed into as the preaching of God’s Word is taking place? A few thoughts…we should be listening for what the preaching reveals (or reminds us) about:
- The God of the Universe – Good preaching and effective listening will cause you to look up in amazement at the great God of the Universe. You will marvel at His character (Psalm 99:9 and 1 Peter 5:10) and take comfort in His power by reminding yourself that God made everything and sustains everything (Neh. 9:6).
- The Word of God – You should also listen for what the preaching reveals about the very Word of God. Good preaching will reiterate the sufficiency of Scripture (2 Peter 1:3) and its authority in your life (2 Tim. 3:16). You should be listening for how the preaching of God’s Word elevates the Bible above all other human authorities.
- The Human Condition – Good preaching and effective listening will also cause you to remember your own depravity (Psalm 51:5 and Rom. 3:10-18) and your own helplessness to save yourself (Isaiah 64:6ff). This is an important part of your worship experience. To be reminded of the depth of your depravity and the awfulness of your sin should cause you to mourn, confess, and repent…all of these are important aspects to a healthy worship life.
- The Gospel of Grace – However, in addition to listening for what the preaching reveals about your own sinful state, you should also be listening for the hope of the gospel. And what is the gospel? Answer: Jesus died for you, Jesus was buried for you, and Jesus rose again for you (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4). All we must do is accept Jesus as our own personal Savior by faith alone (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). Be listening for what the preaching reveals about the glorious gospel of grace and remember…the gospel is for believers as well as unbelievers (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1). Never tire of hearing the gospel in a sermon.
- The Future State of All People – Good preaching and effective listening will also reveal the temporary, fleeting nature of this life (James 4:14) and the everlasting nature of the next life (cf. Rev. 21:1-8). Listen for concepts surrounding Heaven and Hell and let such concepts motivate you towards evangelism and effective discipleship.
Bottom line…it is incredibly important that you understand how to listen to God and what to listen for when God is speaking to you through the preaching of His Word. Why? Answer: Because in some way this is vitally important to your soul (cf. Heb. 13:17). So…for the sake of your soul learn how and what to listen for when God is speaking to you through the preaching of His Holy Word!