Getting More Out of the Preaching

Getting More Out of the Preaching
March 19, 2023
Passage: 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Service Type:

This morning I want to talk about how to get more out of the preaching. Now, I try not to make this self-serving because, you know, preaching is what I am a preacher, preaching is what I do. But, in my mind, maybe it's the most important thing. But I know other things are important in our worship as well. Every aspect of worship, every act of worship is of equal importance. But, sometimes we tend to think about worship, about the preaching as a time to just kind of [a time to]sit back and someone else is doing what's going on, and we're not participants, but rather observers and that's not the attitude that we ought to have towards the preaching of the gospel.

We spend a lot of time, probably at least half of the time in our assembly, is devoted to preaching the word of God. And in preaching the word of God, the focus should be the word of God. You are reminded, of a time when we went somewhere and we heard someone preach and Elijah was about 10 years old or thereabouts, and he made the comment as we were coming home, he says, "Well, that guy, he was just a preacher of stories." Even a 10-year-old or 11-year-old, picked up on the fact that there was very little scripture in that sermon. It was just basically a series of stories.

Kind of like another time when I just gotten out of the military, I'd grown up in the Methodist Church. So I'd grown up in the denominational churches and I got out of the military, moved to a new town, and, I kind of wanted to get my spiritual life back in some kind of order. And so, I began to visit various churches and I visited a church, probably the first one that I visited, it was a denominational body. The preacher got up, read one verse from the book of Psalms, and spent the next 20 to 30 minutes talking about a story based on some, I believe they were monks from Tibet. And, I looked at that, I had my Bible in my hands and not one reference to the Bible except for the verse he led off with. That is not preaching.

The next time I attended a worship service was after I met Kathy and she invited me to come to worship with her there at the Church of Christ in Austin. And, I was kind of blown away because the preacher got up and preached from the word of God, and it just blew my mind. I had never seen anybody do that, and that's a sad testament to the religious world.

The focus of the sermon must be on the word of God, and sound preaching is when God's word is expounded upon and applied to our lives. You know, why is there so much time devoted to this activity? Well, certainly there is a scriptural precedent for it. 

  • Acts 20:7 

Count your blessings when you get out of here before noon. But, it was part of their assemblies. It also has great potential to inform, convict, and to convert. 

  • 1 Timothy 4:13
  • 2Timothy 4:1-4

You know, it is by the foolishness of preaching that God has chosen to save men today. 

  • 1 Corinthians 1:18

Those who reject the word of God, think it is foolishness to preach. To those who accept it, those who have faith in God's word, it is the power of salvation. 

 Now, despite its potential, preaching often affects people differently.

You know, some are informed and inspired by the message. Sometimes even inspired by the preacher's ability. Others are bored and unimpressed. Why is there a difference? Why is there a difference in the way people hear a sermon? Sometimes it's just simply because we get out of something, what we put into it, and they're not putting much into listening to the sermon.

Preaching in Our Assemblies

And so to see how that applies to listening to someone when they preach let us think about some of the things that are involved in the preaching in our assemblies. 

Our assembly, part of it, an important part of it is the preaching of the word. And there are benefits to preaching the word of God, to hearing the word of God.

The Benefits of Preaching

One can be blessed by what they hear. For those willing to listen properly, there are wonderful things that we can learn. 

  • Matthew 13:6-17

You know, you talk about the gospel preaching today, we are blessed in that we can hear and see things and understand things that men, like David and Daniel and all of the Old Testament prophets, things that they did not know, they didn't have the opportunity to know. You think about the great blessings that we have in hearing the gospel preached, you know, things that pertain to the wonderful blessings that are now in Christ Jesus.

  • Ephesians 1:3

We may miss those blessings though if we do not carefully listen to the word when it is preached. So one can be blessed by what they hear.

One can Develop SAVING FAITH by what They Hear

You know, God has ordained that we be saved through our faith in Christ Jesus. 

  • Romans 1:16-17

Such faith often comes by listening to the preacher.

  •  Romans 10:17

Now, if the preacher is preaching something that is not the word of God, then you cannot develop faith from that. 

Now we can certainly gain faith through reading God's word. 

  • John 20:30-31

We can certainly obtain faith just by reading the word of God. Yet many are dependent upon what they hear proclaimed. 

So does our listening during the preaching hinder the development of our faith; the way we listen? Does it hinder the development of our faith? 

One can be MORE FRUITFUL by What They Hear

Another thing is that one can be more fruitful by what they hear.

Bearing fruit comes from understanding the grace of God. 

  • Colossians 1:5-6

Note that the gospel was bearing fruit in the Colossian Christians. It could be seen in the change in their life, and the way they conducted themself. They stood out in the world because of it.

By careful listening, we can understand God's grace and thereby be motivated to bear fruit to his glory. 

Part of the purpose of preaching is to exhort and encourage people to be fruitful as Christians. I know that one of the things I get when I sit down and listen to the preaching of the gospel is to develop a greater faith and a greater motivation for producing fruit for the Lord.

One can AVOID APOSTASY by what They Hear.

Also in what we hear, we can avoid apostasy. There is a real danger of drifting by neglecting so great a salvation. 

  • Hebrews 2:1-3

The solution is to give the more earnest heed to the things that we've heard. Literally, it means to turn the mind to something superabundantly. We're intensely paying attention and listening, and so this assumes, again, that we've been listening to the word in the first place. 

These are just a few of the blessings that we can receive from listening to the preaching of the word of God.

Different Kinds of Listeners

When it comes to preaching and it comes to those in the assembly, there are different kinds, of listeners. 

Some Listeners are “Dull of Hearing”

You know, some listeners are dull of hearing, and dull means to be sluggish or slothful. One who is slow of heart. 

There were Christians in Hebrews described in this way.

  • Hebrews 5:11

The Hebrews writer, maybe it was Paul, was encouraging them to remain faithful. He says, I've got a lot to say to you, but you are dull of hearing. You can't hear, you cannot understand these things because you have been dull of hearing. When a person has this problem, it's hard for others to explain things to them.

Paul, or again, the Hebrews writer was wanting to expound to them about Melchezidek and they were not ready for those things because they were dull of hearing. He couldn't teach them the things they needed to know because of their attitude towards God's word. 

You know, the fault is not with the subject matter, the fault is not with a preacher, but with the listener when one is dull of hearing. You know, Isaiah wrote as such people and Jesus applied it to the people of his day.

  • Matthew 13:13-15 

In order to receive, the healing of our sins from Christ, we've got to hear and understand His word so that we can be converted and be healed of our soul's diseases. But some are dull of hearing.

People are dull of hearing because they are dull of heart, which prevents them from understanding God's word, turning from sin, and being healed or saved by God.

Some Listeners have “Itching Ears”

There are those listeners who have those itching ears. 

 Paul encourages Timothy to preach the word

  • 2 Timothy 4:3-4

They listen only to what is pleasing to them, rejecting truth and accepting fables in their place.

Clement of Alexandria, one of the early, so-called church fathers. He tells us speakers tickling the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely popular preacher to furnish the latest tickle. You know, there's no difference from the day of Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 30:9-10

Those who speak those smooth things, all their message is designed to do is to make everybody feel good about themselves the way they are.

Those are the most popular preachers in America today. That is not, and I use air quotes there, when I say preachers, cause they're not preaching the word of God. A sugar-coated message is not the word of God. 

There are some things in the word of God that are hard to hear and some things in the word of God that hit us right between the eyes, right in the heart and the design of God's word is to do that, to convict us of our sins.

But, some people don't like sound doctrine. They don't want to hear those hard things. All they want to hear is what they want to hear. 

The best listeners hear with “an honest and good heart.”

But the best listeners here with honest and good hearts. In the parable of the sower, he sewed the seed and there were four kinds of soils in which the seed landed. And there was only one kind that was that good soil. 

  • Luke 8:15
  • Acts 17:11

Remember that the Jews in Thessalonica chased Paul out of town. He comes to the next place, Berea, where they were more noble than those in Thessalonica, or more fair-minded, as the New King James puts it, in that, they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, whether those were so, they were willing to give Paul a fair hearing.

It showed how they received or listened to the word with all readiness of mind. 

What kind of listeners are we? When others preach the word of God to us, we all should be listeners like the Bereans. If we are, then every opportunity to hear the word of God preached will help us. Will be an opportunity for us to be blessed.

Suggestions for Getting More Out of the Preaching

What are some suggestions for getting more out of the preaching? 

Before we get into this these are things that as adults we understand, and need to instill in our lives. But also, to teach them to our children, to train our children. You know, they can learn even from a little child to pay attention or at least to behave with reverence in the worship assembly. If we expect it from them and we discipline them, they will learn. In all of these things, even from a child, we can understand these things. 

1) Make listening an act of worship. 

2) Listen from start to finish. 

3) Look at the Preacher

4) Read Along in Your Bible

5) Listen with Faith

  • Hebrews 4:1-2

6) Listen with a MIND TO ACT

  • Ezekiel 33:30-32
  • James 1:22

As important as good preaching may be, the blessedness comes only if the listeners are doers as well as hearers. You know, the role of preaching has an important place in the kingdom of God. You know, Jesus himself used it in his ministry.

  •  Matthew 4:17

You know, Jesus wanted His gospel to be preached to every person. 

  • Mark 16:15-16
  • Romans 1:16

The gospel is the power. The preaching of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We owe it to ourselves to be listeners, to be good listeners, as the word of God is preached, to receive the word with all readiness of mind, like those nobles Bereans to receive the word with an honest and good heart.

Like the ones in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:15. To receive the word with every intention of doing what it says, to be doers of the word and not hearers only. 

For those willing to listen preaching will aid us in becoming stronger Christians. The preaching of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It's not the preacher and his ability, it is the message that is preached. It is the message that is the power of God unto salvation. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that Jesus came, as God in the flesh, and He lived as a humble man, a perfect life, gave his life a ransom for you and me and everyone that has ever lived. That is the good news of the gospel, that yes, the wages of sin is death and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but the gospel message is that Jesus came and He died that death upon the cross so that we don't have to suffer that eternal death and separation from God. That is the good news.

The power of God's word to save us is that Jesus died for our sins. We must respond to that by believing, repenting of our sins, confessing our belief, and being baptized to have our sins washed away, and living a life faithfully dedicated to Jesus as his disciple. 

One who hears his word, who studies his word, who lives his word and, and puts it into play in their life. 

We urge you if you are not a child of God like that. One who is fully dedicated to Christ we urge you to become dedicated to Christ, to put on Christ in baptism, to be, restored to a right relationship with Him.

If you were a Christian who is no longer walking and following the commandments of Christ, if we can help you to respond to the gospel message, let us know. If you want to be baptized, maybe you just wanna study more about how to be saved, please contact us

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