Sunday, March 20, 2005

How to Listen to a Sermon

The more routine or common something is in our lives, oftentimes the less thought and intentionality we devote to it. Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, for example, helped many of us realize that we didn’t know how to properly read in the first place!

Two of my favorite pastor-scholars, Phil Ryken and John Piper, have addressed a question that few of us give much thought to. Ryken asks, “What is the right way to listen to a sermon?” Piper backs it up a step and asks, “How should you prepare to hear the Word of God on Sunday?”

Below are the outlines for their answer. Click on the question itself to read their fuller expositions.

What is the right way to listen to a sermon?

The right way to listen to a sermon is...

  1. with a soul that is prepared
  2. with a mind that is alert,
  3. with a Bible that is open,
  4. with a heart that is receptive, and
  5. with a life that is ready to spring into action.

How do you prepare to hear the Word of God on Sunday?

  1. Pray that God would give you the good and honest heart described in Luke 8:15.
  2. Meditate on the Word of God. Read portions of your Bible with a view to stirring up hunger for God
  3. Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment
  4. Trust in the truth that you already have
  5. Get a good night's rest on Saturday night
  6. Forebear one another without grumbling and criticism
  7. Come in a spirit of meek teachability
  8. Be still as you enter the room and focus your mind's attention and heart's affection on God
  9. When the worship service begins, think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached
  10. Desire the truth of God's Word more than you desire riches or food