What to do after listening
Dear BPCWAians, Thus far, we’ve learnt that the receiving God’s Word through the sermon is a focal point of our Worship of God. Also, we saw that how we listen is also important. But what should follow after that?
Accept it as from God. Do some soul-searching under the light of God’s Word. You may not have liked what you heard, but true listening is not about your feelings. As highlighted last week, you should have been listening to understand if what was preached was truly what God said. If so, then receive it as from Him. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Th 2:13) This is an important first step, and it is the step of subjection. Subjection to His Word is worship. We are to be Berean Christians that search the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. But searching the Scriptures was not for the purpose of proving that you know more than the Preacher or to find ways to justify your own concept of what you want the truth to mean to you. Searching the Scriptures is with an attitude that is desiring to receive the word “with all readiness of mind.” (Acts 17:11) By all means, establish in your heart that it is God’s truth. Ask questions to clarify if necessary. But do it with the desire to know the truth And then, receive it full heartedly. Not to do so is to reject God’s truth, to put yourself above God, and to grieve the Holy Spirit. It is insubordination to God, even if you come in apparent “worship”. Apparent worship is to hear the command, but turn away and in your heart say “that’s your interpretation of a command… it isn’t actually so”. But blessed are those who hear the truth and will say “Amen” to it from hearts that bow humbly before God.
Reflect & Repent. Pray about what the message has taught you instead of rushing off out of the door after worship. There must be a response to the truth, a reflection of how the truth applies to me. I preach to make sure that the context of the passage and God’s expectations are clearly known to the congregation. I make relevant applications from it. After that, that’s where I hope that each of us will take this passage and reflect on our own lives. For starters, that’s why the Worship Leader ends off each Worship Service with an encouragement for everyone to have a time of quiet prayer. It is not just simply because it’s something we do as part of a routine. It is so that when God has spoken, we will humbly bow our hearts before Him and ask Him to help us follow and do what He has just revealed to us through His Word. After you hear the message, you must think about it in relation to your life. Learning God’s Word is more than just a schoolroom understanding of facts. The next step is to pray for the Holy Spirit to use the sermon to be a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12) The Preacher, in expository preaching, should give a clear and full idea of the passage. This helps to reveal the sharpness of the sword so that it can probe our hearts. Some questions that you can ask yourself while reflecting on the sermon include: How did I use to view this subject before the sermon? What now do I understand of what God expects of this matter? How must my understanding of God’s requirements now change how I live and what I must do moving forward? Have I fallen short of God’s standard in how I live? Sin is not just about murdering someone, sin is coming short of God’s requirements (Rom 3:23). How can I truly repent and demonstrate the fruits worthy of repentance in response to what God expects of me? What must I do differently from now onwards? And very importantly, pray. Confess your sins before God, ask Him to help you in your determination to live for Him. Ask Him to keep you on the strait and narrow path, so that you can please and glorify Him. Very often people say that the message is so timely and direct for them when they were not even on my mind when I prepare the sermon or say somethings that comes to my mind on the pulpit. Why? Because God speaks to His children through His Word. Hence, His children must respond by remembering and doing His will.
Remember. The Bible speaks of forgetful hearers (James 1:25), and we all have a tendency to do so. So, we must make special effort to remember what God said. How can we aid remembering? Here are some possible ways you can consider. 1) Read the passage again and see what you remember from the sermon about it. Underline verses that particularly spoke to you, and memorise them. Then, look at your notes and see if there were any key points from your notes that you couldn’t recall earlier. 2) Talk about what you heard and learned. We thank God that there’s much opportunity for fellowship and service on the Lord’s Day after the message. Many brethren in Christ continue to go out to serve together after Worship Service. Friends and families may travel home together. Family can use it for family worship on Sunday nights. But how much (if any) of the conversation is about the message? Why not use the journey home to ask each other what they’ve learned during the Sermon and encourage one another?
I’ve listed but some of the ways that God’s Word can work more effectively in your heart. We want BPCWA to be a church that stands on and teaches the Truth of God. We want to be a people that know the Word of God well. But most importantly, we want to be children of God that will do His Word, once we have learned it.
Jer 6:16 “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”
What is your response personally as you listen to God’s Word each week?
Yours in our Lord’s service