Hear With Profit, Return With Praise
Should sermons impact our lives? Hopefully you believe they should. The bible says "faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). In an average day we are exposed to thousands of images and videos, in many cases shrinking our capacity to "hearing the word of Christ".
How can hearers of sermons receive maximum impact? JC Ryle, 19th Century Bishop of Liverpool, England, lists three simple rules:
It is not enough that we go to church and hear sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and be nothing better, but rather worse. “Take heed,” says our Lord, “how you hear.” Would any one know how to hear properly? Then let them lay to heart three simple rules.
1. We must hear with FAITH, believing implicitly that every word of God is true, and shall stand. The word in old time did not profit the Jews, since it was “not mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:2).
2. We must hear with REVERENCE, remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul’s message, “not as the word of men, but the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13.
3. We must hear with PRAYER, praying for God’s blessing before the sermon is preached, praying for God’s blessing again when the sermon is over. Here lies the grand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing, and so they have none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind.
Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let us not rush into God’s presence careless, reckless, and unprepared, as if it mattered not in what way such work was done. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions, we will hear with profit, and return with praise.
Hear with profit and return with praise. I want that and I want that for you. Let's make these three simple rules our practice.