It is imperative that we realize the rich resources for godly living which the Lord has provided for us in the ordinary means of grace, such as listening to sermons at church. I have found some conscience-quickening advice in the little book by Joel Beeke entitled The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings. Here is a synopsis of chapter 3 on listening to the preached Word.
Here are some guidelines for listening rightly to God’s Word.
1. Listen with an understanding, tender conscience. Jesus’ parable of the sower presents us with four types of listeners.
¨ The stony-hearted, superficial listener.
¨ The easily-impressed but resistant listener.
¨ The half-hearted, distracted listener.
¨ The understanding, fruitful listener.
2. Listen attentively to the preached Word. We must not listen to sermons as spectators but as participants. Good listening is hard work; it involves worshiping God continuously….Jesus did not spoon-feed His hearers….He challenges us to think, and that takes work….Pray for grace to work at listening.
3. Listen with submissive faith. This kind of meekness involves a submissive frame of heart, a willingness to hear the counsels and reproofs of the word. Through this kind of faith, the Word is engrafted into the soul and produces the sweet fruit of righteousness.
4. Listen with humility and serious self-examination. Do I humbly examine myself under the preaching of God’s Word, trembling at its impact? Do I cultivate a meek and submissive spirit, receiving God’s truth as a student while being intimately aware of my own depravity? Do I seriously examine myself under preaching, listening for my own instruction rather than for the instruction of others?...When the marks of grace are set before us, we must ask: Do I experience these marks?...Do I relish having the Word of God applied to my life?
If you would like to purchase the book, there is a good price at Solid Ground Christian Books here.