by Reddit Andrews, Main Contributor
God’s gospel is a sacred trust. We do not stand, like Paul, at the turning point of redemptive history; yet, we can all echo the deep joy that welled up within him when considering that he had been, “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” (1Thess. 2:4). With this entrustment comes privilege and responsibility.
The Gospel affords high privilege. If it has visited you in saving power it also comes to you as evidence of God’s love from all eternity. “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1Thess. 1:4-5). The Gospel carries a solemn responsibility as well, because we must reverently accept and receive it.
The reverent reception of the preached word was a source of thanksgiving for Paul. “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1Thess. 2:13).
A Game Plan for God’s Word
Doesn’t it make sense that something so important as how we hear and respond to the preached word should involve a game plan? Do you have a well thought out plan for how best to profit from the Lord’s Day Message? Jesus said, “Take care how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (Lk. 8:18). So how we hear is important.
Well, how do we become better hearers of the preached word? Good hearing obviously requires concentration and diligence. Solomon, speaking of the wisdom of God said, “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my door” (Prov. 8:34). This implies that we must cultivate hearts that are believing and yearning to hear the voice of God. Do you come to church focused and expecting to meet God? If so, you will be blessed because God does not disappoint focused and expectant worshippers.
Preparation and Prayer
It also takes preparation and prayer. We must be zealous to rid ourselves of things that will block fruitful waiting upon God through His word. “Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation” (1Pe. 2:1-2). God delights to answer all who pray asking to behold His glory in His word. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law,” says the Psalmist (Ps. 119:18).
We are to examine carefully what we hear with a readiness to receive and obey the truth. This is what the bible commends in the Bereans. “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They were nobler in that they displayed a wonderful mixture of meekness and thoughtful care in how they heard the preached word.
Lastly, we are to meditate on and discuss what we hear. As we reflect upon and converse about the word we gain deeper insights and weave the truths into the fabric of our hearts. This pleases God. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name” (Mal. 3:16).
Hear are some very practical things you can do immediately to begin to hear more profitably.
1. You can start preparing the night before service. This will make it easier to arrive at the worship services better focused and ready to hear well.
2. Come expecting to hear from God. He promises you that His word will not return void so take Him at His word.
3. Make a point of researching later questions that occur to you. This may involve seeking one of the elders or someone knowledgeable in the Scriptures. It will certainly lead you to further study.
4. Resolve to make what you hear the subject of prayer and set aside some specific time to do it.
5. Commit to practicing faithfully what you have learned. This will often involve revising the way you think and make choices and changing the way you behave. The sure way to get more light from the Lord is to put into practice the light you have. “To him who has more will be given.”
If you do these things, you will be one of, “those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with much patience. Amen.Reddit Andrews joined the faculty of RTS in 2012 and serves as Assistant Professor of Practical Theology. Before coming to RTS Jackson, he served as the Senior Pastor of Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Elk Grove, California and as Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology at City Seminary in Sacramento. Rev. Andrews continues to serves as a Council Member of the Gospel Coalition. He is married to Nadine and has two daughters. Follow Reddit on Twitter here!