If preaching is so important, how can some Christians listen to it for decades and not be transformed? ... [I]n some inadequate preaching, the Bible plays little to no role or the pastor preaches without authority...
But the explanation for un-transformative preaching may also be that people don't naturally know how to listen to a sermon. They listen for the wrong reasons: to be entertained (Mark 6:20), to justify their wrong actions (2 Tim. 4:3), or to earn God's favor (John 5:39). They seek knowledge rather than transformation (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 8:1-2). They listen without paying careful attention (Mark 4:23-25). They listen without prayer (James 1:5). They listen without an awareness of the deceitfulness (James 1:22) and hardness of their own hearts (Mark 8:1-21), or with an attitude of selective obedience (Matt. 23:23-24). They are not regularly warned of the dangers of a rebellious attitude (Heb. 3:7-16) and unresponsive hearing (James 1:21-25).
For decades the training of preachers has focused on how to preach better... [but] little attention has been paid to training preachers to train Christians to listen properly to a sermon... [S]piritual transformation comes not only from... excellent, anointed biblical exposition, but also from the spiritual discipline of listening correctly with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Craig Brian Larson on listening to preaching
Craig Brian Larson is editor of PreachingToday.com, and pastor of Lake Shore Church in Chicago. At the Christianity Today site, he's posted an excellent short article on the spiritual discipline of listening to sermons. Here's some gems: