Quite often, after a sermon is over, people are heard to say, "Preacher, you sure stepped on my toes today," or "My, my, the preacher sure skinned us today." Somehow, I feel that this type of response to the preaching of God's Word indicates that there is something wrong with either the preaching or the hearing. When one can lightly pass off the profound mysteries of the gospel of God's mercy with such meaningless comments, either he has not heard the glorious good news, or it has not been properly presented.
When the Master preached to His disciples, they said, "Did not ourhearts burn within us while he opened to us the Scriptures?" When Peter preached at Pentecost, it is said, "They were pricked in their hearts and cried, 'men and brethren, what shall we do?"' When Paul turned to the Gentiles with the gospel, the Scripture says, "They were glad and GLORIFIED THE WORD OF THE LORD." This is so different from departing from the assembly with the flippant remark, "Well, he sure stepped on my toes."
There is a duty to be performed BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER THE SERMON. My responsibility is to get a message from the Lord, bathe it in prayer and preparation, and seek the fullness of God's Spirit. Your responsibility BEFORE the sermon is to pray for me and prepare your heart to hear the Word. Coming into God's presence is no light matter; it is a most serious business. DURING the sermon, let everyone hear with attention, interest, and an open heart. AFTER the sermon, let every individual seek to apply the Word to both heart and life by retaining the preached Word in thought and conversation.
The Bereans heard the apostles then "SEARCHED THE WORD to see if these things be so!" Our Lord condemned the Pharisees, saying, "My Word hath no place in you" (John 8:37). Let's give His Word the place it meritsFIRST PLACE! He has graciously promised to bless that Word to His glory and to our eternal good!
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