How to Listen to a Sermon [7 Practical Directions]

how-to-listen

Here is some great, practical, advice on something we do (Lord willing) weekly.

OPC Minister Shane Lems:

Christopher Love (d. 1651), a Welsh Presbyterian and pastor of a church in London, manuscripted his sermons on mortification and published them in The Mortified Christian (Morgan: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1998). The whole book is worth reading, but the last section is what I’ll note for now. The chapter is called “The Right Hearing of Sermons.” Here are seven practical directions for listening to the preaching of the gospel (I’ve edited them for length).

 

1) Take heed that you hear the Word of God preparedly. As the preacher must take care to find acceptable words, so the people should labor to bring acceptable affections to the work – when we come to the service of God we should hear with all attention and pray with affection.

 

2) Hear the Word attentively, as those did in Acts 8.6. Those who hear the Word with gazing eyes, wandering thoughts, and sleepy bodies cannot hear it attentively, but are to be reproved.

 

3) Hear the Word of God retentively. Labor to keep in your memory what you hear, that you may put it into practice for your life. Hearing is for practice’s sake. This also has to do with treasuring the Word, so it will have a continual impression upon your hearts.

 

4) Hear the Word understandingly. Christ called the multitude and bade them hear and understand. This is what the Bereans did.

 

5) Hear the Word applicatively. If a patient has never such excellent counsel given him, never so powerful a medicine prescribed, if he does not apply it, it will do him no more good than if he had never known it.

 

6) Hear the Word of God reverentially. Many people represent God to themselves in such familiar notions that they ultimately breed a contempt of God which we ought not to have. We must demean ourselves with a humble reverence in His presence.

 

7) Hear the Word of God obediently. Come…ready, prepared, and disposed to stoop and submit to all the instructions, corrections, and reproofs of the Word of God, like those spoken of in Acts 10.33.

 

All of the advice Love gave assumed that we sit “under” the preaching of the Word, not over it. The congregation does not rule the preached word; the word “rules” them. So we come to hear a sermon ready to hear God’s word read and explained – we pray for ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to believe what God speaks in and through his word read and preached.

past post on this subject

Superheroes In the Pew [Jim Savastio]

All I can say to this short blog post is, “Amen!”.

Jim Savastio

Jim Savastio

If you were to ask the average Christian to speak of their spiritual heroes it would be common for them to bring forth the names of great pastors, preachers, and missionaries who have served faithfully and well in the Kingdom in the past or present. They buy the books, listen to the sermons, follow the tweets, and read the biographies of these esteemed men and women.

 

I want to tell you bit about some of my heroes. Many of them have never preached and certainly have not written popular books or blogs. They have never spoken at conferences. With the exception of a few dozen fellow churchmen, they are unknown in the wider Christian world.

 

My heroes consists by and large of the men and women of my church…

Read the rest of “Superheroes In the Pew” by Pastor Jim Savastio and let us consider the “one anothers” of Scriptures here & here.

All the “one another” commands in the New Testament [infographic]

Here are some:

When you look at these verses, a few more common themes show up.

Unity. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.

  1. Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
  2. Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
  3. Be of the same mind with one another (Ro 12:1615:5)
  4. Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
  5. Wait for one another before beginning the Eucharist (1 Co 11:33)
  6. Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another—seriously, guys, don’t eat each other (Ga 5:15)
  7. Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
  8. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
  9. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
  10. Bear with and forgive one another (Co 3:13)
  11. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
  12. Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:115:9)
  13. Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)

Love. One third of them instruct Christians to love one another.

  1. Love one another (Jn 13:3415:1217Ro 13:81 Th 3:124:91 Pe 1:221 Jn 3:114:7112 Jn 5)
  2. Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  3. Tolerate one another in love (Ep 4:2)
  4. Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Pe 5:14)
  5. Be devoted to one another in love (Ro 12:10)

Humility. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers.

  1. Give preference to one another in honor (Ro 12:10)
  2. Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Php 2:3)
  3. Serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  4. Wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14)
  5. Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Ro 12:16)
  6. Be subject to one another (Ep 5:21)
  7. Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pe 5:5)

Infographic:

Infographic: all the one another commands in the New Testament

Reading Through Scripture in 2014 [Resources]

Here are some resources to help those who want to read through the Bible in 2014:

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Both Android & iOS have available apps to keep track of various reading plans:

 

Resources for Bible Reading from Justin Taylor:

Do you want to read the whole Bible?

If the average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute, and if there are about 775,000 words in the Bible, then it would take less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

Audio Bibles are usually about 75 hours long, so you can listen to it in just over 12 minutes a day.

But a simple resolution to do this is often an insufficient. Most of us need a more proactive plan.

Stephen Witmer explains the weaknesses of typical plans and offers some advice on reading the Bible together with others—as well as offering his own new two-year plan. (“In my opinion, it is better to read the whole Bible through carefully one time in two years than hastily in one year.”) His plan has you read through one book of the Bible at a time (along with a daily reading from the Psalms or Proverbs). At the end of two years you will have read through the Psalms and Proverbs four times and the rest of the Bible once.

The Gospel Coalition’s For the Love of God Blog (which you can subscribe to via email) takes you through the M’Cheyne reading plan, with a meditation each day by D. A. Carson related to one of the readings. M’Cheyne’s plan has you read shorter selections from four different places in the Bible each day.

George Guthrie’s “Read the Bible for Life Chronological Bible Reading Plan” is a semi-chronological plan, placing the prophets and the NT letters in basic chronological order. You read in four different places each day, along with a daily psalm (so you end up reading the Psalter twice in a year). You can also download a printable booklet.

For those who would benefit from a realistic “discipline + grace” approach, consider “The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers.” As Andy Perry explains, it takes away the pressure (and guilt) of “keeping up” with the entire Bible in one year. You get variety within the week by alternating genres by day, but also continuity by sticking with one genre each day. Here’s the basic idea:

Sundays: Poetry
Mondays: Penteteuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
Tuesdays: Old Testament history
Wednesdays: Old Testament history
Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
Fridays: New Testament history
Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)

There are a number of Reading Plans for ESV Editions. Crossway has made them accessible in multiple formats:

  • web (a new reading each day appears online at the same link)
  • RSS (subscribe to receive by RSS)
  • podcast (subscribe to get your daily reading in audio)
  • iCal (download an iCalendar file)
  • mobile (view a new reading each day on your mobile device)
  • print (download a PDF of the whole plan)
Reading Plan Format
Chronological
Through the Bible chronologically (from Back to the Bible)
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Daily Light on the Daily Path
Daily Light on the Daily Path – the ESV version of Samuel Bagster’s classic
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Daily Office Lectionary
Daily Psalms, Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospels
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Daily Reading Bible
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
ESV Study Bible
Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Every Day in the Word
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Literary Study Bible
Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms or Gospels
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Outreach
Daily Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Outreach New Testament
Daily New Testament. Read through the New Testament in 6 months
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Through the Bible in a Year
Daily Old Testament and New Testament
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email

You can also access each of these Reading Plans as podcasts:

  • Right-click (Ctrl-click on a Mac) the “RSS” link of the feed you want from the above list.
  • Choose “Copy Link Location” or “Copy Shortcut.”
  • Start iTunes.
  • Under File, choose “Subscribe to Podcast.”
  • Paste the URL into the box.
  • Click OK.

 

Resources for Bible Reading from Ligonier Ministries:

Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. — Psalm 119:105

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Maybe this year you will read more of the Bible each day. Perhaps you’ll slow down your reading and instead spend more time considering what you read. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below.


52 Week Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in a year, with each day of the week dedicated to a different genre: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

Read through the New Testament in a year, reading Monday to Friday. Weekends are set aside for reflection and other reading. Especially beneficial if you’re new to a daily discipline of Bible reading.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


A Bible Reading Chart

Read through the Bible at your own pace. Use this minimalistic, yet beautifully designed, chart to track your reading over 2013.

Duration: Flexible | Download: PDF


Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

Four daily readings beginning in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan

Four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Every Word in the Bible

Read through the Bible one chapter at a time. Readings alternate between the Old and New Testaments.

Duration: Three years | Download: PDF


Historical Bible Reading Plan

The Old Testament readings are similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament readings are an attempt to follow the order in which the books were authored.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the OT History and Prophetic books about one and a half times.

Duration: Ongoing | Download: PDF


Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

Read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once.

Duration: One or two years | Download: Website


Straight Through the Bible Reading Plan

Read straight through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Tabletalk Bible Reading Plan

Two readings each day; one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF
App: Accessible in the Ligonier App (iPhone / iPad & Android)


The Legacy Reading Plan

This plan does not have set readings for each day. Instead, it has set books for each month, and set number of Proverbs and Psalms to read each week. It aims to give you more flexibility, while grounding you in specific books of the Bible each month.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Two-Year Bible Reading Plan

Read the Old and New Testaments once, and Psalms & Proverbs four times.

Duration: Two years | Download: PDF


In addition to your daily Bible reading, if you’re looking for devotional material that will help you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living, consider Tabletalk magazine. Try it out for three months absolutely free.

Helping Out The Tornado Victims In Moore, OK.

moore

How can a small church, like ours, with little resources and not enough man-power in and of ourselves to go out to Moore, OK. lend a helping hand to victims in Moore in any way?

Well, this is one of the benefits of being apart of the Southern Baptist Convention. Joining up with other church for a common cause, such as world missions and helping those in need.

Here are some things that you may not know about how Southern Baptist Churches have been helping throughout this past week.

In this video update NAMB President Kevin Ezell shares what Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are doing to help survivors of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado:

NBC calls this the “Faith-based FEMA”:

On an NBC News special Tuesday night, Harry Smith and Brian Williams discussed early relief efforts in Moore, Oklahoma. Having surveyed all the boots on the ground, Harry Smith concluded:

 

If you’re waiting for the government, you’re going to be in for an awful long wait. The Baptist men, they’re going to get it done tomorrow.
 

As you can see, our folks do really good work, and you really ought consider a contribution to the Oklahoma Baptist disaster relief. All donations given through NAMB right now are going to Oklahoma disaster relief as well. (HT: Baptist Press)

Details and how we can continue to help:

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state disaster relief programs.

 

Southern Baptists have 82,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained disaster relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

To donate to SBDR efforts, contact the Baptist convention in your state or visit namb.net/disaster-relief-donations. Other ways to donate are to call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”

[source]

Election, Effectual Call & Infant Death

Here is the post  I, Jason Delgado, promised during this past Sunday Seminary, when I was teaching on the Baptist Confession of 1689, chapter ten and paragraph three. We made it through chapter ten but I can see how paragraph three could use a lot more explanation (even taking up two Sunday Seminaries). But, I decided to point you to several resources.

First, here is the audio and powerpoint from Sunday:

Here is the powerpoint that was used:

Listen to or download the audio:

 

What The 1689 Confession Says:

3. Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit,10 who works when and where and how he pleases.11 The same is true of every elect person who is incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
10 John 3:3, 5, 6. 11 John 3:8.

Commentary:

“This paragraph addresses an issue that can be very emotionally charged.  The very first five words, elect infants dying in infancy, are enough to send sparks a flying in some quarters.  It is rather assumed in this day and age that all babies are born “innocent,” and therefore of course all babies go to heaven.  But if we stop and think about the words elect infants we are reminded that only those whom God chooses are his.  All babies are born into sin (Ps. 51:5) and inherit the same sin nature as everyone.  This means that if an infant is to go to heaven, then God had to regenerate them and save them.  And God only does this work in those who are elect.  The atonement accomplished by Christ is God’s provision for his decree of election.  Without the atonement, no infant who died could ever be saved.  So though the Confession only has two words to cover Christ’s work, by Christ, they are certainly the most important of the words….

So we can be hopeful that all infants will be in heaven, and we can be certain elect infants will be saved, but in doing so we must be clear in our thinking.  In having this hope, we can’t just throw the doctrine of imputed sin out the window simply because we can’t bear the thought of an infant going to hell.  We must always think biblically and do so consistently.  Two things we want to be clear on here: if all infants or any infant goes to heaven, it is only because they are elected.  If there is such a thing as a non-elect infant, then the non-elect infant will go to hell due to their imputed sin from their first parents.  And let’s beware that this very issue is where we ourselves are tested from within and by Arminians in the Biblical belief of imputed sin.  However, we are not to let emotions dictate doctrine, but only the Word of God.

There is a way to deal with this emotional issue biblically that is full of hope.  We just need to be precise and clear on the topic, and this is exactly what the Confession helps us do.  This is important, and it is immensely practical.  We know those who have lost infants or have children who are mentally incapacitated from birth.  In those situations, there is a real need for true and sound biblical comfort.  To be perfectly clear, the Confession is not denying that all infants go to heaven; it is merely saying if they go to heaven it is because they are elect.  This is a sound Biblical position.”

1689Commentary.org, Chapter 10, Section 3 of 4

Resources I Promised:

I would be more explicit than the 1689 Confession, as would Pastor Jay, and say that I believe that all babies who died would have been elect and thus would go to Heaven. Let me recommend the resources in the same way I did on my wife’s blog on November 18, 2008, which was just weeks after two of my girls had died:

Jasons Babies Melody and Madison

“…There is not one verse that says ‘Babies go to Heaven’ or anything like that, so a look at the entire scope of the Bible is needed to answer the question. Earlier this year (before my wife got pregnant) I became more convinced than ever, that when a baby dies it goes to Heaven. I came to this conclusion from many implicit references in the Bible (again there are no explicit references about this).

safe in the arms of GodI decided to give you the arguments and writings of one who has already written about this (no need re-inventing the wheel, right?). So I recommend the following resources to you from Pastor John MacArthur.

You can [read or] listen for free to his sermon series, “What Happens to Babies Who Die?” (which include Jesus Loves The Little Children, and two sermons that get deeper into answering the question that I really recommend listening to both The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 1 & The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 2)

If you are more of the book nerd type then you can get this in book form (called, “Safe in the Arms of God”)….”

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