Our Blogkeep up to date with the latest

Never give up… Listening to sermons

("Never Give Up" is a series of posts on what we do together in a Sunday service. You can find all topics here. We got Matt Lloyd specially in to guest-write this one.)

One of our aims at CCM is to follow the example of Paul in Acts 20:27 where he states that in the local church of Ephesus he did not hesitate  ‘to proclaim to you the whole will of God’.

Our pattern at our Sunday gatherings then is to teach through books of the Bible. Of course, we sometimes do a more thematic series but our general pattern is what is called ‘expository preaching’., verse by verse, book by book. The main reason we do that is so that God’s word sets the agenda – it would be all too easy to cherry pick the bible books that the preacher wants or the purple passages that we’d all like to hear.  The elders keep the staff accountable on this and that means that over a period of a few years we are teaching through both well-known books of the Bible and less well-known or tougher books.  God has given us the whole Bible for our good!  We need to hear it all!

Here are some things you could do as you listen to a sermon:

Before the sermon:  Pray for those speaking and for yourself that God would change you.  Sermons aren’t just about information, they’re about transformation.  The Bible is the living Word of the Spirit to us today to change our affections, wills and lives that we might live in the light of grace of Jesus.  So, pray!

During the sermon:  It’s easy for the mind to wander and so we try to print the headings on the service sheet so we all know where we’re going.

Some people find that it helps to make notes – either to help them concentrate during the sermon or to remember afterwards.  There are many benefits of this in helping concentration and in going back to notes during the week in your own Bible reading times.

The downside of note-taking can be that we reinforce the idea that the sermon is an information download or lecture that will change me ‘when I come back to my notes’ rather than an act of transformation at that moment.  Sometimes I’ve  taken a break from note-taking to remind myself that God’s preached word is changing me then and there, as I listen.  (I tend not to take notes either if a non-Christian guest is with me so that I don’t give them the impression that this is just an intellectual exercise for the in-crowd).  You can always listen to the sermon later in the week on the website.

So, note-taking and non note-taking are both good – just do some thinking about it and make a decision.

After the sermon:   Don’t just turn to talking about the footie results and which lectures you’ve got coming up.  Let’s create a culture where we encourage one another in what we’ve heard.  Try to hold onto one thing that struck you and that you can pray about during the week.  Or,  chat to a friend about how you’d explain the main point to someone who wasn’t there or to a friend who isn’t a Christian.

God’s word isn’t just about information, but transformation.  It’s the personal and living word from our heavenly Father for us today! Let's not give up!