“. . . the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord.” Acts 13:44
We talk too much and listen too little. In an age of multi-tasking how can we ever fully engage, listen, and respond to what we are hearing?. Our ability to process what we hear is fractured. It is little wonder so many sit in seats on Sunday listening to a sermon, yet retain so little.
We hear with our ears but there is a deeper kind of listening with the mind and the heart that is necessary in order for us to gain understanding. We must remember preaching isn't just for preachers, it’s for the listeners too. Here in Acts 13 the people had gathered to hear the word of the Lord. They were active listeners. Through Paul’s sermon, we learn how we should listen to a sermon.
We listen humbly
What Paul had to say was good news, not good advice. Paul did not tell them they ought to be good, instead he told them that God was good enough to do something which could save them from destruction. When Paul’s listeners heard, they began to rejoice. We give our attention to the goodness found in God.
We listen with the heart
Paul recounts a long series of Israel’s disasters through which God did not desert them, but gave them salvation in Jesus. We listen for the announcement of salvation from our mental prisons of fear, and anxiety, sin, and guilt.
We listen hopefully
Paul traced the promise of God to give a Savior and He did. The resurrection stands here at the heart of the gospel as the proof God made good on His promise. We lend our ears to truth that we are brought confidently into His life, made people of God and freed from our failures and frustration.
We listen habitually
Paul’s audience had heard the good news, they wanted to hear it again. We never stop listening. The more we listen, the more we know Him, the more we begin to feel the love of God. Routine listening leads to obedience through which the word is made flesh and brought to life in us.
Are you listening?