And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Receiving the Word of God and How to Listen to a Sermon

As I like to do when possible, here are the rough draft notes for today's sermon.

James 1:21 Receiving the Word of God and How to Listen to a Sermon

God’s word is a revelation of who He is.  It isn’t all about a list of to do’s it is about His character, revealed
by His will, His words, His actions.
God’s word does not change.
God’s word is inerrant.
The footnotes of your Bible are not the inspired word of God.
You are accountable to the Word of God, you will be judged accordingly.

Thus, God wants us to think about what He is saying in His word.  It is life to us, it is truth that sets us free, and it the standard by which we will be judged.

·         The Word of God is for correction, teaching, reproof,……
            All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2Ti 3:16-17)
Realize that God gave us His word that we would know Him and be given wisdom in living.

·         Expect to hear from God, expect to take away a benefit for the week ahead.  When we come to church, we should always, always expect a fresh word from God.  It is the preacher’s ultimate duty of the week.  Thus pray for your preacher.  Pray that his week is such that the word of God is alive in his heart and supersedes all worldly temptation of compromise, ease, and trendiness.  Often, the sermon is a direct result of your prayers for the pastor.

·         Do not quench the Holy Spirit.  Blatant participation in sin, division in the church, and all other forms of pride and arrogance will quench a move of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 51: 11, Ephesians 4:30,
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
(Rom 8:5-8)

·         Attitude- value the words of God above and beyond the preacher
Have an attitude of learning and participating in the life of the church.  The church is given and treasured by God for the growth of the saints, spiritually and numerically.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:11-16)

·         Be a Berean- compare what was said to other scriptures. (Acts 17:10-12)  Is it true?
Distinguish between a man’s opinion and what God has said.  Don’t fall for personalities (Apollos, Paul,. Peter…1 Corinthians 1:11-13)

·         Be wise, Proverbs 1, Psalm 1, James 1, Colossians 3:16
Col 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

·         Be wary there are false prophets.2 Peter 2:1, Mt 7:15, 24:11 &24, Mark 13:22, Luke 6:26
1Jn_4:1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I am quite ashamed at the way people flock after the newest book, teacher, film, or fad Christianity.  Just because it says "Christian," or is sold in the local Christian bookstore does not make it theologically sound.

The word of God is not subjective, you may disagree with God, but you will always be wrong.

Be willing to change your opinion on an issue

Find encouragement

Expect to be tested upon what you hear.
            Be doers of the Word.

Obey.  Simply put obey the Word of God.
            If you love me you will obey me.
By the way, knowing the will of God is easy, its is obedience that we often have trouble with. 

Prepare the night before
·         Have clothes ready
·         Find your keys
·         Find your Bible
·         Do not quench the Holy Spirit by indulging in what God says is offensive.
Have a morning devotional time to prepare your heart.
Attend Bible study hour or a small group during the week
Take notes
Talk about what you heard on the way home
Make immediate application-plan on being tested

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