What’d He Say?!

The ride home from church is often full of discussions of what or where to eat, what’s going on in fellow member’s lives, and thoughts on how to spend the rest of the day. Those are well and good but they don’t take long. I want to suggest there is something else we should be doing. There’s something we can do to help our walk with Christ in light of having heard his word preached.

The sermon review.

What better time to review the sermon with your spouse and kids than on the ride home? Our memory of what was sung, prayed, and preached than right after we hear it. Some of you might be thinking, “Why do we want to do that when we just heard it? We already listened, we got it, we’re good!”

The high point of worship is the word of God preached. We are there to hear a man preach the word and not his clever thoughts, smooth speech, or laugh at his jokes. He labors all week over the text in study, striving to faithfully deliver the meaning of it and offer application to our lives. Yet, this is not about the preacher, this is about the word of God. I am suggesting we dwell on sermons for a bit so that we don’t forget them and that we learn to obey God.

We hear a great many things throughout the day but what real impact do they have? That depends on how we think about them. New information comes so rapid fire that we don’t consider what we heard five minutes ago as something new is pushing for our attention. This is not really any different with Sunday worship and the sermon. Once we leave church will we consider what we heard again? We have a car ride or a walk home, if you’re blessed to live close to church, and in that time let’s think about what we heard. I have four reasons I think we ought to talk about the sermon we heard.

  1. Talking about the sermon with our families will make us better listeners.
    Asking each other what the main point of the sermon was is an encouragement to listen well. Our minds are prone to wander on tidbits of information or things that spark our imagination. Having a goal when we come to hear the word preached helps guard against that. The goal is not merely to grasp the point, though. The goal is in grasping the truth preached that we would worship God.
  2. Talking about the sermon with our families will make us better thinkers.
    When we know that we’re going to discuss what we heard we move from passive to active listening. Rather than passively absorbing the sermon, we’re actively listening, questioning, and mentally interacting with what we hear. We have to determine the main point and the supporting points so that we can discuss it. If we’re asked what the point was and the only thing we can come up with is something we thought was funny then we’re not listening well.
  3. Talking about the sermon with our families will help us to obey.
    Given that we’re now actively listening, the application of the sermon will make sense and be based on the biblical truths expounded. Rather than having a list of things to do divorced of the reason why, we heard the reasons why that inform the application. This grounds our obedience to those applications in the word of God.
  4. Talking about the sermon with our families will help us lead our families.
    Men, this is a practical and essential way to lead our families well. Talk with your wife about what you both heard and how to apply it to your life as a family. Help your kids learn to listen to sermons better by including them in the conversation. In so doing we’re declaring that a sermon is more than just a speech. We listen to the truth of God’s word to dwell on God and be transformed by Him.

 

Listen, dwell, discuss.

Today in Blogworld 07.20.16

The Gospel for Teachers

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6 Reasons to Prayer

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Is this for real? A new He-Man! Hopefully Skeletor continues to be as amazing as the original series:

Today in Blogworld 07.19.16

How Skipping Church Affects Our Children

This is thoughtful. I could see how if I weren’t a pastor many Sunday’s I’d be tempted to sleep in or do ‘family stuff’, not realizing the impact it might be having on the my child’s view of the local church.

Should We Apologize for Sins We Did Not Commit?

I agree with this.

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I’ve heard this argument and I think Peter Heck does a phenomenal job tackling it.

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How Can We Call For Unity and Be Disunited at the Same Time?

Last week a few leaders from the New Orleans Baptist Association published a tremendous piece calling for unity within the SBC. I am grateful for this article, and I agree with their call for unity. I do believe we can all struggle with pseudo-unity (sweeping real issues under the rug) but there is also something to be said for uniting around something bigger than the things we disagree upon. I’ve been encouraged by the SBC in the last few years as regards unity.  

As I read the Scriptures I see biblical unity as being diverse people united to a glorious God. We ARE united to one another. Christ has already purchased our unity but we are called to maintain that unity. What does that look like in practice? I like to say it this way: We walk in unity when we both believe that X is more vital to our relationship than non-X. I think some of what we see within the SBC is arguing about what “X” actually is. For the most part I see many of our leaders saying that X is our shared relationship with Christ, our shared conviction that Christ is the only hope of the nations, and our shared conviction that we are called to work together for sharing the gospel of Jesus with as many people as we possibly can.

We are united by Christ to all believers. And we are united by choice (not negating the workings of a sovereign God in uniting us as well) to other Southern Baptists. We have chosen together to say that X is more important to us than non-X and so we take various divergent view points and say they are secondary to our primary focus of sharing Jesus with the lost world. We have seen in annual meeting after annual meeting this call for unity.

So how then can we call out those we consider divisive? There are many websites (Those of the SBCToday stream AND those of the Pulpit & Pen stream) which I wouldn’t recommend anyone to read. Personally, I believe they should be ignored. So is this being hypocritical? Am I just sweeping issues under the rug? How can I say, “I really cannot be united with these folks” and in the same breath call for unity within the SBC? Are those in the NOBA being hypocrites by calling their fellow LBC leaders to repentance?

No. And, I say that because from our perspective they are saying, “No, non-X is actually more important to us than X”. They are choosing to make something other than our shared unity in Christ to be a determining factor. They are more passionate about things like Calvinism (whether for it or against it) than they are about the gospel.

Putting this on a local church level you can see what was happening in Titus 3. Some were saying that non-X (foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, quarrels about the law, etc.) was important than X. And it was splitting the local church. Titus was told to “warn him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” This is why for the most part I think our biblical response to such divisive folks is to “have nothing to do with them”.

And lest I be misunderstood, it is not about complaints. It is not about even asking good and often needed questions of entity heads. It’s not even the calls for transparency. The problem, at least as I see it, is because you have consistently made a non-X to be more vital than X. And it is because of this that men who agree with you soteriologically (men like Fred Luter and David Crosby) are saying enough is enough. Anyone who makes a non-X to be more vital than X is being disruptive and moving away from unity. That is what we are saying when we are calling for unity. To say that we have shared convictions that are more precious than secondary matters. Yes, our beliefs on soteriology are huge and it does impact the particular way we do missions, but the leaders of our convention (and history) is crying out that our X is far bigger than our non-X.

True biblical unity is grounded in something. Our unity has already been purchased for us by Christ. When we move away from Him as our center then we are destined for disunity. When something other than the gospel and the Great Commission is the driving force of our time and energy then we are bound to be distracted by secondary issues.

This post is an edited version of a comment which originally appeared here.