How do you listen to a sermon? What expectations do you bring? In 1 Thessalonians, Paul is filled with thanks to God because the Thessalonian believers demonstrated a posture of humility before the Word of God.
Notice five things Paul says concerning a right hearing of the Word:
- It is received as the Word of God. God can and has communicated himself to men. And he has done so in words of intelligible human language.
- It has been proclaimed. In chapter 1, verse 5, Paul emphasizes that this proclamation is not like any other message. “Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”
- It is received, taken in, considered and pondered. John 1:11 illustrates an example of the opposite: “He came to his own and his own did not receive him,” that is, they would not even consider the truthfulness of Jesus.
- It is accepted. This is the personal appropriation of what has been received. It is welcomed and embraced for what it truly is: the very Word of God, bearing authority over men. To accept it as the word of God is to submit to its authority and obey it.
- And finally, it is a word that is at work among believers, exposing and rooting out sin (Heb 4:12-13), teaching, reproving, correcting and training (2Tim 3:16).
So then, how will you listen to the word?
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