Sermons are hard work… for everyone

Sunday morning will be here again soon. And most of us will not be preaching. We’ll be hearing. But let’s not thing our task of hearing requires any less diligence and effort than the pastor’s task of preaching. Richard Baxter, on hearing sermons:

Come not to hear with a careless heart, as if you were to hear a matter that little concerned you, but come with a sense of the unspeakable weight, necessity, and consequence of the holy word with you are to hear…

Make it your work with diligence to apply the word as you are hearing it…

You have work to do as well as the preacher, and should all the time be as busy as he… you must open your mouths, and digest it, for another cannot digest it for you.. therefore be all the while at work…

J. I. Packer adds, “We complain today that ministers do not know how to preach; but is it not equally true that our congregations do not know how to hear?”

– J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Crossway, 1990), 254.

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