A Preacher is expected to be in the Word and seek to understand and apply it. He is to prepare and preach it in an understandable way. An adequate amount of time and effort is to be expended to do this properly. What about those in the pew? Are they not to spend time and effort, pray and prepare to receive? The Pastor is expected to share; we are expected to receive. He has his responsibility; we have ours. Anything less is a double standard. When pulpit and pew are coordinated, we can expect God to bless. Many Pastors have sown God’s Word into unprepared soil with sparse, if any, results. In Hosea 10:12, there is a very important admonition. “….break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, ’til He come and rain righteousness upon you.” One application of this is for us to be preparing the soil of our hearts to take in the Precious Seed of Scripture and to pray for God to use the message(s) from the pulpit to impact our lives.
To quote Philip G. Ryken, “Most churchgoers assume that the sermon starts when the Pastor opens his mouth on Sunday. However, listening to a sermon actually starts the week before. It starts when we pray for the minister, asking God to bless the time he spends studying the Bible as he prepares to preach. In addition to helping the preacher, our prayers create in us a sense of expectancy for the ministry of God’s Word. This is one of the reasons that when it comes to preaching, congregations generally get what they pray for.” (Philip G. Ryken, “How to Listen to a Sermon”).
What George Atkins, in “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship,” related to Sundays is sound advice for all the week preceding. “Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God; will you pray with all your power while we try to preach the Word? All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down; brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.” Selah! Paul, under inspiration, reminded the Corinthian Church (and us) that “….we are laborers together….” Pulpit and pew; a shared responsibility! Ron
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