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Mar

31

2011

Expository Listening, by Ken Ramey

Expository Listening, by Ken Ramey is a helpful book on how to listen to the word of God preached. Those who listen to sermons have much more preparation to do than those who preach sermons--and have an equally great accountability to obey God's word as those who preach. It is not only pastor who much "practices what he preaches", the congregation must also "practice what he preaches"!

[Sidenote: This echoes something I read recently in Spirit Empowered Preaching (by Arturo Azurdia) about the weighty responsibility of the congregation. Preaching is not a one-sided event, contrary to the opinion of many church pew-warmers in our days. He singles out two major duties of the congregation: do not grieve the Spirit, pray for your minister. To the extent that a congregation does not do their duty, they should not expect even a faithful preacher to preach under the power of God's Spirit, and they seal their own doom.]

The book begins with a (so-called) "biblical audiology", arguing how, as a result of the fall (i.e. our failure to listen to God), we have a corrupt heart that does not listen to God and we now need the Holy Spirit to change our heart (via regeneration at belief, and illumination throughout Christian life) so that we might hear and believe and obey God's word.

The book continues to speak about how we are to listen to good preaching: noting first it is a heart issue, noting second very practically how we can prepare our hearts to listen. Next, he talks about how we are to avoid bad preaching: noting first the importance of discernment, noting second very practically how we can detect bad teaching. He closes with a chapter on the importance of obedience to God's word heard, then a final urgent plea to recognize the importance of this matter.

Listening to sermons is a life and death matter. How we handle what we hear from God's word is a life and death matter. The blasé attitude with which so many quickly dismiss a preacher's sermon due to interest, style, etc.--yet with virtually no consideration to its content--is radically opposed to the humble and eager and thirsty heart we ought to have to the word of God. We ought to recognize the preacher's weaknesses, knowing he is a human like us, and receive God's word ministered through him, as we pray for him and pray for ourselves for the Spirit's power! Ken Ramey is a faithful guide in revealing our need for this heart and laying down a path towards cultivating it by the grace of God.

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)

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