Saturday, April 25, 2009

Attending the Preached Word with Dilligence, Preparation and Prayer

Question and answer 160 of the Westminster Larger Catechism states:
Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.
So how does one effectively prepare himself? Denny Burk has posted a list of ten practical steps to prepare to receive the means of grace of the preached Word of God:
1. Pray that God would give you a good and honest heart.
2. Meditate on the Word of God.
3. Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment.
4. Trust in the truth that you already have.
5. Rest long enough Saturday night to be alert and hopeful Sunday morning.
6. Forebear one another Sunday morning without grumbling and criticism.
7. Be meek and teachable when you come.
8. Be still as you enter the room and focus your mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God.
9. Think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached.
10. Desire the Truth of God’s Word more than you desire riches or food
The list comes from an exhortation written by John Piper for the members of his church, “Take Heed How You Hear." I think #6 is an important one for families so that they do not sabotage their preparations and is one that most of us don't think about. I also find #3 to be interesting given that most churches don't adhere to the regulative principle of worship and as a result bring the world into their very worship service (or "experience" for most of those churches).

May we all diligently prepare ourselves to receive the preached Word of God in the hopeful expectation that the Holy Spirit will use it to build us up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation (SC 89).

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