How to Profit from Preaching by James M. Renihan
1. We must come to the preaching of the Word of God with a heartfelt desire to hear it. There must be urgency and expectancy. When the Psalmist says “How sweet are your words to my taste, yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Ps. 119:103), he expresses the reality that ought to be present in our minds every time we come to hear or read the Word. The saint recognizes the glory and goodness inherent in the Word, and desires it.
2. We must recognize what a great privilege we have, and take advantage of it. Peter put it this way to all of his readers: “As newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow by it, if you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” Those who know the kindness of the Lord are instructed to be like babies–to long for their nourishment which is found in the Word of God. When a preacher faithfully expounds the text of Scripture, he provides God’s people with the necessary sustenance for their spiritual lives. Oh that our people would learn to cherish the preached word!
3. We must pay close attention to the Word of God. Luke 19:48 is interesting. Luke says of the people who listened to Jesus that they ‘were very attentive to hear Him.’ The Gospel-writer uses a figurative verb. When used literally, it carries the sense ‘to suspend something’. When used metaphorically, it means to pay close attention–to hang onto someone’s words. It’s almost as if he said that the took their ears and hung them on his lips in order to hear what Jesus said! How often do preachers in the Bible call their audiences to ‘Listen!’? He who has an ear to hear, let him hear!
4. We must keep what we have heard and put it into practice. James 1:22-25 says it all: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (NKJV)