Preparing our Hearts to Receive the Preached Word
Pastor Oliver shares four ways that we can prepare ourselves to receive the Word of God preached on Sundays.
“But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20 (CSB)
Jesus tells the large crowd following Him, a story of a farmer sowing seeds in Mark 4:1-9. He then explains the meaning of this story to His disciples in Mark 4:10-20. In many explanations of this passage, often called “The Parable of the Sower”, Christians are called to sow the seed of the gospel generously. We are to tell others of the good news of Jesus Christ lavishly and freely, without restrictions or self-imposed limitations – to everyone around us.
But this parable is also about the four soils, and the repeated command is to hear the Word. The call by Jesus is for the large crowd to hear and receive (or as the Christian Standard Bible translates it: welcome) the Word of the gospel. The command is for us to hear and welcome the Word, and the Holy Spirit will use the Word to do a work of transformation in our hearts so that we will bear fruit. What does this mean for us Christians? How does this look like on Sundays when we gather to hear the Word of God preached? How can we prepare to welcome the Word well?
I have four encouragements for us as we prepare ourselves for the Word preached on Sundays.
1. Prepare ourselves the night before
Firstly, we prepare ourselves the night before by going to bed earlier. We rest well so that we can be physically ready to hear and welcome the Word. Do not binge watch Netflix or cat videos on YouTube. Do not stay out too late for CGs or ministry appointments. Sleep early.
2. Prepare our mind the morning of
Secondly, wake up 15 minutes earlier on Sunday morning to read the passage to be preached 2-3 times over. Mulled over Scripture. Let the Word of God percolate in our minds as we make our way to church to attend service.
3. Prepare our hearts just before
Thirdly, pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to welcome the Word. Pray in the Word of the Psalmist, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Ps 119:18). Pray for God’s Spirit to make our hearts receptive to the preached Word. Pray for what only God can do to make our hearts tender towards His Word.
4. Prepare our hands to respond
Fourthly, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (Jas 1:22). As the message ends, whisper a prayer that God’s Spirit will apply God’s Word into our hearts, so that we will live it out in our lives together. Pray for God’s Spirit to change our hearts and empower our obedience as our hearts change leads our hands to respond in action. Pray for the fruit of obedience as we, as a church, scatter into the world. Pray that we will live worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes, schools and workplaces.
Let’s prepare our hearts for the preaching of God’s Word this coming Sunday (26 May 2019) from Romans 7:7-25. Pray for fruit from the ministry of the Word.
Our friends from LoveAid will be giving a talk on their Compassion Ministry work in our MacPherson neighbourhood. Please come at 11.00 am to 12.15 pm (Sunday 26 May 2019) at Room 310A-B (Level 3) and hear how they have been reaching out to children, youths, families and seniors. We will also listen to opportunities on how GBC can be involved so that we can build relationships for gospel purposes.