How to Listen to the Word of God
Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: Nehemiah 8:1-7, 12-17
I. Introduction: Why is it that some people leave church each week encouraged and full of joy, but others go away empty and burdened? How can we make the most of listening to the Word of God?
A. Scriptural example
1. The Israelites were captives in Babylon, and Jerusalem's wall was in ruins. Nehemiah asked the Babylonian king for supplies and time off from his duties so he could help rebuild the wall.
2. With God's help, Nehemiah and other exiles rebuilt the wall in 52 days, despite opposition from their enemies. The people then asked to hear the Word of God.
3. The best sermons are based on the Bible, not on the philosophies of men.
B. You must listen to God's Word:
1. Eagerly (Neh. 8:1-2). When you come to a worship service, ask God to speak to your heart.
2. Attentively (Neh. 8:3). Your attention span is determined by your desire to know God and His will for your life.
3. Trustingly (Neh. 8:4-5). Our world is unpredictable. We must place our faith in something that gives us assurance—and God's Word is trustworthy.
4. Expectantly (Neh. 8:5). In Nehemiah's day, the people couldn't understand the original languages of the scrolls. But they stood in anticipation of hearing God's Word.
5. Prayerfully (Neh. 8:6). The people bowed low and worshipped the Lord.
6. Patiently (Neh. 8:7). The people listened for hours as God's Word was read.
7. Humbly (Neh. 8:6). The people fell on their faces in humility because of their ancestors' sins, which had caused them to miss the Lord's blessings.
8. Purposefully (Neh. 8:12-17).They wanted to gain insight into the Law. Each time you come to church, ask God for insight about His character.
9. Happily. There was great joy when the people listened to the Law. You are responsible for your own attitude toward church.
10. Repentantly (Neh. 9:1-3).The people listened with repentant hearts. If the Lord brings something to your attention, don't blame the preacher. Be honest with God about it.
III. Closing: Write these ten words inside the front cover of your Bible, and read them before next week's sermon. Then ask God to help you be attentive, and He will speak to you.