Blog: Max Dawson
August 24, 2015
In Luke 8:18 Jesus said, “Therefore take heed how you hear.” In Matthew 11:15 He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” That last statement about “ears to hear” is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. I believe it is found seven times in total.

In none of those places is Jesus merely talking about our ears. In all of those places He is talking about hearing God’s word. But it is not merely about hearing in itself. It is about how we respond to the preaching of God’s word. How do you respond?

I have preached the gospel for a little more than 45 years. I have seen lots of different kinds of responses to the preaching over those years. Here are a few of those responses.

SLEEP: Sometimes people fall asleep during the preaching. Not a response we are looking for. But I don’t think we should always be judgmental about that. Some folks take meds that cause them to easily fall asleep.

LAUGHTER: Sometimes folks may laugh during my preaching–even when I say something that is not funny. Perhaps something is going on at the moment that I am not aware of.

CRYING: I have seen some who have cried. Maybe a verse I used brought back a memory of a long departed loved one.

ARGUMENT: Some have wanted to argue a point after the lesson. I always appreciate those who would point out a mistake I have made. I find it hard to appreciate those who want to argue for argument’s sake.

ANGER: Some are angered by a lesson from God’s word. They simply did not like what was taught. Possibly a guilty conscience was the real cause of their anger.

INDIFFERENCE: I have seen some folks who were indifferent to the preaching. It didn’t make them angry or excited, happy or sad. Just didn’t seem to care much one way or the other.

DISAPPOINTMENT: My own response to my preaching is that I sometimes feel as though I have fallen short. Every preacher knows that no matter how hard he works there are times when the preaching just doesn’t go the way it was planned. I preached a sermon like that a week ago. It was entitled “Love Your Enemies.” While I taught the truth, I felt that the points were not as clear as they should have been. I was not really happy with the lesson. But that lesson evoked a response…

One hearer came up to me with tears in his eyes. His voice was quivering. He told me that the lesson touched him and provoked him to try to settle a conflict from the past that he felt bad about. Ah! The response the Lord is looking for! The response of a changed life!

Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Someone heard.

If you were at worship yesterday, how did you hear? What was your response to the preaching?

Whether the preacher makes a good presentation of God’s word or not, ultimately the power is not in his presentation. It is in God’s word (Romans 1:16).

The next time you listen to preaching, pay less attention to the speaker (his voice, his appearance, the length of his sermon), and more attention to the content of his lesson. If the content is biblical and accurate, let it change your life.