You’ve just heard the benediction; the Sunday morning service is over. So now what? We disperse to go with our own families to our specific vocations and tasks. But just because the service is over does not mean that we can forget about everything we heard in the sermon or during worship, or that God is any less interested in how we live Monday through Saturday. Last time we looked at how to hear the sermon, now we will consider a few things about how to live based off of the sermon. For example:
- Believers should meditate on God’s Word throughout the week. The truth of God that we hear – during the Scripture readings and sermons – on Sunday should occupy our thoughts Monday through Saturday. Jesus told His disciples to “Let these words sink down into your ears” (Luke 9:44); in other words, He didn’t want His teaching to bounce off our ears like a glancing blow, but rather to take root in our minds. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1). Does this describe how you think about what you learned in worship? Do you pay closer attention to God’s truth than anything else?
- Believers should talk about God’s Word throughout the week. One of the things we can do to keep our mind stayed on what God has said to us through the sermon is by talking with others about sacred things. We saw in our Colossians series that we ought to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). It is easy to leave the sanctuary after worship, go into the narthex, and immediately slip into only talking about sports, the weather, family news, and grain prices. But wouldn’t it be better if we kept our minds and conversations focused on what we had just heard and read from Scripture? Encouraging each other to have Christ’s Word dwell in us richly for the upcoming week? And what about later in the week? Do we take time with our families and believing friends to go over what we have been learning from the Lord? Surely Deuteronomy 6 is our example in this:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Let us look for every opportunity to stir each other up in godliness by discussing God’s Word together!
- Believers should memorize God’s Word. In order to keep divine truth from glancing off our ears, we can hide His Word in our hearts. “Your Word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Often our sermon series will look at the same few verses for several weeks in a row, with each sermon taking a different angle on the same verses. This is a great opportunity to memorize those verses, especially since you’ll hear them and read them every single week for several weeks! The wise decision comes from Proverbs 2:1 – “My son… receive my words and treasure my commandments up within your heart.”
- Believers should obey God’s Word and produce fruit. Perhaps the most important aspect of taking the sermon with you through the week is to show how it changes your life. If we hear God’s Word but don’t change the way we live, we are like a man who looks into a mirror, sees the dirt and grime on his face, but doesn’t clean himself; the blessing comes from doing what God says, not merely listening (James 1:23 – 25). This is an important truth; it means that merely attending Sunday morning services is not a guarantee of blessing from the Lord, but listening to obey is what the Lord wants. You see, our hearts are like the different kinds of soil in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:12 – 15). It is only the fertile soil that produces a fruitful harvest, and it is only when God’s Word produces change in our hearts that we have let the sermon have its proper effect in our lives. Do not forget about Sunday’s sermon! Rather, let Monday through Saturday be days of opportunity to demonstrate God’s power working in your life.
Hopefully, you are encouraged to know the power of godliness throughout the week. In our next issue, we’ll think about how to hear bad sermons when the minister didn’t do so well.
Striving to live with you in the power of God’s Word, Monday through Saturday,
*Many of the suggestions given in this article derive from Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A #160.