A Warning to Hearers of Sermons


When I was a kid one of the television shows I watched regularly was called,  Lost in Space.  The show followed the adventures of the Robinson family, a crew member and a stowaway saboteur named Dr. Smith.  My favorite character was the Robot.   The Robot’s most famous line was ‘Warning!  Danger, Will Robinson, danger!’  There are times when I want to imitate my old robotic hero when I am about to preach the word of God.  The danger which I have in mind is the danger of knowledge without action.   I’m sure you are aware of the sobering words of  Luke 12:47-48.

There our Lord says,    47 “…that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  48 “But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

The issue is put even more starkly at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus has warned that the only one who will enter the Kingdom is the one who ‘does the will of My Father in heaven’.  He then follows up with the stunning parable of the two builders.   One is wise and one is foolish.  One builds their house upon a rock and the other builds upon sand.  When the storm comes and the wind blows and the flood water rise, one house stands and the other collapses.  Both ‘builders’ were hearers of the word, but only one was a ‘doer’ of the word.

A few weeks ago I fellowshiped with a brother who had heard some of my preaching online.  He asked me about the effect of a particular series of sermons on the life of the congregation.   He said to me, ‘Did people change as a result of what they heard?’   That is, did they do more than hear.

There is great blessing in knowing more and more of the will and ways of God.  But if that knowledge is not accompanied by the heart which is inclined and empowered to do, it is dangerous.  It can prove spiritually fatal.

Sermons are like medicine, they only work if you take them, they are like food, they only benefit if you actually eat them, they are like exercise equipment, they only profit if they are used.


One response to “A Warning to Hearers of Sermons

  • Benjamin James

    Amen Pastor Jim! This is an encouragement for me to examine myself and my response to the preaching of God’s word. Thanks for the message.

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