Beyond sermon-hearing to Spirit-hearing

Christ experienced is much more powerful than Christ explained. The “let the preacher do it” mentality has crippled contemporary Christianity. However, Jesus never said: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the preacher says.” (He said, “Let them hear what the Spirit says.”)

If church would teach Spirit-hearing rather than sermon-hearing, it would transform the world! Sermon-hearing can give you a weekly heads-up, but Spirit-hearing gets your continually heart fired up.

“Today’s sermon” is usually tomorrow’s amnesia. And what good is a sermon heard if you don’t do the word? A sermon is a preacher’s formal talk. The Spirit’s inner voice is revelation. It’s easy to hear a sermon an miss out on revelation. Try not to do that!

Today great sermons are electronically available anytime and anywhere, so why spend our time together as Christ’s body, sermon-hearing? It’s time for church to begin pioneering the ignored, 1 Corinthians 14:26, alternative to sermon-hearing!

Church is about sermon-hearing — showing up, sitting passively, and going home after enduring till the end. Early in its history church substituted a sermon for the Spirit’s spontaneity.  However, look at the Great Commission. Christians are called to preach the Gospel; not to listen to sermons. Perhaps we could go beyond sermon-hearing and meet to practice praying, testifying, teaching, and our spiritual gifts.

Sermon-hearing is informational. Holy-Spirit-hearing is transformational! Go beyond sermon-hearing to Spirit-hearing–listen to and obey the inner promptings of the risen Jesus!

Sermon-hearing hears what a preacher says. Sprit-hearing hears what the Holy Spirit says. They are not the same thing!

Sermon-hearing continually instructs people, but doesn’t hold them accountable (or help them) to carry out the instructions. A sermon a week often makes Christians passive and weak. (Compare contemporary sermon-hearers to 1st century believers.)

Creating sermon-hearers is easy. Making disciples is much more complicated. Acts 2:42 says early Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.” (“Doers of the word” not just sermon-hearers.)

Sermon-hearers are the most underutilized human resources on the planet–sitting and listening when we could be changing the world. Perpetual sermon-hearing seems to produce a lot more boredom and passivity than it produces spiritual growth.

In some ways sermon-hearing is like inoculation. It can expose us to just enough Christianity that we build up resistance to it. Christians miss out on so much because we have been trained to trust in one-man sermons rather than the Spirit’s presence.

No sermon can ever determine your relationship with God. That’s up to you! Jesus is speaking directly to you. You don’t need to go through a preacher to hear Him!

If preaching only informs us, it misses the mark! It needs to connect us with the Spirit, not make us dependent on a preacher! Sermon oratory is auditory. The Spirit is revelatory. Listen to the Spirit.

Instead of saying, “Listen to me explain the word,” perhaps preachers could say, “Listen to the living Jesus!” Prechurch Christianity transformed a cruel, violent, pagan world. I think we need it again!

Sermon-hearing requires no thought, no action, no obedience, no response. It’s totally passive. It’s much easier to get bored and to nod off when you’re hearing a sermon than when you’re doing the word! I’ve always preferred reading the Bible for myself and directly interacting with Jesus, much more than sermon-hearing.

People learn to pray by praying together more than by hearing a sermon about prayer. People get to know the risen Jesus by directly listening to and obeying Him, more than by sermon-hearing.

Is there anywhere in the Bible that tells Christians to listen to a weekly sermon? I can’t find it. It is much easier to be a sermon-hearer than it is to be a Christ-follower.

Daily dare to let the Holy Spirit weed-eat your heart and cut down anything ungodly. Then the fruit of the Spirit will flourish. God’s love ≠ God’s approval of wrongdoing.

The body of Christ is a collaborative community of collectively hearing from and obeying the Holy Spirit. All Christians are to be functioning parts of the body of Christ and need to both minister to others and to receive ministry. To regiment and program Christianity is to unplug it from the Spirit. Love’s not a program, it’s from the heart!

Christianity isn’t about how much you know; but about how freely you flow with the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians live in the ebb while missing out on the flow of the Spirit!

The best worship CD is Christ’s Dominion — to let the living Jesus dominate and direct us when we gather in His name! Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”

“There is a fine line between a long sermon and a hostage situation.” –from a cartoon I saw.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
This entry was posted in art of listening, Bible reading, body of Christ, church programs, cost of discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, disciple making, discipleship, Great Commission, homiletics, homily, how the body of Christ functions, how to be a disciple, listening, listening to God, preaching, spiritual growth, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Beyond sermon-hearing to Spirit-hearing

  1. David Lancaster says:

    Strong, but true, Word! Teaching/preaching which doesn’t result in change, ministry & engaging the world with the call of Christ inadvertently and unintentionally misses the mission to which we are called.

    On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 6:49 AM, Free Gas For Your Think Tank (A blog to jog your mind and unclog your heart . . .) wrote:

    > Steve Simms posted: “Christ experienced is much more powerful than Christ > explained. The “let the preacher do it” mentality has crippled contemporary > Christianity. However, Jesus never said: “Whoever has ears, let them hear > what the preacher says.” (He said, “Let them hear wh” >

  2. Excellent analysis and very appropriate. I thought it was spot onnnnnnn

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy, powered by Cricket Wireless

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