Stop Listening to Sermons. (RE: Conference Christians)

A couple of days Mark Driscoll posted his thoughts at The Resurgence Blog regarding Conference Christians. I thought his thoughts were interesting, and I wanted to expand on them because I have been mulling in my mind something of the same idea for a while.

Mark defines a Conference Christian as “someone who spends a great deal of time (and often money) attending Christian conferences. They love hearing the speakers, love singing with the bands, love letting the world know who they meet and what they are experiencing via blog/Facebook/Twitter, and love meeting up with other conference Christians.” As Mark is a constant speaker and host of conferences, he is not claiming that conferences are bad or misguided. But like all things taken out of moderation, they are abused by many.

Where this correlates with my thinking is in the area of preaching. We live in the Golden Age of Information, and as a Christian this has brought on many blessings. Want to hear a sermon on Christ? There are millions. How about one on sex? Thousands. On inerrancy? Missional living? Holiness? There are websites upon websites where you can listen to any of these topics for weeks on end without ever hearing the same sermon twice. For goodness sakes, you can take seminary level courses that other suckers (present company included) have paid thousands for via iTunes U! At this point you can literally become an expert (or at least think you are one) in anything with the few clicks of a mouse and an iPod.  There are people I know who listen to sermons all day long: in the shower, on their commute, as they fall asleep, and everywhere in between. Big brains rule.

Some read that statement and say, “listening to sermons in the shower?! BRILLIANT!” Others just think that is plain weird. For my birthday a few years ago Shannon bought me a little waterproof-speaker contraption to put my iPod in to listen to in the shower, and I use it just about everyday (mostly for the Dan Patrick Show and The Dividing Line with James White), so I’m right there with some of you. It’s a great way to multi-task.

But if you are someone who listens to sermons all day long, or many over the course of a day or a week, I would like to ask you a question: how well are you applying what you are listening to? How well are you meditating on what you are listening to? When your iPod goes from Mark Driscoll’s “Do Not Awaken Love” sermon on Song of Solomon 8:1-7 to Matt Chandler’s “Anchored” sermon from Hebrews, do you stop to think about what you just heard? Do you stop to think about what the kind of person you are in relation to what the Word of God just said to you? Do you seek to repent from any sin? Do you seek to meditate on a glorious nugget of the character of God that may have been newly introduced, re-introduced or reviewed for you through this sermon? How in the world are you able to rightfully digest what has been given to you if you move on so quickly?

One of my favorite verses in all of Scripture is appropriate here: Proverbs 25:16 “Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.” And excess is what we do best in America, isn’t it? How often do we leave a restaurant thinking “Holy cow. No seriously, I just ate a whole cow. And now I want to explode.” The problem is, when it comes to listening to sermons, etc., it is hard to know when enough is enough. Excess Word is not a good thing to have; it will destroy you before it makes you whole.

James 1:19-25 speaks well to this subject,

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

Christianity is a religion of faith in action. God calls us to increase our knowledge, to sharpen our minds, to sharpen eachother’s mind, and in doing so to increase our knowledge of God. The Proverbs a packed to the brim about how important knowledge and wisdom are, and these things should be and must be pursued like a mad man pursuing his visions. It is clear, though, that God commands us through his spokesman James that the nature and end of our study ought not be to puff our heads up with knowledge. Our hard-pursued knowledge of the Scriptures ought to translate into action that brings blessing to us (v25), but also it brings glory to God as people see who He is through our hands and feet.

So please, go and listen to sermons! Take advantage of the gift of knowledge and information that God has given to us in this 21st century. Listen to sermons and read classic books online for free about the deity of Christ, then go and share that wonderful Truth with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and your friends who deny the doctrine’s importance! Listen to those sermons on controlling your tongue…then live out what the Scripture is saying. But by all means, please be careful. Please be a doer of the Word and not a mere hearer only. And be blessed as you do His will.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bill Gillis on May 23, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Good thoughts. How is Shannon’s pregnancy progressing.

    Reply

  2. Posted by ean@nicklesinc.net on September 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I listen to sermons during work and wonder if this is good, it keeps my thoughts from wondering too much

    Reply

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