Mateo 4: 4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
The sermon is addressed to the faithful after the rituals of the Eucharist or the sacrament that is being carried out. The Sermon on the Mount delivered by Jesus can be considered the oldest sermon.
The epistles of the apostles are true sermons. In the 4th century AD, the Greeks called this particular genre Homily. This word can be understood as the reasoning that is done to explain to the people the matters of religion.
To elaborate the sermon several sources are chosen such as the texts of the Fathers of the Church or doctors and saints of the Catholic Church. When a priest delivers a sermon, he intends to provide teaching linked to Christian doctrine. In ancient times, sermons were delivered in Latin, over time this language was replaced by other vernacular languages for a better understanding of the people.
Protestant Christians, for their part, cite among their sermons those of other men, such as Luther, Clavin, and Melanchthon. A sermon must be prepared with great care, taking into account several aspects that contribute to a good understanding of it. In this way, the sermon will have the desired impact on the listeners. The sermon should have an introduction, it should not cover many topics, in this way it will be understandable and easy to remember.
The sermon carries with it the reason for accepting Christ, and it has three fundamental reasons: Because God's love is eternal; because God's love is true; and because God's love is existential. The main ideas of a sermon should have a similar idea to the general theme, they should be coherent and fluent. Secondary ideas usually develop through questioning, exposition, argumentation, application, and illustration.
We can say that in the last two decades there has been a kind of resurgence of expository preaching in the churches, in terms of the sermons that explain and apply the biblical text. These kinds of sermons are somewhat difficult to prepare. In many cases, priests sometimes take many hours a week to prepare the Sunday sermon. It is sad, therefore, that much of this preparation effort is often lost on inattentive listeners. One of the reasons many inattentive listeners exist is that most have never been prepared to hear an expository sermon. Listening to a sermon, as well as reading or preparing it is a skill. Listening to a sermon involves processing, questioning, and criticizing it. Perhaps, many people do not give the sermon the necessary importance as it should be.
A sermon can be short, it can teach us something new, maybe it can make us laugh or cry. There is nothing wrong with these aspects, but we must understand that the goal of a sermon is to have our minds transformed by God's word in such a way that our lives will also be transformed more into the image of Christ.
Now that the importance of the way we listen to a sermon is better understood, there are some skills we can develop so that we can make better use of the teachings of the sermon. One of these skills is learning to listen actively. For example, listening is something like a baseball game, where there is an active catcher and a passive catcher. An active catcher is focused, anticipates the pitch, and looks everywhere, he is committed to the game and the team. A passive catcher doesn't have those worries, he's somehow out of the game, he just catches a few pitches and makes some easy plays. The same thing happens in listeners, a passive listener sits and pays very little attention, waits for the ceremony to finish before going home, captures very little of what he has heard. If we don't learn to be active listeners, we are missing the sermon.
Another skill that helps us a lot in learning is to listen by asking. Being a good sermon listener, or as we said before, being an active listener, means being engaged, so we can ask good questions. Some questions we can ask are: What is this sermon about? A good expository sermon has a main point, proposition, or thesis. What is the thesis or proposition that is discussed in this sermon? For this, it is necessary to pay attention because the answer may be in the middle and even almost at the end of the sermon.
Finally, we must learn to listen to criticize. A good listener not only asks questions about the specific parts of the sermon but the sermon itself. Did the pastor or priest prove his proposition? What he said came from the Bible? The idea of this practice is not to create controversy, it is not looking for the errors of the pastor or priest. The idea of this skill is to learn to look for the answers by ourselves first, then we can find the right moment to talk with the pastor or priest and exchange our points of view, this will help us a lot to enrich our knowledge of the word of God, and therefore to strengthen our thinking and our lifestyle.
The next time we hear a sermon we will be prepared and have a better experience.
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