How to Listen to a Sermon

Welcome to my blog. In some instances, I am asked for notes on the sermons that I preach. Due to time constraints, I do not always have the time to create a manuscript or even detailed notes. But I share with you today my outline notes for your benefit.

These particulate notes were used to preach on two Sundays, April 3 and 10, 2022 at Poplar Springs North Baptist Church. It is my hope that the use of these materials will help you grow in sanctification and discipleship.


Example of reading How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler.  Listening to a sermon is different than entertainment, opinion, or a speech. It is a form of devoted discipleship with an openness to correction from and adulation unto God.  A sermon is not seeker-sensitive, for it is more “Thus Sayeth the Lord” than a roadmap to some form of happiness or self-justification. (VERY MUCH of what is accepted as a Sunday Sermon is more psychology and self-help motivation) Sermons are to glorify God. We are to be awed by them. A sermon preached unto no matter how small a congregation, has eternal significance for every soul.


On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive and were not a little comforted. (Act 20:7-12)

  • Why did Eutychus die? Who’s at fault? 
  • Others did not fall asleep.
  • What holds our interest?
  • How should we prepare to hear the Word of God?

PREPARED HEARTS (The Seed and the Sower)

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The Sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”(Mar 4:13-20)

  • Your heart is the soil. How will you be prepared? Will you be a hard path, not even giving a chance to receive the word?
  • Will you be rocky ground, hearing emotionally and yet without rooted application and true treasuring? Are you quick to forget His truth by looking at problems and life as greater than God Almighty?
  • Will your heart be full of thorns that choke out the word? Will you idolize earthly treasures above the call to gladly sacrifice unto God to get God? Is your heart about prosperity and comfort in the short term or is it filled with love and compassion that you live a life that others may know Christ?
  • Or a great soil, plowed, ready to receive and fortify, accepting God’s promises by faith? You can’t pick and choose, but by the very definition of faith, you abandon all to follow Christ, even taking up your cross daily to gain Him.


The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. (Act 17:10-14)

  • Honorable Jews.
  • Received the word with Eagerness.
  • Examined daily the Scriptures.
  • Examined the words of Paul against the Bible they had.
  • Greeks and Jews, women and men altogether to learn.
  • You must know the Word of God to be able to examine a sermon.


Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1Co 2:12-14)

  • If you quench the Holy Spirit you will suffer greatly when the Word is preached.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:14-17)

  • Faith is a result of being in the word.
  • We abide through the word.

But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”(Joh 6:64-69)

  • Some will hear and not believe.
  • Seek the Father to grant belief. (I believe, help my unbelief)
  • See Christ as the only source of satisfaction.
  • Crave eternal life.
  • Listen to grow your faith.
  • See Christ and Holy.


Know that there is a command for the word to be preached

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2Ti 4:1-4)


Preaching guards your soul.

  • Never miss it. Your pastor is given to you by God for the purposes He has for your life.
  • Pray for the one who preaches
  • Pray using the sermons you hear to have your life changed and reproved, rebuked and exhorted, and be wary of accumulating preachers who make you feel self-assured.
  • 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. (Jas 1:21-22)

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