Accepting the Word

This summer I'm preaching a series based on some of the exhortations and encouragements Paul provides to the Thessalonian Church. This week's text is 1 Thessalonians 2:13: "And we also thank God for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."

Periodically I read through a devotional entitled Day By Day With the Church Fathers. Yesterday's entry contained this quote by John Chrysostom:

"For the Word is spoken to everyone and is offered as a general remedy to anyone who needs it. But each individual hearer must accept the remedy that is appropriate for his own ailment"

I think that Chrysostom captured the essence of the dynamic of preaching and of the hearer's responsibility in these two sentences. While our preaching targets certain responses, it really is up to the hearer to think about how the particular truths taught (what I think he means by a "general remedy") applies to his or her own "ailment."

This got me thinking about the fact that we take a lot for granted as pastors and teachers. I wonder if people are taught how to "accept the Word" and if our preaching would be more effective if we reminded our people from time to time about their responsibility and the ways we go about accepting the word. Certainly this transcends just hearing the word, which, as James says, is not the goal.

In the next few days, I want to blog a bit about this. Your comments, as always, are appreciated.

2 comments:

MaxiSmeg said...

First off I like the blog.

My impression of American style preaching comes, unfortunately, TV and the odd missionary group that visit where I live (Ireland).

A lot of the Christian TV channels seem to, in my opinion, promote a very passive Christianity where God is viewed as a supernatural crutch of some sort.

A lot of it seems to be what can God do for me? Give $100 because God will bless you if you do. All your money belongs to God anyway. Giving in the expectation that you will receive is the wrong attitude. You should give when God speaks to you or when it is simply the right thing to do.

I want to be part of a body of believers where we follow what God has called us to do for the season we are in. I'd hate to think that my relationship with God came completely from my pastor and his teachings. Why was the veil torn back at all?

If that doesn't make any sense (Reading back over it I'm not sure it does), ask me for clarification.

Keep blogging!!!

Peter Bogert said...

Thanks.

Don't take the TV folks too seriously. There are thousands of "normal" churches who faithfully teach the Bible each week.

Peter