Do you hear the sermon on Sunday mornings? I know this is a powerful question to consider, but recently, I encountered someone who was seeking validation from a sermon, yet this person biggest issue was the failure to apply the sermon to themselves. Instead this person chose to apply it to others around them. As I listened, I began to think about how we listen to God’s Word. Do we get the message that God is sending our way? Are we applying what we are learning from scripture to our lives or are we choosing to apply it to those around us.
At lunch the other day with a colleague we were discussing sermons and their application to our lives when I brought up this topic of how sometimes we forget to apply the sermon to our own lives but choose to apply it to others. I realize how easy it is to turn the message from a sermon away from ourselves. As we discussed this during lunch, we all agreed that it is easy to judge others and fail to judge ourselves. Matthew 7:1 reminds us, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This past Sunday as our pastor shared the story of Haman from Esther 5 and delved into the pride in our own lives, I focused on aspects of my life where I have allowed my pride to get in the way. I realized the deep message that I needed to hear from the scripture and how it applied to me. Looking back now at the message God was sending me, I can also see how easy it could have been for me to have placed the message on someone else and not myself. Why do I know this could have been easy because I have been guilty of it in the past. I have been Haman before preparing the gallows for others and promoting myself. I could have chosen to look around the church and pick out who I felt was prideful and hoped they were hearing the message, or I could have thought of people that I wished were here listening to the sermon. In essence, I could have turned the lesson from scripture away from its intent which was application to my life and become the judge for others.
In this day of social media which provides public platforms to share and vent, we can receive validation so quickly in our lives. For many it can become easy to miss the great lessons that we should be learning from God’s Word. Our lives are full of distractions that can cause us to miss what God is placing right in front of us. Matthew 7:5 reminds us not to be hypocrites, ” You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” We have to be able to see our own sin before we can judge the sins of others.
David was a man after God’s own heart as Acts 13:22 states, “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'”. Even such a man failed at first to hear the message God sent to him from Nathan in 2 Samuel 12 about his own sin after conceiving a child with Bathsheba and having Uriah killed. Once David was able to stop applying the message to others but was forced to see his own sin and apply the message of the lambs to himself he humbled himself before the Lord and repented. ” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”, 2 Samuel 13. Even in his repentance the Lord did not remove the consequences of his action. We must still bear the consequences of our sin. This deep reminder of David’s sin and God’s forgiveness exposes our need to hear the messages from the Lord. I will continue to focus on how the sermon’s message is intended for me and not for others. Are we listening?
Closing Verse: Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Challenge: Focus on the message the Lord is sending to you this Lent Season.
Please share if so lead.