Making Ready Each Week to Meet With God

By Pastor Benjamin Glaser - Posted at Thoughts From Parson Farms:

Why Private and Family Worship Helps Us Gain Hope From Preaching

Howdy!

For this week’s lesson we are continuing to ask questions about the means of grace. As we have spoken of previously our LORD has provided to us in His mercy ways that we both receive from Him the blessings of the Christian life which are born from above. That is prayer, reading the Bible, fellowship, and worship are all instruments, or means, by which we are fed, strengthened, and nourished to know Jesus better and to be able to fight against the evil world around us. If we struggle with how to go about certain things it could be that we are exposing our own laxity at taking advantage of the opportunities provided by God through our local church and her minister.

Last time we heard a good, direct message to ministers that they take serious their calling and in many ways the WLC question we are looking at this morning does the same, just now to the people in the pew. Part of the troubles we face today is often the congregation doesn’t expect much out of itself, let alone its ministers. Today’s Q/A is a challenging word for all believers to take a moment and do some self-examination: how much do I attend upon grace? Let’s read:

Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the word preached?

A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation and prayer; examine what they hear by the scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

Everything goes better when the people involved want it to. The list of advice that WLC 160 gives to the folks gathered around for the preaching of the word may sound like a lot of work. I am busy with a seemingly never-ending list of activities, meetings, and kids being at four different places at once. It’s a wild time in my life, so I know the constraints of time. However, what the Divines have in mind here is not something outside the ordinary regular spiritual life of the Christian. None of the items listed are an addition to what we are already supposed to be doing in private and family worship. If we are taking a moment to read the Scriptures and pray, either by ourselves or in a group then, in the words of Jon Bon Jovi, you are halfway there already. Part of being actively involved in the preaching that goes on in morning and evening worship is to already know the Bible. In some sense for the seasoned mature believer sitting in the midst of a sermon should be a strengthening exercise confirming already existing faith, and as the catechism says hiding it in your heart.

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