Taking Sermons Personally

During my life as a pastor, I preached over 1,500 different sermons.  I preached on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and special holidays.  I preached at weddings and funerals and even in a few hospital rooms.  Each time I preached, I expected that whoever was in the congregation was listening and taking sermons personally.

I try to do the same when I listen to sermons.  At Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church we have been enjoying a sermons series on 1 Corinthians 13.  The first week the sermon was on 1 Corinthians 13:4c-5a:  “Love is not boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way.”  The second week the sermon was on 1 Corinthians 13:5b:  “Love is not irritable, it keeps no record of wrongs.”  I told Tom that I felt the sermon the first week applied more to him but the sermon the second week applied more to me.  He told me I seemed to be taking sermons personally.

I was a little surprised at this statement.  After all, Tom has been listening to me preach for years!  Did this mean he never felt any of them applied to him?  I’m pretty sure some of them did!  I’m pretty sure some of them were directed entirely at him!

His statement also made me remember the dozens of times when I wrote a particular sermon with a certain person in mind and that person never felt it applied to him or her.  Instead, some member of the congregation with a humble heart and listening spirit would tell me, “You spoke directly to me today.  God convicted me in what you said.  I really needed to hear that sermon.”  Some people have teachable spirits and some people don’t.  The people who do are taking sermons personally.

Whenever we listen to sermons, we should try to take them personally.  We should always ask the Holy Spirit “How am I doing with this?  Is this a hidden sin or fault in my life?  How can I live more in keeping with God’s will?”

Holy Spirit, come into my heart.  Soften it and make me teachable.  Show me wherever there is sin or fault in my life.  Help me to hear your voice in whatever form it may take.  Amen.

  • Kristine Moye

    “…I’m pretty sure some of them were directed entirely at him!” That literally made me laugh out loud! 😃

    Sometimes I think I convince myself not to take a particular sermon personally, “I don’t do that” or “I never feel that way.” I probably need to listen to those sermons a little closer. 💛

    • revkaren54

      That is a good point. I’ll have to pay attention – maybe I do that too!

  • Kristin Burkey

    I remember the FIRST sermon I heard you preach. I walked out thinking how much it spoke to me and h ow much I needed to hear it. I think you have to take sermons personally because what’s the point of listening if your not trying to learn and grow? Thanks for all those times you spoke to me!

    • revkaren54

      You are welcome. I appreciate how you are always trying to learn and grow in the Lord. I am so thankful for you.

  • Brenda Ferguson

    Your sermons to teach & instruct I am thankful to say are all over the place in our house…my Bible & memory box, on the fridge, etc. You always had a gift for personally reaching into our hearts…thank you Lord!

    • revkaren54

      Thanks for those kind words. I am always glad when the Holy Spirit can use me. You have always had a heart open to God.