Sermon Discussion
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Reformed Practice - Sabbath Observation

 On a Monday morning grade 4 students are sitting in their classroom.  The teacher asks: “What was the sermon about yesterday?” Mary sits with a blank stare.  Jerry shoots up his hand and says, “About the disciples and the storm!” That afternoon the Grade 11 teacher asks the same question to his class.  John says, “I don’t know! The minister is way too hard to understand!” Susan says, “He preached on the First Commandment.

        Why is there this difference between these students? Many reasons are possible: the one has a good memory and the other does not; the one is interested and the other is not; the one is indifferent and the other has been made a hungry soul.  But could it be that what happens in their homes on Sunday is also a factor?

    What we talk about at home on the Lord’s day either draws our attention to or from the Word preached.  Either our tongues help Satan pick the seed of the word off of the pathway or they may serve as sticks to drive the birds away. If we realize the importance of God’s Word as His means to give grace, then we will be concerned to meditate on and pray over it, as well as speak about it.

          Parents, and especially fathers, have an obligation to discuss what was heard in church with their children.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 commands: “these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Young and old were to gather to hear Moses preach, yet the parents were still called to teach their children about what they heard Moses teach. While this teaching is to take place throughout the week, after we come home from church is an especially fitting time for it.

 

        Sermons should be discussed. Avoid cold interrogation sessions of what is remembered that quickly stop once several correct answers have been given.  Seek to draw out what family members heard, think, do not understand, or have difficulties about. Speak yourself about what you heard. Do not just ask your children questions, but express what struck you or ask each other questions as parents. It is also a great blessing when parents may speak together of the ways of the Lord and express how the Lord has blessed His Word to them.  Children may learn much when they hear the realities preached echoed in the lives of their parents. 

 

        In your discussion, involve the whole family according to their various ages. Begin with the younger children, who will understand less. Even if a little child only says one word, expand on that word and discuss it to bring out some truth.  If a Bible story was mentioned as an illustration in the sermon, you or one of the older children can tell that story at home. Ask the older ones what they heard, what struck them, or what they

didn’t understand.  Take a truth that was expounded in the sermon and discuss how it relates to other truths. As parents, try to bring home something that applies to your children in their particular condition or situation. 

        In discussion it is important to teach discernment without fostering a critical attitude.  We are not go to church to be sermon critics, but hearers of God’s Word of truth. For some, every minister and sermon they hear is good. For others, no minister or sermon is good enough.  The latter has a very damaging effect on families, but the former may open up families to wrong influences.  Parents ought to always seek to promote respect and esteem for preachers (1 Thess. 5:12-13). At the same time the Bereans are commended for testing what they heard the Apostle himself preach by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

        The purpose of conversing about what we heard in church is to remind one another and further instruct one another of the truths of God’s Word proclaimed.  For that Word to be blessed to our hearts we need to have it in our minds.  Ultimately, we need the Lord Himself to fill us as parents and children with a hunger for the Word of God, so that we would long to hear it in church and desire to speak about it together.  Then we will not only speak about it together. That speaking will lead us to bend our knees before God in prayer to know personally the grace proclaimed in the preaching.

 Rev. David Kranendonk is the pastor of Bornholm Free Reformed Church.