Last weekend the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England (EPCEW) and Wales held an outstanding conference at Hill Top Chapel Sheffield. It was an opportunity to learn and grow in our understanding but also the practice of preaching. Furthermore the conference emphasised the art of the listening to the Word of God read and preached. According to the Westminster Standards there are three outward and ordinary means of grace (Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 88). They are the Word, the sacraments and prayer.
Of the administration of the Word there is a three-fold division given in the Westminster Larger Catechism questions 155-160 and these are "reading--preaching--hearing". Why not say this out loud to help you remember this? Question 155 reads.
Q. 155. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace,8 and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.
Question 159: How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labour in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory,6 and their conversion, edification, and salvation.
Question 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.
These questions make good meditation material. If you would like to listen to the sermons they can be found at www.sheffieldpres.org.uk
Mark 4:9 "And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”