So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. ~ Hebrews 2:1 (NLT)
I think people would be surprised by how much a preacher sees in the audience when he is up front. Given that we usually preach from an elevated position, or at least standing up, we can see every row, every seat, and every person. Yes, we try very hard to focus in on the message we are delivering. Yes, it is of the utmost importance that we do. But, we’re also human, and we see what’s going on around us. So, what does a typical service look like in church from the front? The vast majority of people are paying attention! Yup. That’s right, the bulk of those attending church are actually tuned in to what is being preached. Of course, there are the small minority who choose to snooze, pass notes, plug in headphones, or simply stare at the wall for 30 minutes wishing they were somewhere else. Yeah, we notice that too.
But, this isn’t about calling out those who are doing “good” or doing “bad.” Instead, my intention is to challenge each one of us (this preacher included) to pay attention to the truth about God. Notice, I inserted a “the” in front of the word truth. That is of paramount importance. Why? Because there are millions of little truths out in the world that paint God as someone who He is not. These are not THE truth, but someone else’s version of the truth.
This begs the question: “Where, then, can we find THE truth about God?” The answer is quite simple, from God. Now, I’m not talking about just going to church (though it’s certainly an important part). We also need to be digging in to the Word of God, the Scriptures. They tell us THE truth about who God has been, who He is, and who He will be to us. The passages of Scripture don’t tell us the opinions of man, but reveal the true nature and character of God.
So, here’s a challenge: daily dig into the Word of God. Learn the absolute truth about God. Listen to the preachers, comparing what they say to what you read. (Remember, Bible trumps preacher every time. If what he or she is saying doesn’t match the Scriptures, go with the Scriptures. We are not infallible.) Let the word reveal the wonders of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hold tightly to the truth you find there. Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep focusing on God. Then you will know THE truth.