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Preaching is important. Paul tells us in Romans 10:14 that there needs to be a preacher in order for people to hear the gospel and believe. Unbelievers consider preaching to be foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18), but it is God's ordained means of spreading the gospel. 1 Corinthians 1:21, "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Preaching, though, is not just meant for unbelievers. As believers, we need to understand the importance of preaching, and we need to respond appropriately to it.

Hebrews 4:2 reminds us, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." The phrase "the word preached," is referencing not just the message being proclaimed, but also the message being heard. When God's people heard the word, it was of no benefit to them because it was not "mixed with faith," i.e. it was not put into practice. Preaching is meant to be profitable in your life; it is meant to make a positive change in your life. The same word translated as "profit" in this verse is used in Mark 5:25-26, "And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, {26} And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." It was not that she was not feeling better, or didn't possess a better view of herself, or was not confident about her situation. Mark was telling us that her physical condition had not improved at all. Preaching, like good medicine, is to be a spiritual benefit to us, as medicine is to be a physical benefit.

Consider how medicine is profitable to you. Is it profitable if you are convinced it is the right medicine for your situation? Is it profitable because it has helped so many other people with the same malady, or maybe even those of your own household? Obviously, the answer is NO to all of these. The medicine is profitable when you actually take it as prescribed. Apply that to preaching. When is it profitable to you? What do you do with it? Do you rejoice that it has helped so many others? Do you realize that it is what you need? Do you rejoice that it can solve your problems? OR, do you "mix it with faith"? Do you take it? Do you obey? Do you practice it? If not, you are in the same predicament that the disobedient Israelites were.

Reflect upon God's word: James tells us to "lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" James 1:21. He reminds us that "...whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25). Jesus told us in John 13:17, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."

There is a wonderful phrase used to describe both Noah's and Moses' obedience to the commands of God: "Thus did..." Gen 6:22, "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Exo 40:16, "Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he." Thus did! If someone was writing a story about your life this past week, beginning with the preaching that you heard on Sunday, after recounting the message that was preached, would he write, "Thus did [put your name here], according to all that God commanded, so did he!"? If not, start practicing it today, and change how the story would end!

There is great reward in keeping God's word, both now (Psalm 19:11), and in the future (Revelation 22:14). When God speaks through the preaching of His Word, what do you do? When the preaching ends, and you know that God has dealt with your heart, what is your response? "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).

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