In honor of my ongoing thoughts on preaching, her are a few words from the Blessed Doctor on the topic of not wanting to hear sermons.Â It is from the end of the Third Commandment in the Large Catechism:
98 Know, therefore, that you must be concerned not only about hearing, but also about learning and retaining Godâ€™s Word in memory. Do not think that this is optional for you or of no great importance. Think that it is Godâ€™s commandment, who will require an account from you [Romans 14:12] about how you have heard, learned, and honored His Word.
99 Likewise, those fussy spirits are to be rebuked who, after they have heard a sermon or two, find hearing more sermons to be tedious and dull. They think that they know all that well enough and need no more instruction. For that is exactly the sin that was previously counted among mortal sins and is called akadia (i.e., apathy or satisfaction). This is a malignant, dangerous plague with which the devil bewitches and deceives the hearts of many so that he may surprise us and secretly take Godâ€™s Word from us [Matthew 13:19].
100 Let me tell you this, even though you know Godâ€™s Word perfectly and are already a master in all things: you are daily in the devilâ€™s kingdom [Colossians 1:13â€“14]. He ceases neither day nor night to sneak up on you and to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against these three commandments and all the commandments. Therefore, you must always have Godâ€™s Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle and the Word does not make a sound, the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware [Matthew 13:24â€“30]. 101 On the other hand, the Word is so effective that whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, it is bound never to be without fruit [Isaiah 55:11; Mark 4:20]. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts [Philippians 4:8]. For these words are not lazy or dead, but are creative, living words [Hebrews 4:12]. 102 And even though no other interest or necessity moves us, this truth ought to urge everyone to the Word, because thereby the devil is put to flight and driven away [James 4:7]. Besides, this commandment is fulfilled and this exercise in the Word is more pleasing to God than any work of hypocrisy, however brilliant.
Ouch!Â Luther certainly calls it like he sees it.