In a recent TED talk, Michael Tilson Thomas explained how we got where we are musically. He also shared a concern that he has as a conductor and composer: what happens when the music stops, especially recorded music? What happens when a person has been listening to a canned piece of music and it ends? When the emotion is still there, but, unlike a hundred years ago, there is no one with whom we can share it at the time. There is no relationship between the musician and the listener, because the music was recorded in another time and another place. There is no corporate delight in the music because it came through ear buds.
In this interview, Sinclair Ferguson shares a similar concern: what happens when someone listens to a recorded sermon? The preacher does not know the listener, there is no congregation – no body – listening with them, and there is no accountability or encouragement in living out what has been preached.
This does not mean that listening to a recorded sermon is bad – it can be really good. It just raises the question, what are you doing with what you just heard? Are you sharing it? Obeying it? Living it? Letting it shape you more into the image of Christ as an extra tool on top of using the means of grace in your local congregation?