Sunday, September 20, 2020

God Places A Premium On Listening

Micah 1:2, “Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Revelation 3:6, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:13, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:22, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Along with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson, I have been attending a small growing church on Guam—the Bethel Baptist Church. Pastor Steven Barnes is the hardworking preacher there. I love the guy for his soulwinning zeal, faithfulness, King James Bible only stand, 100% free grace Gospel position, and that he always makes me and my family feel loved and welcome. Everybody needs a pastor! We feel like Pastor Barnes' family is a part of our family, and we theirs. The following sermon notes are from some things I learned at church today, and a bunch of my own thoughts as I write this intriguing article by God's grace. 

The inspired Word of God places a great deal of emphasis on listening to God. We are living in the last days, in which people aren't listening to God. 2nd Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” We are living in those times in the year 2020 in America! For THE TIME HAS COME!!! It is amazing how people don't listen! Dear reader, let me ask you—what are your ears in tune to?

The Old Testament prophet Micah preached three sermons in the book of Micah:

  1. Destruction (Micah 1:2, “Hear, all ye people; hearken”)
  2. Deliverance (Micah 3:1, “And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?”)
  3. Decision (Micah 6:1, “Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.”)

The Bible places a premium upon listening! God gave us TWO ears and ONE mouth to teach us that we ought to LISTEN twice as much as we SPEAK. Amen! In hindsight, I can think of too many times in my own life, where I regret not keeping my mouth shut. The Bible says that every form of wild beast has been tamed, but the human tongue cannot be tamed (James 3:7-8). That is because the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9). A wise person limits his words. Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.By nature I am a talker, expressive. Since I live alone, I need to get it out! So I have to be extra careful to watch what I say at all times.

God places a premium upon listening! Oh, how we all need to learn to listen more than we talk. As a young boy Samuel heard God talking. Three times he went to Eli, thinking it was Eli who called him, not discerning that it was the Lord. After the third time Eli perceived that it was God talking to Samuel. I think that is beautiful. We know that God speaks to us today ONLY through His Word (Hebrews 1:2). YouTube is full of false prophets, who claim that God spoke to them in a dream or a vision. Regardless of what they may have experienced, we are taught always to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES (John 5:39a). Someone wisely said that if you want to hear God speak audibly, read the Bible outloud. Amen and amen!

The Hebrews heard the Gospel preached by Moses for 40 years, but they didn't really hear it. Hebrews 4:2, “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.They were hearers, but not doers, of God's Word. James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.Many people today are deceived concerning salvation. They only hear what they want to hear. This is called selective listening.

I witnessed to my medical doctor last year, who is a Seventh-Day Adventist. We shared some religious ideas with each other. When I witnessed to him, he tried to convince me that we believe the same thing—that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I knew this was a bad thing for him, if I didn't let him know that we don't believe the same thing, lest I bid him Godspeed in his error. I mentioned that salvation is without works, and that no matter how we live we cannot lose it once we have it. I knew that would throw a monkey wrench in his gears, and it did! He said that even though eternal life is a free gift, we can give God's gift back by living in willful sin. Sadly, Dr. Steve Pettit at Bob Jones University teaches the SAME Lordship Salvation junk that Ellen G. White taught. Dear friend, if eternal life is truly a gift (and it is), then how you choose to live your life once you've received it has absolutely nothing to do with the matter! Saved “by grace means that God alone does 100% of the saving!

Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” God places a premium upon listening! That requires that you remove yourself from some things. You won't hear the still, small, quiet voice of God with all the entertainment going on. God is always speaking, if we'll listen from His Word. There are four types of listening:

  1. Selective Listening - biased or critical listening
  2. Appreciate Listening - An example is listening to the music that we enjoy.
  3. Empathetic Listening - Showing empathy, putting yourself in the speaker's place. People sometimes just need someone to listen to them talk.
  4. Comprehensive Listening - Listening to understand. This is listening with the intent to listen and change. This was Micah's intent.

Psalms 19:7, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” 

Here are some important lessons on listening:

  1. Be willing to hear more than to speak.
  2. Have a desire to be a Spirit-filled listener.
  3. Lay aside all unnecessary things in life.
  4. Saturate yourself with the Bible.
  5. Do what you've listened to.

I want to be a good Spirit-filled listener!

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