Do You Have Ears that Hear?
1. Jesus placed much emphasis upon how we hear. Jesus said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:15) James emphasizes hearing when he said, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth . . . wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." (James 1:18-19) Paul said, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
2. Preaching was designed by God to play an important part in God's plan of redemption. God chose to save the world through preaching (1 Corinthians 1:21), but do we place all the emphasizes on preaching. I
3. Spiritual discourses are not ends in themselves. Sermons are not designed to compete with the entertainment world. They are designed to inform our minds, to enlighten our hearts and save our souls.
I. Good Sermons Require Good Listening.
A. Jesus was constantly saying, "take heed how you hear" because he realized that listening plays an important part in preaching. Even if it is Jesus Christ doing the speaking.
B. To communicate a message there must be a sender and a receiver. If the message is sent and no one receives it, the message has not been communicated. Of course no one can receive if it isn't sent. Communication requires active involvement by both the sender and the receiver. Sender and receiver must cooperate in the give and take of the discourse.
1. Jesus often had trouble with those who were to receive his words. Jesus said, "Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word . . . He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
2. Jesus was unable to do the job by himself.
C. We can't blame it all on preaching, will it do to blame your boredom on the preacher. The problem could more often be traced to poor listening. We seldom realize that listening requires skill just like preaching itself.
D. We may only think of the speaker's obligation, of the speakers skill, or lack of it, while overlooking our own skill of listening.
E. Someone said, "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. "He who hath ears to hear, let him/her hear." Listening is an important aspect of teaching.
II. "Take Heed Therefore How Ye Hear."
A. Jesus said, "Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." (Luke 8:18)
B. How do we hear?
1. Let us notice the Pharisees attitude. They rejected anyone who failed to teach them what they already believed. The refused enlightenment, even though the new knowledge was presented in an undeniable way. They had rather kill Jesus than accept something different than what they already believed.
a. As we look at the Pharisees we are looking at those that prided themselves in being called God's chosen people.
b. Paul said, "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge." (Rom 3:1-4)
c. They had taken part in preserving God's Word, but they had failed in developing a proper attitude toward God's Word.
2. This is scary because sometimes the attitudes in the church aren't much different from those of the Pharisees.
a. Have we developed attitudes conducive to learning new truths? Have we refused enlightenment even though the new knowledge is presented in an undeniable way.
b. Do we say we want to preserve truth, while our attitude toward what is right . . . what is the truth . . . deny our sincerity.
C. What is good preaching?
1. To some good preaching is when the preacher says what I want said.
2. To others good preaching may be when the preacher preaches about someone else sins in a very negative way.
3. To others good preaching is when a preacher preaches his personal views on matters of opinion and those opinions are in harmony what they believe. Don't forget that good books and good preachers are usually the ones that agree with what we already believe.
4. Some may believe that good preaching is when a preacher says what they believe the way that it has always been said.
5. Many believe that it has been a good sermon when it has been presented in a dynamic way. There is little regard for what is said, but it doesn't matter, just as long as it is dynamic.
D. What is scary, is that all of these things can be done without ever hearing the kind of preaching that God wants . . . the truth may have even been taught . . . but was it the truth that needed to be heard.
E. We need to evaluate what we consider good preaching. As we listen, we need to take heed to how we hear.
III. How Should We Hear?
A. There is more to preaching than what meets the eye . . . more than just putting the fear of God in someone. Some already feel so guilty, unloved and afraid of God that they have difficulty coming to God. The wrong kind of preaching can produce more of these feelings in this type of person. The wrong kind of preaching may only serve to drive a person further away from God.
1. Have you ever been in audience where someone is contemplating suicide as they face the problems of life? This person may need to hear about God's grace which will furnish him/her with the strength to overcome his difficulties.
2. The wrong kind of preaching may strengthen thoughts about suicide. We have never yet understood the awesome responsibility of preaching. Will we ever?
B. We can profit more from preaching when we start facing up to the fact that communication requires active involvement by two parties.
C. In preaching, the words of the preacher should attempt to relay the words of God. Preaching should also endeavor to relay the words of God in the way he wants it relayed.
D. We may listen to preaching and think of sinners as those people who are different from us. We must keep constantly before us our own need to feed deeply on the word of God as we receive the message.
1. Many times we apply it to others, but we are the ones that need the message. Never let another's need obscure your own. The spotlight of God's Word is not on "those sinners" but on "this sinner."
2. Listening is not always easy; often the message disturbs. Sometimes it calls for a radical change. The message may reveal our blemishes and lead us to repentance.
3. I hope that this sermon changes some erroneous attitudes some have about preaching. We must keep before us our own deep need to feed deeply on the word of God.
Are you in tune to, what is going on when preachers stand up and preach!
We must ever keep in mind how a sermon should be evaluated and listened to.