Got Hearing Problems?

Got Hearing Problems?

A man was having difficulty communicating with his wife and he concluded that she must have a hearing problem.

One evening, his wife was at a desk with her back to him. He was sitting in a chair on the far side of the room. So he decided to conduct a test without her knowing about it.

With a whisper, he began his test, saying, "Can you hear me?" There was no response.

Creeping a little closer, he whispered again, "Can you hear me now?" Still no reply. Quietly, he edged closer and whispered “Can you hear me now?” but still no answer.

Finally, he moved right behind her chair and said, "Can you hear me now?"

With irritation in her voice, she responded, "For the fourth time, yes!"

 

Have you ever told someone something, you thought was important, only to have them casually say, “Yeah”, and then break into their own subject, which is totally different from what you were talking about?

Have you ever told someone something in great detail only to hear them declare another day that you never ever told them any such thing?

Have you ever wanted take someone by the shoulders, look them in the eyes, and ask: “Are you listening to me”?

I wonder if God feels that way, because all these examples describe our hearing problems with God. Either we deny that we have a hearing problem, or we give mental assent to what God says and then do what we want, or we totally forget what God said, or we are not listening to God at all. God, the Holy Spirit, is constantly communicating with us, but we are not always paying attention.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Our hearing problems come from several causes:

1) We could have a relationship problem with God. If we don’t have a close personal relationship with God, we will definitely have a hearing problem. We will not recognize His voice nor be able to understand what God is trying to say to us.

2) We could have “selective hearing.” One type of “selective hearing” is tuning out the voice of the Holy Spirit because we are focused on our goals and aspirations. Another type of “selective hearing” is paying attention to only the things we like to hear. If it is a difficult word about suffering, we disregard it and choose to only listen to messages about blessings.

3) We could have an obedience problem. We hear what God wants us to do, we give mental assent to it, but we are unwilling to step out in faith and make the adjustments in our life. Because we do not obey God, He stops saying anything else to us except, “Repent”.

Christians, wake up! This is not an informative message! We are in serious trouble if we don’t hear God speak! Like a ship without a rudder, we will drift away from Him. Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

Without hearing the Holy Spirit, how do we know what God wants us to do unless we sense His voice guiding us? Perhaps there is someone God wants us to talk to? Perhaps God wants to reveal where we have sinned so we will confess it to Him and repent. Perhaps there someone God wants us to show love and care to? If we don’t listen to and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit, we are going to miss God’s purpose for our life because we are not hearing His voice.

Most of us know the Bible well enough to know what we aren’t supposed to do: don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t covet your neighbors stuff, etc. But, without hearing the voice of our Shepherd, we don’t exactly know where to follow Him in our daily activities and we wander off the path of Life, following other voices.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

As we discovered last week, hearing the voice of Jesus is a spiritual ability we can have if we will draw close to Him, humble ourselves, repent, obey, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and seek confirmation. Those, who know Jesus, recognize His voice and they follow Him.

The following story may help illustrate this: Two men were walking on a sidewalk along a busy city street. Suddenly, one of the men remarked, "Listen to the lovely sound of that cricket," But the other man could not hear it.

He asked his friend how he could hear the sound of a cricket amidst all the noise. The first man, who was a zoologist, had trained himself to hear the sounds of nature. However, he did not explain to his friend in words how he could hear the sound of the cricket. Instead, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a coin, dropped it onto the sidewalk, and watched as a dozen people began to look for the coin they heard clanking amidst the sounds of the traffic. He turned to his friend and said, "We hear what we listen for."

John 10:1-5 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

There are many voices speaking to us. We must distinguish the voice of Jesus; otherwise, we will be led astray and suffer grievous consequences. For example:

Eve listened to the voice of Satan instead of God, and Adam listened to Eve instead of God. As a result, they both lost their opportunity to live in the Garden of Eden for eternity. (Genesis 3)

Aaron listened to the voice of the people and made a golden calf for the people to worship. This caused the death of several thousand people. (Exodus 32)

King Saul listened to the voice of the people and disobeyed God’s command. He became tormented by demons and lost his kingdom. (1 Samuel 15)

So you see, if we do not hear the Good Shepherd speak, we will hear other voices. If we listen to them, we could end up following Satan or one of his demons, which will ruin our lives and the lives of many others.

All of us are hearing God’s Word this morning, but not everyone will respond the same way, because some of us have hearing problems. As I describe the following four types of hearers, I pray, you can recognize your hearing problem and take action to correct it.

I. The Unresponsive Hearer

This one hears the word of God and does not understand it or makes no effort to understand. The reason this person does not understand the message of God's Word is not because the message is defective in any way. The person has a hearing problem created by a hard heart.

The Bible refers to such people as stiff-necked. They may hear the Gospel message, but it seems foolish to them, for they consider themselves enlightened free-thinkers. They have no interest in spiritual things; therefore, the Gospel message has no effect on them. They have resisted the voice of God’s Spirit for so long that the god of this world has blinded their minds to the Truth.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

If the unresponsive hearer is awakened by the Gospel, He does not respond because he fears what others will think if he becomes a Christian. He is dominated by demonic spirits of doubt, pride, stubbornness, love of sin, and a host of other things that keep him bound in unbelief. Because this person loves sin and has no real desire to become a Christian, he does not respond to God’s Word. He is like Pharaoh of old, whose hard heart rejected the direct Word of God, spoken to him by Moses, and the fulfillment of that Word taking place right in front of him.

II. The Superficial Hearer

This person initially hears and receives God's Word with joy. However, he has not truly repented of his sin and died to his own self-rule and desires. He is sympathetic to Christianity and all its functions, as long as it doesn’t affect his lifestyle. When persecution or ridicule comes from a friend or family member, he quickly disregards what he heard. He is not willing to follow Jesus if it means suffering and self-denial. This love of self keeps him from hearing God. Even though he secretly considers himself a Christian, he is still lost, because he does not love Jesus, nor has he repented and made Jesus Lord of his life.

This is why repentance is a vital part of salvation. It is something that is to take place before baptism, and it continues after baptism, throughout our life as a Christian.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Without repentance, there is no forgiveness. Without repentance, we don’t receive the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot hear God. Not only must we love and serve God, but we must hate sin and continually repent. Following Christ involves denying self and taking up our cross daily. True believers will sin, but they hate it, and do not continue to practice sin.

1 John 3:9-10 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

The superficial hearer hears the Word of God, but the Gospel message only penetrates his mind, not his heart. This person wants only the benefits of Christianity but not its persecutions. Without repentance and the Holy Spirit, he has no power to stand. The trials and afflictions that come his way, cause him to turn his back on what he thought he believed.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

Salvation is more than an intellectual, emotional, or baptismal experience. Salvation affects our spirit, soul, and body. Salvation changes what we truly believe and how we live. Persecution reveals if we have truly repented and died to self, and if our faith and salvation is genuine.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

III. The Worldly Hearer

Here is another person, who hears God’s Word and initially rejoices. At the outset he seems to be a Christian, but proves otherwise when faith interferes with his worldly pursuits. This person falls away because he loves the things of the world instead of Christ.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Because he loves the world, the worldly hearer hears the god of this world instead of Jesus. He may consider himself a Christian, but since he cannot hear God, he is doomed to failure and eternal damnation unless he humbles himself, repents, and chooses to love Jesus and follow Him instead of the world.

IV. The Receptive Hearer

This is the person who heard the Spirit of God convict him of his sin and his need to turn to Christ for salvation. The receptive hearer responds to what God says, continually repents, and totally gives his life to Jesus Christ. His Christ-like actions and words, even in the face of persecution and trials, prove that he hears God. The receptive hearer is humble, obedient, submitted, stays close to God, and listens for that still small voice.

Just as we must protect our ears from loud noises that can cause a hearing problem, the receptive hearer must protect against developing a hearing problem with God. There are six ways we can do this. Don’t pick and choose from the list. A Christian must do all six every day to prevent the development of hearing problems.

1. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit so you can hear Him speak.

Jesus said in Luke 11:13 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

2. Spend lots of time reading and meditating on the Scriptures. Listen for God’s voice as you read, for the Word is the language of the Holy Spirit. The more familiar we become with the written Word, the more we will recognize the spoken Word. After all, 90% of God’s will for our life is in the Bible.

3. Learn to be quiet and listen in prayer. Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”.

4. Learn the different ways God speaks and pay attention.

Hebrews 2:1-4 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.

5. Confess any known sin and repent.

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

6. Cultivate an intimate relationship with God. God longs to have a personal and intimate relationship with you. Therefore, pray without ceasing. That means stay in constant communication with God. The most important reason for hearing God’s voice is to know Him better so we can keep His commandments.

1 John 2:3-6 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Does this describe your relationship with God? If not, God is speaking to you. Will you listen to Him and respond to Him? Don’t be a superficial hearer and just give mental assent to His Word.

Finally, Jesus said something that proves God speaks to His people today. Don’t forget what you already heard and fail to act on it, but what I’m about to share is eternally critical. Don’t miss it:

Jesus said in John 8:47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.

If you are not hearing God at all, this is the problem. This is a serious problem that has eternal consequences. However, God is speaking to you right now, for He wants you to be saved from Hell and damnation. Don’t be an unresponsive hearer. Believe in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross to atone for your sin, and His resurrection that proves He is the Son of God. Make a public confession of your faith today. Repent of your sin—your self-rule—and make Jesus Christ your Lord by submitting to Him in baptism. Then you will be born again of the Holy Spirit and have grace to hear God’s voice in the various ways He speaks throughout the day.

  December 2017  
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