Listening and Hearing
“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear……And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore, speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears, for they hear.” – “Matthew 13:9-16” KJV
This morning (Saturday 4th May 2019) I awoke and one of the 1st things that entered my thinking is – How much listening do I do?
Let him who has ears to hear is quite a familiar phrase. I took a little time to look further at it and the phrase appears 7 times in the Gospels; 8 if you count “Mark 4:23”. (Most modern translations omit that one.) Two are duplicates of “Matthew 13:9” these having to do with the Sower and the Seed. A variation, “he who has an ear” appears 7 times in “Revelation 2-3”, and another version, “let the reader understand” appears in “Matthew 24:15”. These words, only used by the Lord, seem to underscore something important. It’s as if He’s saying, “Pay attention now. This part is not optional.” Adding them up gives us 14 passages that are required understanding for the believer.
- In addition, the single word hear is mentioned 550 times.
- 32 of those in the phrase hear me.
- 31 of those in the phrase hear ye.
- 12 of those in the phrase hear now.
- 5 of those in the phrase hear us.
What can we presume to understand from the 7-fold repetition spoken by Jesus? I would hesitate an assumption that He recognised countless multitudes would hear words. Whilst they would audibly hear the sound of the words that speak of grace, salvation, forgiveness, grace and the wrath of God, spoken by Jesus in the Gospels and further proclaimed by His Church they would not hear and understand these concepts in the inner spiritual hearing.
You see the truth is that all men are guilty in the sight of God – “Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” – “Romans 3:19” – New Living Translation
When that message is proclaimed there are many who oppose it and declare “Well that’s not fair – all I want is a fair deal” I was speaking with a preacher just recently who admitted that they would prefer to soften the truth of the message in order to ensure that people come back and give them a safe environment under preaching. The problem with that is – They may never come back and there is an aspect of consideration that it’s the unadulterated truth that they need to hear to be brought into salvation and for truth to liberate – His Truth not our Watered Down, softened and adulterated truth.
- It’s a fact that the Wisdom of God as reflected in the gift of Jesus by God has ordained the one and only way for God’s Love to be delivered to us. The gift Saves us from the Wrath of God, and it does so without undermining or compromising the justice of God.
Going back to the words of Jesus “Let Him who has ears to hear, hear” is bringing our attention to the fact that from humanities masses God has in His Divine Sovereignty decided to provide the gift of mercy only to some. However, in saying that the question arises – “What do the rest get?” the answer is simple “They get justice.” Those who out of the magnitude of His grace get saved receive mercy and the unsaved receive justice. Nobody gets injustice.
- Is God speaking in our day and generation? Of course, He is. His Word is continually calling out to Save and Un-Saved, Sinner and Saint, the Religious and the Un-Religious.
God today is very clearly speaking to His Church. The problem is that so often His Church is so caught up in their Church Programs, Church Growth, Strengthening of Numbers and Ensuring Financial Stability and Independence that these like massive amplifiers are drowning out the “Still small voice” – In “1 Kings 19:12” we read “and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a small still voice.” – NKJV. The Church Programs, Church Growth, Strengthening of Numbers and Ensuring Financial Stability and Independence are so very often like the earthquake and the fire. They are both noisy, attention grabbing and invariably finally destructive.
I personally believe that God is calling His People, Bride and Church in this day and age to listen and as it says in “Isaiah 55:3” we are being urged to incline our ears – “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” Why because He desires us to live in the fullness of the life that has been imparted to us and which can only be ours as we hear His truth.
His Truth and His Name are One.
We know that the name of Jesus is great. Not simply because it’s the name given to the Messiah God provided. There are many who have the name Jesus. My Travel Agent is named Jesus (that does not make him great however) – No! the Name of Jesus our Saviour is great because He has Covenanted with us and He has never in the past or will in the future fail us. God had a perfectly sound, established and worked out plan – Nothing was left to chance, it wasn’t haphazardly initiated, and it was most certainly now outworked recklessly. In fact, we should be willing to die to maintain our allegiance. Jesus said, “Whosoever seeks to save his live will lose it, and whosoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – “Matthew 16:25” In just the past few days it’s been reported that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the World.
Take a moment before you continue to listen to this challenging Music Video by Toby Mac on what you may exchange for your soul:
Jesus is saying to us in a very concise way – just one sentence, a significantly important principle relating to the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is such an important and significant statement of principle as to be defined as a governing principle. In it we have a description of:
- The Plan of Salvation
- The Process of Growth
- The Revelation of what the Relationship between God and His Church is supposed to be.
Simply put, the words Jesus spoke is all about self-ownership. Jesus is very clearly telling us that we must lose our ownership of ourselves. We must lose control of our lives all has to die and it is to be unconditionally carried out.
If we are surrendered into the Gods hands, then and only then will we experience the real life that Jesus promised and is found by being in Christ. However, it’s good to reflect upon what Jesus also said, (My Paraphrase) “If you want to die, demand your life. Hold back from unconditional surrender to God. Own yourself; decide for yourself. Choose to determine the outcome of your life through your own works and reasoning.”
His Name is Great because we can trust in its reliability to keep and maintain that which He has promised and has declared He will do.
When His Name is proclaimed by Gods People in Faith what transpires.
- The Weak are Strengthened – “Isaiah 40:29”
- The Lost are Found – “Luke 15:6-7”
- The Sick are Healed – “Matthew 9: 18-23”
- The Dead are Raised – “Romans 8:11”
- The Condemned Feel No Shame – “Hebrews 10: 1-6”
- The Fear we have can find no Place – “2 Timothy 1:7” – “Jeremiah 1:8”
- The Enemy, he must Leave – “James 4:7”
The Spirit if God is calling upon His people to proclaim His great name. It’s not a proclamation of a Building Programme – It’s not a proclamation of new Church Programs – Strengthening of Numbers and Ensuring Financial Stability and Independence that’s really all about control and is derived from an inner lack of self-confidence.
I will determine, and I hope that you will with me that He Jesus is high and lifted up, that hungry souls may receive His grace and the fatherless, they find their rest because He is our Redeemer, our Healer, Saviour and Defender, and that above all other things we will hearken to His voice because He is our King.