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Is it just me, or does it seem the majority of people have a hearing problem?
More to the point, does the Church have a hearing problem?
All of us have heard stories of husbands or wives who have selective hearing. You know, the man who is listening without hearing, until his wife says she is going to buy that $100.00 outfit she saw at Macy’s the other day.
It is the child who hears the parent telling them it is time to clean up their mess and get ready for bed. They don’t hear until the parent, with a red face, yells their first, middle, and last name; then they pick up and get dressed for bed.
Maybe it is not selective hearing but distorted hearing.
The sounds do not come through clearly.
Certain tones, letters or syllables are not heard clearly, distorting the communication.
It results in misunderstanding and sometimes wrong steps are taken all because the instructions were not clear and what came through was completely different from what the speaker was saying.
Many times a person cannot hear because their hearing is blocked by something in the ear canal or there is damage to parts of the ear.
In this case, the sound of the person speaking is muffled or cannot be heard at all.
Does the Church Have a Hearing Problem?
God has been speaking to His church.
He has sent prophets and messengers but she has been like the child at play waiting for the parent’s voice to reach a certain pitch before they respond.
- Some have heard the portions they wanted to hear and ignored that which is not pleasing or unimportant to them.
- Others have demonic hands covering their spiritual ears.
- Still others have placed their own hands over the ears, they just do not want to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Yes, there are those who have allowed the Holy Spirit to develop their spiritual ears. They are listening carefully to what the Spirit is saying and seeking to obey.
They want to hear the voice of the Great Shepherd and will follow Him wherever He leads.
Jesus spoke well of this generation.
We are not unlike Israel when the prophet Isaiah saw the glory of God fill the temple and God spoke to him, “Go and tell this people: Keep on hearing but do not understand; keep on seeing but do not perceive” (Isaiah 6:9 NKJV).
Seven hundred years later, Jesus was speaking to the crowds in parables.
The twelve disciples and others who were following Jesus regularly did not understand the message He was sharing.
When they were alone with Him, they asked why He was teaching the people in parables. The answer He gave is powerful and extremely relevant to the time and season in which we are living.
“To you is given the secret of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, everything is said in parables, so that ‘seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand’ lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them’” (Mark 4:10-12 MEV).
The Lord went on to say that understanding this particular parable was critical to understanding all of His teachings.
The parable began, “A sower went out to sow…” Jesus explained the seed to which He was referring is the Word of God (Mark 4:3, 14).
However, there were problems with the manner in which the seed was being received.
- Some of the seed fell on blocked ears and the enemy stole the seed so it would not bring forth life.
- Other seed was received by selective ears and though it sprang to life quickly it soon withered and died from lack of a root system.
- Still other seed fell on distorted ears and though it brought forth life it eventually withered and died because it was choked by the weeds that grew around it.
The seed that fell on open and healthy spiritual ears brought forth abundant life.
The significance of this lesson cannot be over stated.
The Lord Jesus, Himself, said, “Take heed what you hear. The measure you give will be measured for you, and to you who hear will more be given. For to him who has will more be given. And from him who has not will be taken, even what he has” (Mark 4:24-25 MEV).
There is great danger for those who have selective, blocked, and distorted hearing.
It may not seem so in the beginning. Blessing and fruitful life may be experienced at the first. It will not endure the tests of life and struggle of this world.
The greatest danger is not the loss of the initial that came from the initial hearing. It is the loss of the truth they had previously received.
The validity of this truth is painfully visible in the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.
Congregations that were vibrant life-giving ministries in the Jesus People and Charismatic movement have become empty shells today.
Many those pulpits who once boldly proclaimed the power of the Holy Spirit to bring life transformation and deliverance from sin and the forces of darkness resound with motivational talks and give pop-psychology instead of Pentecostal power.
With compromise of the truth has come the embracing of political correctness and cultural tolerance.
Those behaviors once known clearly to be sin and abomination to God are accepted and openly practiced in the lives of the members and in many cases the pastoral staff.
It is the direct fulfillment of Jesus’ teaching.
How vastly different for those who choose to have ears to hear and hearts to obey what the Spirit is speaking to the church.
They humbly hear and receive the truth, even if it means being political incorrect and intolerant of the sinful practices of a culture whose only thoughts and desires are evil continually.
Jesus promised the blessings would be bountiful and overflowing.
Did you catch His deeper promise? “To you is given the secret of the kingdom… To you who hear more will be given. For to him who has more will be given.”
Jesus promised it would not be just the natural outflow that comes from the seed that is received by ears ready to hear and a heart willing to obey.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit will bring insight and revelation to the mysteries of the Kingdom that are hidden deeply in His Word.
This is not mysticism or Gnosticism that leads to an out of balance life.
They are the secrets of abundant life that God desires every believer to learn.
These mysteries are hidden to those eyes and ears that are distorted by disobedience and will remain hidden from those who stubbornly refuse to humble themselves and receive truth.
Not so for the child of God who humbly approaches the Word of God with eyes ready to see, ears open to hear, and a heart ready to obey.
They have the wonderful privilege of receiving even more and learning the secret of the kingdom of God.
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