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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 22:17-21
Are You Listening?
1. Listening (to God) requires our attention and effort, respect and desire to understand, Eccl. 5:1; Prov. 20:12; Matt. 13:9, 13-18 (Samuel, 1 Sam. 3:10).
2. Hear and Do: Exo. 15:26; Deut. 4:1; Matt. 7:24-25.
3. One reason for our disobedience and/or failure to grow and mature spiritually is because we do not really listen to God!
I. WE MUST LISTEN TO:
A. God by Listening to the Word of God, Heb. 1:1-2; cf. Lk. 19:48.
- We aren’t listening if we are not reading and learning!
1. To have faith in God, Rom. 10:17.
2. To follow after righteousness, Isa. 51:1, His law and rest (4) -- Know righteousness and have His law in heart (7).
3. Must be very attentive to teachings of Jesus, Lk. 19:47-48.
B. The Reproof of our Sin, Prov. 15:31; 25:12 (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Lk. 17:3). We defend and deflect rather than yield and repent.
1. To stay in the narrow way (the way of life), Prov. 10:17.
2. To avoid being stupid, Prov. 12:1.
3. To be wise (not stubborn), Prov. 17:10.
4. To avoid spiritual death, cf. Prov. 15:10.
5. When you are reproved because of your sin -- accept it, repent and rejoice that you are saved – do not resent, hate, oppose and reject it.
C. Wise Counsel, Prov. 8:34-36 (2:1-2; 5:1).
1. Who is your counselor? Someone who tells you what you want to hear, or someone who tells you what you need to hear (in your best interest)? Prov. 18:15; 29:1
2. Sources of wise counsel: Bible, faithful brethren, parents and siblings – those who point us to God (His word and will).
II. THINGS THAT KEEP US FROM LISTENING (Understanding What We Hear), Jno. 8:43.
A. Sin and Disobedience, Jno. 8:44-47.
1. When we are more given to sin than to righteousness, we will “stop our ears”, Acts 7:54-58.
2. A heart given to sin does not/will not listen to truth, Rom. 8:7.
3. How interested are you in hearing and doing God’s will? Ezek. 33:30-33
a. We show our willingness to listen to God’s word by our obedience to it.
b. What are we giving ourselves to: Hearing and doing truth or hearing and doing error and evil?
B. Pride Refuses to Listen and Learn, Prov. 4:5-8; 11:2; 18:12-13.
1. Arrogant conceit refuses to admit any sin or error (even when it is of no harm and every advantage to do so).
2. Pride prevents us from listening to the sound teaching of God’s word and to wise advice. Prov. 15:31-33
C. A Hard, Unrepentant Heart will not Listen, Matt. 13:14-16.
1. Avoid this by immediately obeying God, Heb. 3:7-8, 13.
2. Illustration: Prejudiced hearts reject truth without a reasoned, intelligent and respectful hearing, Acts 22:21-23.
3. The approaching day of wrath should cause us to listen and obey, Rom. 2:5-6 (Refusal to repent and obey God brings punishment).
D. Spiritual Shallowness and Self-Interest (no spiritual interest), Matt. 13:19-22.
1. Closed due to carelessness, indifference and lack of attention to spiritual things, truth will not penetrate this person.
2. We show our willingness to listen to God by how we use our time, our resources, our opportunities, etc.). Matt. 6:33
3. We must be Christians who have depth – Not surface saints.
E. Anger Prevents Effective Listening, Jas. 1:19-20.
1. Will not be able to listen to God’s word, reproof or wise counselors if our temper controls us, Prov. 12:15-16.
2. Have you ever tried to communicate with someone who was throwing a temper tantrum?
1. We have to be more than hearers – we have to be doers of the word of God, Jas. 1:21-25.
2. Be wise; Listen to the word of Christ and obey Him, Matt. 7:24-25.