ARE YOU LISTENING TO GOD?

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.       Have you ever tried to talk to someone who was not listening to you?  As a schoolteacher, I experienced this all the time. 

 

2.       For example, one day I asked a young boy to stop talking.  He did.  However, 10 seconds later, he was back talking.  So I asked him to stop talking a second time.  He did, 30 seconds later, he was talking again.  I had to tell this young boy five times to stop talking before he finally listened and obeyed.  That gets frustrating!

 

3.       In a spiritual sense, I wonder how God feels when He is trying to communicate something important to us but we do not listen.

 

4.       In (Psalm 81:11-14), we read a sad saga of a people who would not listen to God.

 

a.       From this Psalm, we read that the nation of Israel did not listen to the counsel of God.  They tuned Him out and followed their own “stubborn hearts.”  You see, God told Israel through His commandments not to bow down to other gods, but they did not listen to Him.  Instead, (1 Kings 17:12) says, they worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”  They chose to follow their own ways instead of God’s ways. 

 

b.      And do you know what happened to the Northern Kingdom known as Israel?  In 722 BC, they were destroyed by the Assyrian army. 

 

c.       Since they did not listen to God, and follow His will, God allowed the Assyrian army to defeat them.

 

5.       Brethren, God desperately wants to be listened too.  He doesn't want us to turn a deaf ear to His instructions.  He expects us to hear what He has to say and follow it.

 

TONIGHT, I WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS TWO POINTS ON LISTENING TO GOD

 

I.                    FIRST, HOW DOES GOD COMMUNICATE TO HIS PEOPLE?

 

1.       In the past, God has communicated to people in many different ways. 

 

2.       For example,

 

a.       In (Gen. 12:1,2), God spoke to Abram by DIRECT REVELATION.

 

(1)       God spoke directly to Abram.  He may have spoken to Abram in an audible voice, such as when Jesus spoke to Saul while on the road to Damascus.  The Bible says that Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4)

 

b.      God spoke through HIS PROPHETS. 

 

(1)       For example, in (Jonah 1:1f), God told Jonah to “go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it,” because of its wickedness. 

 

(2)       Also, in (Hosea 1:4), we read that “the Lord began to speak through Hosea” who was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the 8th century.

 

c.       God spoke through ANGELS. 

 

(1)       In (Luke 1:26-38), we read that God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to tell Mary that she was going to give birth to a son and that she was to name Him Jesus.

 

3.       God has used many different methods to communicate to His people. 

 

4.       How does God communicate to us today?

 

a.      The Lord communicates to us primarily today through His WORD.

 

(1)       The Bible is the primary way that God communicates with us, for the Bible is the complete revelation of God to people.  The Bible is God’s instruction book for mankind.

 

 

(2)       Just like the book of the Law was Joshua's guide and instruction book in godly living, so the Bible is for us today. 

 

(3)       How does God communicate to us through His Word?

 

(a)       First, when we are reading Scripture, He is communicating to us.  He is talking to us through human writers who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

 

(b)       Second, God communicates to us through the Scriptures when we search for specific answers.

 

 

 

b.      The Lord communicates to us at times through the HOLY SPIRIT.

 

(1)       When we sin, we are blessed with an emotion called guilt.  We are blessed because the Holy Spirit is letting us know that we have done something wrong in order for us to correct it.

 

(a)       When we experience guilt, I feel that the Holy Spirit is communicating to us.

 

(2)       The Holy Spirit communicates with us in teaching and guiding us in the Bible.

 

(a)       Have you ever asked God to provide you with a scripture and then all of a sudden the perfect scripture pops into your head?  That’s communication!

 

(3)       The Holy Spirit sometimes communicates with us by compelling or urging us to do something.

 

(a)       Over the years, the Holy Spirit has compelled me to do many things that I probably wouldn't have done unless He nudged me.

 

5.       All in all, God still communicates to us today.  His primary ways of communication are through His Word and through the Holy Spirit.

 

II.                  SECOND, WHAT KIND OF LISTENER ARE YOU?

 

1.       Since God still communicates with us today, we need to be willing to listen to Him.  What kind of listener are you? 

 

2.       I believe that there are three kinds of listeners:

 

A.       THE PASSIVE LISTENER.

 

1.      The passive listener does not come to church or to the Bible to hear what God has to say.

 

2.      For example, the passive listener comes into a church service or Bible study and never gives a second thought to what God is saying to him through his teachers and preachers. 

 

3.      I know for a fact that some people who come here on Sundays are not Christians.  But week after week, I share passages that urge them to give their lives to the Lord.  However, they do not respond.  Why?  They are not listening to God.  They tune Him and His Word out of their lives.  They are passive listeners.  Some people just do not listen to God's instructions.

 

4.      What will happen to those who do not listen to God's Word?

 

B.      THE SELECTIVE LISTENER.

 

1.      The selective listener listens to only what he wants to hear.

 

2.      Some people believe that all you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus Christ.  However, when it comes to baptism, they do not think that it is necessary for salvation (Mk. 16:16).  They refuse to believe that baptism is important.  This is an example of a selective listener.  They listen to only what they want to hear.

 

3.      As Christians, we cannot pick and choose what we like and do not like in the Scriptures.  We must obey all of God's teachings.

 

C.      THE AGGRESSIVE LISTENER.

 

1.      The aggressive listener comes seeking to hear diligently what God has to say.

 

2.      The aggressive listener comes to church or Bible study with all ears and wants to hear, regardless of what God says, His will for his or her life.  He wants to know if what he is doing in his life is right or wrong.  And if it is wrong, he is always willing to change.

 

3.      The aggressive listener is accurately depicted in (Acts 17:11), where Paul spoke of the Berean Christians, saying,

 

 

 

4.      If we want to live godly lives, then we must listen to God's will and then put it into practice.

 

5.      The Bible teaches in (Dt. 11) that if we listen and obey God, we will be blessed.  On the other hand, if we do not listen to God, we will be cursed.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.       Does God communicate to us today?  Absolutely.

 

2.       He primarily speaks to us through His Word.  At times, He communicates to us through the Holy Spirit.

 

3.       Have you been listening to God lately?

 

4.       If you haven't, then you ought to be.  God may be trying to tell you something very important.

 

5.       I hope and pray that every day we strive to listen and follow God.

 

6.       At this time, the Lord's invitation is now extended.  If you are subject to His call, please come down as we stand and sing.