Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hearing: More Than the Audible

Romans 10:14 "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
For faith to come about there are things prerequisite: unbelief - preacher sent - preaching - word of God - hearing - faith. The roadblock to faith is failure to hear. There may be a preacher but the unbeliever must listen to the word. If it is heard, then God gives the gift of faith. What must the unbeliever do to be saved? Hear.  Of course one can hear without listening.
Mark 4:22  "For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. 23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given."
Hearing without considering is spiritual deafness. In order to truly hear God's word, it must be considered. We must do another thing; that is evaluate what we are hearing, and then apply it to ourselves. This is called reasoning.
Acts 17:2 "And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures..."
Paul was the greatest preacher outside of Christ- ever. Many places such as this, Paul reasoned with those to whom he preached out of scriptures. He used what we call the Old Testament to reason, not only with the Jews but the Greeks.

Reason is the most important tool of a preacher. Reasoning is the process of invoking the mind of others to think, understand, and make judgments about what they hear. Logic is the tool of persuasion the preacher uses to convince those hearing. Logic is using facts to persuade. Jesus was astute at that. His main tool was the use of parables. He used everyday things to convince people. By using parables, he presented the facts without offending he hearer. Nathan used that process so that King David could convict himself.

 The bases for having to preach and judge is truth:
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..."
Nobody wants to hear that because it is offensive to them. It's a hard pill to swallow, and basically implies that you come short of God's expectations -  you are a failure! To be honest, no one wants to hear something negative; that's why Joel Osteen tickles their ears with positive Christianity. However, without judgment, conviction never comes. Indeed, the preacher is obligated to say, you are a sinner. That  obligation makes the preacher out to be a bad guy. If the hearer listens, it is not only him who has failed God, but all, for all have sinned. That is an easier pill to swallow.

Sinners like to think, I've been good. The preacher's job is to reason with them by answering that, no you have not for only God is good, and that by breaking even one command anyone is as guilty as if they had broken them all. The Ten Commandment's use is to convince sinners that all have sinned. Obedience to the Ten Commandments is not necessary for salvation, but disobedience of them is the necessary infraction which leads to salvation. The logic the preacher must use is that since you are a sinner, and the penalty for sin is death, you need redemption.

It follows that since you, the sinner, merely thinks you're God, you're not. Since you can't save yourselves, then you need Jesus for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and by Him only can you be saved. People act as if they are God. They want what they want and when they want it. People even make futile attempts to save themselves by obedience. Only Jesus saves. Everyone else must hang on the cross, and be crucified symbolically by presenting themselves a living sacrifice. That is the promise of change, or going from the flesh to the spirit.

The highest roadblock to salvation is the obstruction of change. People like how they are and what they do. They like their own beliefs, valid or not. They love themselves, and the change is to love God more than the self - with all our minds, hearts, and spirits. That too is a tough pill to swallow. The preacher must preach that but few are willing to change!

We all will fail, but God doesn't look at our failures. He looks at our will. Are you willing to change? Jesus already knows that if you are willing, Satan will step in to try to change your mind. He offers pleasant and beautiful things. Those are temptations. Our flesh likes those things, but if the spirit is willing, the weakness of the flesh can be overcome by God's assistance. He gives sinners the armor to fight off the barbs of Satan! Whenever the preacher preaches, the devil argues with your soul. He impedes logic and short-circuits reasoning.

So you see, hearing is essential in order to reason. Listening is the processing of what we hear. That too is essential to reason. When we hear, we must reach conclusions using the logic presented. All that reasoning, if the preacher uses good logic, should be: I need Jesus.

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