Summary: In this sermon, we learn how to have a connected heart like Jesus. We can do so through listening to God through His word, practicing God's presence in prayer, and seeking God's face in worship.
A. Likely, many of you have wondered if global warming is true, and if so, what is causing it, right?
1. I know that this is a burning issue (forgive the pun). I know that it has caused you many a sleepless night.
2. Many disaster movies have made speculations about the future implications of global warming.
3. Take a look at this cartoon: Thanks to a generous grant from the oil companies, we have discovered the real reason that the glaciers are melting…someone accidentally unplugged the refrigeration unit.
B. Things don’t work at all if they are not plugged into their power source, and the same is true for Christians.
1. If we are not plugged into God, then we are powerless.
C. Another characteristic of Jesus and His heart was that Jesus had a connected heart.
1. He was as closely connected to God the Father as is possible.
2. Jesus was never disconnected or unplugged from the Father.
D. Let’s take a look at how Jesus was able to have such a connected heart, so that we can have a heart like His that is connected to God.
I. We can Cultivate A Connected Heart by Listening to God through His Word.
A. Do you recognize these words: “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
1. More than once Jesus said these words.
2. Eight times in the Gospels and eight times in Revelation these words are spoken to remind us that it’s not enough to have ears – it’s necessary to use them.
B. In one of Jesus’ parables, he compared our ears to soil.
1. Jesus told about a farmer who scattered seed, which is symbolic of the Word, and it landed on four different soils, which is symbolic of our ears.
2. You know how the story goes, the seed doesn’t take root at all in the first soil, it takes root in the 2nd and 3rd soils, but it isn’t able to grow very well, and then it does great in the last type of soil.
3. Please note that in all four cases the seed is the same seed and the sower is the same sower.
4. What is different is not the message or the messenger, it’s the listener.
C. Scripture has always placed a premium on hearing God’s voice.
1. One of the great commands from God through Moses began with the words, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4)
2. Proverbs 8:34 says, “Happy are those who listen to me.”
3. In our Scripture reading from John 10, Jesus urges us to learn to listen like sheep: “The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (vs.:3-5)
4. Our ears, unlike our eyes, do not have lids.
5. They are to remain open, but how easily they close.
D. May I raise a question or two to test how well you hear God’s voice?
1. How often do you listen for God’s voice?
2. How long has it been since you gave God a portion of undiluted, uninterrupted time for listening for His voice?
E. Did you know that this was a regular practice of Jesus?
1. Jesus made a deliberate effort to spend time with God.
2. If you spend much time reading about the listening life of Jesus, then a distinct pattern emerges – Jesus spent regular time with God, praying and listening.
3. Mark says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mk. 1:35)
4. Luke tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Lk. 5:16)
5. So let me ask the obvious: If Jesus, the Son of God, thought it worthwhile to clear his calendar to be connected to God, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same?
F. Not only did Jesus spend time with God in prayer, he spent regular time in God’s Word.
1. From the temptation narratives, it’s obvious that Jesus knew the Word and knew how to use it!
2. From the Gospels, we are given the picture of Jesus as a person who knew His way around Scripture and knew how to recognize its’ fulfillment.
3. So let me ask the obvious again: If Jesus thought it wise to grow familiar with the Bible, shouldn’t we do the same?