Summary: This sermon explores the art of listening and the things that hinder our ability to hear God
Are you listening?
How well do you listen? For me, listening can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a little scatterbrained. I have the attention span of a squirrel or a gold fish, so paying attention isn’t one of my strong points.
God’s word tells us that if we are one of His children, then whatever we do, we are to do as if we were doing it for Him. Whatever we do, we are to do it to the best of our abilities.
God’s word teaches that we are to be and do the best we can in every aspect of our life for His glory.
Today, I want to talk about how well we listen.
I read that President Roosevelt hated greeting dignitaries in the receiving line at White House events. He felt that no matter what he said, people weren’t listening.
So on one such occasion, rather than saying hello or welcome, he started saying “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” Just as he figured, people responded by saying, great, wonderful, keep up the good work…
…however, the ambassador from Bolivia stopped after hearing President Roosevelt’s strange greeting and said, “I’m sure she had it coming.”
We have all experienced both sides of this situation as the one not listening or the one not being listened to.
I would submit to you that it is impossible to have a meaningful relationship with anyone without good communication.
Many of us lack good communication skills, especially listening skills.
I’ve heard it said, “what you say isn’t necessarily what they hear.”
How many times have you had a conversation with someone and a week later they say that you said “X” and you know that you said “Y”.
When I was a member of a military flight crew, there were rules about intercom communications when you were prosecuting a target. The pilot, tactical officer, and sensor operators had to work as a team in order to be successful.
Thus, when you spoke on the intercom you would identify who you were talking to, who you were, and then your information. For example, I would say, “Tac, sensor 1, I have a sonar contact on buoy 1 bearing 349 degrees.”
His response would be, “Sensor 1, Tac, roger contact buoy 1 bearing 349 degrees.”
Did you see how that works, I identified myself and who I was talking to and then gave the information. He, in turn, identified me and himself, and repeated the information, thus confirming that he had heard me.
If he had repeated it back to me incorrectly, I would have the opportunity to correct the error immediately.
Our ability to effectively communicate with each other within the body of Christ is of great importance. If we don’t understand each other, then Satan can exploit our misunderstandings to cause strife within the Church.
Have you ever been talking to someone who didn’t seem interested in anything you had to say, they are just waiting for you to stop talking so they can say what they want to say.
I don’t know about you, but that drives me nuts and that kind of conversation is not communication.
The key to any good relationship, man to man or God to man, is listening. As the old saying goes, “that’s why God gave us one mouth and two ears.”
(Expand on need for unity in the Church and how poor communications leads to strife)
Look at Acts 7:51-54, 51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”
There are basically two reasons a person doesn’t hear.
1. They are distracted or preoccupied with their own thoughts or problems.
2. The second reason is found here in Acts 7, we don’t like hearing something that causes us to have conviction.
As Christians, we must listen to God effectively. If we are going to have peace and joy in our walk with Christ, we must be able to hear Him.
I heard a preacher once refer to the three “C’s” of communication with God.
1. We must Comprehend and understand what God is saying.
2. We must have Confidence and trust what He says is true.
3. We must allow what He says to Change us.
Change in our lives can only come through conviction. The word conviction comes from two Latin words that literally mean “cause to see.”
Look again at Acts 7:51, 51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.