Summary: Good communication is important not only between a husband and a wife, parents and children, but most of all, between us and God.

October 12, 2002

I. Introduction:

A. Review of some Biblical principles on friendship

1. Friendly

2. Frank

3. Forgiving

4. Faithful

B. Tonight’s topic is entitled “Hearing But Not Listening."

1. Focuses on one of the most important elements of friendship—communication

2. This is not just talking for the sake of talking. But communicating effectively.

II. Body:

A. The consequences of poor communication

1. Communication is essential to all of us, but it remains the center of most problems.

2. Husbands and wives tend to fight because they fail to adequately communicate.

3. Pastors and elders disagree over seemingly minor issues because they fail to effectively communicate.

4. Mothers and daughters stop talking to one another due to strained communications.

5. Countries go to war as various forms of negotiations break down.

6. Missionaries fail in their attempt to evangelize a people group because of their inability to communicate the gospel cross-culturally.

7. Some people go as far as taking people to court for alleged slander or libelous communications.

B. Effective communication is hard to achieve

1. Most advertisers tell us that if they want their message to reach the point of media saturation where they are assured that their message has covered the vast majority of a T.V. listening audience, they must have their commercial played 17 times. Even then not everyone will probably not have heard and understood the message.

2. Matthew 13:13 “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

C. Biblical principles for effective communication

1. Listen when someone is talking to you

a. Illustration-- A young man once approached Socrates to ask if the philosopher would teach him the gift of oratory. His request was then followed by an incessant stream of words until, finally, Socrates placed his hand over the inquirer’s mouth and said, “Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.”

When the fellow asked why, Socrates replied, “I will have to teach you two sciences. First, how to hold your tongue, and then, how to use it.”

b. Listen to God when He speaks.

1) Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

2) God’s Blessings

The man whispered "God, speak to me"

And a meadowlark sang.

But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled "God speak to me!"

And the thunder rolled across the sky.

But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said "God let me see you." And a star shone brightly.

But the man did not notice.

And the man shouted "God show me a miracle"

And a life was born.

But the man did not know.

So, the man cried out in despair. "Touch me God and let me know that you are here!"

Whereupon God reached down and touched the man.

But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

c. Listen to others when they speak.

1) Dale Carnegie says that you can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.

2. Let your tongue out of its cage only when necessary

a. Swift to hear, slow to speak

1) James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:…”

b. Control your tongue

1) James 1:26, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”

c. Think before you speak

1) Ecclesiastes 5:2, “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

d. Thinking of saying hurting words? Don’t talk.

1) Colossians 3:8, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

e. Speak redemptively

1) Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

f. Proverbs 13:3, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”

D. A God who wants to communicate with His children

1. Creation—God spoke everything to existence (Genesis1)

2. After the Fall—“Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9)

3. At the death of Abel—“Where is Abel thy brother?” (Genesis 4:9)

4. Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

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