Summary: This is the first in a series on: Communicating With God. This sermon is intended to ask: How Well Do We Listen?
Communicating With God:
How To Listen To God’s Voice
One of the basic claims we have as Christians is that God is alive and He wants to have a relationship with us. In fact our salvation is based on the relationship we have with God. But you can not have a relationship with someone without communication. In order to have a relationship with someone you must speak to them, you must listen to them and they must speak and listen to you.
Do you remember the story in the Old Testament about the Tower of Babel? Do you remember why the work stopped on that tower? The work stopped because there was a break down in communication. The people wanted to be greater than God. So God gave the people various languages. This caused a break down in communication. There became a break down in communication because they could no longer understand one another. And when they could no longer communicate with one another they could no longer be productive. The work came to a halt. Here is a timeless truth found in that story.
In order to be productive you must be able to COMMUNICATE.
This truth is true for families, for business partnerships as well as your relationship with God. When there is a breakdown in communication you will cease to be productive.
Today we start a new series on “Communicating With God” and what we are going to look at this morning is: “How to Listen To God’s Voice.” Our text for today is found in Luke chapter 8. Follow along with me as I read.
"A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" Luke 8:5-8 (NKJV)
Notice the last phrase in this passage. “He who has ears let him hear.” Did you know that this is one of the parables in the Bible that Jesus explains to His disciples? In fact Luke 8:11-18 is Jesus explanation of the parable. Notice what Jesus says in verse 18:
“Therefore take heed how you hear." Luke 8:18 (NKJV)
Twice in the first 18 verses of Luke 8 Jesus tells the people to listen. Listening is important in communication. If you don’t hear what another person is saying you will not communicate with them.
Did you know there are four ways to listen? That is what this parable is about. Let’s look at four ways people listen.
1. Some people don’t LISTEN AT ALL.
Follow along with me as I read verse 5 from the Message Bible:
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it.” Luke 8:5 (MSG)
This is planting in the parking lot. This is planting on pavement. Some people don’t listen at all.
I heard a story about FDR that when he was president he got tired of saying the usual things all the time at those White House receptions. So one evening he decided to find out if anybody was paying any attention to what he was saying. As each person came up to him and shook his hand he would smile and say, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” Person after person greeted him and would respond with, “How lovely." or "That’s nice.” FDR realized that no one was listening to him. Finally a foreign diplomat shook his hand. FDR said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The foreign diplomat looked a little shocked but leaned in to the president and said softly, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.”
Some people don’t listen at all. Some people do. This is true with many of us at times. God wants to speak to us and our minds are closed, our hearts are hardened, we are unwilling to listen, we just don’t want to hear what God has to say to us.
What causes us to have a closed mind? Let me give you three common reasons people have a closed mind.
A. PRIDE. When we think, “I don’t need God. I can do it on my own. I know enough or I know it all. I can handle it myself. I can resolve it. I can fix it.” All of these are statements of pride and they can keep us from hearing God.