Summary: Listening to God's Word brings us into the kingdom, and it is by listening to it that we grow and become sanctified. That is why Jesus says to the churches in Revelation over and over, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit has to say to the churches."

Benjamin Franklin decided to take stock of him self one New Years, and try to figure out why he

seemed to alienate people, and why he lost friends so easily. He discovered that one of his major

flaws was that he was not willing to listen to others. He had all of the answers and was arrogant. He

did not need to listen to other people's foolish opinions. Franklin did an amazing thing; he learned to

listen and became one of America's most famous diplomats. His whole life and the history of

America was changed by his learning to listen. He wrote, "A pair of good ears will drink dry a

hundred tongues. He learned that when you talk you only say what you know, but when you listen

you learn what someone else knows.

In spite of the fact that listening is such a vital part of learning and life, it is perpetually on the

verge of being a lost art. Ralph Nichols from the University of Minnesota, who has been a leader in

promoting in the art of listening in his book Are You Listening?, says people in general do not know

how to listen. The reason is because nobody is training their ears anymore. For centuries the ear

was the key to learning. All through the Bible times this was the case. We could spend hours just

looking at all the references to the ear in the Bible. It was by means of the ear that the wise sought

knowledge. It was the constant battle of God to get His people to incline their ears to His Word. God

told Jeremiah, "Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem." Dozens of texts lament that God's people have

not inclined their ears unto the Lord. They have ears but they hear not is the sad note in the Psalms

and the Prophets.

One of the most frequent sayings of Christ in the Gospels is, "He that has ears to hear let him

hear." This is also one of the most frequently repeated phrases in the book of Revelation. It is by

listening that we are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Reading has only

been the primary source of learning for the last couple of centuries. But because of the dominance of

books people have ceased to think of the ear and have gone overboard in training the eye. We think

the Bible days are long gone and that we have progressed beyond the need to focus on the ear. Ralph

Nichols and many other scholars have revealed just how wrong modern man is. We spend 3 times as

many hours in listening as we do in reading, but we are not trained to listen. Forty five per cent of

our communication time is spent in listening, but we do it poorly because we have only trained the

eye. We graduate from our eye training schools, and then go off to an ear oriented world, where

listening is the key to success.

Many people no longer read after they graduate, and for the rest of their lives they are most

influenced by what they hear. People on the jury decide the fate of others by what they hear and not

by what they read. We tend to vote based on what we hear from the candidates and not by what we

read. Nichols has been a leader in the movement to get listening clinics developed to help people

learn to develop the art of listening. Acts 22 is an excellent basis from which we can learn how

relevant listening is for the Christian. I counted nine examples of listening in this chapter. Everyone

in it is involved in listening, and their destiny id being determined at this point by how well or poorly

they listen.

I have not read the whole book of Acts with this idea in mind, but a quick survey convinces me

that the entire book revolves around the theme of listening. Good listeners hear God's good news and

they repent and receive Jesus as their Savior. Bad listeners block their ears and refuse to hear God's

Word, and they do foolish and evil things that leads to judgment. When Stephen gave his testimony

Acts 7:57 says, "At this they covered their ears." Then they rushed upon him and stoned him to

death. Story after story in Acts reveals people listen and are saved, or they don't listen and are lost.

Heaven and hell lie in the art of listening. We see it again in Acts 22, and the first point we want to

look at is,


If we are going to take it seriously that listening is one of the keys to a better life and a happy

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