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Summary: This message aims through Scriptural interpretation, illustration and a communication model to inform the listener to "listen" with a framework of love and care.

LISTEN TO LOVE

Less talk, more communication

"For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you"

(Luke 6:38)

1. How hard is it to find someone who will really listen to you?

• Those of us who have identified with Jesus the Christ, have been taught a very special kind of love, which among other things, is a listening love.

• It’s not the kind of love that says "How can I use you for me, and how can I use you to give me pleasure and how can I use you to exalt me?"

• It is the love that asks, "How can I give of myself in order that you can be fulfilled?"

2. He didn’t like ’tall’ people.

The famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, designed some unusual buildings. On a university campus in Florida stands a library designed by Wright with an extremely low ceiling, so low that if you are six feet tall and not careful, you keep bumping your head. A man who was having this trouble asked why it was that Frank Lloyd Wright had designed such a building. And the answer was, "This is a characteristic of his architecture because he hated tall people."

• How typical this is. You try to cut the other fellow down to your size.

• You make him fit into your mold.

• Husbands and wives, parents and children and friends, remaking each other.

• This is the kind of love we express by taking the other and using him and carving him and shaping him into what we think he ought to be.

3. Agape Love of Jesus

But it is not the kind of love which the New Testament calls agape love:

• The love that is for the other,

• The love that affirms the life of the other,

• The love that rejoices in the difference in the other.

And it is also, a listening love.

• We talk too much--all of us--talk, talk, talk.

• Even when we’re not talking, we’re not listening.

• We are trying to think of what we’re going to say when the other person slows up enough for us to break in.

What a contrast to our Lord, who in all of history had more right to speak with authority than anyone else. Yet how often we find Him listening! He listened to Nicodemus.

4. Jesus Teaches Nicodemus (John 3).

Notice in our Lord’s exchange with Nicodemus how our Lord followed closely Nicodemus’ questions and concerns. Our Lord here demonstrates how He "focused" intently on the "other" person when speaking to them. He didn’t cut Nicodemus off; He didn’t get ahead of him; He didn’t try to "complete his sentences", etc. He "listened intently".

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

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