Summary: The reason why we missed many growth opportunities to kingdom greatness is our failure to listen and obey God. James told us to be doers of God’s Word.
Theme: Listening God
Text: Jas.1: 22-25
A. Last Sunday we learned that humility is one of the key principles to kingdom greatness. Humility has to do with knowing and doing God’s will. It is responding God’s call, obeying God’s Word, and giving attention to God’s promptings. So in the Scripture, “humility is listening God.”
B. Sadly, in our Churches today, we have “bunch of hearers but not doers of God’s word.” We have much teaching but less application, much knowing but less learning. We are accustomed to mediocrity and spiritual complacency.
C. James must hit us hard! He says that we should “be doers of God’s word and not hearers only deceiving ourselves.” Listening to God is all-important. It is imperative, a must to every believer. I’d like to say again: the reason why we missed many growth opportunities to become great in God’s kingdom is our failure to listen and obey the voice of God.
T.S.? I believe this truth that we shall learn this morning is so basic. How important is listening God?
A. IT DEFINES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD.
v In John 10: 16, Jesus defines who his sheep are. He said: “they will hear My voice.”
v One wonderful trait of the sheep is its ability to unmistakably recognize and follow the voice of its shepherd. It always responds to the right shepherd. When 2 or more shepherds come at the same spot, their sheep will of course jumble together. But, believe me, it gives them no concern. To determine his sheep, the shepherd will just call out his sheep and they will respond and follow him. Remarkable, isn’t it. And we understand that it is because of his intimate relationship with the sheep.
v The imagery of this passage depicts the intimate relationship of the Lord with His people. He is the Shepherd and His sheep are His people. He defines His relationship with them by saying: “My sheep hears my voice.” In this case, “hear” means, “recognize, respond, follow and obey.” The sheep of Jesus will recognize, respond, follow and obey His voice. Listening to God attests and proves our relationship with Him.
v Oh, I’m afraid that many ordinary Christians may have falsely believed and hoped that their occasional coming to church and living the Christian life at their convenience is enough to qualify them to become “one of the fold.” I’m afraid that many Christians today don’t realize and understand that Christian life is not all about believing, but it is about actively doing God’s will. Christian Weis says, “We are called not only to believing but also to behaving.” True faith is obedient faith. It must be “Trust and obey!” The Lord says: “My sheep hears my voice.” True believers are doers of God’s word.
B. IT DEFINES OUR CHARACTER
v Today, people prefer comfort than character. We almost discard the idea of self-discipline and self-control, because bring discomforts. We like to be in cozy zones all the time, always comfortable, and do our best to be free from annoyances. Even church services are turned to be seekers-friendly, means entertaining, instead of for character building. Nowadays, the church that is most entertaining gets the most audience. And the church that constantly hammers her congregation with God’s Word will shrink in number.
v We are in an era that people want to be entertained. Music is loved more than doctrine; we love singing than the preaching of God’s Word. The church becomes a theater house than a place of scriptural learning. There’s no wonder then why many believers today depart from faith easily because they have no roots for their spirituality –the root of God’s Word, the Doctrine of Jesus. Well, I’m not against music, but the Doctrine of the Lord should take precedence.
v Paul said to Timothy: “Preach the Word…. For the time will come when they will not endure to sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears…”(2 Tim.4: 2-3). Paul warned us that in the last days people would become intolerant to prophetic preaching. They would not listen because they could not stand the piercing power of God’s Word.
v The writer of Hebrews says, “The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword.” Yes it brings healing, but it also wounds; it brings assurance, joy and comfort, but it also convicts and condemns; it gives guidance and enlightenment towards a blessed life, but it also reveals and exposes the weaknesses, the failures, and the hidden pains of the person. Thus many people don’t want to listen God’s Word. They like the healing, the assurance, the comfort, the joy, the guidance and the enlightenment, but they can’t bear the deafening conviction of guilt, the exposure of weaknesses, failures and pains. They just want to conceal them. But the word of God is just so powerful to do all these things –it heals, assures, comforts, guides, enlightens, convicts, exposes and sometimes shatters us to build our character. We just need to listen –to take heed what it says!