Title: A Renewed Ear
Topic: New Years Message
Theme: Prolonging the Days of Christ
A truth worth grasping today is found in Isaiah 53:10. I love the way the New American Standard Bible translates it, “But Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief. If He would render Himself as a guilt offering. He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)
Introduction: It is that time of the year when we hear those New Year resolutions. Many proclaiming this or that - but there is one I would like to run by you this new years season. 1 Peter 1:13-16 gives us the perfect New Year resolution, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'” Let us pray!
There are three ways to accomplish holiness to God: 1.) Have a “Undefiled, Mouth, we talked about that last week 2.) Have Undefiled Ears and 3.) Have Undefiled Eyes - today we will talk about our ears.
Propositions: I would like to propose to you that the church that gets used of God to carry the message of Christ on to the next generation has Christians who grasp the powerful truths found in this message.
Christians can experience the same kind of life that the Apostle Paul lived. Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
King David foresaw of a time when “…future generations will be told about the Lord.” (Psalm 22:30) A time when people of God would “…proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn…” (Psalm 22:31) The Apostle Peter wrote about the work of Christians in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Transitional Sentence: A desire of the heart for Christians should be to have an undefiled ear. Isaiah 50:4-5 says, “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious, I have not drawn back.” (Isaiah 50:4-5) Isaiah 50:4-5 is a passage about Jesus Christ and His relationship with the God the Father.
I like how the New American Standard Bible translates it, "to listen as a disciple (NAS) "The Lord God has opened My ear." Many have convinced themselves that defiled ears are ears that listen to all that is displeasing to God. The real problem is that those who let their ears listen to the call of the flesh, the world and the lies of the devil are people who have no desire to have their spiritual ears tuned to the Holy Spirit of Christ. With Jesus Christ dwelling in the spiritual hearts of born-again Christians, they can enjoy God waking their spiritual ears with an attitude of listening. They can have ears of a learned disciple of Christ. They can have ears that not only hear the call of God but have understanding.
Each and every one of us can fall into a mode of spiritual sleepiness and needs to be awakened daily so we can have a desire to meditate upon God’s commands and precepts. We all need the Lord God to waken us with a desire to be in the Word of God and meditate upon it as we make daily choices in this world. In Luke 21:37-38 we read that Jesus taught every day in the temple and the people got up in the morning to hear Him teach.
Christians have the Word of God and they can ask the Lord to give them a listening heart and be like the disciples of Jesus, have daily teaching of the things of God and of Christ. Here in America, Christians can choose to watch and listen to worldly programming or choose to meditate upon the Word of God through Christian music, books and movies at any time they want. We are a nation that has an abundance of Christian music, DVD’s and Biblical teachings. Today’s messenger listens to the Word of God attentively, submissively and gladly because it is God who has awakened his spiritual heart.
On the road to Emmaus two disciples had their hearts burning within them as Jesus talked with them about the Holy Scriptures. (Luke 24:32) When He later appeared to His disciples Luke 24:45 says, “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures…” (Luke 24:32) It is Holy Spirit enlightened Christians whom God will use to get the message of Christ around the world.
In the Bible (Nehemiah 8) we read of a time after Nehemiah had made the adequate preparations to guard the city. He appointed singers so Jerusalem could have joy in the Lord and then he made provisions for a great reading of the Word of God. The Bible says on the first day of the seventh month the people assembled as one man and Ezra the priest read aloud from the law from daybreak until noon. The Bible says the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:1-3) On the second day of the seventh month the head of families, the priests and the Levites gathered to give attention to the words of the law. (Nehemiah 8:13)
The Bible says at that time those who read from the law taught it in a way to make clear the teachings so people could understand what was being proclaimed through the law of God. (Nehemiah 8:8) Before the month was over there was a great revival among God’s people, by the twenty-fourth day the Israelites gathered, confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers. We read that the people stood and listened to the Book of the Law for a quarter of the day.
In the book of Acts we read on the first day of the week the people of God met all night to hear the preaching of God’s Word. (Acts 20:7-12) It must be noted that the length of the sermon, short or long is not the focus; it is the content. Is it the preaching of God’s Word and are the people who gathered together hungry or attentive to the Word of God?
Christians who will be used to carry the gospel to the next generations are a people of God who are noble-minded (eguenes), a people who give generous attention and who have a great eagerness to receive the message (prothumia) and listen to it respectfully. They enter into the place of public worship to listen. (Ecclesiastes 5:1) They long to become disciples of Christ and they imitate His life by being listeners of God. Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, "Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong."
As we live in this world, people know the value of listening and those who do not, and it is plainly evident. People in the workplace become angry or frustrated; they will gather a group of people around them who tell them what they want them to hear. Family members become upset over something, and they will gather family members who will tell them what they want them to hear. Someone who becomes offended in a relationship will get a hold of a friend and tell them what they want to hear.
A listener is that type of person who will gather a proven group of people, in a field of life, around them to gain insight and wisdom on how to live, to do their work or develop their trade.
When I was in the immature stage of my horse career, before Christ's days, I would head down to the coach on Thursday nights—that was cowboy night back then. I would set around people, who really knew nothing about horses, but they would tell me what I wanted to hear. They thought I was good, or at least knew something about horses because we had a horse ranch name, and we had several horses. I did this for years with my career really was going nowhere.
Then the Lord by His grace allowed me to be addressed by some national champion horse trainers. They directly informed that I did not know what I was doing. I did not listen; it came to that point where I was all but completely out of business, and had lost most of my clients to people who had learned the hard way how to develop a listening spirit about the horse business.
I then sought out trainers, breeders and master farrier's who had learned the truths about the horse business. They told me the truth and allowed me to apply them into what God had gifted me to do. After the proverbial school of hard nocks, I learned the joy of having a listening spirit. After I learned the power of a listening ear, then came the privilege to work with hundreds of Region Top Five horses, along with many USA and Canadian National top ten horses.
I love watching Jon Gruden quarterback camps - named after the NFL coach who led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first ever Super Bowl win in the 2002 season. love watching Jon train and teach college football players the skills they need to know so they can be pro-football players in the NFL. The college quarterbacks I like are the one who are hungry to be critiqued and corrected of their shortcomings. Often, those are the players that seem to excel in this game of life.
In Closing: Regarding our walk with the Lord, to have an undefiled ear means to have a heart that seeks after God with an willingness to have a changed life. Romans 12:1 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will."
Hearing from the Lord requires sacrifice. Just as college athletes need to sacrifice time, effort and money to attend training camps, Christians need to sacrifice time, effort and yes, even some money to hear from God.
Time: Christians need to make time to expose themselves to the reading and the teaching of God's word.
Effort: Christians need to make the effort to be critiqued by Jesus Christ. That is done by seeking to learn the whole council of God's Word. An athlete makes the effort to make it to the weight room, be instructed by and listen to conditioning coaches as well as learn the play book. In the same instance, a Christian needs to make the effort to purchase teaching material and/or be instructed by men and women who have studied to show themselves approved of God. Just as a quality NFL player has developed an listening ear to those who have authority to correct him, a Christian needs to have a listening ear to those who have the Christ apportioned gifts of a prophet, apostle, evangelist or pastor and teacher of the Word of God. (Ephesians 4)
Money: Most professional football players have invested much to get properly trained, prepared and equipped. No quality football player got where they are without some kind of investment. Christians who are used of God to take the Gospel message on to generations to come will invest in God's work in some way. Those who become teachers spend a lot of money on study material, and they allow their teaching to be examined by those who have authority over them.
This is New Years resolution month for us in a sense. Let us pray for an undefiled ear, allowing Jesus to critique us, so we make walk instep with the Holy Spirit of Christ as He illuminates us with the written Word of God.