John 5:23 through John 5:30 (NIV)
Ia) 24“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. Ib) 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
IIa) 28“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice IIb)29and come out IIIa)—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. IIIb) 30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
Dad Woods is a avid reader. I remember many times while a child at home
seeing him in his chair in the living room with a book. Just as often I can
remember Mom saying something to him, or asking him to do something. No
response. Later she would ask him again. No response. Finally, "LESTER!" He would look up from his look with a blank look of bewilderment on his face as if to say what did I do to deserve getting yelled at like that? It is possible
to have good hearing but be hard of listening. . . to hear words but not
really hear what they man to our hearts. Satan has his way, and so do we, of
dulling the hearing. So James says that to prepare ourselves for the truth,
we must have open ears. . . we must be ready to listen.
Jesus was continually saying “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” What some do not realize however, is that there will be a est afterward, so we should listen well to be able to pass the test that follows. In the end, everyones hearing will be tested.
Thematic Sentence: The voice of life will become the voice of death to those who will not listen.
I. Your Chance to Hear is Offered.
A. An Opportunity for Truth
Sometimes truth is hard for us to hear. We don’t’ like what it has to say, but we must realize that it is a great opportunity to know the truth. If we listen to Jesus, we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
***Humility is facing the truth. It is useful to remind myself that the word itself comes from humus, earth, and in the end simply means that I allow myself to be earthed in the truth that lets God be God, and myself his creature. If I hold on to this it helps prevent me from putting myself at the centre, and instead allows me to put God and other people at the centre.
-- Esther de Waal in Living with Contradiction: Reflections on The Rule of St. Benedict. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 8.
*** The great thing is to get the true picture, whatever it is.
-- Winston Churchill, during World War II. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 1.
B. An Opportunity For Life
*** I want to go on living even after my death.
- Ann Frank
*** The stars shine over the mountains,
the stars shine over the sea,
The stars look up to the mighty God,
the stars look down on me;
The stars shall last for a million years,
a million years and a day,
But God and I will live and love,
when the stars have passed away.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson,
*** For a little reward men make a long journey; for eternal life many will scarce lift a foot once from the ground.
-- Thomas a Kempis in The Imitation of Christ. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 12.
II. Your Choice to Hear will End.
A. By An Undeniable Communication
When the voice of Christ calls out to those who are in their graves, they will all hear him, and none will be able to resist its significance. None will be able to escape hearing it.
B. By An Undeniable Command
*** Over lunch, British writer G. K. Chesterton once expounded to fellow writer Alexander Woollcott on the relationship between power and authority. "If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."
Chesterton's vivid example is right. There is a profound difference between power and authority--and Jesus possessed both.
III. Your Charge to Hear is Weighed.
A. The Evidence Will Be Entered
Good or bad, the record will be entered.
He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for heaven’s sake.
B. The Evaluation Will Be Just
*** Most of us are umpires at heart; we like to call balls and strikes on somebody else.
*** I was in the north of England, 1881, when a fearful storm swept
over that part of the country. A friend of mine, who was a minister at
Eyemouth, had a great many of the fishermen of the place in his
congregation. It had been very stormy weather, and the fishermen had
been detained in the harbor for a week. One day, however, the sun
shone out in a clear blue sky; it seemed as if the storm had passed
away, and the boats started out for the fishing ground. Forty-one
boats left the harbor that day. Before they started, the harbor-master
hoisted the storm signal and warned them of the coming tempest. He
begged of them not to go, but they disregarded his warning, and away
they went. They saw no sign of the coming storm. In a few hours,
however, it swept down on that coast, and very few of those fishermen
returned. There were five or six men in each boat, and nearly all were
lost in that dreadful gale. In the church of which my friend was
pastor, I believe there were three male members left.
Those men were ushered into eternity because they did not give heed
to the warning. I lift up the storm signal now, and warn you to escape
from the coming judgment. -- D. L. Moody.
By J. Wilbur Chapan, "Present Day Parables."