The Simplicity Series #15

The Power of Hearing

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17
According to Jesus, one must have “ears to hear.” It is not enough to have ears, nor is hearing the end of the matter. It is a matter of having the ears to hear, in other words, a disposition of mind and soul to listen intently, humbly, submissively. When the Word of God, which is “alive and powerful” (Heb 4:12, NLT), enters into the ears of such a soul, faith is born, and the dynamic of God’s Word transforms the life. This is not just a working principle at salvation, but an ongoing interplay that brings growth, maturity, and conformity to Christ.
The Ear of the Disciple
Having the “ear of the disciple” means to be constantly listening for God to speak by His Spirit and through His Word. Elijah had ears to hear the still, small voice of God. In spite of the raging of wind, earthquake, and fire around him, he discerned the “still small voice” (1Ki 19:12). We give far too much credibility to the “noise” all around us, and fail to catch the voice of God calling through its clamor.
In Isa 50:4, we learn the secret to the power of the Savior’s life as He walked this Earth as a man. “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as [a disciple].” Discipleship is a daily discipline.
The Call to Hear
The call of Jesus, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mat 11:15), implies a soul that has been made ready to hear His Word. When the Word of God is presented, those who do not hear have long been preparing themselves to reject the truth. Because all mankind has the external witness of creation (Rom 1:18–20) and the internal witness of conscience (Ecc 3:11; Rom 2:14–15), those who reject the final witness of God’s Word are “without excuse” (Rom 1:20). The wisdom of God calls out to mankind on a daily basis through all the circumstances of life (Pro 8:1–11). Those who gradually receive truth in small increments throughout their lives will ultimately come to receive Jesus Christ (Joh 1:12; Joh 3:14–18).
The Consequence
Jesus warned the disciples to “take heed how [what] you hear” (Luk 8:18). Each of us is accountable for what we choose to believe. And every day of our lives, we prepare our souls—either to receive and believe the truth, or to reject it and believe the lie. The soul that chooses the path of humility is predisposed to receive the Word of God (Jam 4:10; 1Pe 5:5). Humility acknowledges our sinfulness and our smallness, whereas arrogance denies both. Thus, the path to Hell is paved—not with good intentions, but rather with the self-centeredness of arrogance.
The Will to Do
Each of these traits—humility or arrogance—is the product of the will of man. The initial fall of Satan began with the words, “I will …” (Isa 14:13). Because the “heart,” or the will, is the seat of ultimate eternal destiny (Pro 4:23), Jesus declared, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Joh 7:17). The issue being discussed was the source of Jesus’ teaching. The question was being asked by unbelieving Jews; therefore, Jesus is speaking directly to the matter of entering eternal life. To conclude from the witness of creation and conscience that God exists poses to every soul a question: “Do you want to know and do His will?” According to Jesus, when the individual soul answers in the affirmative, God will reveal both the truth, and the Truth Giver—the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Birth of Faith
Faith is born in the soul by the Word “impregnating” the receptive soul. James tells us, “receive with meekness the implanted [impregnated] word, which is able to save your souls” (Jam 1:21). Although, in the context, James is addressing believers for their further growth and edification, the principle applies to all reception of the Word of God.
Both believers and unbelievers often fail to receive divine truth. In the parable of the sower (Mat 13:1–9), Jesus is not discussing which of the soils represent salvation. Rather, He is laying down the fundamental principle that there is no profit from the seed sown except in the soil (soul) that is prepared to receive it.
The Word of God has the inherent power to generate faith, but only in the humble heart. Each of us is accountable for how our souls are prepared to receive the truth ministered to us by His Holy Spirit.
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed,
you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Eph 1:13 (see also Act 10:43, Act 10:47; Act 15:7–8)

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