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Sermon by Pastor Gene


Goodmorning, Welcome to Strait Gate Church. If this is your first time here, we are glad to have you with us today. We are going to read from Luke 8:8 and from Luke 8:18 I am using the KJV if you would like to follow along. Luke 8:8 reads, And others fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And Luke 8:18 Says, Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

How many of us today think that we are good listeners? Women tend to be better listeners than men. Husbands are notorious for being poor listeners. We are all familiar with the scene of a husband reading the newspaper while his wife is trying to talk. His response is "Yes, dear. Uhuh. Mmmm. Is that so?" But we all know he's not really listening. Suddenly she pulls down the paper and says, "Have you heard a word I've said?!!"

Two men were talking one day. One of them said, "My wife talks to herself a lot." His friend answered, "Mine does, too, but she doesn't know it. She thinks I'm listening."

People often do not really hear what is being said. This is about a lady who had a hearing problem. One day she and her husband were driving from Tennessee to Little Rock, AK. They were pulled over by a state trooper who asked if the husband knew how fast he was driving? The wife asked, "What did he say?" The husband replied, "HE ASKED IF I KNEW THAT I WAS SPEEDING." Looking at the driver's license the trooper said, "I see you're not from around here." The husband said, "No we are from Memphis." The wife again asked, "What did you say?" The husband told her, "I SAID WE ARE FROM MEMPHIS." The state trooper then commented, "You know, the meanest woman I ever met was from Memphis." The wife again asked, "What did he say?" The husband replied, "HE SAYS HE THINKS HE KNOWS YOU!"

Our message today is, "HE WHO HAS EARS TO HEAR". It is possible to hear with our physical ears and not with our ears of understanding. We have all experienced this in many ways. But ears to hear are what we need to have to understand the spiritual truth necessary to live our lives. Not everyone has ears to hear. Our ears can become clogged by worldliness so that we fail to hear what the Spirit is trying to communicate to us.

We need to see a principle of revelation. The purpose for which Jesus taught was to impart revelation to the people; revelation of who God is, and revelation of His redemptive purpose. God desires to speak to us as well, to reveal His will to us, and to be actively involved in leading us. This has always been his desire. From the beginning of the creation of man, and continuing throughout history, God has wanted to communicate with His creation. He walked in the cool of the day with Adam. He spoke to those men and women of God Who followed Him throughout the ages. He attempted to speak directly to the Children of Israel at the Mount, but they chose to hear through an intermediary, Moses. And today He calls us to be led by His Spirit which entails hearing His voice as He speaks through both the written Word and our communion with Him.

This desire on God's part to reveal His word to us is often neglected by Christians because we do not understand the full meaning of God speaking today. Because we now have the written Word, we assume that is all we need, and that to understand the principles contained in the written Word is being led by the Spirit. While we acknowledge the need for the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word, practically we rely on human wisdom to do most of it for us. This is not what God has in mind, however. He intends for there to be a living dependency on our hearing Him speak by His Spirit. If we miss that, and simply rely on research and knowledge, we will fail to come to the place of truly being led by the Spirit. We will end up walking in what we think, or what some scholar thinks. People like David Korshan. or the hail bop comet troops perverted the truth of God through "private revelations" that had more in common with indigestion than the leading of the Spirit. Anything that God says to us will be totally consistent with His written Word. If we think we hear God saying something that violates the Bible, then we must conclude that it is not God speaking. He would never contradict His written Word. The written Word is the protection which keeps us safe from the heresies which the Devil would spread among us.

What I am talking about today is the living relationship of communion with God which enable us to hear a "now" word for our lives. He desires to lead us by His living presence and the wisdom of His Spirit. God wants to speak to us, each of us. We Must Be Open to Hear. Although God longs to speak to us, there is no guarantee that we will hear. We only hear based on certain conditions. There is a principle of receptivity to the revelation of God.

Only those who are open to hear can hear. That is a truth we must understand. In Luke 8:18 it says, Take head therefore how ye hear: for Whoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have".

More Only as we are open to God to hear and receive and act upon His word can we ever receive further revelation from Him. You may have heard it this way: "Only as we walk in the light we have, will we get new light." It means the same thing. And it is a principle of the Kingdom.

In Matthew 11:25, At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

The revelation of the word of God is reserved for the children; those who come to Jesus open and trusting, ready to receive from Him all He wants to give. But those who think they know, those who have it all down pat they do not see or hear. I've often wondered if two people who think they know it all, who are in a room together, ever agree. It takes humility of mind and heart to receive from God. And the measure of truth we receive will be the measure of truth we walk in. For only as we walk in what we know do we get more. This is what some call the "Law of Use." Let's look at the entire context of this law. "No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." Luke 8:16-18

This passage is talking about hearing the truth and also what you do with it after you have heard it. Jesus is saying that He has not come to hide the truth, but to reveal it. But there is a condition. It takes ears to hear in order to hear that truth. In other words, we must have a receptive spirit towards God. But even when we hear, we must do something with what we hear. Luke says, "Therefore consider carefully how you listen." How you listen and what you do with it will determine what you receive. It's the Law of Use: "Use It or Lose It." It is like trying to use your arm after tying it to your side for several months. If you do not use it in that period of time, it will atrophy. In other words, you will not be able to use it, no matter how much you try. You either use your muscle, or you lose the ability to use it. In order for muscle to grow strong, it must be used. In order for faith to grow strong, it must be used. In order to keep from losing the light, you must walk in the light.

Our efforts to walk with Jesus will be sidetracked and we will be tripped up if we do not obey God's Word. The Bible says that "They stumble because they disobey the message." God has built these principles into the Kingdom. When we neglect to exercise ourselves spiritually, we lose the use of the spiritual dimension in our lives. When we are hearers of the word only and not doers, we deceive ourselves and lose the measure of truth we think we have. I like the way Luke puts it. In Luke 8:18, it says, Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given: and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

You see my friends, it is only what he thinks he has that gets taken away, because he does not in really possess it unless he practices it. The principle of receptivity says that unless we are open and receptive to hear and do the word, we will never even hear it. We will never be tapped-in to the secret things of God unless we are really willing to do His will. Hearing the word is not a function of our physical senses; it is not even a function of our intellect. Rather, it is a function of the condition of our heart. If our heart is toward God, if our will is surrendered to Him, then we will hear the word. Knowing the truth has a moral dimension to it. The truth is not intellectually discerned; it is morally discerned. When our hearts are right with God, God will impart His truth.

Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the LORD giveth wisdom, out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones."

Again, Proverbs 1:7 reads, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." It is to those whose hearts are right toward God that His wisdom is reserved. What is God Saying to You? We see, in this context, a number of important lessons for us as believers. The first is that we should be careful how and what we hear. In Mark's gospel, we are told to be careful, or to take heed of, what we hear. In Luke, the same statement says to be careful how we hear. They are much the same. Both taken together imply that we control what and how we hear.

Hearing is a function of our inner attitude toward God. The words Jesus spoke to both the disciples and to the Scribes and Pharisees were the same. But what the disciples heard and what the Scribes and Pharisees heard was different. Each heard based on his attitude toward God, and we do the same.

what we do with what we have determines what we get from the Lord. The Law of Use applies to us today as well as it did to them. If we want more of the Lord, we must give more of ourselves to Him. There is no other way to receive than to give. The Bible says, "Give and it shall be given unto you." As we give ourselves to the Lord, the Lord will give Himself to us. As we commit ourselves to hear and obey His Word, He will give us more revelation. As we open our hearts to do His will, He will not only reveal that will to us, but give us the strength and power to accomplish it. God desires to reveal the secrets of the Kingdom to us. As we are open and receptive, He will give us ears to hear.

It should also be apparent that we have an obligation to seek and to hear what God is saying. Since God desires to speak to us, we ought to desire to hear what He is saying. We must not be content to live based on what we have learned in some academic study, even of the Bible. We must thirst for a living relationship with Him whereby we hear from heaven.

Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." In order to see clearly how to navigate the winding turns of this life, we must have an understanding of the relevant Word of the living God and how it applies to our lives today. That must be our priority in life.

The greatest need for the Church today is to develop true disciples of Jesus Christ. Our challenge is not simply to make converts. It is not to ask people for a "decision" for Christ. Far too many people have made a "decision" that never translated into a changed life. We must never see our job ending there. If really begins there. Making an initial commitment to Christ is the starting point for the Christian life. Then we begin a new way of living our lives which centers around getting to know Christ and His Word better. To do that our priorities must change. We cannot continue to live like others in the world who do not give significant time and effort to knowing God. But so many Christians do. They think that attending a Sunday service is enough. It isn't! We must take the time to order our lives around knowing Christ. We must take the time to study the Word of God in more than a superficial way. We must take the time to give out in service for the sake of the work of the Lord. That Christians are not doing this is evident by the fact that we are not changing the culture in which we live. The reason why so many in America claim to know the Lord and yet have so little impact is because we do not live for Jesus. We say we are Christians and yet we do not live like Christ.

A disciple is what we need to be, one who in really listens to what God is saying and changes his or her life to conform to the call of God. What is God saying to you today? Are you carefully listening? Are you willing to say yes to Him today and follow through on that? Jesus is speaking to many. Let those who have ears to hear respond to His call. Are you listening to God as He speaks to you? Are you hearing to what he is saying to you. Are you doing the best you can in living your life for God? We must live wholey for Him. Lets Pray. Fater God, We pray today that you will open our ears to your word and hear what you are saying to us today. We give our heart wholey to you and obey your commands on how to live our lives before others, that our light will shine onto our path and before others that they will see you in us. We give you all the glory, in Jesus name we pray, A-men, Go with God.

Pastor Gene

You know nothing, until you've known the love of God