Developing Ears to Hear

James 1
  /  January 28, 2024
Speaker: Jonathon Slagenweit

I’m inviting you this morning to turn in your bibles. Guess where?

Back to James chapter 1. Remember the broken record from last week? We’re just gonna let that record keep playing. Alright? We’re gonna come back to this, and I wanna look at one particular element as we kinda round out, what I did not intend to be a series on the word of God.

If you have not enjoyed this, it’s Jim’s fault. Alright? This is all Jim’s fault. The other week when we were gathered at, up at Butterbean’s for our men’s morning breakfast on Tuesday, Jim asked the question, how do we hear the word? Yes.

We’re to be quick to hear, but how do how do we hear the word? What does that look like? And last week, I I tried to help us as we began to identify if we’re gonna hear the word, we’ve got to identify the hindrances, things that block out us hearing the word. And last week in particular, we joined James chapter 1, with Matthew chapter 13 and the parable of the what? Sower.

Right? Not the soils. The sower. We looked at the extravagance of God to sow the word. Then we also looked at the ways in which we hear that word and how that word interacts with us.

We talked about the fact that there are times that the word is snatched away because of lack of understanding. We don’t understand what we’ve heard. We talked about being distracted listeners. There are times that the things of this world distract us from hearing what the word has to say. We looked at the idea that sometimes we’re selective hearers, aren’t we?

Like that, like that, don’t like that. There are times that we’re we like to take our little razor knife and cut out sections and say, yeah, it’s a little hard so we put it aside. It’s exactly what we looked at last week. But then there are times that the word of god falls on fertile soil and it bears fruit. That word becomes engrafted and and all of a sudden it begins to to produce something.

And the idea is that Jesus says there are times that it produces a 160 and 30 fold. And so this morning, we’re gonna come back to James chapter 1, and I wanna talk to us not so much about the hindrances. We’ve already dealt with that. We gotta work it with what we had last week. I wanna talk about developing ears to hear.

Once we begin to remove those hindrances, how do we develop ears that can hear the word? Gonna invite you to stand as we read our our passage from James chapter 1. We’re gonna look specifically at just one verse, but I wanna read the entire text. James chapter 1, we’re gonna begin in verse 19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of god. Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity and naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass, for he beholdeth himself and goeth his way and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whosoever looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueeth therein, he being not a forget fore hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

You may be seated. Before we be go any farther, I meant to mention earlier, welcome to each one of you and welcome to our guests. We have a number of guests with us this morning, and, we wanna say a special welcome. We do have a special guest among us. It’s so good to have brother and sister Eads with us today, Doug and Judy, our conference president and, and first lady.

And she reminded me this morning his only lady too. So just wanna clarify that, first and only lady. And, he agrees that one is enough. And I’m just gonna I want you guys to know because you would not know what just went through my mind, but I want you to know that I just showed some great restraint. You can ask ask me afterwards how I showed great restraint, but I’ll leave it there.

Alright? It is so good to have them with us, actually. I believe this is brother and sister Edes’ 2nd time to be in Easley and first time at this church. It was a number of years ago that they were here for a funeral back at the old church and, so good to have brother and sister Eads with us. He will be preaching this evening, sharing with us and, so looking forward to that, and I trust you will come back for that.

We’re looking at James chapter 1. I specifically wanna focus on verse 19. Verse 19. If you have your Bible still open, let’s look at it together. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear.

How can we be swift to hear and what does that mean? What does it mean to be swift to hear? As I was looking through this text and thinking about our time together and desiring for the lord’s leadership for what does it mean for us to hear, how do we develop ears to hear, I was struck by the context in which this verse falls. I hope you have your Bible still open because I want you to look at the broad text in which James says these words that we are to be swift to hear. I’ve preached on this verse.

I’ve taught from this verse for a number of years, but I don’t know that I’ve ever fully grasped the broad context in which this passage of scripture falls. So if you look at some important elements of this text, it’s talking about our hearing. Right? It’s talking about our speaking, but it also talks about our emotion that we’re not to be swift to get angry. So that means that we are called to be quick to hear well, let me just broaden that out even a little more.

All of that falls in the context of what? The word of god. So it’s talking about our hearing, talking about our speaking, talking about our emotion, anger, but all of that in the context of the word. That means that we’re called to be quick to hear the word of god. What does that mean to be quick to hear the word of god?

Well, maybe you think that means that the preacher should be short. I’m gonna call him out. Tyler, don’t nod your head and brother Scott hush. It’s not what it means. You know, I’ve I’ve thought of this over the years.

This is not in my notes, but this is a side note. You know, preachers have a really tough job because we get paid and for the most part, it’s people are saying, we wanna pay you to preach short. That’s really hard. Let me move on. Alright?

Does not mean that I’m to be short. Alright? Let me assure you that’s not its meaning. Let me share with you a thought that that came to my mind as I was as I was preparing for this morning. This context of hearing, speaking, emotions, our anger, and our doing of this word.

I think we run the danger to be quick to speak the word of god to others, initiating or inciting anger from them rather than contemplating the word through our listening. Maybe I could give us an example of that from the life of Jesus. Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 7 in particular, Jesus says these words, judge not that ye not be judged. For with the judgment that you pronounce, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Or how can we say to your or how can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. I think there’s an element of joining this passage of scripture together with the idea of James chapter 1 of our being quick to hear. How many of you would say that you find it easy, when you hear a passage of scripture preached or you read a a text then it’s really easy to see how that applies to another brother or sister in Christ. Anybody with me?

Maybe I should change my text this morning to the 10 commandments because there’s a bunch of liars here this morning. You know, the natural man, when we read scripture, it’s easy for us to see how that fits in somebody else’s life and it’s easy for us to want to correct others. That’s why Jesus tells us this very truth in Matthew chapter 7. Because so many times we’re we are really quick to speak what we’ve heard rather than for us to be swift for us to hear ourselves. It’s easy to wanna take the pitchfork.

I talked about this last week, and we wanna we wanna pitchfork it on to somebody else rather than to take the spoon and take that word into our own life. But how do we do that? How do we develop a heart that hears the word of god? I wanna give I wanna give us 5 things and kinda round it out maybe with a 6th thought this morning of how do we become hearers of the word, swift to hear. This is not a part of it, but I think one of the things that we need to address right up front that I notice about hearing is that hearing begins by the gracious moving of God.

God is a God who speaks. He is an initiator to communicate with us. Amen? Amen. That’s that’s why we have the word of God is that he has initiated for us to have something to hear.

And so God is the initiator. God is is a conversation initiator. He’s a starter. He’s the one that speaks to us. We need to understand that.

Hearing happens through communication and God has communicated to us. And the primary way that God has communicated to us is through his word. He speaks in many ways, but primarily, God communicates to us through his word. So our hearing the word is primarily gonna come through what? Somebody help me.

The word of god. Our hearing is gonna come as the word of god is communicated, whether that’s through preaching, whether that’s through listening to the Bible or that’s through reading a scripture. That’s how we primarily hear the word of god. So let me give you the first way. If we’re gonna develop ears to hear, let me give you the first way that we do that.

If God primarily speaks to us through his word, then the primary way in which we hear God’s voice is through reading and listening to the word. You say, pastor, that is really profound. I know. Let me just bring that down to us a little closer. That means that you and I have to regularly be in the word if we’re gonna hear the word.

Somebody say amen. Amen. Let me ask you this morning, how much time do you spend listening to the voice of god? If this is the primary way through which god speaks to us let me let me just pause here long enough to say this. The reason that that we’re to be listening to the voice of God or reading the word of God is not for a checklist.

Amen? We’re we’re reading the word of God because we wanna know his heart. If we wanna hear what he has to say, then we have to be in his word to allow his word to communicate with us. I remember as a young person developing a reading pattern, and there were days that I I felt like I’m not getting all that I’m sure that god is trying to say to me. But I realized that as as I would take that element of the word, and I might set it somewhere, I needed these other pieces.

We talked a little bit about this last week. I needed other pieces, other blocks to put down until I could take that piece and put it into its rightful spot. But do you know as you develop a regular pattern of reading God’s word, do you know what happens? All of a sudden, those texts sometimes that you look at and say, I’m not sure what that means, you’ll come back to it a year or 2 or 5 years later and all of a sudden you say, I get it. I understand what that word means.

I’m sorry, sound booth. I just realized I didn’t turn on my wireless. It’s on now. Alright? So one of the ways that we hear the word of god or we hear the voice of god is whenever we read the word.

Sadly, I find that there are times it’s far more easy Let me just say this from a personal standpoint. And if it hits where you’re at, you can say, amen. Alright? I find that it’s easier for me to spend time reading the news, or surfing Facebook, or reading a book, Or engaging in some other activity. I find it far easier to spend my time with that, rather than sitting with my face in this book.

Rather than saying, you know, what really matters, is what I hear from this book. So I would suggest to us this morning that if you want to hear the word of God, He goes on and he said, God speaks. The main reason because every single time God speaks, they’ll just discount what he said is their own idea. What he said is their own idea. And so I would suggest to us this morning, position yourself to hear the word, And you do that by being in the word.

Give you a second way in which we can we can hear the voice of God. Hearing is enhanced through intimacy with God. Hearing is enhanced through intimacy with God. Jesus, the son of God. Did what He went to the synagogue and he would read from the scrolls.

And then he would also do what? Get away and have time alone that he spent with his father. Time alone that he spent with his father. JEZUS developed into The closer closer that you get to the Lord, the clearer you can hear his voice. Let me just repeat that.

The closer that you get to the Lord, the clearer you can hear his voice. Let me just repeat that. The The closer that you get to the the clearer you hear his voice. You say, well, how do I do and listening to his word and doing what his word says. You know, whenever you behold the face of God, right, the idea of beholding, the face of.

God speaks to us even sometimes through non verbal ways. Yeah You know what I’m talking about? Without say in a word, just because they know us. You know there are times that just between spouse relations spousal relationships. You can know what the other is thinking based on the look on their face.

My wife tells me that I’m a terrible liar. Right, figured out how I can whatever I’m doing with my face, it gives it away. You wouldn’t know. Most of you would not know if I, if I told you what I’ve tried. And it was intentionally just a It was intentionally just a but lie.

Fasting and prayer have become lost arts Law. But do you know one of the ways that God communicates I was so touched by the song that we sang right before we prayed together, for a purpose. -Silently we wait. And how many times do I listen for the voice of God in You know, there have been times that I’ve heard clearly the Lord speak in the Lord speak. And there, and there, and there, and there, and there, and we hadn’t been married very long.

We hadn’t been married very long. And then given an invitation to pastor a church and Al Dibout and didn’t feel a lot of clarity, but I remember saying to Tanya, you know, I think we could go and we can make a go of it in Ta Nehisatt. And I don’t think it’s a right. I don’t think it’s a right. I don’t think it’s a right.

I don’t think it’s a right. I don’t think it’s a right. I don’t think it’s a right. I right. I don’t think it’s a right thing.

And so it’s a right thing. And we turned that down. And then the opportunity arose, I was asked to be the youth pastor at Hope’s Inn. Christmas of, I believe it was 19 90 2,006. Gotta get my years straight.

2,006. I remember being in my my parents basement, walking around my father’s pool table. We had some carpet underneath it and I was walking around praying. I remember so clearly But it was in a time of prayer. Stripper, if you go to acts chapter 13, discover the church and there’s within the church, there’s prophets and there’s teachers, and then it goes to naming some names.

There’s Barnabas and there’s Saul and there’s Simeon. In their time of fasting and prayer, the Lord says, set apart their fasting and prayer. To start within our circles. All the the eastern, religions and the mystics, they’ve taken over the idea of meditation. You know, there’s great power in meditation.

David said that he would, he would meditate on the word of the Lord day and night. Mediate is allowing the word to just soak in to our hearts, and it begins to break parts of our life and the blockages in our And I know that. And I know that. And I know that. And I know that.

And I know that. And I know that. And I know that. And I know that. And I know that.

And I know that. And I know that. And I know that. And I know that. And I enjoy some of the weirdest.

And anybody, anybody enjoy, ear be cleaned out. You don’t understand. I see, I look at that and I think, oh, man, think of the relief that they’re getting from that. And I think, oh, man, think of the relief that they’re getting from that. Think of the relief that they’re getting from the They couldn’t hear and now they can hear all I mean, that’s just And that’s just And now they can hear all I mean, that’s just And that’s just this, if you’ve ever experienced an impacted ear where the the wax has has gotten build up and harden, it deadens your ability to hear.

It blocks your ability to hear. Do you know what they’ll do? You’ll go in and they’ll put drops in your ear, and they’ll let that soak. Sometimes they’ll do it for days in advance. You’ll put drops in your ears to begin to soften that.

Do you know what? That’s what meditate what an analogy. Some of you will never never be able to forget the idea of meditation in that context. Alright. But the word of God, that’s what it does.

Mind. The ways that you hear the word is as you take time to just stop and meditate. You know, there are there are times that I’ll start reading, scripture, and something will stand out. And I just, I just and I just and that and meditate give you the final one that I want you to community. You may be saying, what do you mean by you hear the word of God in community?

I want you to think about what it meant for James to say, be a here of the word of God, and He’s not writing to us in 21st century specifically in this sense. He’s writing to an audience that doesn’t have a baby maybe some who are wealthy that may have been able to procure a script or, you know, a score. But by and large, where do they go to hear the word of God? Somebody or they’re going to go to a house where this letter is being read or where somebody has bought a scroll and they’re reading from the word. They’re doing it in community.

They’re doing it in community. They’re doing it in community. And they’re reading from the word. They’re doing it in community. And they’re doing it in community.

And they’re doing it in community. And they’re doing it in community assemble ourselves together and we hear the word together, it gives opportunity for us to be able to talk about that. Life? And what is that doing in your life? What does that mean to you?

Right? What does that mean to you? Right? And what does that mean to you? Right?

And what does that mean to you? Right? And what does that mean to you? Right? And what does that mean to you?

Right? And what does that mean to you? Right? And life? What does that mean to you?

Right? Whenever we hear the word of God, it’s not, well, I’ve got my interpretation, you’ve got your interpretation. No, the Lord intended it for a purpose. We’re not interpretation. You’ve got your interpretation.

No. The Lord intended it for a purpose. But there are times as we begin to talk about the word of God. One of the reasons why I believe what we’re going to start next week is of great importance, is because we’re what we’re going to start next week is of great importance is because as we hear the word of God in community, and then we begin to talk about how do we live this out? And then, oh dear, we’re going to go to be in methodous.

Back to our roots. How do we live that You know, one of the things I’m convinced, I’m convinced that if if we were to go back to our roots, many of us wouldn’t like it. It’s true. To Wesley’s class meetings, when when the word of God was talked about, and then it was there was application made and then it was not just and made, then there was a What are you doing? Uncomfortable.

Were you living this word out in your life and being held accountable to that word? I was struck. I was doing some reading and I came across some material. The written, the written version of the oral teachings of the scribes and the form many groups and study Torah. You know what Torah is, right?

The early scriptures. Form many groups and study Torah. You know what Torah is, right? The early scriptures. Form many groups and study Torah.

You know what Torah is, right? The early scriptures. Right? The early scriptures. For many groups and study Torah, for Torah is only acquired through the study in a group.

Right that and I’m like, wow. And then I start looking throughout history. Community. Community. And I say, Lord, help us to be people who hear your word in community where we’re talking about the word of God together and we’re we’re discussing about how it applies to our lives, and then we’re holding each other accountable.

Amen? To our we hearing the word and living it out. Let me give you the last one, just very quickly. This is the 6. This is the capstone.

I believe that the that probably the most overlooked truth about hearing the word is the fact that we have not truly heard the word until we respond in obedience. You know, I’m told that the Jewish fathers did not consider their children to have heard scriptures until their children did what the scripture said. For example, the Passover. Whenever they would have their Passover Seder, they would they would do this as a part of teaching their children the importance, but they didn’t consider their children to have learned it, to have truly hurt it until they did it. And I believe James ties that to us today.

Word. When we put all of these things into practice, we’re in the word. We’re listening to the word. Meditate in us. We’re listening for the voice of God through prayer and we’re hearing the word of God through and we’re hearing the word of God through and we’re hearing the word of God through community.

Truely become here whenever it’s more than just whenever it’s more than just sound. And I say, Lord, make us true hearers of the word, Demonstrated through our actions. Amen? Lord Quicken your word, make it active in our lives. Help us to be hearer.

Help us to be hearers. So we can be doers. Let’s stand together as we close in prayer. COURTNEY: And reminded this morning of the song that says word of God speak. Your majesty?

Or teach us to be still and know that you are God. I pray that for us this morning as a. To put into practice the things that we’ve talked about this morning, so that we would be able to hear your word to us. That we would be quick to hear. Laura, help us to do more as we looked at a couple weeks ago.

Help us to be more than just hearers. Help us to to be And I pray that you would help us, first of all, to be hearers, to know clearly what you’re saying to us, so that we can live it out. I ask it in Jesus name. Amen. But Lord bless you.

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