We have been studying the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3 for the last couple of weeks. IN these two chapters, Jesus speaks to a select group of churches in Asia Minor and issues a unique message to each--sometimes commendation, sometimes condemnation and sometimes, a little of each. But, the common element of each letter is in the last lines: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says."
At one level, the command is silly because we all have ears. I've never met an ear-less person. But the command is also serious because the presence of ears on either side of our head is no guarantee that anything is getting inside. We must choose to listen to what the Spirit is saying to us. In the case of Jesus' letters through the Apostle John to each of the churches, the Spirit's message was quite clear. At other times, the Holy Spirit isn't so obviously clear. So, how do we "hear" what the Spirit is saying?
The Holy Spirit speaks in a variety of ways. First, the Spirit speaks through conviction [John 16:8]. Because the Spirit resides in the Christian [John 14:17, Romans 8:11], He "speaks" to us in the way He moves our heart. When we feel uneasy about something we're doing, we are likely sensing the directing hand of the Spirit.
Second, the Spirit speaks through God's Word. In John 14:26, Jesus said, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." When we read and study the Bible, God's Spirit resonates within us as we decipher and digest truth. It is His Spirit which is communicating His heart to us [see also 1 Corinthians 2:6-16].
Third, the Holy Spirit also leads us through other Believers. Because every Christian is indwelled with the same Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:13] and grafted into one Body, we can count on the Spirit in one person to "coordinate" with the same Spirit in another. This is another reason why biblical community is so important. As we spend time together, the Holy Spirit leads us in our life with one another.
The anticipated danger of Jesus' message to each of the churches is that, though having ears, they might choose not to listen. And, for each of us, it's possible that we might suppress the Spirit's conviction, ignore the Spirit's truth and isolate ourselves from the Spirit living in community. If we do, we'll become spiritually "deaf." On the other hand, if we listen to what God is telling us through His Spirit, then we become spiritually in tune to the living God.