Monday, October 12, 2009

overcoming spiritual deafness

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.


suzanne riojas said...

Very thought-provoking...if the ear is the body, and we are a three-fold being, then memory in our soul (or thinking/reasoning portion)... - is that what Jesus is saying in Rev 2:5 and 3:3 - remember....? Just studying along.

David Daniels said...

Suzanne, interesting observation. But, not sure if Jesus was going in this direction when He said "remember."

LewP said...

Pastor David,
Thanks for your study and presentation of the 7 churches in Revelation. I am new to your church and about to participate in your new members class coming soon.
Thanks for your teachings and i appreciate your timely delivery and explanations of our studies each Sunday. I just began following your Twitter, and now your blog. Thanks so much for your time and effort and dedication to His word.

LewP said...
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A Speer said...

David I have a question for you.
Number one Is it better when talking to a crowd or group of people that you are in a way condemning so they get the point and are hurt or to light where they don’t take you seriously?
number two what’s the point of talking to people who will never believe in God or never ever care? Jesus left towns when they did not want to hear him so he wiped the dust of his feet and left.

David Daniels said...

A Speer, Let me take BOTH of your questions together: The difference between us and Jesus is that Jesus KNEW which people were going to rejwect Him and which were spiritually dull. We don't. So, I believe that, when possible, that we continue to show endless grace to people and never presume that we know who might never believe in God or care. I know people who are the last people to place their faith in christ. but, God can miraculously break through hardened hearts. So, sometimes, our persistence pays off. And, never knowing when it may (or may not, we continue presenting Christ to everyone. I hope this helps.

David Daniels said...

LewP, good to have you on board!