Hearing leads to doing, We start with milk, we then develop capacity for strong meat. Meat is for children with teeth. May we start applying what God has instructed us to do. (Hebrews 5:11-14; James 1:5)
Sermon # 11528
7:30 PM on 8/22/2018
I mentioned one or two weeks ago about a short video from Vietnam. We want to show it to you because our people on the video are showing you how open it is. They started an English school and teaching the Vietnamese to sing this Christian song. They are using the Bible to teach English. This is the first time they are hearing about J.C. They just are hungry. That’s the word we are hearing from Vietnam. That’s amazing.
Turn to your neighbor and give them a high five. We’re doing something in Jesus’ name. And then let’s have a few minutes of prayer. Let’s pray for the Bible college. They could not be there unless they were trained. We pray for our Bible college starting up now in this month of September and for the mission. Send laborers, Lord. For our fellowship to always be in tune with God. God must lead us every step. Let’s have some prayer together.
Heb. 11, we have a message on our growth, our development as believers. I’d like to say we have a spirit of joy here. You guys want to break loose and have a good time? Let’s do it! Halleluiah! I’m so edified and encouraged.
Have any of you heard of Duck Dynasty? I was in Europe when that was going on, so I was a latecomer hearing about the duck commander, Phil Robertson. How many know about him and the duck calls and he designed one that hit the right tone and the ducks believe it’s a duck and he made those duck calls and built the duck dynasty. He’s a red neck guy on some river in Louisiana. When he was 28, he was an alcoholic. He had a problem drinking, he had a family and a miserable guy, but when he was 28, he was born again. Turn to your neighbor and say he was born again! Halleluiah! Praise God! Someone from Louisiana got saved! He had in his testimony in a chapter called River Rats he was a commercial fisherman on the river with “100 hoop nets and trout lines stretching all the way across this river. Pirates on the river kept stealing my fish. Now, people have been shot in Louisiana for taking fish out of somebody’s nets. When I saw people stealing my fish, I’d run them down with my shot gun, scare the daylights out of them. It didn’t do much good though and they kept stealing from me. But I kept scaring them. I was making enemies up and down the river. People were probably saying that old guy down there is about as mean as a junkyard dog. I kept reading my Bible while the stealing continued unabated. It says in Rom. 12 do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. Do not take revenge my dear friends but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, it is mine to avenge. I will repay. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good. I read the verse and sat there thinking there ain’t no way that’s going to work! No way! Be good to them but Lord they are stealing from me. But then I had a revelation. Hey wait a minute. I’ve never tried that. I kept running them off with my shot gun. It honestly made no sense to me but I was going to try it the Lord’s way. So I decided the next time I saw someone lifting one of my nets, I’d initiate the biblical way of dealing with them. I was going to be good to them. Sure enough, I walked out one day and heard a motor running. I looked and saw some guys pulling up one of my nets. I stood there and watched them for a few minutes. My boat was parked right on the river bank. I took off running and jumped in it. I had my shotgun with me. I wanted to try God’s way but my faith was weak. So I had my shotgun just in case! I’m going to try and be good to them but if they wanted to get mean I was going to have to survive. So I ran out on the river and these guys were still coming up with my nets. I cruised right up. They saw me coming, dropped the net, threw the float back in the water and started fishing. Hey, what are you all doing? I shouted. We’re just trying to catch a few fish. What were you doing with my net in my hand? Well you know, he said as he started to stutter, what is that? Is that what that is? Is that what that is? You know what that is. Then I changed my tactics. In a cheerful and exuberant voice I shouted, good times have come your way. They looked at me wondering exactly what I was up to. I still had my Browning A5 shot gun. What? One of them said. Good times have come your way. I’m going to give them all to you. You were going to still my fish. Evidently, you planned a fish fry. But you’re all out of catching anyway. You want a fish fry since you didn’t catch them? You’re going to steal them? Well here’s the good news. I’m going to give you want you’re trying to steal, free of charge. Nah, we’re just going to – one of them started to say. Nope! You want a fish fry? We’re gonna have a fish fry. How many people you got coming? I reached over, grabbed the rope and told them to keep their boat there. Let’s see what you all fixin to carry my net up. Woe! You got done pretty good. I got a lot of fish in there. Get your boat over here. They started paddling over. I dumped the fish in their boat. What about this big white perch? Should I throw him back? No, we’ll keep him he said. The fish kept hitting the bottom of the men’s boat. They kept watching me throw them. Finally one of them said, I think that’s enough. Look, you start frying fish, kin folk will start showing up. Let’s have more, so I threw all of my fish in their boat. Now you got plenty. Now, here’s the deal. Why steal something if you can get it free? Man, look, we’re sorry, one of them said. I understand. Look, I live right over there. From now on, you come over my house and I’ll give you all the fish you want. You get all your fish. You’re happy. Everybody’s happy, happy. I let the net down and back. Good to see you. The men pulled away in their boat. They were looking back at me thinking is this guy for real? Maybe they remembered I had a shot gun. After that episode, everybody quit stealing from me. Every time I saw someone eyeing my nets, I’d offer them free fish. I was giving away less fish than what was probably stolen from me. I reread the text from Romans 12. You know what? I get it. What the Almighty is saying is that no matter how sorry or low down somebody might be, everybody is worth something. But you’re never going to turn them if you are as evil as they are. If you are good to them, you might appeal to their conscience if they have any. Now there are some people who might be so mean you can’t be good to them, but most people are perplexed about someone who is good to them when he should have been mean. Most of the time, they end up giving up their evil ways.”
James 1:22-23, I got two words tonight: hearing and doing.
Heb. 5, Isn’t that a great story? You got more respect for that guy now.
vs. 11. This is Melchizedek. We have many things to say about him but they are hard to be uttered, hard to say them. Hard to preach maybe. It’s hard to preach if people are not hearing. This church is so, I’m so thankful we are hearers. The hunger we have. We want to hear. I need to be a hearer. They say children when they are first born – do any children when they are first born start talking? No, they cry and coo. Between one and three months of age. At 4 to 6 month they sigh, grunt, gurgle, squeal, laugh and make different crying sounds. Children. Little babies. They are not talking. But what are the adults doing? Talking to the baby. Aren’t we talking all the time? There is a process going on. The baby is learning and it takes time. Between 6 and 9 months, they babble in syllables and start imitating tones and speech sounds. Between 12 months, a baby’s first words usually appear. By 18 months – 2 years, children use around 50 words. I want to make this point because I think it’s parallel to the spiritual life. I talked to Pirjo and she said when she first became a believer, she didn’t know our language. She couldn’t say the name God with much freedom. It was such a unique word. It was sacred. She was careful with the word “God.” When we become believers, we start to hear. We maybe don’t do much talking. It takes time for words to go into our spirit. For us to get ahold of words of life. Reading the Bible and thinking about it and the hearing part is such a big part of our growth. We are hearing not only the voice of the preacher but a voice behind us speaking to our spirit and heart and saying this is the way. Many times in the Christian life, we develop phrases and ideas and concepts and package them in phrases and clichés that we get familiar with. I think of it as a spring that is compressed. Our thoughts can be compressed. In the Holy Spirit, it can be a whole new refreshing phrase I never heard before or a message that speaks to me and maybe I will never forget that message. This is spiritual investment like our parents did when we were babies. We were cooing and laughing and babbling and yet it was developing.
We don’t know how the bones grow in the womb in Ec. 11. Neither do we know God’s work. Very hard to package God’s work because it is everywhere. Even he makes the wrath of man to praise him. Even the evil work is under God’s sovereign plan and work. Even the quiet, mild, background work of a beautiful young girl who is a queen of Persia named Esther. That story is fascinating because it’s not about the Jewish people being powerful; the Jewish people having an army; the Jewish people defending themselves. It’s about Jewish people being protected by God. This quiet work in the palace is a work of God. Halleluiah.
The first word is “hearing” in vs. 11. The word for “dull” is the tranquilizer that dulls the muscles or nervous system of a wild animal. Shoot the tranquilizer into the leper in the tree and it falls out of the tree and men do the work on it. Dulling of the hearing that happens to us. We can’t hear anymore. We aren’t hearing the important things. Maybe we become dull of hearing by hearing so much that our hearing tires and we shut down. Maybe we hear the wrong thing that is a disappointment to us and we shut down. Proverbs says he makes the seeing eye and hearing ear. What does he say to these people?
vs. 12. I see two things in that. One is I might have to learn it over again but that’s a good thing. If I don’t get it, I become dull of hearing and have no future. No, you have a future. Just start hearing again. Hearing again. Hearing again.
Mk 4 when we hear we hear. It’s like hearing leads to hearing. Hearing leads to doing. When we are doing, we start eating the meat.
vs. 12. In need of milk, – this is an infant. They are not teachers, but they should be. They are hearers but not good hearers or not hearers but have to get the milk and learn the first principles of the oracles of God which are fun to learn hearing them, enjoying them, receiving them. Like Phil Robertson on that Louisiana River. He was reading the word and God was speaking to him about actually doing it. This is where I have to congratulate you folks because you are not only hearers but doers. You get in your car and come. You are doers. We start to eat the meat. The meat is for children with teeth. When you don’t have teeth, you have milk and gum your food. You can only gum. When you get teeth, you can eat meat. When you drink milk, it’s two hours or an hour and eat again. When eat meat you can go 4, 6, 8 hours with the meat. When you are an adult, it says the child between 2 and 3 years sentences extend to four and five words. Children can recognize and identify all common objects and pictures and use pronouns I, me, he, she and some plurals. Strangers can understand most words. Between 3 and 5, conversations become longer, more abstract and complex. By the time a child turns five, they have a vocabulary of 2500 words and talk in complete grammatically correct sentences and ask a lot of questions why, what and who. If you can with your imagination think with me. When you and I became believers, we were like the children who can gurgle and babble and laugh. We were receiving words from God. We were getting rooted and grounded in our faith. We were learning about love and grace but we couldn’t say much. We were interested to hear and processing it but not very good in our communication and also maybe in our living. We failed a lot. Children need their diapers changed often and new Christians need their diapers changed often. And even some of us older ones. Calm down! Don’t go there! Do you believe that it takes time to learn the doctrines and for them to become a part of your vocabulary and for this to become a part of your frame of reference? It is different. If you are a church goer and learning these things and processing them, you’ll notice a difference when you are with the unbelievers how little their life reflects faith. How little prayer means to them. There isn’t much transcendence in life only limited by what they see and feel. It’s a sad thing when people don’t have any spiritual life, no spiritual roots. They are with a shot gun on the river. The story reminded me of when I lived up in Maine. The same thing happened with Maine fishermen. They would have a gun onboard on their fishing boat and they could see someone stealing from one of their traps. They would take the rifle out and shoot over their heads. It was like a scary kind of wow. Do people get killed out here? What a mean, violent atmosphere. What we are saying is when we become hearers, we develop a new vocabulary and way of thinking and we start to eat the meat.
vs. 13. He has the word but is unskillful in it. He doesn’t know how to use it. He has to know how to use it. We are not only hearers but doers. This challenges us in our comfort zone. This guy on the river in Louisiana it was easier to go out and treat them with his gun and be angry. When I start to become skillful in the word of righteousness, I start to do it. I start to apply it. I start to live by it. I had one brother say I don’t pray. He said because God is going to do what he’s going to do. Why would I pray? God is Almighty, sovereign. He’s going to do his work. I haven’t thought like that in a long time. For me prayer is powerful, meaningful, changes God’s heart like with Moses. Prayer is a trust and communion and quietness. Prayer is powerful. Jesus speaking about prayer in the gospels and not only hear what he says but do it. We become skillful in the word of righteousness. Feeling it. It’s part of us. Eating it.
vs. 13-14. Not only are you quietly believing but you can give a reason for what you believe. We just saw the video from Vietnam. We know the folks there and don’t need to say their names. They have found some joy in it. They have gone to Vietnam in faith. They have found a ministry of life, the reality of Jesus in their footsteps. This is our privilege to feel, to sense to believe and recognize God is at work amongst us. Some come in here grieving because of a personal loss. I rejoice we don’t have mechanical, automatic answers for people in their problems. We are skillful in the word of R. I like it we are not cut and dry Christians and go through formality and do our teaching and it’s over. I like it’s living in us and we are believing it, embracing it and there is something going on making us like adults. We are kind of crazy. I think Jesus is a bit this way. Jesus is God. That Jesus is with little Ruth when she comes from Moab and Esther from Persia and Jesus is with the young man in Proverbs saying don’t go that way. Jesus is with David in the cave and Paul in prison. He came and visited me and sought me out diligently and found me and not ashamed of my chain. He wasn’t guarding his reputation. If you are affiliated with me, not good for you but it didn’t matter with him. He was skillful in the word of righteousness.
I love P. Butch Veader. He’s an amazing guy. A lot of content in that man. A lot of experience in that man. A lot of walking in faith and going through things and being faithful to God. I feel being with him and in fellowship there is not only hearing but he actually is doing and the skill that comes.
vs. 14. Now their lives are making a language that makes sense. They are speaking, it sharing it. A living epistle, a manifestation of kindness. A quiet messenger.
We have someone here who has cancer in our church and they shared with me I don’t want to talk about it and have people come up to me and talk to me about it all the time. People are well meaning. I would like people to know I have cancer, – not me, – in this case, I want the Body to know but don’t want them to come up to me with the latest homeopathic mud and tea leaves. Though they are motivated by love, there has to be a control. A sense of this is sacred. This person has cancer and this is sacred. This is God’s work and God can heal them. I want to be Spirit-filled and sensitive and wise and have love. I don’t want to be nosy and cross the line. “What kind of cancer is it?” I don’t care in one sense but on the other hand, do we ever cross the line with each other? Do we ever talk to each other in too much of a familiar way? Are we respectful of each other’s dignity and respect each other and if they are grieving, let them be. This is a human thing. I can’t just quote Bible verses to someone grieving. What is your problem? The joy of the Lord is our strength. Wait a minute! Hold it. There is something here that is a mystery that we love and are a part of. This love and respect we have is coming because we become skillful in the word of righteousness. Not only do we know about God but actually we know God. We know God. Not perfect. Stumbling along. We still have the shot gun in the boat in case things go bad. What if I have found Christ in a fresh way?
Just to give a shout out to all the folks that have made the Bible college amazing. Every year, we have a graduation of 25 or 30 or more students. They are learning with us. When they start (babbling) and time goes on and they are capable and skillful in the word of R. They can go to Vietnam in faith. They can love their neighbor and be wise and prayerful. They can overcome and surmount things that others quit. These people are learning and growing in this amazing work.
vs. 14. To discern both good and evil. Amen.
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