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Hearing?




Hearing?

John 10:1-10


A man was attending Revival services with a “faith healer” - so the man asked the Evangelist to pray for his hearing. The “faith healer” grabbed the man by the head and begins to shake violently while praying for his hearing. After a couple of minutes, the Evangelist asks, “How’s your hearing?” The man replied, “I don’t know, it doesn’t take place until next Tuesday!”


God’s Word, the Bible, is filled with references to the importance of hearing when it comes to faith. Both God’s hearing, and our hearing.


The Psalmist in Psalm 116 - tells us God has “inclined” his ear to us. Now, stop and think about that for just a minute: the Sovereign, Omnipotent, Lord and Creator of the Universe - the maker of everything known, and unknown - inclines His ear to us. To you and me. That’s an amazing realization.


In the biblical story, the ear comes before the eye... sound comes before sight.


At the moment of creation: “And God said (hearing) let there be light (sight).” God’s word privileges hearing over seeing. Sound comes before sight.


Remember the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on God’s people and they began to speak in different tongues... the miracle of that day was in the hearing! The people could hear the Apostles’ preaching in their particular language!


The very first manifestation of the Spirit at Pentecost, was hearing! We’re told there was a sound, like a mighty rushing wind (hearing!), then... what looked like flames could be seen. Hearing... then sight.


In fact, the primary gateway to the soul... is the EAR. Faith, God’s Word declares, comes by hearing. We’re called to be a people who walk by faith, not by sight!


There was a thought in medieval theology that Jesus was actually conceived in Mary’s EAR, through the words of the Holy Spirit. And there’s no doubt that the Holy Spirit conceives the faith of Christ into your life, and my life, through the power of hearing.


That’s the power of the ear and the importance of listening, and hearing the Word of God. It’s the necessity of listening to that “still small voice” that enters our consciousness and stirs our souls to faith.


We modern day followers of Christ have made faith so much about vision, seeing... but the biblical story gives preference to hearing, over sight.


Think about it: the eyes takes us where we want to go. It implies will, OUR will - I see it, I want it.


Have you ever been tempted to pick up a dollar bill because you hear it lying on the table? Have you ever been tempted to lust after a beautiful woman or a handsome man because you hear their good looks?


The eyes lead us to temptation, the ears lead us to faith!


I’d argue that 90% of the time, when you and I fall into temptation and sin, it’s because of our eyes, because of what we see!


Way back at the beginning, in the Story of Creation... in the Book of Genesis... we’re told that Eve did what? She SAW that the forbidden fruit was good for food, and delightful to the eye (to look at!)... and it became desirous... and so she ate, and Adam ate... and their desire to rebel lives on in us, today.


The eye can be very deceitful because we see what we want to see, and we interpret what we see through the lens of our experience and desires. We are the masters of what we see. That’s why we say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” We all tend to see things differently.


Which isn’t always bad, for heaven’s sake. It’s why we have 4 different Gospels. Each writer... Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, each saw the events unfolding before them differently... from their unique point of view. And by combining these 4 different accounts and perspectives we gain a fuller, richer, broader understanding, a more complete understanding of what took place in the life and ministry of Jesus.


But... the fact remains... in the biblical story... as the eyes take us into the story, the ears bring the story into us. The power of the Gospel is in the ears... it’s about hearing, listening to God’s voice above all others.


In our scripture for today: John 10... the sheep do what? They listen to the voice of the shepherd.


The shepherd doesn’t drive the sheep (like cattle)... the shepherd leads the sheep - because the sheep know his voice, and they follow. They hear the resonance, the sound, the speech of the shepherd, and they obey.


Of course, the other side of that reality is... the sheep do not know the voice, they don’t recognize the sound of a stranger... and they run away from his call.


You and I do no less. We’ve heard Jesus’ voice, his calling upon our lives... else we would not be following him today.


Fanny Crosby was born in 1820, and became one of the greatest musicians, and hymn writers of all time... composing over 8500 hymns in her lifetime... including “Blessed Assurance” - “I am Thine, O Lord” - “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross” - “To God be the Glory” - among others.


One of the hymns she wrote (in 1875) is called, “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.” The third stanza reads, “All the way my Savior leads me; O the fullness of His love! Perfect rest to me is promised, in my Father’s house above. When my spirit, clothed, immortal, Wings its flight to realms of day, This my song thro’ countless ages, “Jesus led me all the way.” This my song thro’ endless ages: “Jesus led me all the way.”


She knew something of being led “all the way” by Jesus... surely in a way we don’t. You see, Fanny Crosby was blind. Completely blind. When she was only 6 years old a medical procedure left her without her eyesight... yet she went on to fill our hymnals with music!


Maybe her blindness to the world, opened her ears to hear the Shepherd’s voice; the Word of God... in a more intimate, more relational way? Maybe her blindness, helped her listen more intently to the Savior’s voice...


If that’s the case, we should all pray for blindness.


Faith comes by hearing, by knowing, by responding to Jesus’ voice.


And as Jesus himself said, on several occasions, “Let those with ears, hear.”


Amen.

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