Understanding Comes by Hearing

We know that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, but more than faith comes by hearing.

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John 8:43 – Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

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I find our Text for Today fascinating.  Look at it closely once again.  Jesus asked a question – “Why do you not understand My speech?”  He then answered the question – “…because you cannot hear My Word.”  But in our Text for Today I find yet another question just below the surface – Why could they not “hear” His Word.”  I believe the answer is as simple as the answer to Jesus’ question – because they did not DESIRE to hear.

With what will soon become a half century of pulpit ministry, I cannot recall how many times, probably most of the times I have presented the Word of God to a congregation or audience, that some of the people present went away with their faith encouraged and strengthened, while yet others left without having had their faith impacted one iota.  That latter group did not understand my speech because they could not hear my words because they did not desire to hear.  We all live, to a greater or lesser degree, with the same predisposition to what we hear.  For instance, profanity, vulgarity, doubt, unbelief, gossip, and the like, are all repulsive to me.  I don’t desire to hear that kind of speech.  For that reason, many such speakers would say that I don’t understand what they are saying.  Most comedians today, many television talk-show hosts, and in fact, much of our American culture (and I believe international as well) us vulgarity as an attractant to the audiences they target.  Christianity and Christian culture are belittled, mocked, derided, and castigated as ridiculous.  The implication is strongly made that Christians and our belief systems should be made targets of humiliation.

You see, two people can hear the same Gospel message, and one has faith increased while the other gains nothing from it.  It is because one of them mixed what was heard with faith while the other did not.  And the reason for that is truly simple…no complex issues here.  Each hearer made a choice…made a decision.  One CHOSE to mix it with faith, heard, understood, and walked away edified, while the other CHOSE to NOT mix it with faith, heard words but did not understand, and walked away UN-edified.  What I am saying is that people will generally “turn off” their “hearing” when someone speaks in a manner they find offensive or defiling, and includes when truth is spoken that reveals one’s true heart and convictions.  Jesus wrote on the ground when a woman taken in adultery was brought to Him, and as He did, the accusers walked away one by one, not wanted to be recognized in the light of truth.  When His words convicted whose of His Own hometown, they were angered and would have killed Him.  When truth brings true conviction, you will always see such response by some people.  Sadly, the rejection of the truth of God’s Word will ALWAYS lead to the rejection of faith in God.  Yes, faith comes by hearing, and so does understanding.  If you will understand, you must hear.  That is a kingdom truth. 

Manna for Today – John 8:39-47; Romans 10:6-17; Hebrews 4:1-13

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