The Dangers of Hearing and Not Doing!
INTRODUCTION: As we begin let me ask you two questions,
Question One: Over the years how many sermons do you think you have heard preached or taught? If you attended every service during the last seven years, you heard over 950 sermons!
Question Two: How many of those sermons did you really listen to and then put into practice the actions or principles spoken of in those sermons?
Now, why do you think I asked these questions? Because during my years in the ministry I have observed a sad disparity between my preaching the Word of God and the people in the pew taking heed to the Word of God. Sometimes, I have wondered if church attendees are listening at all.
In many cases, it appears that attendees chose to HEAR TRUTH, but have no desire to OBEY TRUTH. Today, my message is entitled "The Danger of Hearing and Not Doing."
One of the most promising verses in the Bible is found in Isaiah 55:11 where we read, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Every time I preach from the Bible, I have the wonderful promise that it will not return void. If we let it, it has power and impact to make a difference in our lives.
In Isaiah 29:13-14 we read, "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (14) Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Isaiah is prophesying a horrible wonder. He is saying, "God is going to judge you, Judah; and He is going to judge you, Israel."
Now I want to compare Isaiah 29:13-14 with a parable found in Luke 6:46-49. In verse 46 Jesus said, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Jesus is saying, "Am I really your Lord or Master when you decide what you want to do rather than listening to Me?" Then in verses 47-49 we continue to read,
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings (the Lord’s SERMONS) and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: (48) He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. (49) But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
Here is another question, “What is the most important part of a sermon?” You may be thinking, “Pastor, how would I know? You are the one who prepares sermons and preaches them.” Now, I do know the answer, but let’s think about it a bit more. When you think of all the sermons you've heard or read, what is the most important aspect of these sermons? I ask you again, what is the most important part of the sermon? Jesus gives us the answer in four words.
In Luke 6:47, Jesus gives us two key words: "doeth them." Then He gives us another two words in verse 49: "doeth not."
The most important part of any sermon you hear or read is what you do with it, the application of it in your life, the embracing of it with your heart, and the feeling that makes you say, "Oh, that was for me!"
Here is another question, “How do you treat the preacher's messages?” Could it be that the average Christian does not know how to receive a sermon? The Bible says in James 1:22 that we are to be "…doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…" yet we have not learned how to hear the precious Word of God.
Some Christians treat a sermon like they were eating cotton candy. They really like it if it is short and sweet. But they don't like it if there is something negative to cause them to think "Oh, he tramped on my toes!" Remember, it's not the preacher who tramps on toes; it's the Word of God that convicts hearts and minds.
Some Christians treat a sermon like mouthwash. They gargle it, and then spit it out.
Some Christians treat a sermon like they were at the supermarket. They pick and choose and take home only what they want to take home. They only hear what they want to hear and do with it what they want to do with it.
This is not the way to hear the Word of God. In this parable, Jesus Christ is talking about people who hear the sermon, but do nothing about it.
Do you realize that you have a two-fold responsibility when you hear or read a sermon?
One, it is your responsibility to retain what you heard.
Two, it is your responsibility to live it out in your life.
Jesus predicted that if you hear the Word of God Sunday after Sunday and resist it because it's not for you, and you make no application of it, you are in danger of having your spiritual house fall.
You need every word of the Bible and every sermon of the Bible that you can get. It needs to be applied; it needs to become a part of your life; it needs to be lived out!
Let me say something in all honesty. There have been times even here that I have heard some tremendous sermons from guest speakers. They have spoken the truth. They have carefully and even eloquently laid out the claims of Scripture. But then at the invitation, not one person has walked the aisle. People have heard a great sermon, but they made no obvious application of it.
Folks, there is danger in hearing the Word of God and then not doing what it says. Oh, my friends, when you sit in the pew, you are under heavy obligation not only to hear the sermon, but to heed it and then live it.
Now for the balance of this message, I want to share FOUR dangers that are found in this text, of hearing but not heeding and doing.
FIRST: There is the Danger of Mocking God. In Luke 6:46 we read, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
When you are a "hearer" and not a "doer" of His Word, you bring God down to the street level. In other words, you treat the Word of God like you would treat words from a mere man who has problems and sins in his life. You are equating God Almighty, who has given us His inspired and infallible Word, with the people with whom you traffic every day.
On Sunday, it is not merely a man who is sharing the Word of God. It is God who is giving us His Word, and that is the difference. To hear it and not heed it is to mock His sovereignty.
Why call Jesus "Lord" and not obey Him? Hearing and not heeding are two things that do not fit together. It is not right to call anyone "lord" who is not a lord; it is not right to call anyone "master" who is not the master. How foolish that you would call Jesus Christ "Lord" but treat His Book like you would treat some foolish writing by man! That bothers me, because that is mocking Almighty God!
Galatians 6:7 says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap!' The Greek word for "mock" literally means “to treat loosely, to treat lightly, to trifle with; to abuse by a lighthearted attitude.”
Let's put this definition right down where we live. Mocking God is treating Him like a merchant who has something for sale.
In other words, you treat God like He is some kind of ripcord that you use only when you are in trouble.
You treat God like He is an emergency panic switch. If you love Him and really want to get close to Him only when you're in a really terrible crisis, you are very close to mocking Him.
How terrible to treat God like that! My friends, He is Lord of every circumstance, both the positive and the negative. He is the Sovereign God. To hear the Word of God and not do it (apply it to your life) is a Judas sin. Let me illustrate that.
When Judas came into the Garden of Gethsemane with the scribes from the temple, they came to take the Lord Jesus Christ and crucify Him. In Mark 14:45 Judas walked up to Jesus and said, "Master, master; and kissed him." Judas was kissing Jesus with his words and denying Him with his life. Are we like that sometimes?
We know all the Christian jargon and have the vocabulary down pat.
We've gotten to the place where we can talk about Him, but not feel one thing for Him.
We can sing His songs, but we add no warmth to them.
We go to church and through the motions of worship, but there's not one emotional move upon our hearts to love the Son of God!
During my teenager years, I began to see this disparity in the lives of the teenagers at church. I would see them on Sunday playing the goodie, goodie by putting up a spiritual façade and then on Monday through Friday in the Public school you wouldn’t have known they were ever in church on Sunday. They put a fence around their lives and decided how much of a Christian they were going to be.
It was at that point I make a conscious decision to not only walk on a different level, but also to associate with the group who walked the talk all week long and who in the process were obedient not only to the Word of God but also to their parents.
Oh, my friends, if you are a Christian and Christ is Lord, you have no right to decide how you are going to live – God has already decided that for you in His Word.
We sing "Sweet Hour of Prayer," and yet we're content to say, “Now, I lay me down to sleep."
We sing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" but then wait to be drafted for service.
We sing "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" but never use the one we have.
We sing "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing," but we don't come to church when it rains.
We sing "Blest Be the Tie That Binds," but the least little offense with another brother severs our relationship.
We sing "Serve the lord With Gladness," but we gripe about all we have to do.
We sing "I love to Tell the Story" but never tell a soul or invite our neighbors to church with us.
We sing "We're Marching to Zion," but we won't march to Sunday school.
We sing "Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord," but we worry ourselves into a nervous breakdown.
Folks, I don't believe true Christians are hypocrites in the sense that they are professors and not possessors. I don't believe that hypocrites go to Heaven, but I believe that a child of God can be hypocritical. All lip-and no life is dangerous.
SECOND: There is the Danger of Not Enduring. If you live long enough with hearing and not heeding; when the storms of life come, you will not endure. You will not survive. Life has a way of testing our spiritual house.
Jesus said, "Here's the fellow who built his house upon the sand. The storms came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and great was the fall of it! But over here is a man who heard the Word of God and then built his house upon the Rock."
This is a clear teaching that people who come to the house of
God and do not absorb the precious Word of God, who hear it but do not heed it, who have not applied Scripture to their lives each day, will someday have something come along in their lives that will ruin their homes and their families. That scares me!
Hearing the Word of God every day should help you to build your spiritual house.
There are many storms in life that can hit you and your family. It would take me all day long to name all of them that I've personally seen affect Christians.
What about that storm of physical illness? If you haven't built your life around God's Word, you'll have a tough time getting through that. There are some folks who are so sick that the only way they survive mentally, physically, spiritually and every other way is that they are close to the Book!
What are you going to do when the storm of financial adversity hits your life? You’ve heard your preacher give sermons dealing with promise after promise on how to get answers to prayer, but you've never practiced praying and getting answers, so what are you going to do when your billfold is empty?
What are you going to do when the storm of death comes suddenly, unexpectedly, into your life? Hearing the Word of God and not doing the Word of God is like an umbrella full of holes when it really starts raining in your life.
If you think you can keep God at arm's length when the storms come, or that He's just going to run to you automatically, you've got another thought coming! His presence is not automatic!
THIRD: There is the Danger of Sending Others to Hell. Jesus said "doeth them" and "doeth not." What about those who claim to be saved, those who claim to be born again? In front of others, they can go through the motions without doing anything in the way of a testimony.
I've been preaching and sharing the gospel in soul-winning a long time, and I've learned why people go to Hell.
Procrastination: Some people keep putting off the salvation decision until one day they are gone, and they are in Hell.
Willful Hardness: Some just love sin so much that they won't give it up! They cling to it and cling to it and cling to it. They don't realize that one day, like a poisonous snake, it's going to bite them. They get harder and harder every day they live, and nothing moves them anymore.
False Doctrine: They substitute water for blood, or maybe they substitute catechism for the cross.
Christians Confuse Sinners: A lot of people go to Hell because Christians confuse them. If you are a Christian and claim His name, the average sinner expects you to live for Jesus. Don't think that no one is watching how you live; you would be surprised to know all who are watching you. Paul said that we are epistles known and read of all men, whether we're on the job, participating in recreational sports, in our neighborhoods – wherever.
If you are a hearer and not a doer, whom are you helping to get to Heaven?
If you are a hearer and not a doer, whom are you hindering from going to Heaven?
How many will go to Hell because of you?
Look at how Jesus prefaces His parable about hearing and not doing. Notice Luke 6:43, “A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Folks, whether or not you like it, a lot of people are fruit inspectors, and they are looking at your tree.
How many persons have watched some Christian who has heard but didn't do. I believe many of these watchers wonder if that Christian is real? They’ve said they're Christians, but no one can tell. If as a believer you are not doing God’s Word, you no doubt have caused many around you to stumble.
In Colossians 4:5 Paul said we are to, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without."
David said in Psalm 39:1, "I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me."
David is saying, "When there is a sinner in my presence, he will see a godly life; he will hear a pure mouth; he will hear a man who glorifies God. I'll be careful when I'm in the presence of sinners!"
FOURTH: There is the Danger of Running with the Wrong Crowd. If you want to learn Scripture, you need to compare Scripture with Scripture. Matthew 7:21-27 has a parallel passage to the parable of the house built upon the rock and the one built upon the sand which we find in Luke 6.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (25) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. (26) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
Again notice verse 22, "Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Did you get that? "Many will say…" The "many" are imposters who have only lip but no life.
When a Christian hears the Word of God and then does not obey it, he is in bad company. He is running with a crowd of apostate religious people who go through forms and rituals and claim they are saved, but they are without any kind of life change.
I want people to feel that I'm real.
I don't want them to think I'm phony or plastic.
I want to give a good testimony for my Saviour.
I want to hear the Word of God, and I want to obey and do everything His way.
Every Christian should want a testimony that impacts lives and causes people to want to be different. Sinners today see so much sham, so much acting on a stage, so much hypocrisy. They see so-called Christians saying, "Lord, Lord," but then do not the things that He says. They need to see Christians who honor the Lord with their hearts as well as their lips.
In verse 23, Jesus gives one of the most pointed warnings in the
Bible. "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
We all need to examine our own hearts. If Christianity is worth anything, it's worth proving to our own hearts that it is real.
Have you had an experience with Jesus where you gave Him your heart and your life?
Do you feel down deep inside that you are a born-again believer? Is your Christianity real?
We're not perfect people; but when we are saved, we are God's children, and we need to give Him our best. We need to do what we can do. We ought to be serious about it.
If your doubts are settled and you know that it's real, are there still times when your Christian life is shallow about living the Word of God and doing all that it says?
Are there times when you are a hearer and not a doer? If so, will you straighten that out with God right now?
Today, get your Christianity in line with God's Word!
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “The Danger of Hearing and Not Doing!” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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