April 20, 2012

Faith Comes by Hearing

 It appears that my time has become quite limited for posting to my blog. I believe I am going through a people intensive phase and it has taken me away from my studies. Perhaps more than then I would like at times. But who am I to argue with God. I do not have the time to attend local Bible Studies like I have before and thoroughly enjoyed. I do not have the extra hours to devout to the finer nuances of my school work and my posts here on the blog. Life has become punctuated by brevity.

As I think about these things I realize that it is not just in my writing through which I am to reach people with the word of God. If we continue to sit behind our monitors and TFT screens we become detached from the humanity that we are called to speak to.

Romans 10:17 ~ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

…and what does it say all over Revelation to the churches of Asia (Minor)?

Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22 ~ "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

What were they to hear? The word of God! Go look in a Bible that has the saying of Jesus in Red. How much of the surrounding verse in Revelation in the verses above come directly from the very mouth of Jesus? We know for certain that these are Jesus’ words and this is a pattern of speech He used as we only need to visit places like the Gospels to find the same exact parallels such as this one in the Parable of the Sower.

Mark 4:9 (and Luke 8:8)~ And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Interestingly, it was Mark and Luke that wrote these, not John, who is assumed to have written Revelation.

It is a comment that is saying, “If anyone has the spiritual capacity to hear (or see, or understand), let them hear, see or understand spiritually”.

This in turn came from the Old Testament which was a call of exhortation to a spiritually deadened people. We need only look at the prophets that the same comments originated from. Prophets who were doing what? Speaking the word of God! Exhorting and calling people back into a relationship with God! People that, now having apostatized…most likely were not even believers to begin with (once saved always saved). Go read Isaiah 6:10, 43:8, 44:18 and Ezekiel 12:2. This is basically saying the people may have ears and are still capable of hearing things audibly by in terms of God, they have become deaf, dumb and blind. When we do not have a way to hear, see or be in God’s presence we become dead. We also become literally dumb to the things of God as we no longer speak them and we become dumb as in stupid to the things of God mentally as we push God from our thinking.

Proverbs 9:10 ~ “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight”

Isaiah and the other prophets of God were by their nature, people of God, just as I am and other Christians. All of which are called to speak the word of God so those aliened from God return to Him. We are not just act it out in our daily lives as a fruit of the One that is within us. We are called to speak the words whether we are heard or heeded. As a matter of fact, heard and heeded is not part of the equation. We will not always have real time responses from those we speak to about God or the Gospel. As some of us have learned, we may be totally ignored or worse, we will get a hostile response. None of this matters if we are faithfully fulfilling our task of speaking the word of God. As Christians we are all to be κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον/proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The one of whom we speak. The One of whom the Gospel writers spoke and the One of whom the Prophets and the Law spoke and bore witness to (Romans 3:21)

We are called to do so that people are at least aware of their guilt whether they be outright unbelievers or apostate Christians that have fallen away from the word. The word is always the leveling stick, plumb line or measure of our position against righteousness and holiness. Without having heard it they are at a loss. Once they have heard it and accepted it they then can read it for themselves.

As anyone can attest to… a person who reads to themselves, whether they do so out loud or to themselves…are hearing the word. To me this constitutes hearing. Why? I believe this is because the faith actually comes from the Word itself, which itself…is God or the mind of God (John 1:1). Read Romans 10:17 again. Read the second clause, and hearing through the word of Christ.” God’s word is indeed declared in the scriptures. So to read them to yourself as a believer who already has faith builds your faith. This only applies once we are truly Christian meditating and absorbing the word of God on our own. A non-believer can read the same Scripture and claim they understand it, but they’re not understanding it in the spiritual manner that is required because they are not indwelt by the Spirit. It is just words to them that do not carry to weight of God’s voice.

As believers, God speaks to us through the word through our minds and hearts. Not so with one that is not indwelt by the Spirit of God.

In order to actually hear from God and know that is it is actually God we are hearing from we must be able to discern this fact. We have to know some things about God's character. We have to develop an understanding of who God is, and the way he does things. Fortunately for us, all that information is available in the Bible. To be able to hear, understand and obey the voice of God we must read the Bible.

1 John 1:1 ~ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

To be absolutely and abundantly clear…from an evangelizing aspect …we are indeed unequivocally to speak the word, as faith can only come by hearing. There is no other way to get the idea across. People cannot respond or obey if they cannot, or have not heard the Word. Once the Holy Spirit indwells within us, it is possible that can we hear the word through the voice in us as we read the Bible as led by the Spirit. It leads our conscience and guides our understanding of Scripture when we read it to ourselves. We already have the seed of Christ within us in which is the Holy Spirit. If this is the case then all the things the Scriptures say about the Spirit hold true including the following.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27

If the Spirit can indeed intercede on our behalf with unexpressed words, He most certainly can speak to our minds once within us to build us up in our reading of the actual text which is the actual word of God. Can’t He? What are we if we are not the very thing that is in the seat of our consciousness…which resides in our minds? Deuteronomy tells us flat out. We are to keep His commandments that He gave us and they are to be upon our hearts. Hearts or… as we understand this verse properly…our minds. Furthermore, what does it say also in the Shema of Deuteronomy? “Hear O Israel”…Hear. In this case, after hearing the Word and coming to faith we are to perceive and understand themWe do this with our minds. Yes, our initial faith comes from hearing the Word of God, the Gospel and is even maintained this way. It is God who calls us and it is God who quickens our souls. Once He resides within it is a relationship and just as we pray to ourselves and even have the Spirit intercede on our behalf, so too we can hear the voice of the Spirit within us when we read the Scripture. Are our readings of Scripture not building our faith?

For those that do not know Christ, faith is indeed by hearing, that is the context in which Romans 10 is written as it is speaking to the Jews who did not accept the Good News preached to them. They did not hear even though audible petitions were given to them to repent. Those that do respond then are quickened by the Spirit.

It starts with hearing and this is why I am called to preach and teach. It is also why I am now being called to deal more directly with people and less through my writing. I believe God wants me to speak with my mouth now, not just with my fingertips.

So now you know why the posts are coming fewer and farther between. As you already know from the past 900+ posts…I will not compromise the word in my teaching either. I may not be able to get as many posts up as often, but rest assured, the ones that do get published will be biblical and will most likely offend those people that are not [biblical].

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