Fourth Sunday After Pentecost: The Importance Of Hearing Gods Words
“And it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth”- (Luke 5:1)
A man feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.
Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem.
The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.
Here's what you do," said the Doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."
That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he Was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens." Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?"
So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Honey, what's for dinner?"
Still no response.
Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?"
Again he gets no response.
So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. "Honey, what's for dinner?" Again there is no response.
So he walks right up behind her. "Honey, what's for dinner?"
"Ralph , for the FIFTH time, We're having CHICKEN!"
So how's your hearing?
In the gospel reading today the multitude pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God....the voice of the Lord. They wanted to get as close to Him as they could to hear every word that He spoke. They were hanging on his every word. Why? Was he a great speaker? Maybe. Was it because he was entertaining? I doubt it. Was it because he knew how to tickle there ears with motivational speeches or get rich seminars? No. I think that Peters words best describe why the multitudes pressed upon Jesus. Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered, The Lord is upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is in power; the voice of the Lord in magnificence.
The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars: yea, the Lord shall break the cedars of Libanus.
And shall reduce them to pieces, as a calf of Libanus, and as the beloved son of unicorns.
The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire:
The voice of the Lord shaketh the desert: and the Lord shall shake the desert of Cades.
The voice of the Lord prepareth the stags: and he will discover the thick woods: and in his temple all shall speak his glory.
But the Psalms talks of another voice. One that is opposite of what the Lord would say
Be attentive to me and hear me. I am grieved in my complaint; and am troubled, at the voice of the enemy.
So let me ask you a question. Who's voice are you listening to?
Adam and Eve heard the voice of the enemy and fell into temptation and sin.
- Cain heard the voice of the enemy and killed his brother.
- Joseph heard the Lord and fled from sin.
- Moses heard the voice of the Lord and delivered his people.
- Gideon heard the voice of the Lord and delivered Israelites from the Medianites.
- Samson heard the voice of Delilah, committed adultery, lost his destiny, and died with his enemies.
- David heard the voice of adultery and impregnated another man’s wife, murdering the woman’s husband in the process.
- Samuel heard the voice of the Lord and judged Israel in righteousness.
- King Saul heard the voice of Pride and fell from grace.
- Jonah heard the voice of disobedience and ran away from Gods will to preach at Nineveh.
- Even the Lord Jesus refused to hear the voice of Satan when Satan came to tempt him in the wilderness.
So again I ask the question.
Who's voice are you listening to?
In the first verse of the gospel readings today we read that the multitudes pressed upon him (that is Jesus) to hear the word of God.
There are those who claim the Bible is the only Word of God, meaning that it contains all of the material one needs for theology and that this material is sufficiently clear, that one does not need apostolic tradition or the Church’s magisterium (teaching authority) to help one understand it. In their view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages. Anything outside of the Bible is simply non-authoritative, unnecessary, or wrong.
The Church, on the other hand, recognizes that the Word of God—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.
Concerning the Word of God, the Catechism of the Council of Trent says, “Now all the doctrines in which the faithful are to be instructed are contained in the Word of God, which is found in Scripture and Tradition.”
What does the Church mean by Tradition?
The term does not refer to legends or mythological accounts, nor does it include temporary customs or practices which may change, as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings entirely overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.
Paul illustrated what tradition is: “For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures. . . . For whether it was I, or they, so we preach, and so you have believed.” (1 Corinthians 15:3,11). Concerning the Ordinance or Tradition of wearing or not wearing a head covering at Church, the Apostle Paul praised those who followed Tradition: Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2). Understand that they kept Paul's ordinances or traditions as he had delivered them to them,” they were being “followers of [Paul], as he also was of Christ." As long as Paul was following Christ, the Traditions he “delivered to them”, could be trusted.
The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) long before there was a New Testament. From the very beginning, the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, and in the Old Testament Scriptures. The teaching Church, with its oral, apostolic tradition, was authoritative. Paul himself gives a quotation from Jesus that was handed down orally to him: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
So we see that God speaks to us primarily through the scriptures and through the oral Apostolic Traditions that have been handed down to us from the Apostles.
If something is clearly given to us through these two ways , then we don't need to pray to find God's will, because it has already been revealed.
But God also speaks to us through our circumstances. In Revelation 3:8 we read that when God opens a door no-one can shut it and when He shuts a door, no-one can open it. So our circumstances are very often an indication of whether God wants us to go along a particular way or not. We don't have to bang away at a door that God has not opened. We must of course pray, when we see a door shut. But if after repeated prayer, a door still remains shut, it may mean that God does not want us to go through that door. We must ask God to show us if this is so, or whether He wants us to continue in persistent prayer to open that door. As we Read in Luke Chapter 11, “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.”
God also speaks to us through the advice of mature, Godly Priest, and Spiritual Directors. Such have gone through many experiences and they can warn us of pitfalls that we are unaware of, ourselves. We don't have to blindly obey them, but their godly counsel can help us.
God often speaks to us, while we are fellowshipping with other believers. Thus He teaches us our dependence on other members of the Body of Christ, even for revelation on His Word.
God always has something important to say to us, whenever we go through a trial or when we are sick.
God also warns us through the failures of others. If, for example, we hear of a Christian brother or sister who has fallen into sin, it is good to ask God what lessons we can learn from that man's failure, (for we are all weak), and how we can preserve ourselves.
God can also speak to us when we hear news of evils being done somewhere or of accidents that have taken place. In Luke 13:1-4 we read of where Jesus told the people of His time to repent, when they heard of Pilate butchering Jews and when they heard of the accident in Siloam where a tower fell and killed many people - because such things could happen to anyone.
Develop the habit of listening to God. This is the single most important habit that you can ever develop.
As I conclude this message, the Holy Spirit wants you to know that the voice of the Lord leads to salvation and life, and the voice of the enemy leads to destruction and hell. Which voice do you want to hear today? Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Jesus Christ wants to speak to you today and the most important decision you can take in life is to open your heart to him, like the multitude in the gospel we read about today, let us “press upon Jesus” so that we can hear his voice.