Sermon #14721†††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Miscellaneous Sermons

 

†††† Title:††††††††† In Preparation for Our Conference

†††† Text:††††††††††† Luke 8:18

†††† Subject:†††††† Instructions on How to Hear the Word of God

†††† Date:††††††††††† Sunday Evening Ė August 26, 2001

†††† Tape #†††††††† W-59a

†††† Readings:†††† Bob Poncer and James Jordan

†††† Introduction:

 

The title of my message tonight is a bit unusual. I have titled the message, In Preparation for our Conference. Back in April of this year, I brought you a message on hearing the gospel from Luke 8:18. I want us to return to that passage tonight. As my title indicates, I have a very specific reason for bringing this message to you tonight.

 

†††† We will, the Lord willing, have opportunity to hear ten gospel messages from ten faithful, gifted pastors next weekend. What a rare privilege! As you know, these conferences involve a great deal of expense and a tremendous amount of work. We host them for the benefit of many, for the furtherance of the gospel, for the glory of God. But my primary concern as your pastor, I trust for Godís glory, is the welfare of your souls. I want you to benefit by the ministries of these men.

 

        I want you who are yet without Christ to know him.

        I want you who are Godís to be comforted, edified, and built up in the faith of the gospel.

        I pray that God may be pleased to grant us a time of refreshing in his presence.

 

†††† Therefore, I want to talk to you again tonight about hearing the gospel. I want to give you some plain, simple, biblical instructions on how to hear the preaching of the gospel. The Scriptures give us much instruction about this business of hearing the gospel and how we are to hear it, because much instruction is needed. Hear what God says in his Word about hearing the gospel.

 

{Ecclesiastes 5:1-2}"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. {2} Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few."

 

{James 1:17-22}"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. {18} Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. {19} Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: {20} For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. {21} Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. {22} But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

 

†††† Now, letís look at our text -- Luke 8:18. The Lord Jesus Christ is here addressing his own disciples, both those who truly were his disciples and those who merely professed to be.

 

†††† Knowing that a great multitude people were gathered together to hear him out of every city, and knowing (He is God, and knows all things.) that most of them, would be hearers only, and not doers of the word, our Lord spoke to them by a parable. He used the similitude of a farmer who went out to sow his seed. In the parable the Savior plainly tells us that few there are, in any group of hearers, who receive any saving benefit from the preaching of the gospel.

 

†††† Three things are evident in the parable.

 

1.     The preaching of the gospel is the sowing of the seed of life.

2.     Only those whose hearts are made good by the regenerating power and grace of God the Holy Spirit receive the Word to the saving of their souls.

3.     Once we have received the good seed of the gospel into our hearts, we must take care that nothing chokes it out and destroys its influence.

 

†††† Now, hear the warning he gives to all who sit where you sit and hear what you hear.

 

Luke 8:18 "Take heed, therefore, how ye hear.Ē

 

Proposition: If we would profit from the ordinance of God, if we would profit spiritually and eternally from the preaching of the Gospel, we must take heed how we hear it.

 

Divisions: I want to do two things in this message.

 

1.     First, I want to show you that we ought to seize every opportunity God gives us to hear the gospel.

2.     Second, I want to give you some suggestions that, I hope, may help you to hear the gospel with spiritual profit.

 

I.       First, I want to show you that we ought to seize every opportunity God gives us to hear the gospel.

 

I am not talking about the religious circuses called churches we see everywhere. In those places, they hardly let people breathe, for fear of losing them. They keep people busy doing something every night of the week and most days.

 

†††† I do not suggest that we should simply go to church and entertain ourselves in the hearing of sermons and in the pursuit of religious activities. That will profit your soul nothing.

 

†††† However, there is a trend today in many places that concerns me. The trend in many places, places where the gospel is preached, is to have less preaching. I know of many places where the assembly meets only twice a week, others where they only have one service a week, and others where they have even less. Many reasons are given for this; but I just get hungry more often than that. Donít you? The Word of God does not tell us how often we should meet together. So we must set no rules in this regard. And we must never attempt to impose our practices upon others in areas where the Scriptures are silent.

 

†††† Still, I think there is something terribly dangerous and unhealthy about squeezing our time in the house of God down to as little as we can comfortably fit into our lives. Enough about that. Let us take care that nothing chokes out the influence of the gospel in our lives. Like Simeon and Anna, I want to be found in the house of God, beholding Godís Salvation, speaking the praise of Christ, and learning of him. Like Mephibosheth, I want to be found sitting at the Kingís table. Like Mary, I want to be found sitting at his feet.

 

A.   Make certain that in hearing, you hear the gospel.

 

Donít ever delude yourself into thinking that religion is good. Only Gospel religion is good. All other religion is deadly and damning. It is not going to church that profits our souls. It is not the hearing sermons that profits us. It is not religious chatter that benefits us. It is the preaching of the gospel, the declaration of our great God, his greatness, his goodness, his glory, and his wondrous works in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

{Galatians 6:14}"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

 

†††† It is from this place, the house of God, that God commands the blessing upon his people (Ps. 133:3). No wonder David sang as he did (Ps. 122:1-9).

 

{Psalms 122}"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. {2} Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. {3} Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: {4} Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. {5} For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. {6} Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. {7} Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. {8} For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. {9} Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good."

 

{Psalms 84:10}"For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."

 

B.    This business of hearing the Word preached is so important that our risen Savior has specifically given the ministry of the Gospel to his church as one of his chief ascension gifts (Eph. 4:11-12).

 

{Psalms 68:18-19}"Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. {19} Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."

 

{Ephesians 4:11-12}"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; {12} For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

 

1.     God has always gifted specific, chosen men for the work of the ministry, to serve the souls of men, men whom he has specifically called to that great work.

 

        Jude tells us, that "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied (or preached) concerning the Lord's coming with ten thousand of his saints to judgment."

        Peter tells us that Noah was ďa preacher of righteousness,í the righteousness of God.

        God never left himself without witness, even in those earliest times, but at sundry times, and after diverse manners, spoke to our fathers by the patriarchs and prophets.

        After the giving of the law, the Lord God constantly separated to himself a certain order of men to preach to, as well as pray for his people. Israel always had her prophets and her priests.

        Though the Jews were often carried away into captivity, and because of their sins scattered abroad among the nations, yet God faithfully and graciously kept up a remnant of prophets and preachers, like Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, and others, to reprove, instruct, and call men to repentance.

 

2.     Great as those days were, we live in a better day with better provisions.

 

When our Lord Jesus Christ, our great High-priest, had through the eternal Spirit offered himself, as a full, perfect, sufficient, effectual sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of his people, and after his resurrection had all power committed to him, both in heaven and earth, he gave commission to his Apostles, and in them to all succeeding gospel preachers, to "go into all the world and preach his gospel to every creature," promising to "to be with us, (to guide, assist, strengthen, and comfort us always, even) unto the end of the world."

 

†††† Now, if it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of Godís servants everywhere, to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 9:16), it is your responsibility to hear the message God sends his servant to deliver. God does not send a man to beat the air.

 

†††† Most people are utterly insensible of this great gift! They do despite to the Spirit of grace, crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, by willfully refusing to attend Godís ordained means of grace! How terrible will the end of such men be? How tormenting it will be that light should come into the world, that the glad tidings of salvation should be so very frequently proclaimed in this place, and only to be despised. The spiritual manna of the gospel, this angelís, food, is despised as a worthless thing. Our Lord declares that it will be more tolerable will it be for Tyre and Sidon, for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for those who despise the gospel. Better, that men had never heard of a Savior being born, than after they have heard, not to give heed to the ministry of those, who are employed as Godís ambassadors, to declare the good news of free, saving grace in Christ!

 

ďWe may, though at a distance, without a spirit of prophesy, foretell the deplorable condition of such men; behold them cast into hell, lifting up their eyes, being in torment, and crying out, How often would our ministers have gathered us, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings? But we would not. O that we had known in that our day, the things that belonged to our everlasting peace! But now they are forever hid from our eyes. Thus wretched, thus inconceivably miserable, will such be as slight and make a mock at the public preaching of the gospel.Ē

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† George Whitfield

 

II.    Second, I want to give you some suggestions that, I hope, may help you to hear the gospel with spiritual profit.

 

Gospel preaching is the ordinance of God, the means appointed by Christ himself for saving of his people and the building of his kingdom among men. This is the method by which God the Holy Spirit does his work in the souls of men. Consider these facts, and you will gladly hear what I have to say, though what you hear may reprove you and though the reproof may be painful.

 

A.   Never come to the house of God to gratify your religious curiosity.

 

When we come to the house of God, let us come seeking to know Christ, to hear of Christ, to learn of Christ, and to worship Christ. It is not an honorable thing, but a contemptible thing to sit around and discuss endless questions about nothing, ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

 

{2 Timothy 3:5-7}"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. {6} For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, {7} Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

 

†††† Flee, flee religious curiosity, as you would flee the plague! Come to the house of God with humility, ready to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul.

 

B.    Listen carefully, attentively, to the message God sends his servant to deliver to your soul.

 

Give earnest heed to the things that are spoken from the word of God. Take great care to hear what God has to say to you.

        The Word of a King

        The Pardon of Condemned Felons

        The Reading of a Will

 

†††† When God descended on Mt. Sinai in terrible majesty, to give his law, the children of Israel sat up and paid attention to his servant Moses? If they were earnest to hear the thunderings, threatenings, and terrors of the law, how gladly sinners ought to sit up and anxiously hear the preacher of the gospel, as he proclaims the glad tidings of free grace in Christ!

 

        Free Pardon

        Full Redemption

        Complete Justification

        Everlasting Salvation

 

†††† I have not been sent here to deliver a dry, insipid lecture on moral philosophy, legal duty, religious history, or creedal accuracy. God Almighty has sent me to unfold before you the great mystery of godliness and the mysteries of the kingdom of his grace. Iím not reading a dime store novel to you. I am proclaiming the Word of the eternal God.

 

C.   Here is a third word of counsel we will all be wise to hear. Ė Do not allow Satan, or any by whom he is served, to prejudice your mind against faithful men, sent of God to preach the gospel to you.

 

Take heed, my friends, and beware of entertaining any dislike against those the Holy Ghost has made overseers over you. If a man faithfully preaches the gospel, receive him like the Galatians received Paul, before they Judaizers corrupted them, as an angel of God.

 

{1 Thessalonians 5:12-13}"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; {13} And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."

 

{1 Corinthians 4:1}"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."

 

{2 Corinthians 2:17}"For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

 

D.   Fourth, As you ought not to be prejudiced against Godís servant, so you must be careful not to depend too much on a preacher, or think more highly of him than you ought to think.

 

Godís servants are instruments in his hands, no more and no less, just instruments by which God works in his vineyard.

 

{1 Corinthians 3:5-9}"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? {6} I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. {7} So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. {8} Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. {9} For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."

 

{1 Corinthians 3:21-23}"Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; {22} Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; {23} And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."

 

E.    Always seek grace from God to personally apply the message to your own heart and life.

 

Always presume that the message was prepared with you in mind, and spoken to you alone. We are all terribly inclined to look across the room and behold a little splinter in our brotherís eye, rather than deal with the two by four in our own.

 

F.    Sixth, If you would receive a blessing from the Lord, when you hear his gospel preached, you should do something before the sermon, during the sermon, and after the sermon.

 

1.     Before the sermon, set things in order in you life so that you come to the house of God awake and alert, and pray.

 

        For the Preacher

        For your Brethren

        For Lost Sinners

        For Yourself

 

2.     During the sermon, listen attentively, constantly praying for God to speak to your heart, for Christís sake.

 

        A Fresh View of Christ

        Correction

        Comfort

        Reviving

 

3.     After the sermon, discuss the message with one another, with you family, and ask God to plant the seed sown in your own heart and in the hearts of others, for Christís sake.

 

{2 Thessalonians 3:1}"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you."

 

{Ephesians 6:18-19}"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; {19} And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,"

 

Application: May God give us grace, that we may seriously apply your hearts to the hearing of the gospel! If we would but take heed how we hear, we might yet, again, see Satan cast out like lightning. We might yet see sinners converted. We might yet see God work in us, with us, and in our midst! We might yet find the Word preached sharper than any two-edged sword, and mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the devil's strong holds!

 

†††† The Holy Spirit might yet fall on this assembly, as he did when Peter preached the gospel of Christ! The gospel of God might again run swiftly and run well from this place, having free course in the hearts of men. God Almighty, our great God and Savior, is he with whom nothing is impossible. He who added three thousand to the church on one day in one place, is perfectly capable of doing the same again today, even here!

 

†††† "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever." He has promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the world. I am convinced that the reason we do not receive larger blessings from the presence of the Lord, is not because our all-powerful Redeemer's hand is shortened, but because we do not expect them.

 

{Psalms 81:13-14}"Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! {14} I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries."

 

{Isaiah 48:17-19}"Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. {18} O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: {19} Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me."

 

†††† Yes, sometimes, our God, to magnify his free grace in Christ Jesus, is found of them that sought him not. Notorious sinners are, sometimes, forcibly plucked as a firebrand out of the fire. But this is not God's ordinary way of acting; But, normally, he only visits those with the power of his Spirit, who humbly take heed how they hear, seeking to know him, his will, and his way, and sends the careless away not only empty, but hardened!

 

†††† Take heed, therefore, how you hear. Remember, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." There I will give a strict account of the doctrine I have preached; and you will give strict account of how you have heard!

 

†††† How will you be able to stand at the bar of an angry, sin-avenging Judge, and see so many messages you have despised, so many preachers, who once longed and labored for the salvation of your precious and immortal souls, brought out as swift witnesses against you?

 

†††† But it shall not be so with you who with meekness receive the engrafted Word. You will be your pastor's joy, and crown of rejoicing in the day of our Lord Jesus: In that day, I will present you in a holy triumph, faultless, and unblameable, as a chaste virgin to Christ our common Redeemer, saying, "Behold I, O Lord, and the children which thou hast given me!"

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† AMEN!



1 Luke #47 Ė Hearing The Gospel Ė Danville (Sunday Evening Ė 04/01/01)