Words of Faith 6-4-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."
Remember that staple question in Bible study? What is the "therefore" there for? Verse 18 obviously concludes the previous thought.
Jesus had taught carefully about the sort of soil we are as we receive the seed of the Word of God. He had also taught about the way that the Light of Jesus shines in our lives. We should carefully and gratefully shine that Light and also be aware that He will leave nothing concealed.
So how do we respond to this? Jesus says, “Carefully.”
Consider carefully. This is not the word found so often in Paul's writings to "give careful thought," take a measured account and draw a careful conclusion. This is a much more basic word.
This word means “beware.” Take heed. The KJV is says, "Take heed how ye hear." Be careful how you are listening! Look out for what is right in front of you. Notice the obvious! This is not a call to contemplative consideration of the nuances of Jesus. This is a warning.
Jesus is clear that once you have heard, you are a steward of the Word and a steward of the Light. Jesus said before we should be careful what kind of soil we are. Be careful how you steward the Word of God. Be careful how you treat everything that God entrusts to you. Be careful how you respond to the Word of God. We must be careful how we listen when the light has come. Why?
"Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." Plainly, if we are not responsible with the blessing entrusted to us, it will be taken away. The taking and the giving Jesus talked about is not arbitrary. It has to do with responsibility. It has to do with what we do with the Light we have been given to steward. It has to do with our response to the Word. We must take what God has entrusted to us and be responsible for that. We must invest the talent we have been given (Matt. 25:14).
How is this relevant to us today? Well, think about it. We have never been in a culture where the Word of God was more available. The Word is everywhere. It is easily accessed in libraries, bookstores and on the Internet. Free bibles are dispensed virtually everywhere and supplied to hotels. The Word of God is so available that we not only take it for granted but many believers treat it rather casually. The preached Word is available in CDs, cassettes, broadcasts and podcasts. The Word is everywhere. But how is the response? How are we receiving the seed of the Word?
A study released by the Barna Research Group is disturbing in this regard. Despite very high responses among Americans regarding belief in God, Barna discover that only one out of every seven adults (15%) places their faith in God at the top of their priority list. Among Protestants not quite one out of every four (23%) name their faith in God as their top priority in life. Among evangelicals only 51% said their faith in God was their highest priority.
These results were in huge contrast to the evaluation among American pastors who estimated much higher levels of commitment among their flocks. Barna suggests that this is due to a tendency among pastors to evaluate church health primarily based on institutional support rather than personal commitment and transformation.
Barna made this observation, "There has never been a time when American society was in more dire need of the Christian Church to provide a pathway to a better future. Given the voluminous stream of moral challenges, and the rampant spiritual hunger that defines our culture today, this should be the heyday for biblical ministry. As things stand now, we have become content with placating sinners and filling auditoriums as the marks of spiritual health."
Ouch. It may not be an unfair question to ask: Are we on the verge of having a great blessing taken away in America? Have we taken the Word and the Light so casually that the Lord is shifting His blessing to other countries and other places?
What can we do? Of course we can pray for America. Pray for revival. Pray for transformation in our own lives. We can challenge our church leaders to look deeper than the standard measures of institutional survival. At the bottom line, we can be responsible for ourselves and seek to be of influence in the lives of others.
Where are you today? Are you a Light in the place where God has put you? Are you prepared for the light of the Lord to reveal the truth in your life and through you? Are you receiving and applying God's Word in your life?
Lord, teach us to be stewards of the Light and the Word you have entrusted to us. Elevate each one or humble us to exactly the place where we can illumine our part of the world. Help us to respond to the Word and the Light as You bless and lead. Revive us, O Lord. In Jesus name.