This may end up being a pastoral rant so be aware of this going in.
There is a great sin today, but it is an old sin, of merely hearing.
-- Love to hear great preachers.
-- Love to post pictures of books they are reading.
-- Love to talk about a sermon and critique it.
-- Love to find error in some point of theology of something heard.
Meanwhile the person’s life is a shambles and a train wreck is slowly unfolding before everyone’s eyes.
Matt Miller’s sermon thoughts recently on this. A love to be convicted but to not repent.
Consumer mentality -- the product in our circle is the WOG.
Being convicted makes us feel like we’re still saved.
Some key texts:
"In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures. This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:18-27)
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell-- and great was its fall." When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;"
"Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings: "How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge? "Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. "Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel, And did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, When your dread comes like a storm, And your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come on you. "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, Because they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the LORD. "They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. "So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, And be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, And the complacency of fools shall destroy them. "But he who listens to me shall live securely, And shall be at ease from the dread of evil."
How to be a doer of the Word
First, you must know it, which means you must read it.
Second, you must make it a habit early on.
Parents listen well to this or you will be pierced with much grief in years to come. The life of a Christian is a life of constant repentance.
Third, identify the major parts of life and begin to figure out what God expects from you in those areas.
Fourth, pick a character flaw and focus on it for a month or two.
A great way to work on this is to take one chapter of Proverbs a day and then pick a proverb to work on that day that relates to your weakness.
Learn to confess freely and without excuse or rationale.
Fifth, shut up about it.
No one needs to hear about how you are working on this.
Don’t make this a public affair; rather make it private. It will be obvious in its own time.
Sixth, parents, expect your children to mirror you.
If you have undisciplined children it is because you are.
If you have raised up unbelieving children, then likely it is because you are immersing them in unbelief in a myriad of ways. Education, TV, music, friends and such are common problems.
Seventh, break away from ungodly influences.
Lose friends that need to be lost.
Even family relations are less important than faithful obedience to your Lord.
Eighth, develop relationships with someone who is serious about their faith.
Amazing what walking with another person can do for your life and practice.
This can be done as friends, or perhaps it is done as a disciple. You must decide.
So good and ugly, these are our thoughts.
The sin of hearing is ubiquitous in the church, and it’s a great evil. It’s truly an issue of eternal life and death.
Jesus was ruthless with those who loved to listen and talk, but had zero intent on applying.
So as one who is listening to this episode, we hope this has given you some things to think about, and wrestle with in your own life.