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Finale – Simply Listen

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Obedience to any and every command begins with listening because the command is first spoken before it is written so that it might be enacted.  Before it was written, God spoke and said, “Let there be light.” [Genesis 1.3]  So likewise, the command He gave Adam was spoken before it was written, and in order to obey, Adam had to first listen.

Listening then is the first act of obedience.  It is, in truth, the first work of a person’s faith, and faithfulness is the fullness of listening.  For it is when a person will listen that hearing begins.  Hearing not just with the ears as the Lord commanded at the end of each of His letters, but hearing with the heart just as He taught in the parable of the sower.  For if we do not listen, we do not hear, and if we do not hear, the word does not enter and the entire process of receiving the word and persevering with the word to yield the harvest does not begin.

That is why the command the Father and the Spirit gave to us is, “Listen to Him.” [Matthew 17.5; Mark 9.7; Luke 9.35]  For if we can listen to the One we can see, we might be able to one day hear the One we cannot see.  However, if you will not listen to the One you can see, then there is little hope that you will hear the One who cannot be seen.

And to make His words come to life before them, Jesus performed His signs and wonders as He was teaching, so that there were both an audio and a visual flow of information.  Demons were driven out with a word and the sick were healed with a word, so that we might realise His words are worth listening to.  And if we would listen, we might just hear what is really being said.  And when we do hear, then there is the hope of a successful sowing, which can yield forth the harvest of the 30, the 60 and the 100 fold.

Wisdom is listening to the One whose words have the power to heal the sick and drive out demons.  Knowledge comes from hearing what has been said and remembering what has been said, so that the words can be processed as it were in our hearts and minds until the pondering thereof produces the understanding, and from the understanding, insight.

We are told to cry out for understanding and to call out for insight.  Many may have wisdom and knowledge, but who has understanding and insight?  For wisdom will cause you to listen to the One who is doing extraordinary things before your very eyes even as He is speaking, and knowledge comes from listening to His words and watching what He does.  Knowledge makes us witnesses.  Foolishness, as such, can be defined as failing to listen to One who does the extraordinary before your very eyes.

We know that is what Jesus is – One who did extraordinary things before the eyes of those around Him.  And the wise are those who began to listen to Him, and on hearing what He was saying, realised that He was teaching them to do likewise, so that the wise, as defined by Jesus, are those who hear what He has said and put them into practice.

Together, wisdom and knowledge begin to make a person wise.  Begin because to be truly wise, one must also practise what one has heard.  That is, all the wisdom and knowledge in the world do not make a man wise unless he also puts into practice (action) both his wisdom and his knowledge.  As such, a learned man who does not practise his knowledge is not a wise man.

The practice of the words you have heard gives rise to experience.  Experience is what gives rise to understanding, and when the understanding is sufficient to anticipate and overcome the problems, then insight begins.

So, by beginning with the simplest of commands, “Listen to Him,” the journey to insight begins… and that is insight into God.

When we realise what the simple act of listening will lead to, we then can realise why those who do not want to listen to Jesus are depriving themselves to such an extent that they already stand condemned.  Condemned to deprivation, to ignorance, to foolishness, to that of an animal like state – bereave of understanding and insight.  For dogs, though they may be trained, have no understanding nor insight.  That is why there are dogs outside of New Jerusalem – ones who have no insight or understanding whatsoever.  And there are some who can enter but not reside in New Jerusalem, for they are given wisdom and knowledge to see and hear what is in New Jerusalem, but understanding and insight belong only to those who dwell in New Jerusalem.

In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord said that those who boast should boast they know and understand the Lord.  Then what will insight do to those who have it?  It will humble you so that He may lift you up.

Did the eleven not listen?  Did they not hear?  Had they not seen with their own eyes the miracles?  Yet they still did not believe and they doubted and even disobeyed on the day of all days.  Why?  Because, as it is written, their hearts were hardened.

Seed on hard ground cannot grow to yield and bear fruit.  Though there was knowledge, there was no understanding or insight.  So the two stared at the cloths that were neatly folded and yet did not understand what they were seeing, and they went home.

So, it has come full circle – the completion of all things, for this age is near – for what was given in the beginning has been restored.  It is simply “Listen to Him,” and those who have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

If one would simply listen like Mary Magdalene did, one would hear what Jesus was really saying, and will have the understanding and insight into His intentions… and so, prepare His body for burial (knowledge), run to the tomb at the earthquake (understanding), and tarry at the tomb when even the disciples have gone (insight).  So then, she is your inspiration to likewise imitate to listen to Jesus until we hear what He is saying, and so we can prepare (knowledge) and walk when the time is near, run when the signs appear (understanding), and remain behind until He arrives (insight).

As elect of the Lord, the Spirit of truth, so too are you to prepare to go (walk and then run, that is the speed of your preparation) and to remain to the day that ends the age.

How do you do it?  Simply begin by listening to Him.  Peace to all who hear and believe.

Hr. Ed Kwan

Copyright Information:  NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION [NIV]  All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com

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