|Ilagan Baptist Church|
Unfruitful Hearers Of The Word
Text: Ezekiel 33:30-33 IBCSWS May 20, 2007
Preacher: Pastor Jose B. Cabajar
Through the ages, millions of people have heard the Word of God preached by servants of the Lord, but a keen observation would reveal a lack of visible godly fruits in the lives of many hearers.
Unfruitful hearers of the Word of God are apparent in our time. In fact, such problem is not new in our so called modernized world, but it has been a problem since the beginning of man's existence.
Of course, we cannot expect mockers of the Word to become spiritually productive. The Bible is the greatest Book of all times and those who underestimate it will never come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible is a "one-of-a-kind Book" which is quite difficult to be understood by people who have indifferent attitude toward its teachings. In I Corinthians 2:14, it is written, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV) This verse denotes that the Bible is a Holy Book and as such, a natural man would find it hard to understand it because of the mentality that its contents are some sort of foolishness, and therefore, of no value.
The Word of God is pure and powerful and has a life-changing power. True believers are enjoying the benefits of the Word in their lives because they believe its contents and have high respect to its Author. Their lives have changed dramatically for the world to behold, and ultimately, for the glory of God.
As we study about the spirituality of the people during Ezekiel's days, we will surely gain a wider and deeper understanding why many professing believers are not growing and bearing spiritual fruits as they ought to. Our attitude today toward studying the Word of God will surely determine our future spiritual walk.
(I) People Who Have Indifferent Attitude Toward The Preachers Of The Word
-With critical spirit
Hearers of the Word with critical spirit will never grow spiritually. That is exactly what happened to the hearers of Ezekiel's preaching and teaching. In Ezekiel 33:30, it is written, Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. (KJV)
People who have indifferent attitude toward the preachers of Truth will be judged by God. The Bible reminds us how we should hear the Word being preached so we will become spiritually fruitful. In James 1:19-22, it is written, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (KJV)
(II) People Who Have Indifferent Attitude Toward The Word Of God
A man who has indifferent attitude toward the Word of God will surely become a friend of the world. The more he rejects the Word of God, the more he will entangle himself with the affairs and wickedness of the world. Behind spiritual barrenness is spiritual indifference toward the Word of Truth.
Behind spiritual indifference:
-Worldly way of thinking
Spiritual indifference is a rising problem which is threatening our Local Churches today. We should not let hypocrisy, covetousness and worldly thoughts creep into our lives because these are the things that could mar our well-established image.
In Ezekiel 33:31-32, it is written, And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. (KJV) These Bible passages give us a glimpse of what was happening in the lives of Ezekiel's hearers. May these ungodly acts be not found interwoven in our lives today, lest we destroy the good image of Christianity.
(III) People Who Overlook The Importance Of Godly Preachers
-Unrecognized blessing from God
Ezekiel was serving God, but the spiritual benefits of his preaching was not well-acknowledged by the people. Truly, many professing believers rarely appreciate the presence and value of their spiritual leaders. No doubt, many Christians today do not want to serve the Lord in fulltime capacity because of lack of respect, lack of support, lack of appreciation, complexity of works, and on top of it, a lot of problems in the ministry.
-Unperceived spiritual guardian
Ezekiel 33:1-9 Hebrews 13:7 Hebrews 13:17
People who overlook the importance of godly preachers today will suffer much spiritual losses in the future. The visible presence of God's servant in a particular place is a blessing to everyone. Without them, we cannot imagine the kind of morality we will have.
In Ezekiel 33:33, it is written, And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them. (KJV) The people during Ezekiel's time hardly accepted him as a prophet from God. It's a fact that worldliness robs spiritual perception.
Ezekiel was God's spokesman and watchman to the exiles, but his God-appointed role was not clearly perceived by the Jews. The sad spiritual condition of people during the Bible times is still the same problem we are facing in our congregation today.
In Hebrews 13:7, it says, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. (KJV) What a relevant reminder for believers to take heed.
Another reminder we should consider is the accountability of spiritual leaders before God. In Hebrews 13:17, it is written, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (KJV) Realizing and acknowledging such truth will lead us to be more appreciative of spiritual leaders and other servants of God. Professing believers who sincerely hold such teaching and practice will surely grow and become fruitful hearers of the Word.
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