“THEY JUST WON’T LISTEN”                                   By Pastor YAU

Text: Matthew 11:20-24                                                 August 13, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)     A heartbreaking scenario: A woman was trapped on the top floor of a burning high rise building. When fire fighters arrived, one of them scrambled up a ladder to the window where the woman was screaming for help. With outstretched arms he offered to save her. But when she looked down and saw the great distance to the ground below, she panicked and drew back into her room. The fireman begged her to trust him for her safety but his pleas were not heeded. The woman retreated beyond the fireman’s reach. Finally the fireman, forced by flames, returned to the ground and told his comrades in tears, “I did all I could to save her life but she just won’t listen to me.”

2)     An account in the Bible: After preaching, teaching and healing the sick with miracles in cities like Bethsaida and Korazin and surrounding communities without seeing proper response, Jesus began to mourn the don’t care, don’t believe, unrepentant attitude of the people in those cities as recorded in the paragraph we use for today’s message. Jesus longed to forgive their sins and save their souls but the people stubbornly resisted to trust Him and His offer of salvation. They acted like the woman in the story who eventually perished in the flames even though she could have escaped to safety.

 

THEY JUST WON’T LISTEN: “Don’t want to listen” seems to be the current culture everywhere. Respect and obedience are no longer the theme of the song.

1)    They won’t listen to God: It seems this is where the “won’t listen” culture begins: people don’t respect or listen to God. This is true not only amount those who do not believe in God. It also is true among many who claim to believe in God but do not take God and His word seriously and obediently. A Chinese saying “those who don’t have God in their hearts won’t have people in their eyes” seems to tell it all. When people don’t respect God, there is little for them to respect people whom they will listen to.

2)    They won’t listen to parents: The virtue of “listening to parents” has become a joke to many people especially among the younger generation. Either young people think their parents know nothing or they see “listening to parents” as a sign of weakness or loss of independence. Even many grownups don’t listen to parents anymore. They think that because they have higher education than their parents, know more how to operate modern day gadgets like computers and make more money than their parents used to make they don’t need to listen to parents. Many of these people think their parents are out-of-date with the current society and therefore their counsels or suggestions are too old fashion and are irrelevant.

3)    They won’t listen to authority: Not listening to teachers in schools, supervisors at work, official in government or even leaders at churches is another serious problem in today’s society. The attitude of rebellion is wide spread and runs rampant. Many of the problems in schools, at working places, in the society and even in the churches are results of this rebellious attitude. Crimes in schools, at work places, in the society and disruptions in churches are directly related to this attitude of disrespect of authority.

4)    They won’t listen to anyone: Many of us when seeing someone we love has made a mistake will care enough to bring up the problem and give advice to our friends. But in today’s society, knowing that most people won’t listen to you, we just keep quiet and sometimes bleed on the inside in great sorrow.

 

WHY WON’T THEY LISTEN?

1)    It has to do with pride: Above all other possible reasons, pride stands out blocking the willingness of people to listen. Most people today have much more pride in their attitude toward others and that pride shields them off from seeing the need or validity of listening to anyone. Many of these people think they know the best for their life and therefore there is no need to listen to anyone who doesn’t know as much as they do. Check on your pride all the time.

2)    It has to do with trust: Trust is an essential ingredient for anyone to listen to and act on advices given by family and friends. No one will listen to anyone whom they don’t trust. Either people don’t trust your wisdom or intention or the validity of your advice, if they don’t trust you, there is nothing you can do to help them just as the fireman can’t help the woman trapped in a burning building. We all know that it is a risky thing to trust people. But how can we live a life fully and freely if we can’t trust anyone? We all have to trust someone to make life possible.

3)    It has to do with respect: Respect is another important ingredient for someone to listen to you. They need to respect your knowledge, experience, skill, character, integrity or authority in the area you are going to give advice. Most people realize that just to have a good heart or good intention is not enough to give valid advice to solve a problem or give a direction. It takes much more than that. Build a high level of respect among people is very important because it is your ticket to help others when they face needs. Live your life with integrity and honor on top of knowledge, wisdom and experience will prepare you to be a trusted friend to others.

4)    It has to do with love: Love is the most important element in gaining people to listen to you. With or without the recognition of the other party, whoever desires to give counsel or advice must have a genuine love to that person. Anything less than a true love for the good of the person won’t bring the desired results in getting him to listen to you. People can see or feel if you love them when you tell them what to do.

 

WHY DO WE WANT TO LISTEN?:

1)   It is God’s command: Through out the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, God has pleaded again and again that His people listen to Him. Over 300 times in the Bible, God called on His people to listen to Him and His words. Before delivered the laws and commands of God to the people of Israel, Moses encouraged them: “Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Listen and follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut. 4:1) King Solomon in His proverbs also encouraged repeatedly that readers will listen to the teaching of the Father (God) and gain wisdom and blessings. At the end of the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Anyone who listen these words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock…” (Matt. 7:24)

2)   It is the way to blessings: In Deut. 28:1-14, after Moses finished deliver the laws and decrees of the Lord to the people of Israel, he pronounced the blessings God promised to bestow on those who will listen and obey them. Listening to God is not that bad as many might think. If we truly believe that He is the almighty, all powerful and loving God, why is it so hard to listen to His commands? Jesus said that if we truly love Him we will listen and obey Him that He and His Father will love us. (John 14:21) If you desire God’s blessings, this is the best way to get them.

3)   It is the way to wisdom: King Solomon encouraged us to teach the wise because they will increase their wisdom and love us. Only the fools will despise teaching and refuse to listen. (Proverbs 9:7-9) Lots of people will do all they can to increase knowledge by attending colleges, read books, attend seminars but those who are wise will listen to the advice of God and increase their understanding about life. Wisdom is much higher than knowledge. It is the ability to see and understand truth behind the superficial or appearance. The power of wisdom is more than just making money it is about making life more worthy of living.

4)   It is the way to protection: In the parable of the wise man, Jesus said those who listen to his words are like wise men who build their houses (lives) on the rock. “The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall because it has its foundation on the rock.” (Matt. 7:25) No one can predict when the rain will come, the water will rise or the wind will blow to beat against our life and cause us harm. But everyone can listen to God and be protected from all kinds of harm that may come our way often times unexpected and without warning.

CONCLUSION:

1)     Examine your listening attitude: Look at yourself how humble or arrogant you are in listening to God, to parents, people in authority and your good friends who want to see the best of you. Find out why you feel hard to listen and get rid of the obstacles.

2)     Prepare yourself to listen: Cut down your pride, build up your respect to God, to parents, to people in authority and people who love you and want to see the best of you. Wise up to be a good listener and follow good advice to avoid harm and have better life.

3)     You must listen to this one: Listen to the call of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” This is the call of salvation and eternal security. All wise men and women need to heed that call and respond positively to God. It is a matter of eternal life and death.