The Bible places a great amount of importance on hearing. To each of the seven churches in Asia as John records in Revelation 2-3, the Lord said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” James states, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer , but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). Yet, when it comes to the plan of salvation that God has devised, the apostle Paul said it best:
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:13-14)
Thus, we know what Jesus has done two millennia ago to provide salvation for humanity, but the first step for human acquisition is to hear this great message in order to know it!
We have to hear what God is saying to us, and the only way that this may happen is to gain an understanding of the word of God. It must come from one who really wants to listen. Sometimes wives chide their husbands, “You have not heard a word I said!” When it comes to God, we must desire to hear Him. The Parable of the Sower illustrates this in Luke 8—four types of soil represented four kinds of hearers, but only one group really listened (Luke 8:4-15). We must be extremely careful that we do not develop “deaf ears,” or as Jesus explained, “…their ears are dull of hearing” (Matt. 13:15). I am convinced that this is one of the greatest problems today—people do not want to listen, and even if they do “hear,” they are not really listening to the warnings about error, immorality, indifference, procrastination and such like that God wants humanity to know! As a preacher, the late VE Howard’s trademark was the question, “Are you listening?”
Hearing is necessary if sinners are to correct their lives. The gospel is intended to save, because it convicts sinners (cf. 1 John 2:1-3). People may have two good ears, but this does not mean that they will hear anything that they need to hear to motivate them to become pleasing to God. In an aforementioned verse, Jesus declared,
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing , and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matt. 13:15).
A failure to hear is very costly. Years ago, a certain publication carried an article saying that large corporations are now beginning to teach courses to their employees on how to listen. According to the article, learning efficiency in industry is less than 50% (think of the cost!), while senior officials spend up to 80% of their time in discussion with others. One time, an industrial plant had a serious problem, which took months and much expense to track down and fix. After its solution, a young employee told a personnel manager, “I have known what the problem was from the beginning.” When asked why he did not tell anyone, he replied, “I told the superintendent and the foreman, and neither one listened!” When it comes to the soul-saving message of Jesus Christ, a failure to hear is very costly!
In Matthew 11:15, Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Everyone needs to hear Jesus as He says,
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).