"He Who Has Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear!"
Many within the Body of Christ ask, "Is God speaking, and if so, what is He saying?" Let me put your mind at rest; God is speaking. From the beginning, we find God speaking our world into existence and people having the ability to hear His voice even after the fall (Gen. 1, 3:8). The Israelites, in awe, spoke, "We have seen this day that God speaks with man, yet he still lives" (Deut. 5:24). It is an extraordinary privilege we have been given to hear the voice of God. However, the historical response has been to either hide from it and let the "professionals" listen to what God is saying or to press in close to hear for ourselves.
In this time when many voices are speaking, it is imperative that the Church/Ekklesia not only press in to hear but to listen, and to hear what Jesus says is essential for us as believers to grasp. There is a distinction. In Greek, it is more than hearing a sound. The word for to hear means to comprehend, understand, pay close attention to, and find out what it is that has passed through your ears.
Four times in the gospels we read Jesus admonish, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear!” So, what lessons does Jesus strongly encourage us to perceive and know?
1) He wants people to understand that “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:7-15). This verse is often misunderstood as the kingdom is under attack, but in the context in which this verse is written and the Greek, according to Strong's concordance, means that “a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and the most intense exertion,” and those that are strong can snatch it for themselves. So, our portion in the kingdom is in proportion to our willingness to learn the kingdom principles and apply them to our lives. He presented John the Baptist as Elijah for an example. What is our level of zeal?
2) Jesus wants us to understand the Parable of the Sower, in which the Word of the Kingdom is being sown (Matt. 13:1-9, vs. 18-23). How do we receive the Word? Do we understand it, receiving it with joy, allowing our minds and lives to be transformed by it so that fruit is produced in our lives? This parable is also recounted in Mark, chapter 4, and Luke, chapter 8. Are we pushing against the living Word of God, trying to adapt it to our way of thinking, or are we embracing it with all of our hearts?
3) Jesus desires that we understand the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, in which He sows the seed and we, as believers, are the seed He is sowing (Matt. 13: 24-30, 36-43). The kingdom has an enemy that is planting sinful desires and deceptive people within God's kingdom. Beware! Jesus wants us to understand that He will deal with all that causes sin or offense in His Kingdom and those guilty of violating His law (lawlessness). There is an enemy who is seeking to deceive and rob you of your place in the kingdom. Please don't allow it! There is a reward for those who will walk in righteousness will “shine forth as the sun.” This was prophesied in Daniel 12:2-3. Are you shining brightly in the kingdom?
4) Lastly, Jesus wants us to understand the cost of following Him. In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus makes it clear that we are to count the cost. Many in Western culture walk in fear of giving witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ and His authority and power here on earth. It is not politically correct to declare Him as the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the only way to the Father. However, what are we without a witness that is willing to follow Him to the cross? Paul admonishes us that we have been "crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). What is a Christian who refuses to testify? The persecuted Church would say they would rather identify with the oppressed rather than the persecutors, and that is walked out by giving witness of Jesus Christ daily ( http://www.insanityofgodmovie.com/). Are you testifying of Him regularly?
To sum up, Christ presented us with four things we were to think about and grasp wholly as His people. How we search for the kingdom, how we receive His Word as believers, that He has sown us in the earth with a warning that the enemy attempts to plant within us those things that are not of His kingdom, and the price of following Him. But these are not the only things we need to perceive. The Spirit is also speaking. We will explore this next.