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Let Every Man Be Swift To Hear

Ralph Henderson



  • March 8, 2003
    9:30 AM
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warning him and it's good to be with you here again this morning on our last Sabbath together and you know as we've gone through this entire series I hope that there are a couple of very valuable points that you've recognized number one that we need to maintain our focus on Jesus Christ number two that when we maintain our focus on Jesus Christ the Bible tells us that might be holding it we become change and as we behold Jesus Christ and as our characters are formed into his likeness then we will begin to reflect him to those around us and many souls will be brought to the kingdom because of our lives and that's my prayer for each one of us today and unlike for you to turn with me again if you will do James chapter one and let's look again at our Scripture today or wanted to look at this chapter and in this view versus and understand how these verses can relate to all that we've been talking about these past two and a half weeks James chapter one and we want again look at versus nineteen through twenty one James chapter one verses nineteen through twenty one James says wherefore my beloved brethren let every man be swift to hear slow to speak slow to wrath for the wrath of man work is not the righteousness of God wherefore lay apart all filthy nest and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls I want to get a want to keep that in mind but I'm going to take you back a few years quite a few years when I was at first attending Pacific Union College my goal there was to become a physical education teacher but there was one slight I had when I first started going to visit beginning college and that was then I wanted to play really more than studying others probably no one here that's like that you've all possibly gotten past that stage but when I first got there that was kind of what was going on in my line and I remember I was looking for a job I needed to get a job so I could have no money for the essentials that I would need and so I went into this community work service office that they had and they had jobs available for college students so I went in and I I sat down and I began talking with this lady has them looking for some more something that you like and fit into my schedule she said I have the perfect job for you she said this will fit in almost anyone's schedule and she said is at the bakery a single bouquet bakery that sounds okay and she said now the job is four hours a day but you'll be able to work that into your schedule I said okay so what what time do I start and she said well you started for in the morning I said four o'clock in the morning that's not morning that's the middle of the night I said what other jobs you have their and so she began going through the Johnson there was another place that she said that would perhaps fit my schedule are my needs better she said there is a like a community services office and she said students can go there and people in the community who have work for different individuals she said they can you can go over there and work two hours for this person or three or four for this person and they generally pay you quite well so I thought okay that this is good this is good sigh I went over and and this one lady need of some hillside to be cleared of some weeds and debris and thanks has a piece a cake I went over and I found out that the Villa weeds that were on the side of the hill poison oak and so after I'm after I I my job and cleared the whole side of the hill with poison oak I began noticing just a few days later that I was itching and down after my entire body was almost covered with poison oak I decided that that perhaps wasn't the thing for me and so then I moved on in and out then the last job that I had was I worked in a nursery and I don't know how many you've ever done production work the production work assembly line work is very boring and you doing the same thing over and over again I went into this nursery thinking that while this couldn't possibly be something like that but in reality it was this nursery was the nursery the supplied all of the vineyards with their little baby minds when they first started but I learned what grafting was all about I I took the they took the base mind it was supposed to be a stronger breeding otherwise try to produce better great stronger vines it would produce more and so they would grasp the different lines together and my job was to take this line that had been cut down the middle and then there was another bind it would be centered in between those two and it had to be placed just right of the graph wouldn't take so was quite a tedious thing to make sure that it went right down in there and then you would stapled the two outer sections of the bottom line together and you would engraft those blinds you would connect to items together and you know as I was looking at this text I began to think about that last statement there in verse twenty one receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls you see in order for you and I to be saved into the kingdom of heaven I think we have to discover that there's something that has to take place within us something that have to go inside go on inside of our hearts you see in verse twenty one James says that we are to lay a part of filthiness and superfluity now I don't know bite you but when I first read that word superfluity I wondered what the world does that word mean superfluity means in excess and oversupply and then I like this part something unnecessary now isn't it wonderful to know that God is wanting you to eliminate from your life something it's unnecessary still is not something that you will miss if you give it up it's not something that will cause you any loss if it's forgotten it's something that's totally unnecessary in your life and God says to lay aside later part of Filipinas and superfluity of naughtiness you say God is calling us to give up something in order for you and I to obtain eternal salvation yes it is going to cost something we are going to have to give up the world and he goes on and he says and receive with meekness the engrafted word God wants for Jesus and us to be grafted together he wants for us to be as one is Peter spoke about last night but I want us to take a little deeper look at these verses this morning and I want us to go back up now to verse nineteen and I wanted to just think about verse nineteen as we just read it and realize this that if there were no Bible if this was the only text in Scripture that God had given man what a different place the home the church and the world would be if we simply followed this one verse James as every man be swift to hear slow to speak and slow to wrath in there are some statistics that I heard years ago and I don't remember the exact numbers but whenever there is a group of any size that has come together for a church service of any kind there are statistics that say that that morning a certain portion of those people had a argument before they came to church you don't even have to raise your hands but a certain portion of those people have a argument before they came to church a certain portion of those people lash out at someone that morning a certain portion of those people just before they got out of that car they had a terrible argument or discussion and then immediately as soon as the doors were closed the church face was put on and they came in a certain portion of those people came in hurting because someone else was spotless and careless in the way they express themselves so this morning as we sit here I don't know who you are but I know that you do and I know that each one of us battles each one of us no matter what our walk of life matter how high we've attained on that spiritual ladder we battled with the issue of self and so now we look at today and we see that Paul is giving us some keys to how we can be more like Jesus and the first one that he says is let every man be swift to hear you see I think that we would recognize that life is built on relationships and an important part of those relationships is obviously communication it's very essential in fact some relationships are broken or made by communication along so when we think of these things we recognize the communication honestly takes two things listening and speaking necessarily in that order but but there is a saying that says that God gave us two ears and he gave us one mouth so maybe we should listen twice as much as we talk that makes sense in fact the story is told the young man once came to Socrates and he was going to learn how to give a sermon he was going to learn the power of oratory and as he came and he was introduced to Socrates almost immediately after the introduction he began talking incessantly finally after some time Socrates immediately stuck his hand over the young man's mouth and he said young man I'm good have to charge you twice as much and he said his recent because first we go to have to teach you how to hold your tongue and then I'm good have to teach you how to use it listening is a very important aspect of our relationships with each other but it's even more important in our relationship with God you see in order for us to be good listeners for one another we must be a good listener to God in the world in which we live today there are so many distractions the devil uses to try and draw us away so that we don't have time to listen to God but I want you to understand that we must practice the art of listening to God as he speaks you say we live in a world where Christianity seems to be a powerless powerless form of godliness people claim to be Christians yet there is no power in their lives and we ask ourselves the question what is missing could the fact to be that we don't take the time to listen to God we have not learned the art of listening for what our Savior wants to say to us you see God was still speaking but the question is is does man listen the Bible has given us some very good illustrations of listening we all remember the story of Abraham that night when the voice of God spoke to him and said Abraham takedown by son nine only son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice no my brothers and sisters at this time in Abraham 's life believe me if Abraham had not developed the art of listening to God he would've never responded so quickly the Bible tells us that that morning as the dawn broke that Abraham was up the asses were saddled they had laid all the wood they taken all of the things necessary and they were on their way immediately you see Abraham responded immediately because he knew that voice do you know the voice of God this morning do you know when God is really trying to speak to you Jesus said in John ten seventeen my sheep hear my voice do you hear the voice of God remember the story of little Samuel when he was just a little boy and the first couple of times he heard that voice he didn't know what it was he wasn't accustomed to hearing the voice of God but he went to one who was any license my son I believe God is trying to speak to you go back now and when you hear the voice again say speak Lord for thy servant here are you and unloading your life today are you unloading your life today where you have practiced the art of listening to God or you know the voice of God when he speaks Re: one of those who's all Klonopin everything is going on around you you are living in the world of confusion just like everyone else and you don't know what direction to turn where to go when to do it or what is happening next if you are one of those people my friends and I would suggest that you listen to the words of the Psalmist when he said in Psalms forty six verse ten the still and know that I am God let's look at just a couple of text Psalms eighty one versus eight to twelve essay what the Bible says to us today about listening to God Psalms eighty one verses eight through twelve Psalms eighty one beginning in verse eight this almost tells us here all my people and I will testify unto the all Israel if thou wilt hearken unto me there shall no strange god be in the neither shalt thou worship in a strange God I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of Egypt open thy mouth wide and I will fill it but my people would not hearken to my voice and Israel would none of me you see there's two things that can happen we can listen to the voice of God we can gain experience in listening to that voice and God can save us from many many pitfalls along the way but we can get caught up in our own world and we can fail to listen to God at all and continue on moving on in our life and not recognized when he's speaking to us look at one more verse Proverbs eight and verse thirty two Proverbs chapter eight and verse thirty two Proverbs chapter eight and verse thirty two again the Bible tells us therefore hearken unto me O you children for the last are they that keep my ways using you're not listening to the voice of God then you're probably not walking in the path that he wants you to walk you're probably doing your own thing following your own will doing exactly what you want to do why because you cannot hear the voice of God the story is told of two young men who are walking down the streets of New York City one of them was an Indian who had come from outside the city and as they were walking down the street suddenly the Indians stopped and he said you hear it and the other young man looked any siblings are one he said do you hear the crickets he said the cricket is that what you're talking about you are you are correct that he said the buses going by horse talking cars blowing bias there's all kinds of noise people yelling up and down the street and you're trying to tell me you hear crickets he's his weakness and has ever standing by the corner a few feet away was a tree in a planter in the Indian young man walked over and he reached down and event planner and he pulled out the cricket what are we listening for today I was listening for the voice of God or has the commotion of the world around us cost us to just drift away when my favorite quotes from your inspiration says we must individually hear him speaking to the heart when every other voice is hashed and in quietness we wait before him the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God be still and know that I'm God a in him for peace in no means that he is gone resume Linda that he is holding the beast is Laura as so little of my bounty all the friends of the methanol using clamors he be soon known that he is God be soon unknown that he is a small concern there all that he has said to be donating and know that he will ban on containing the meaning of peace and will and know that he is now being staying you know that he is the weirdest and I know that he is gone please enable the disease speech then this is the new unknowns that he is God peace their own and know he is soft on him as their comrade is the had long used whereas Ms. into the arena among all his unfailing harvest beating all areas related to mom Pauline easier laws you and the East and be still and know that I am God the first and mourn most important aspect of being swift to hear is to be still and know that God is God that he is faithful that he longs to guide you through the trials and struggles of life be swift to hear we also must learn to be swift to hear others you know sometimes we get so caught up and were so excited about what we have to say that before a person even finishes what they're trying to tell us we begin saying our response of you ever done that maybe I'm the only one that's ever done that before my wife had a kind of train me actually because you don't sometimes we begin a conversation together and she would begin telling you what it what you want to share of course I mean the all-knowing husband I had altered out already cited media the whole thing and so I can immediately began giving the response and she said you know you have to listen that's not what I was consenting all okay we have to listen sometimes I think that we have selective hearing I remember once when my little nephew was outside in the backyard his mother walked up to the sliding glass door Karl it's time to come in now now car was only twenty feet away and I was standing there and I recognize it was plenty loud enough for him to hear but Carl never even looked at just kept on doing what he was doing swinging plane on the swing set and so she called again Carl it's time to come in now not even an acknowledgment Carl Martin you get in this house right now will suddenly you'd knowledged his mother but you see sometimes we were not listening correctly we respond incorrectly and Carl turned around and looked at his mother instead I have a stick in my hands these still want me to come in and she said yes I do and bring it with you I don't think I need to go on any further as to what happened next sometimes we have selective hearing sometimes we hear things only the way that we want to hear them I read a story once about a gentleman who is trying to find something in the phone book and he was try to find a number for something and it wasn't listed and so he called information and maybe you have this problem before you called information and you know I called information before and I've asked for a number for certain city and they will tell me that there's no listing in that city and the city that they name is not the city denying a and so then I I say not know how insane this city well this gentleman had a similar problem one day he was calling information trying to find out about a publication called theater arts and Sony called information and he said yes I'm looking for a number before a business called theater arts get a listing for it and there was a pause on the other end of the line the operator said no I'm sorry there's no one in the city by that name no it is not a person he said it's a business it's theater arts and there was another pause on the line and she said sir I said there is no one in this city by that name now maybe he lives in another city and the Manson moment you don't understand I'm looking for a business theater arts T H E a T R E arts she said sir I know how to spell Theodore and that is not how you spell Theodore do we listen when others speak to us you know how many conflicts how many confrontations could be avoided if we practiced the art of being a good listener and once again we have to recognize that unless were listening to God unless we are listening to him we are not practicing the art of being a good listener because first we must hear the voice of God speaking to us then we are more polite we are more courteous we are more thoughtful as we engage in conversation and communication with others we had good listener this morning the Bible says let every man be swift to hear the nest next aspect of our taxes let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak now this is one were probably a lot of us have got in trouble before and I want to share with you just a couple of text look back at RM person in James chapter one go back to James chapter one and let's look at verse twenty six as we begin our thoughts on being slow to speak James chapter one in verse twenty six James continues on the spot and he says if any man among you seem to be religious and bridal if not this time but this even his own heart this man's religion is banging another things two things that I like about this text number one is he tells us that if we seem to be religious and number two he talks about deceiving our own hearts and remembered Proverbs were told that the heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things who can know it and you see if or not listening to God then were deceiving ourselves because we think there were religious when were not because you see being a spiritual person encompasses more than just coming to church every week pain are tied and maybe going on a mission trip once in a while it encompasses a transformation in your life and your character it encompasses all of a sudden when someone talks you talk to you ten years ago they recognize that you're a different person something has changed there something different about you now let every man be slow to speak let's look at a few texts on the tongue for moment Colossians chapter four Colossians chapter four and verse six Colossians chapter four and verse six Paul speaking to us here in Colossians four sixty says let your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt that he may know how he ought to answer every man now I know that all of us have come in contact with those people who have this sharp edge in their voice you know and seems like a lot of times you come in contact with them and it since little business in your notice that you come into this into this business in your you're looking to do purchase something Re: need help to find an item and you and you walk up to them and you say to you I was looking for this could you help me find it it's all wrong I'll twelfth see on the left side and you say to yourself sorry if you mean me to come into your store today you know and sometimes people will say things and we want to respond immediately you know what Peter mentioned that to us earlier in the end of week someone will say something to us that's not really something we want to hear and immediately we want to get the upper hand and we want to come back with one of those good comebacks or will just kind of cut them down but the reason the Bible says to be slow to speak is so that you can listen to God before you respond and I don't know about you but I found that in my own life dealing with my own children dealing with people that I work with dealing with my wife whatever circumstance it may be and I have found that when I am slow to speak and I do listen to God before I respond the outcome is so much better I can think of times with my children where I've been in a dispute with one of my kids you know we've been arguing and and I get to that point right now okay I am the father this is what were doing and so the response is all of a sudden the defense goes up the wall goes up and they want to now defend themselves in the argument begins and you know it seems that when arguments begin in each person is always trying to get the last word they never end on a calm note they keep asking you waiting until people are almost yelling and finally somebody is so hang results that they walk away I remember being told about little church one time there had been a board meeting and this type of the situation began into men were arguing back and forth in a Christian board meeting and the argument kept getting more and more elevated until finally one of the men had lost his anger to the point that he hauled off and punch the other one right in the face in the Christian board meeting let every man be slow to speak turn with me as we look at what the wisest man in the world has to say Proverbs Proverbs chapter eighteen and verse twenty two three Proverbs eighteen twenty one Proverbs chapter eighteen inverse twenty one listen to the power of this statement given to us by Solomon Proverbs eighteen verse twenty one Solomon says death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof you know that in the world that we live there are literally thousands upon thousands of people who have mental damage because of the way that they were spoken to as they were growing up in the home they got all of these problems all of this bag is that they carry with them because they were verbally abused as they were growing up you know that verbal abuse can be worse than physical abuse people can say things to us that can cut through to the very heart and we would rather have them punch us in the face we would rather have them with us with whips and to say some of the words that they can say that are so cutting and the best thing about words is that once you let him go you can't him him and the damage that they do is only determined by the person that received them words are very powerful and that's why this text is so important as we look at the aspect of transformation of character because when Jesus Christ really begins to take a hold of our lives when we in Christ during grafted together when we are joined together that our lives are worth our actions everything that we do begins to reflect him and it is shown in the way that we speak in the way that we listen in the way that we communicate one with another let every man be slow to speak but another text and in Proverbs fifteen progress fifteen in verse for just a few chapters back the Bible says a wholesome tongue is a tree of life but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit brothers and sisters our words have power if you want to have power in your life then let your words be a blessing to all those that you come around with over Proverbs twenty one and verse twenty three Proverbs twenty one and verse twenty three who so keep of his mouth and his tontine of his soul from troubles now we should all be able to recognize that because if were able to control our tongue think about the last time that you were almost in an argument with someone but rather than lash out or respond harshly to them you can't and you breathe not a word then all of a sudden the whole tone of the communication call him down the spirit called in the atmosphere around was more calm and peaceful and merely because he use him it listened to God an argument it didn't continue on feelings were hurt hearts warmth scarred it's very important that we learn to listen to God and be slow to speak when we learn to be slow to speak it means that we are learning to listen to God first we all know that famous saying be sure the brain is in gear before the tongue is engaged well we need to make sure that we have stopped long enough to listen before we speak let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak and then he goes on any as one more thing to that he says and slow to anger you know as I was growing up as a young man I I can recognize that I had a bad temper and my sister when I was in my mid- twenties my older sister was teasing me one day about how I used to get so mad sometimes my face would turn so read and I would I would grab my date and I be so angry and then I look back on those times when she was bringing this up and I remembered once that I was staying at her house and and I was doing dishes and everything and she call me Hortense because I was her slave she said and I remember she was teasing me one day and and I looked back and you know I I I got a vivid picture of what she was saying I look back to that day when she was teasing me about something and I was so angry and I don't know if if if I'd been bigger than her I would've walked up just after one or what but I recognize that that I had a temper and you know some of the things we get unfortunately they are inherited in some of the things we get are cultivated but it's really bad they inherited tendency and you know we have to recognize we have to examine ourselves my friends Jesus calls us to examine ourselves and really that's what this is all about you seek for us to come together for two and a half weeks and to spend time in the word of God looking at the character of God examining his words and how he wants us to be it's all for naught if or not willing to examine ourselves and most of the time one when I preach I'm calling for individuals to examine themselves it's very easy to sit and look at your wife or are your kids are for your boyfriend or girlfriend or whoever's next to you and an point out the flaws in their characters were all very good that but it's very hard when we have to humble ourselves and examine ourselves and really see what our flaw of character 's so these three aspects that James is speaking to us he's trying to tell us that if you are really claiming to be a religious person if you really claiming to be a man or woman of God then these aspects of your character and your life will show evidence that you have been transformed by the master designer he says be slow to anger look in Proverbs again at Chapter fourteen in verse seventeen the other thing I like about Solomon 's installment could encapsulate it gigantic statements in one little phrase Proverbs fourteen in verse seventeen this is what he says about anger he that is soon angry deal with foolishly and we all seen that before and we all see how anger can embarrass us in front of other people I remember standing in an airport one time and we were waiting to get on the plane and everybody was just kind of standing around and there was a family man and his wife and a little boy little three -year-old boy perhaps and a little boy which is running circles around the man and woman in the post but they were leaning next to and he was running around and just having a good time wasn't bothering anybody and all of a sudden his father reached down to grab that low blood by the arm and started cursing at this little boy and telling them to stop doing this he lost his temper and all of those suddenly surround everyone suddenly stopped and they were the centerstage in this man embarrassed himself because all of us that had been watching this little boy were just thinking what what things little children will do to entertain themselves and ended to just make sure they're occupied and yet this man lost his temper he became angry and lashed out at that little child who had not a clue that he was doing anything wrong by Solomon speaks very very prominently here he says he even is soon angry he looked foolishly look at another one over inverse chapter twenty one verse nineteen LA's don't take offense at this one but it's something to think about first twenty one verse nineteen says it is better to dwell in the wilderness and with a contemptuous and an angry woman I can work both ways I believe but I think it's interesting that people would rather be out in the middle of nowhere by themselves lost than to be around someone who is displaying anger and Lasso want to look at Colossians three verse eight through ten colossal three versus a three ten Colossians chapter three beginning in verse eight Paul authority been telling us the things that we don't do any more supposedly because we have now become Christians and now in verse eight he says but now he also put up all the anger wrath malice blasphemy filthy communications out of your mouth why not one to another seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him you see Paul is trying to tell us today my friends that their areas of our lives that are definite evidence of who really lives in our hearts their areas of our life that are a definite evidence as to whether or not we have really been engrafted to divine and this morning this morning as we come to the conclusion I want to share one more song with you but I want us to recognize as we close I want us to recognize that without God this morning we are weak we are incapable of overcoming these attributes of our character but Jesus said that he wants to come in and abide within us Jesus has said that he wants to come in and transform our lives so that we will be a reflection of his character but Jesus wants us to first recognize that we are weak and if he told Paul in second Corinthians twelve nine he says for my strength is made perfect in weakness my race is sufficient for the UCI recognized that the road is long I recognize that the battle is hard Jesus wants you not to recognize that he does to the Bible tells us that we have not a high priest and cannot be test with the infirmities as we'll Jesus knows what we go through Jesus knows the areas of our character they were trying to refine Jesus knows that we want to give those things to him but sometimes we don't even know how and I hope that as you listen to these the words of this last song that you will recognize for yourself that God is just saying my child my child just just reach and grasp hold of the power of infinity let me be the one who speaks through you take the time be still and know that I am God and listen to my voice and as you listen to my voice more and more you will speak my words and your words will be words of life not death your life will be a life is a reflection of love and understanding so listen now to this last song and if you are struggling with an area in your life then I want you to say the words of the song in your heart as you hear them precious Lord take my hand lead me on and help me stand Lord I'm tired I'm weak I am worn Jesus says take my listen to him him him him go to burnish his loan will save my the main hall is one of and I and we I and all through the stall is hanging the meeting on you own I gave my presence alone on I don't want to be the sentiment will in my life and put inside time someone wanted me home and I wandered on you I wandered from you fine I indeed will will make my life and he is in my head a you and you and you let me shine phone and always sighing will be him him in my way he will be in an young as all are doing good and when Myla and is all in my cry and being in line call my list and I will in my and Mrs. small is all along we lift our heads as we close letting father in heaven that we look at one simple verse Lord we see how much that one verse says to us today and Lorna nobody's one recognizes that its character reformation that you're looking for Lord help us to recognize today that our characters are the only thing that will be taking to heaven with us and Lord we pray today that if there is someone in this room and more each one of us has our own dark corner each one of us has that dark spot Lord that we know in our hearts must be surrendered we come to you today Lord we pray we say Lord Savior take me this from me today cleanse my heart and my life and made me a new creature let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight O Lord my strength and my Redeemer we pray and we ask these things in Jesus name and for his sake amen


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