by Marvin Weir (guest article)
April 29, 2007
The Lord and Savior says: “Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them” (Matt. 13:13-15).
A carnal and material mind is never properly attuned to spiritual matters. A worldly mind-set is the reason many consider the gospel to be foolishness. The Word of God becomes a stumblingblock to those who steadfastly refuse to believe in the power and wisdom of God. Man’s way has never been God’s way. The apostle Paul reminds those who will hear that “it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). If people do not understand this truth then they have no one to blame but themselves.
One will dwell in darkness who refuses the light of God’s Word.
Jesus mentions people who hear but really do not hear! They close their eyes lest they see, and they close their ears lest they hear. Isaiah’s prophecy was true then, and it is also true today. It is amazing that today so many claim to be religious, but are instead deaf to Bible truth. Let us notice some areas where people hear but do not hear.
Religious titles. Funeral home directors often ask me if I want to be listed as pastor or minister. I tell them that I am not a pastor; I am a “preacher” or “minister.” I understand that these words are descriptive and are not used as a title. It never fails that they list me as being a “minister,” and then call me “pastor.” They hear but they do not hear!
Denominations have so influenced people that they can think only in denominational terms. The word “pastor” (poimen) refers not to preachers but to elders – the shepherds of the flock (1 Pet. 5:2). Qualifications for “pastors” (elders or bishops) are given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The term “pastor” thus refers to the elders who oversee the flock.
Plan of salvation. One can proclaim the gospel plan of salvation and people will often hear but not hear! It is not uncommon for a gospel preacher to stress that people must believe (Heb. 11:6), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), make the good confession (Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16) and then have one of denominational persuasion to note how wonderful it is that a person can believe in and accept Jesus as their Savior and be saved.
Those who reject immersion as part of the gospel plan of salvation do not hear the Scriptures. One who is baptized into Christ puts on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Does this mean one can be saved simply by believing and without putting on Christ? Peter says that baptism saves one (1 Pet. 3:21) while members of denominations say that one is saved before being baptized. Is it not amazing that people can hear the Word of God without really hearing what the Word has to say?
The truth about the Lord’s church. One can teach on the uniqueness of the blood bought church of Christ (Acts 20:28) and still have plenty of folks who hearing hear not. Christ promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18), and not some church or a church. How can people read verses such as those just mentioned and still believe that it is great for one to attend the church of his choice? Some people are quick to say, “The church doesn’t save one anyway – Christ does the saving.” Does it matter if one severs the head from the body? The Scriptures declare that God gave “him [Christ] to be head over all things “…to the church, which is his body…” (Eph. 1:22-23). Instead of attempting to defend multiple man-made churches, one should seek out the only body (church) that Christ has promised to save (Eph. 5:23).
The truth about worship. Is anyone listening to what the Lord has to say about worship? He says that one must worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Worship is not something that is done to one, but something that one does. Entertainment is not worship. Drama is not worship. What someone else can do for you is not worship.
The Lord says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). He also said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)? Most people, however, prefer the word of man to the Word of God.
Those who hear but hear not will not be pleased with the sentence they receive at the Day of Judgment.