Hearing and obeying

Ordained Foursquare Minister Harold Helms shares the rebuke Jesus gave against being mere "hearers of the Word" and the hope we have for Christ to be glorified if we also obey.

Harold Helms

The old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” seems to be given credence in the events of Matthew 22:15-30.

Though there was hostility between the Pharisees and Sadducees, they set aside their differences and joined forces in an effort to have Jesus executed. Rather than accepting Him as the ultimate expression of God’s love, they considered Him to be “public enemy number one.” He represented a serious threat to their very secure positions.

Our Lord pointed out not only their agnosticism, but also the very cause of it: “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (v. 29).

What a stunning rebuke from Jesus to those who were so steeped in traditional religion. Our Lord’s brother, James, warned his readers of the peril of becoming hearers of the Word while neglecting to obey it, or hearing more than we are willing to translate into action (Jas. 1:22). One of the results of hearing the Word without “putting shoe leather” on that knowledge is the danger of becoming argumentative and unloving.

If the Lord Jesus is grieved by those who do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God, He must be pleased when He finds those who do have a healthy balance of both in their lives.

We see the Word and the Spirit mentioned throughout Scripture, beginning on the first page of our Bibles: “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters,” and “God said …” (Gen. 1:1-3). Through the Word and the Spirit working together, a beautiful cosmos was formed.

On the Day of Pentecost, as told in Acts 2, Peter explained to those who heard the crowd speaking in tongues by saying, “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh'” (vv. 16-17).

Peter then urged the people to do two things: repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and, as a result, they would be filled with the Spirit (vv. 38-39). After this experience, “about three thousand souls were added to them” (v. 41). One of the immediate responses to the recognized presence of God’s Spirit is our realization of the need for repentance and water baptism.

Prayer Points

  • What attitude should we have when we cannot agree with someone on the meaning of a text in Scripture?
  • What effect should we expect in our personal lives when we submit ourselves consistently to the Holy Spirit and to the Word of God as messengers of our Lord?
  • According to this passage of Scripture, what results can we expect from an outpouring of the Holy Spirit today?

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is an ordained Foursquare minister who served as senior pastor of Angelus Temple throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
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