Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. ~Ecclesiastes 5:1

On a typical Sunday morning, millions of people go to church. Not all go with the same motives. Before I was born again and totally changed by the Holy Spirit of God (II Corinthians 5:17), I went to church to fulfill my moral obligation. I dressed up (like today’s beautiful picture) and put on my Sunday best. Sadly, it was my heart that should have been prepared, not my outward appearance. (I Samuel 16:7) I also went to church so that others would see me there, not because I desired to hear from God. I don’t think I was too different from many who attended along with me.

However, once I was saved, I was totally different. After salvation, we should thirst after God’s word. We should read the bible for hours on end as though we are dying of hunger or thirst and cannot get enough to eat or drink! (Luke 4:4) When we long to hear from the Lord, He will satisfy our thirst day after day! (Matthew 5:6) Each time we enter His gates (the church house), we should be ready to hear what He has to say to us. If we want our spiritual cups to be filled to the brim by the Holy Spirit, we must enter with empty cups. If our spiritual cups are filled with concerns, burdens, sin, etc., we won’t have any room available. We must prepare ourselves prior to reading and hearing God’s word – a spiritual housecleaning, if you will. God can fill an empty cup but He can’t fill one that’s full of sin and worldliness.

Today’s text takes this a little bit further. God points out that there are those who will go to church, as I did before salvation, merely to fulfill their religious obligation and moral duty. These do not go expecting to hear about one of their sins and repenting from it. No, they will not see their sin – they will not hear. This is not the way of a repentant heart. The one who goes into God’s house expecting to hear from the Lord is the one who will benefit. Fulfilling one’s religious duty is not obedience to the Holy Spirit of God. It is a futile sacrifice!

And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. I Samuel 15:22

Christian, God desires obedience to His word.  (Psalm 119:9) We cannot fully obey Him if we are not born again by His Spirit. (John 3:3, John 3:5) We cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit if we are not hearing Him. Let us enter our daily reading with spiritual ears – let us enter the Lord’s house with spiritual ears. Let us be ready to hear what the Lord has for us. Seven times, the Lord tells us, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” in the Book of Revelation. He also says 18 times in the New Testament, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” He wants us to hear Him. He desires to communicate with us through His word! Luke 4:4 states that we cannot live by bread alone but by every word of God. He has given us His word through the King James Bible – Now we must be ready to listen!

After hearing what the Lord has to say, let’s put it to action: repent, be a testimony and tell others about the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Gleaning Gold

~Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Nuggets of Truth

The Apostle John exhorted the believers not only to read this “difficult” book of the Bible but also to hear what God had to say.  Moreover, he did not stop there. He added the little word keep in the latter part of the verse. We can’t just read and hear but we must keep and not part with what God has taught us. Noah Webster defines the word “keep” as:

To hold; to retain in one’s power or possession; not to lose or part with; as, to keep a house or a farm; to keep any thing in the memory, mind or heart.

Anyone can read and anyone can hear. But not just anyone can keep in their hearts the Scriptures they have learned. Keeping denotes an act of hanging onto the doctrine that we have learned and not departing from it.  When we keep, or hang onto a doctrine we have learned, it means we are practicing it.  You’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk!” A person who puts into practice what he has been taught is truly a disciple of God’s Word. That is why it is important to study the Bible and get the meat that God wants us to grow by.

This is so important that God speaks of it twice in Revelation:

~Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Refining the Gold

We don’t have much time left. Read, hear and keep what God has given to you as you do your Bible studies. What are you doing with those verses that you are reading or hearing preached? Do you apply them to your heart? Are you abiding by what God has taught you? This is how the believer grows in Christ.

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(Joh 8:45-47) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (45) Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? (46) He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (47)(1 Jn 4:6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

We hear God’s Word because we have been born again and we possess the Holy Spirit in our lives. He, the Holy Spirit, will teach us about Jesus Christ and God’s will for us and He will guide us into all truths.

(Joh 14:17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.(Joh 15:26) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

(Joh 16:13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The Spirit of God is what convicts us and shows us what we must do in our lives. Seven times, Christ tells us to listen to the Spirit!

(Rev 2:7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.(Rev 2:11) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

(Rev 2:17) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

(Rev 2:29) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

(Rev 3:6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

(Rev 3:13) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

(Rev 3:22) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

It is clear that we must listen to the Holy Spirit of God, not only for salvation but for our spiritual growth. The same Spirit that spoke to Elijah speaks to us in that still small voice. (1 Ki 19:12) And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. The born again believer has access to the Throne of God because of the mediating power of Jesus Christ. Six times the Word states that He is our mediator.

(Gal 3:19) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.(Gal 3:20) Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

(1Ti 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

(Heb 8:6) But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

(Heb 9:15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

(Heb 12:24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

I love the depiction of the cross of Christ joining the great gulf between earth and Heaven, don’t you? It speaks volumes, doesn’t it? I also love the fact that Christ did not leave this earth and leave us with nothing but a memory. He left us with His Holy Spirit to guide, direct, teach, pray for us, and speak to us. We are not left on our own but we have God Himself living within us!

(Rom 8:26) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. and (Rom 8:27) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. We do not need anyone else to make intercession for us because we have God Himself, through the Spirit of Christ, making intercession to the Father for us.

Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has saved us – once for all – to the uttermost – forever! I don’t need to worry if I’m saved one minute and not the other. Christ’s shed blood at Calvary saves to the uttermost. It is accepting this gift and repenting from our wicked ways that allows us to be able to claim this promise!

(Heb 7:24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

(Heb 7:25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

(Heb 7:26) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

(Heb 7:27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

(Heb 7:28 ) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Praise be to God in the Highest!!!

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