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  3. Why You Won't Listen

Why You Won't Listen

The Bible provides profound insights into the reasons why many individuals might resist or reject the message of truth. The following sections present a curated collection of verses highlighting the simplicity of God's power, the forces of deception, and the discerning nature of belief.

The Simplicity of God's Message

The Apostle Paul emphasizes the simple yet powerful message of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion, which isn't based on human wisdom but God's power.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2,4-5 CSB
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. [2] I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [4] My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, [5] so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power.

Warnings Against Deception

Paul warns believers about deceptions that could lead people away from the truth, particularly in the last days.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4,9-12 CSB
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters, [2] not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come. [3] Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. [4] He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s temple, proclaiming that he himself is God. [9] The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with every kind of miracle, both signs and wonders serving the lie, [10] and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved. [11] For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe the lie, [12] so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness.

The Spirit of Truth vs. Spirit of Deception

John addresses the antichrist's spirit and the distinction between those who know God and those who belong to the world.

1 John 4:3-6 CSB
but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world. [4] You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. [5] They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. [6] We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.

Jesus on Unbelief

Jesus provides clarity about why people do not grasp His teachings, emphasizing that those from God will listen to His words.

John 8:43,45-47 CSB
Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to my word. [45] Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. [46] Who among you can convict me of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? [47] The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.

Parables and Perception

Jesus explains the purpose of his parables and the varying responses of listeners based on their heart's condition.

Matthew 13:11-17,23 CSB
He answered, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. [12] For whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. [13] That is why I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. [14] Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You will listen and listen, but never understand; you will look and look, but never perceive. [15] For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back— and I would heal them. [16] “Blessed are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. [17] For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see the things you see but didn’t see them, to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them. [23] But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.”

The Wisdom of God vs. Worldly Wisdom

Paul speaks of the gospel's perceived foolishness to those perishing, contrasting it with the power and wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 CSB
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. [19] For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. [20] Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? [21] For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. [22] For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. [24] Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, [25] because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

The Courage to Truly Listen

In the Scriptures, we are reminded that, "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1). In a world teeming with countless voices, the eternal Word of God stands unchanging and unwavering. The verses you've delved into aren't just ink and paper but are "alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12), illuminating our relationship with God and our walk of faith. As James 1:22 urges, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." The Bible is not merely a collection of ancient tales but is the inspired word of God, "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

The call isn't just to read but to meditate, to "examine the Scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11), and to heed its teachings. Are you clothed with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15)? Our journey of faith isn't meant to be walked alone; as the body of Christ, we're called to "encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). As you continue in your walk, remember Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." The invitation from the Lord is clear: "Whoever has ears, let them hear" (Matthew 13:9).

Are you ready to answer His call?

Questions that Challenge Your Current Understanding

  1. 2 Thessalonians 2 warns about deceptions, especially in the last days. How can you ensure that your faith remains unswayed amidst the myriad of teachings and prophecies circulating today?

  2. In light of John 8:43,45-47, what steps are you taking to ensure you truly listen and internalize Jesus' teachings?

  3. Given the emphasis on the transformative power of God's Word, how often do you actively engage in seeking truths from the scriptures rather than relying on second-hand interpretations?

  4. How do you guard your faith against deceptive teachings that claim authenticity?