I Samuel 3:1-10
Second Sun. aft. the Epiph
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
January 19, 1997
WHEN GOD SPEAKS, WE ARE NOT LISTENING TO A MAN.
Samuel mistakenly thought he was listening to Eli.
Like Samuel, we too often mistake the voice of God for man and man for God.
We confuse the revelation of God for the voices of our neighbors, philosophers, TV evangelists, Cult leaders, theologians and even pastors.
Our tendency is to listen to those who agree with our preconceived conclusions about what is right, wrong, moral or immoral.
ILLUS: Many is the counselee who visits pastor after pastor, or counselor after counselor until he/she finds an answer to his liking.
Personal esteem or personal dislike for a pastor should not deter us from hearing God's Word or receiving His Sacraments.
Too often people will get "crosswise" with a pastor and as a result, end up abandoning the Church.
Certainly, pastors are not perfect and some may be real jerks from time-to-time, but to abandon all Churches and all pastors for the errors of one man is to abandon the blessings of God that He gives only through the Church.
There are many people today who claim to speak for God, but they do not.
People aspire to be cult leaders.
Personal ambition and a quest for power motivates those who lead people with such control that they no longer hear the voice of God.
Millions are misled by men who are taking them away from Christ and pointing them to themselves.
The only way to avoid being taken in by these religious charlatans is to know your faith through worship and study.
To be a religious illiterate is to be spiritually vulnerable.
To become religiously literate is to become a life-long student of the Scriptures.
God still speaks forcefully today, but in a different way.
God has given us His full revelation in the Scriptures...no more is needed.
The Gospel of Christ does not change! (Gal. 1:6-9)
The Gospel of Christ does not contradict itself.
Today God speaks to us through His Word and Sacraments.
The only source of truth.
The only reliable measuring of the truth of men's sayings.
WHEN GOD SPEAKS, WE ARE NOT LISTENING FOR MERE CONVERSATION.
We do not have a "small talk" God.
ILLUS: Lee Trevino when lightening struck during a golf game, "If God wants to play through, let Him play through!"
When God speaks, things happen!
"Let there be ..." - A world and the heavens are created.
"It is finished" - Humankind is redeemed.
"A Comforter will come" - Lives of the faithful are sanctified.
Even in the so-called "little things" of life, He speaks to us in a big way:
When we pray about a loved one, He answers.
When a child prays for a hurt finger, He responds.
When a sparrow falls, He knows and cares.
We forget what a treasure we have in God's Word and Sacraments.
His Word/Sacraments are transportation, not just information.
We are transported to heaven with the salvation He brings.
We are transported to Himself as we receive the very body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper.
We are transported to light, truth and life in His Word.
His Word brings us Christ!
The One who is the living One, the crucified One, the risen One!
His Word is life itself, now and forever!
WHEN GOD SPEAKS, WE ARE NOT LISTENING ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF HEARING.
When God speaks, we are called into action on His behalf.
Samuel was to replace Eli as the spiritual leader of Israel.
The reluctance of Eli to reign in his rebellious sons destroyed Eli's ability to lead God's people.
Phineas and Hophni had disgraced Israel and would even loose the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistine army.
Just as it was for Samuel, we cannot listen to the voice of God and stay the same!
To be a hearer only is to deny the will of God. (James 1:22-25)
We are called to be different from the world...Godly, not worldly.
When we listen and do what God commands, we carry His power and His authority.
We give evidence of our salvation in our obedience.
We willingly and steadfastly disregard the world's siren song of self-indulgence.
We honor God and He honors us. (John 12:26)
So who do you listen to? Is the tempting voice of the world drawing you into its own dance of self-indulgent deception? Or are you listening to the Word and receiving the Sacraments of God
through which He strengthens and blesses. When God speaks to you through His Word or through His Sacraments, we are strengthened to say with Samuel, "Speak, for your servant is listening." Amen.
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