Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Listening to God

Mark 4:24

"And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given."


One of the keys to life and good relationships is effective communication.

And for effective communication to occur, there must be effective listening.

This is true in developing relationships with one another and in our relationship with God as well.

The break down of Communications with God:

COMMUNICATION: Listening to God

COMPREHENSION: Understanding what God says

CONFIDENCE: Trusting in what God says

CHANGE: Being transformed by what God says

Without this process of communication, there cannot be any real spiritual change in the life of a believer.

God is deeply concerned about how well we listen when we are listening.

I. What the Bible Says About Listening to God

A. The specific phrase "hear the Word of the Lord" occurs 24 times.

B. A number of times we find comments like "Incline your ear," or "give ear" especially to God's people, to listen intently to God.

C. In the New Testament, the Lord warns us to consider carefully what you hear:

(Mark 4:24) "And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given."

D. And how you hear:

(Luke 8:18) "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have."

E. The words "to day, if ye will hear his voice," are found three times in Hebrews and once in the Old Testament (Heb. 3:7, 15; 4:7)

(Psa 95:7) "For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,"

F. Seven times, once in each of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 we read "He that hath an ear let him hear"

II. What Keeps Us From Listening To What We Hear?

(Mark 4:18-19) "And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."

A. We hear, but we don't listen!

B. Our lives like Martha are to busy to listen to the Lord.

C. Real listening demands undivided attention to the conversation at hand.

D. Our failure to listen to God shows our will is more important that God's will for our lives.

(Prov 22:17-19) "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. {18} For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. {19} That thy trust may be in the lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee."

III. The Ways God Communicates

A. God Communicates Through the Bible

(2 Tim 3:16-17) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

B. God Communicates Through the Holy Spirit

(John 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 show you things to come."

C. To be able to listen to God, to comprehend truth, to worship the Lord, and to be transformed by the Word through faith in God, God has given us the Holy Spirit.

D. God Communicates Through the Events of Our Lives

1. Special Times of Worship (singing, praise, prayer, teaching, ordinances).

2. Blessings that reveal His love and grace.

3. Trials and Irritations that become tools to get our attention and build character, but only as we Listen.

E. God Communicates Through the People in Our Lives

1. Sometimes in the form of encouragement

2. Sometimes in the form of godly example

3. Sometimes even in the form of rebuke.

(Gal 6:1-2) "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (2) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."


Listening to God must involve God's Word and the Holy Spirit working together in the mind and heart of the believer. Even when God uses people and circumstances, we must always consider what God is saying to us in the light of His infallible Word. God never contradicts His Word. We must learn to examine everything in the light of the Holy Scripture.