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Daily Devotional #8

21 Days of Prayer

Daily Devotional with Pastor John
Wednesday, February 23

 

Church is Where the Spirit Speaks

The mystery of the seven golden lampstands is this: … the seven lampstands are the seven churches … He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches.”

Revelation 1:192:7

 

The 7th century Latin manuscript known as the Muratorian Canon points out that both the Apostles John and Paul wrote letters to seven churches (The New Testament attributes 13 letters to Paul’s authorship, 7 of them to local churches). Seven churches summarize all churches.

One phrase is repeated without variation in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” All local churches are different from each other but there are two things that are constant among all true Gospel centred churches: the Spirit speaks, the people listen. In order for us to hear the voice of our Lord we must have listening ears attentive to Spirit-spoken words. Listening is the common task of the church. Churches are listening posts.

Listening is a spiritual act and discipline that is more than just acoustics. The latest expensive, cutting-edge amplification system does not improve listening, it only makes hearing possible. The first of Jesus’ parables (Matthew 13:1-23) emphasized the importance of listening. It exposed several ways in which we can appear to hear but, in fact, not hear, and it insisted on the responsibility of each of us to listen. Without careful listening there is no possibility of receiving God’s word and having it do it’s transforming work in our lives.

This underscores the importance of private Scripture reading and Bible study with others. It also points us to the church assembled to worship as the one place in the world where persons deliberately come together to uncover their ears so that the sounds of  God’s word will be heard, accurately and believingly. May we experience what the prophet Isaiah spoke of: “The Sovereign LORD wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. He has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back” (Isaiah 50:4-5).

 

Prayer Points

  • Pray God in his grace will enable us to clean our ears of all things that hinder the life-transforming penetration of his word.
  • Pray that we will see in the coming days a growing desire to hear God’s word explained across our city, province and country.
  • Pray our church will always be a place where the Spirit speaks powerfully, opens deaf ears and transforms peoples hearts.