“Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
When reading Ezekiel 33, we often hear about the responsibility of the watchman to deliver God’s Word to God’s people. It is often preached how God holds the preacher accountable to whether or not he preached all of God’s Word. It is often said that the blood of those who are hurt because they didn’t hear the preaching will be upon the hands of the preacher. This is certainly true when you consider verse 6 which says, “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.”
However, God holds the listener accountable to the same degree that He holds the preacher. The verse above says, “Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity…” You will notice in this verse that the watchman warned the people, but they didn’t listen. For whatever reason, these people did not heed God’s message to their own detriment.
My friend, it is just as wrong for the listener not to heed God’s message as it is for the preacher not to deliver it. We expect the preacher to be Spirit-filled, but shouldn’t the listener be a Spirit-filled listener? If it is right for the preacher to prepare his message through prayer and study, it is just as right for the listener to prepare their ears to hear through prayer and surrender. God holds the listener accountable for how well they hear just like He holds the man of God accountable for how well preaches every word God laid on his heart.
My question for you is this, are you listening to God’s Word through the man of God? Many people don’t hear the message because their mind is preoccupied with other things. You must be careful that your mind is prepared to hear the preaching every time you go to church. If God says something to the preacher that you are supposed to do, but your mind is preoccupied with other things which causes you not to hear that message, you will be held accountable for the wrong actions that could have been averted had you listened.
Moreover, many people don’t hear the message of God because of worldliness. Worldliness causes the Christian to sit in judgment of the sermon preached because they listen to the message through the hearing aid of the world. When you listen to the message through worldly hearing aids, you will never hear the message that can change the heart; rather, you hear a message that seems to attack you. If you think the message preached is a personal attack against you, maybe you should check to see if you are hearing the message through Spirit-filled ears.
Christian, the best way to listen to preaching is through Spirit-filled ears and a tender heart. Let me encourage you to prepare your heart and ears to hear the preaching before you get to church. Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready for church; rather, take time in prayer to ask the Holy Spirit to guide your ears to hear the message God has for you. If you listen to preaching with a prepared heart and Spirit-filled ears, you will never miss God’s message for you today.