A Healthy Church Member is an Expositional Listener – Part Three
Deacons, this is the third part of our discussion concerning being an Expositional Listener. In my last post I talked about how being an expositional listener benefits us in that it “cultivates a hunger for God’s Word” (pg 20) and “protects the gospel and our lives from corruption.” (pg 21). Today I want to talk about two more benefits of being an expositional listener.
First, in John 10:27 Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow me” (NASB). The goal of a Christian is to follow Christ. The key to following Christ is that Christ knows us, and we recognize His voice. Our job is not to make ourselves known to Christ. He knows us because we were given to Him by the Father. Our job is to hear, recognize and follow His voice. The only way to get to that point is by listening intently to Him regularly with the intention of understanding what He is saying to us and where He is asking us to go. This is exactly the exercise of expositional listening, which “helps us focus on God’s will and follow Him” (pg 20).
Next, Expositional Listening “benefits the gathered congregation” (pg 21) in that it promotes unity and the gospel. In several areas of scripture we are told to agree, remove division, be like minded and live in peace with each other. Jesus’ prayer for us, the church, was “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in you, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may know that You sent Me” (NASB).
Remember, Expositional Listeners are focused on knowing God’s desires not fulfilling their their own. If a church practices expositional listening, then the church will discover the desires of God’s heart and will banish their own desires replacing them with God’s. The result of this practice is unity and thus a display of the gospel – “so that the world may know that you sent me.”
There are other benefits to being an Expositional Listener, but these should suffice to encourage us to take up the practice. Next time I will talk about some ways to cultivate the practice of Expositional Listening.
Anyabwile, Thabiti M. What is a Healthy Church Member?. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2008.