When No One Wants To Listen… To Your Gospel

Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel faced the daunting task of speaking God’s words even though they knew in advance that people wouldn’t listen.

God told Isaiah that even if he did preach the Word as he was instructed to do so, no one would listen. (Isaiah 6:8-10)

In the beginning of his ministry Ezekiel had no serious listeners and even after his oracles concerning the fall of Jerusalem came true and his notoriety increased, the listeners were willing to listen, but were still not obedient. (Ezekiel 33:30-33)  God told Jeremiah “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you.”  (Jeremiah 7:27)

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”  He didn’t say, “but only if they listen.”

‘Listening to others,’ or ‘being a good listener,’ is a popular notion amongst the ‘enlightened’ now, but it is also firmly rooted biblical concept, i.e., James 1:19, but you cannot automatically expect others that live under different covenants to want to listen to what you have to say, even if you consider it ‘good news.’ When it comes to the sharing the gospel, is listening to others until they listen to you a good strategy?

 

I recently heard from a 13 year old girl who was burdened because she was trying to bring God’s message of hope to her family and community and no one would listen.  She felt like she was doing something wrong.  She didn’t understand why.  As you can imagine, the message of the gospel really was good news to her and she wanted others to hear it. With the rejection of her message came perceived rejection of her as well.  I think a lot of us who are much more mature feel the same way when we try to convey the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15), and it’s rejected or completely ignored. I also think that this is one of the chief reasons that believers don’t disciple others. 

Of course, if folks don’t want to listen because your life is contrary to your words, your agenda is more discernible than your care, or your tone is abrasive, then it’s on you; but what if you’re ‘doing everything right,’ and they still don’t want to listen?

1.  What advice would you give to anyone who felt they were “doing something wrong,” because no one was listening?

2.  How can you tell if people aren’t listening to God’s gospel or are just not listening to your version of it?

3.  If people don’t want to listen to the Gospel, are you obligated to ‘give it to them’ anyway?

One of the ways we create listening environments in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador is by meeting the simplest of needs. Each year during the holidays, we identify isolated and impoverished families and give them enough food to last about a week. Then we go back at the beginning of the next year and build genuine relationships with them. We call it our Christmas Basket Project, and we’ve gotten tons of food to the people who needed it most. If you’d like to help with this year’s endeavor, click here for more information.

 

0 thoughts on “When No One Wants To Listen… To Your Gospel

  1. Lee Savage says:

    People listen better with their eyes than they do with their ears. Show them the wonders and the miracles of God’s Love, and then their ears will kick in. It is a great deal easier to remember the miracle you have seen than the one you only hear.

    • Miguel says:

      Lee,

      Thanks for commenting. How would you react to the statement, “Faith comes by hearing, (Romans 10:17) and not by seeing?”

      • Rick Knock says:

        I tend to agree with Lee. Faith comes by hearing, but it would seem that hearing often comes by seeing. Even Jesus didn’t just talk.

      • Lee Savage says:

        Exegetically(sp) speaking we live in a different world today. Faith is not something you see, but something you know. People respond to a multitude of things. Trust is important, and you have to trust the sense. Also, have you ever looked at the original language? Does the verse really say that at all?

  2. Tom Schultz says:

    Being faithful to what God asks is always good, but I see a different question underlying this post…how can a person differentiate between delivering their own words and the words of God? Immediately comes to mind a ‘campus preacher’ fellow who came to the Purdue campus frequently (weekly?) delivering a fire-and-damnation sort of message on the campus quad. He could be pointed to as a freedom-of-speech example and students loved to go hear him to heckle or enter into debates…a sort of entertainment which was the ‘preacher’s’ stock in trade. I presume he firmly believed he was delivering God’s words to a godless generation in the footsteps of Jonah, but it would certainly illustrate the possible discrepancy between one’s own words (or motives) and those of God.

    Perhaps the question to ask is whether the tone and heart of one’s message reflects what we know of God’s heart.

  3. Ron says:

    If we speak too much we shut the door to more impact. We must speak something, though. Faith comes by hearing, not observing.

  4. Lee Savage says:

    I know from experience with other when talking scripture we will never agree, but you some input from others is important in the whole matter. What about a person without hearing?

    • Miguel says:

      Lee, thanks for commenting.

      This is a completely natural question, “What about those without hearing?” To that I would respond, “Whether or not a person can physically hear or not, John 10:27 still applies.”

      My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Physical hearing is not required.

      The HCSB does a great job of translating Romans 10:17 in this way, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.”

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