The Word We Hear & Proclaim
The saying goes, “Seeing is believing.”
This saying rings true to folks like us who live in a culture that is thoroughly materialistic.
Today we live in a, “what you see is what you get” culture.
The degree to which we uncritically buy into today’s, “what you see is what you get culture”, is the degree to which our personal Christian faith is affected by our culture.
This is true because according to Romans it isn’t “seeing that is believing” for Christian folk.
Romans tells us that for Christian folk the saying is, “Hearing is believing.”
This being the case, it follows that we Christian folk need to be careful about how we hear.
And when it comes to seeing, we need to interpret what we see through the lens of what we have heard and believed of the word of God, our Bible.
We need to be cautious; not so much about what we see.
What we need to be careful about is how we understand,
how we interpret, the way in which we believe, those things we see going on in the culture around us.
This is true because what we believe about what we see is in the final analysis who we are; because what we believe about what we see dictates the way we act.
Therefore, we need to be critically conscious of what we observe going on in this world by listening to God’s Holy Spirit, as he interprets God’s word to us, helping us correctly “hear” the events we see in this world.
Because depending on what we see and how we hear, or interpret it, the information we expose ourselves to can affect what we believe and therefore, the way we behave.
In this day and age of social media, where anyone can say anything they want and be seen and heard across the entire world in a nano second; we see and hear a lot.
And because those speaking on the various social media formats are seldom held accountable for what they say, we need to be careful about what we “hear”.
As with Romans, I am speaking now about hearing in the sense of believing.
There are all kinds of ways of hearing.
We hear all kinds of stuff all day long; on the radio, on TV, on our various electronic devices, over a cup of coffee with a friend.
Some stuff we listen to.
But we don’t really hear it.
The words go in one ear and out the other.
It is trivia.
It doesn’t affect the way we live.
In some cases, the words we hear are so opposite our world-view, so contrary to our basic belief system, that there is no place in our hearts where they can take root.
And so we reject these words out-right, we simply refuse to hear what is said.
But then there is the other stuff; the information that we actually hear.
We are speaking here, as Romans speaks, about the information that we take into our hearts;
allowing it to become a part of us, allowing it to become a part of who we are, because we believe it.
These are words or images, which we hear or see, that we either act upon or at the very least we allow to influence the way we think and talk and, in the end, these are the words and images that we proclaim to others in the way we think, speak and live our lives.
This is the kind of “hearing” Romans is talking about.
It is the kind of hearing, the level of hearing, that results in belief.
In the case of Romans, we are talking about the kind of hearing that results in belief that takes the form of faith in God’s word taking root in our hearts.
Romans speaks of the quality of hearing that causes us to first believe and then to proclaim the truth of God and God’s word.
It is the depth of hearing that is all about believing and proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Doing so, in order that others in their turn can hear, confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord,
believe in their hearts that he rose from the dead, and be saved.
That is the kind of life altering hearing Romans speaks of.
The hearing of God’s word articulated for you so that you can understand it.
And so, believe it.
The “hearing” of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ; is the word of God penetrating into your heart, becoming part and parcel of who you are, becoming your justification before God through faith in the risen Christ.
If we hear the message for us today from Romans; we hear and see that our God is not a God afar off.
Even though our eyes tell us we cannot see God.
Romans’ message to us is that we don’t need to bring Jesus down from heaven by stringently following prescribed ways of behaving, hoping against hope that we haven’t done something that will drive God from our hearts.
Romans tells us we don’t need to put our selves through the intellectual hell of trying to conjure Jesus up from the dead by mentally convincing ourselves he rose from the dead.
We only need lift our eyes to the hills, and allow God to open the ears of our hearts to the glory of God
proclaimed in creation as the psalm says, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.”
In creation we see God’s hand.
By the Holy Spirit we learn to hear the truth spoken by God’s good but broken world as it reveals to our eyes the truth of God’s glory and faithfulness as year after year God’s righteous bounty springs up from the ground and God’s blessed peace pours down into our hearts from his heavens above.
To see and so to hear our God; we only need hear the proclamation of the word of God that Jesus is Lord, take the leap of faith to believe in our hearts that he is risen from the dead.
And Jesus is with us, on our lips and in our hearts.
Hearing is indeed believing.
Hearing God’s truth revealed in creation, is to see Jesus Christ.
Obeying all that we hear from Christ, in God’s word, is to rightly see that which our eyes behold.
Hear and believe.