Connect Lesson #17: Hearing Changes Things by Pastors Larry and Victoria Raftery
Scripture References: John 12:17-19 (NLT), Matthew 16:18 (TPT), Isaiah 1:19 (TPT), 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (TPT), Psalm 119:2 (MSG), Matthew 18:19 (NLT), Matthew 18:19 (TPT), Psalm 32: 8-10 (TPT)
Overview (5-7 Minutes)
The entire world is changing rapidly and dramatically through what is being heard. Make no mistake, change comes through people acting on what is heard. The last time the world changed this dramatically was when Jesus came to reveal God’s true nature. When people acted on what they heard from Jesus, their lives changed. Jesus’ life and death revealed God’s power, holiness, justice, and love. There was one thing that separated us from all that God had to offer. That was our sin. Jesus became the final and complete sacrifice for our sin through His death on the cross. Don’t live without Him. When He spoke and people acted on what they heard from Him, their lives changed and it’s no different today. John 12:17-19 (NLT) says Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. 18 That was the reason so many went out to meet Him— because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after Him.” Because of Jesus’ willingness to the Father and the people’s willingness to God’s Word, the world changed for the better.
Discussion Questions (20-25 Mintues)
Q#1: Compare and contrast the value and impact of following God’s Word in your life versus a life devoid of God’s Word.
Q#2: Why are some believers today subtly becoming indifferent to the Word of God?
Q#3: What role does having a willing heart play in our ability to receive and actively incorporate the Keys of the Kingdom?
Life Application (5-7 Minutes)
Matthew 16:18 (TPT) says I give you the name Peter, a stone. And this truth of Who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build My church—My legislative assembly and the power of death will not be able to overpower it! 19 I will give you the keys of heaven’s kingdom realm to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven.” Hear this: We have the power to forbid all the works of darkness and release all the works of God when we become responsive or willing to do what heaven is saying. We will overpower the darkness. Isaiah 1:19 (TPT) says If you have a willing heart to let Me help you, and if you will obey Me, you will feast on the blessings of an abundant harvest. The blessings of an abundant harvest come with willingness. You must willingly empty yourself of building “your own” kingdom “first”. You must be willing to build God’s kingdom first! Say “Yes!” to God and “No!” to the world. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (TPT) is “reversed willingness”. It says But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God. But hearing with willing actions changes things! Vs. 2 says People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly (living without any Godly influence) vs 3 says They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. 4 With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted, and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. 5 They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality, they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these! God has a reason for you to stay away from people like this! Hearing from them will change you into them. Be careful not to let these people speak “directions” into your life. You might feel a little lost right now because you’ve been hearing from the wrong sources. Psalm 119:2 (MSG) says You're blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him. Hearing from God changes things!
Final Thought (5-7 Minutes)
Matthew 18:19 (NLT) says I also tell you this if two of you agree on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you. He didn’t say you have to have a whole group of people. Just two. That can be just you and God! That’s all you need. When you come into God’s Word and truly believe it while trusting in Him, you can declare life over your situation and the power comes! Matthew 18:19 (TPT) says Again, I give you an eternal truth if two of you agree to God for something in a symphony of prayer, My heavenly Father will do it for you. Psalm 32: 8-10 (TPT) I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with My eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make Me tug you and pull you along. Just come with Me!” So my conclusion is this: Many are the sorrows and frustrations of those who don’t come clean with God. But when you trust in the Lord for forgiveness, His wrap-around love will surround you. The Word will not return void! You cannot do things successfully on your own. We need God. Do you want to go to a better place with God? Do you want to know His power? Don’t you want better for your kids, neighbors, this world? We need the broken to be healed. We are the church. We need that passion. Don’t make God tug and pull you along. Just go with Him! People will believe when you follow Him. Jesus said, “Come to me all who are heavily laden, and I will give you rest.” When people are yielded to God, it’s anointed. Let God do His work through His Word. Do the Word, speak the Word. We can soar like the eagle!