Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Acts 28:28 which reads: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”
Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this Scripture from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:
The salvation of God is the knowledge of God’s mode of saving people. Since the Jews have rejected it, it will be offered to the Gentiles. They will embrace it. Paul was never discouraged. If the gospel was rejected by one class of people, he was ready to offer it to another. If his own countrymen despised it, he never allowed himself to suppose that Christ had died in vain, but believed that others would embrace its saving benefits. How happy would it be if all Christians had the same unwavering faith and zeal as Paul.
Our soul winning quote today is from Marilyn Monroe. She said: “Sometimes I think the only people who stay with me and really listen are people I hire, people I pay.”
Imagine what might have happened with Ms. Monroe if someone, preferably a Christian, had really cared and taken the time to listen. Would she have taken her life through suicide? Unfortunately, we will never know!
Our soul winning devotional is part 68 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.
Evangelism Is…Learning to Listen (Part 2)
Listening Can Be Learned
This is something Dr. Jerry Pipes points out in his book Building a Successful Family. Under the assumption that communication is one key to a happy home, he makes several observations in reference to the importance of learning to listen.
Levels of Listening
According to Pipes, there are five basic levels of listening. They are:
1. Ignoring. This is obviously not a desirable level for effective ministry. It is, however, by simple observation, the level that seems to be most common in society. Consider the fact that we live in a world of constant noise and interruptions. As a result, it is easy to walk through life without connecting with the people in our spheres of influence. We may justify our disinterest as being too busy with pressing matters or simply troubled by life’s challenges. The truth is, we have allowed Satan to blind us to a hurting world. Rather than investing our lives into eternal issues as Christ desires, it is much easier to disconnect and to rationalize our disobedience to the Great Commission.
2. Pretend Listening. Considering the need for genuine community and authenticity in contemporary culture, this is an especially damaging level of listening in relation to effective evangelism. With the constant distractions of cell phones and handheld computers, modern society has perfected the craft of pretend listening. We justify our rude behavior under the banner of multitasking, thus minimizing the real needs of other people as less than a meaningless text message. Do not fool yourself: people know if you are genuinely listening…or just pretending to care!
3. Selective Listening. Dave Earley recalls that his father never forgot the pastor’s sermon if it dealt with a wife’s being submissive to her husband! His dad might have fallen asleep the previous week in church but never when this subject was discussed. At any rate, selective listening is not a good way to build lasting relationships for evangelism.
4. Attentive Listening. By nature this level indicates that one is connected and tuned into the person who is speaking. This means good eye contact and a singular focus upon what the person is sharing. Keep in mind that attentive means both verbal and nonverbal. People know if you are genuine. Effective evangelism always requires one’s total attention.
5. Empathetic Listening. This is the deepest level of listening and authentic ministry. At this point witnesses are not just hearing noise or listening with their ears. Rather, they are listening with their hearts!
In our next broadcast, we will continue looking at why evangelism is…Learning to Listen.