Expository Sermon on Deuteronomy | Listen | Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Listen (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

As I neared my high school graduation, it became clear that except for English, I didn’t need anything but electives my senior year. Dad looked over my class selections for my final year and said, “Son, this isn’t going to work. You’re going to take Typing I before you go to college.” I didn’t want to take typing; none of my friends were going to be in that class, and I really didn’t see a need for it.

But Dad would have it no other way—I was taking typing. And that was absolutely one of the most important courses I ever took in high school! I have used that class nearly every single day since I took Typing I in the fall of 1991. My dad is a wise man, and my dad knew exactly what he was doing. I’m very thankful Dad made me take Typing I.

Have you ever received life-changing advice? Maybe your parents gave you sage advice you follow to this day. Maybe a college professor pulled you aside and told you something that greatly impacted your life. Maybe a doctor saved you some heartache with some good counsel. Maybe an employer showed you a better, easier way of doing things.

The Israelites wanted their advice from Moses. When God spoke to the people from the mountain in lightning and thunder and a thick cloud, the people said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die” (Ex 20:19). Moses, therefore, became God’s prophet, God’s spokesman. Yet, Moses promised the people that God would send them another prophet to speak God’s word.

Jesus Christ is the prophet God would ultimately raise up for his people. Moses made an important point here: “You shall listen to Jesus.

Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

verses 15-18:

God would raise up a prophet like Moses from among the Israelites just as the Israelites wanted. Hearing God directly was too much for the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, so they asked Moses to be their representative—God spoke to Moses, and Moses spoke to the people.

Since Moses wouldn’t live forever and God had much to say to his people, God would raise up a prophet like Moses. There are many comparisons between Moses and Jesus, but looking at those is outside our purpose this morning.

Our purpose is found at verse 15: “It is to him you shall listen.” No longer would the people need to listen to Moses, but they would need to listen to the new prophet.

The prophet coming after Moses would not speak his own words, but he would speak God’s words. God would put his words in his mouth, and the prophet would speak all that God commanded him.

verse 19:

God would judge the person who did not listen to his prophet’s word.


You shall listen to Jesus.” The New Testament makes clear that this text finds ultimate fulfillment in Jesus:

  • Hebrews 1:1-2.
  • On the Mount of Transfiguration, God proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matt 17:5).
  • John 5:45-47.
  • John 12:48-50.

You shall listen to Jesus,” and you do that by listening to Scripture. Jesus said that he would send the Holy Spirit to the Apostles who would speak in his name: John 16:13-14. The Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2), and they wrote the New Testament through the Holy Spirit who glorifies Jesus: “We impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor 2:13). When you read your Bible, therefore, you are hearing Jesus.

I know you love the Lord and want to do the right thing—you prove that by being here this morning. I further believe that you listen to Jesus or you’d be somewhere else right now. However, is it possible that you sometimes listen to someone besides Jesus?

Do you ever listen to Self?

Do you ever read a passage and think, “But the Lord just doesn’t know my situation?” Do you excuse sin in the lives of your family because they’re trying their best? Do you get angry when confronted with sin? Do you try to do your best every day without even giving a thought to what the Bible says?

Listening to Self instead of Jesus is damnable. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov 14:12). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jer 17:9). Forget all about your wants and your ideas, for they come from a heart that is deceitful. “You shall listen to Jesus.

Do you ever listen to Sidekicks?

Do you ever listen to a friend or a spouse? Does that sidekick say you don’t really need to be here on Wednesday nights? Does that sidekick encourage you to lie to keep something secret? Does that sidekick lead you away from Jesus?

Listening to Sidekicks instead of Jesus is damnable. Solomon learned that the hard way: “When Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Ki 11:4). You can learn that lesson the hard way, too: “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33). Forget all about what your friends, spouse, and neighbors might say. “You shall listen to Jesus.

Do you ever listen to Sermonizers?

Do you ever hear a preacher and think, “He’s really smart, and he can’t be wrong?” Do you remember what Brother So-and-So said years ago and hold onto it without ever thinking critically about what he said? Do you ever hear a TV preacher and think, “He really makes some good points?”

Listening to Sermonizers instead of Jesus is damnable. Those who preach can be just as wrong as can be. Apollos “was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24), but he only knew about John’s baptism (Acts 18:25). Before Priscilla and Aquilla kindly corrected him, anyone baptized by Apollos was just getting wet. Modern preachers can be wrong, too. Forget about preachers; “You shall listen to Jesus.

Do you ever listen to Sages?

You can find many wise people today offering sage advice. The self-help sections of bookstores are full people telling you how to live your life. Daytime television provides several pop-psychologists to help you live your best life. Even on Facebook you can find little slogans to help you reach your full potential.

Listening to Sages instead of Jesus is damnable. When many disciples turned back from following him, Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked if they wanted to leave him, too. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). Pop-psychologists might have some good advice, but they don’t have the words of eternal life. “You shall listen to Jesus.

Have you turned to Jesus for eternal life? Is the eternal life he offers yours?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

Share with Friends: