It’s time to listen
ILL: I read about a lady who had a hearing problem. One day she and her husband were driving from Tennessee to Little Rock, Arkansas. They were pulled over by a state trooper who asked if the husband knew how fast he was driving. The wife asked, "What did he say?” The husband replied, "HE ASKED IF I KNEW THAT I WAS SPEEDING.” Looking at the driver’s license the trooper said, "I see you’re not from around here.” The husband said, "No we are from Memphis.” The wife again asked, "What did you say?” The husband told her, "I SAID WE ARE FROM MEMPHIS.” The state trooper then commented, "You know, the meanest woman I ever met was from Memphis.” The wife again asked, "What did he say?” The husband replied, "HE SAYS HE THINKS HE KNOWS YOU!"
A. How many of you think that you are good listeners?
1. They tell us women tend to be better listeners than men.
ILL: Husbands are notorious for being poor listeners. We are all familiar with the scene of a husband reading the newspaper while his wife is trying to talk. His response is "Yes, dear. Uhuh. Mmmm. Is that so?"
But we all know he’s not really listening. Suddenly she pulls down the paper and says, "Have you heard a word I’ve said?”
-Two men were talking one day. One of them said, "My wife talks to herself a lot." His friend answered, "Mine does, too, but she doesn’t know it. She thinks I’m listening."
B. Too often, we feel that we are listening to what God is saying to us, but we really hear only what we want to hear.
I. A Severe Warning about how we hear.
Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."
A. God desires to speak to us. He desires to reveal His will to us, and to be actively involved in leading us.
"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.
1. Jesus declares that He came to reveal the truth and not to hide it.
2. The warning Christ gives in verse 18 is in reference to hearing that truth and with what you do with it after having heard it.
3. How you listen and what you do with it will determine what you receive.
4. It’s the Law of Use: "Use It or Lose It.”
ILL: Quote from Christianity Today,
“How can you expect to keep your powers of hearing when you never want to listen?”
Blessed is the man who listens to me . . .
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.
6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.
7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.
8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
II. Four Types of Hearers
1. Care-Less Hearers
A. The message goes in one ear and out the other. They could care less what they hear.
Cue to start – “hear”
Scene - 2 people, satan, and a bible
Performed - center front aisle, comes in from back
The believer is talking to someone about Jesus and the person is acting like they’re listening, but they’re not.
Believer- Did you know that Jesus loves you and that if you receive Him you can have eternal life.
Non - Oh yeah, that’s great.
Believer- I would like to give you this bible. It has all the answers to life’s questions in it. And it will help you get closer to Jesus.
Non - Oh thanks, great, this will be good reading material.
Satan - He comes along and steals the bible.
Believe - Your more than welcome to come to my church. I know that you would feel (Non-believer interrupts).
Non - That’s great but it’s not for me sweetie.
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
1. It is possible for us to hear with our physical ears and not hear with our ears of understanding.
ILL: President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile and saying the usual things at all those White House receptions. So, one evening he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he was saying.
As each person came up to him with extended hand, he flashed that big smile and said, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." People would automatically respond with comments such as "How lovely!" or "Just continue with your great work!"
Nobody listened to what he was saying, except one foreign diplomat. When the president said, "I murdered my grandmother this morning," the diplomat responded softly, "I’m sure she had it coming to her.
2. Superficial Hearers
A. This person hears the Word, and becomes excited over it.
1. They profess belief in Christ, and makes a profession of faith before the world.
2. But they fail to count the cost, to consider the commitment, the self-denial, the sacrifice, the study, the learning, the hours and effort it takes to stay close to Jesus.
Cue to start – “Jesus”
Scene - 1 person, Jesus, satan, bible, magazine, and a couple of chairs
Performed - Between pulpit and pastors chairs, come in from stage doors
The person is professing to be a believer as they’re arriving home from church.
Jesus is walking with them. When person sits down Jesus is standing over them shaking his head in sorrow as the person is speaking.
Person - “Man these past 6 months of serving Jesus have been so easy. I just don’t understand why Pastor Krist keeps telling me I have to read the bible and pray. I enjoyed doing that when I first accepted Jesus, but I don’t need to do that now. I think its funny how some of those people at the church spend so much time studing the word. And being committed to working and doing things for the church. I profess Christ, I let people know I’m a Christian. I know one thing I don’t have time to get involved with my schedule. And if I did I’m sure that Theresa Hicks will ask me to work in the nursery. And I defiantly don’t want to change any poopie diapers.”
Person – (Sits down to relax)
Jesus - “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Satan - (Comes in and picks up the dirty magazine under the chair.)
Satan - “Go ahead read this pron magazine you don’t need that bible or Jesus”
Jesus - “I have made a way of escape for you”
“My blood will wash away your sins”
Person – (Struggles between the bible and magazine and chooses the magazine.)
Person - “You know I don’t need that church stuff I enjoy my life just like it used to be. See ya Jesus.”
Jesus - (With head down leaves the room.)
13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
3. He does not apply himself to learn Christ; therefore, he does not become rooted and grounded in the Word. He is only a superficial believer.
4. Note what happens. When trials and temptations come, they fall away.
3. Carnal Hearers –
A. This person receives the Word and honestly tries to live for Christ. He joins in church activities and professes Christ in his daily walk.
1. The problem is that he is unwilling to severe himself from the world.
Cue to start – “world”
Scene - 1 person, and cell phone
Performed – Center front aisle, come in from side doors
The thorny believer gets a cell call from they’re believer friend about going to a church activity and how much fun it’s going to be. Then after the conversation the thorny believer gets a cell call and is invited to a wild party and decides to go.
Thorny believer – (Cell rings) Hey, how are you doing. (Pause) Yeah, it was great last night. The power of God was strong. (Pause) I’m so glad you and I were able to pray with some of the young people. (Pause) Yeah I’m going to the outreach activity tomorrow night. It’s going to be great telling people about Christ. (Pause) Ok, I’ll see you later, bye.
Thorny believer - (Cell rings again) Yo girl, I was wondering when you were going to call me back. (pause) I would love to go (pause) that sound’s wild. I can’t wait to get smashed tonight. (pause) I’m bringing the keg. Bye
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
2. He lives a double life trying to live for Christ while living for the world.
3. He brings forth fruit but his fruit never matures.
4. Sincere Hearers
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
A. The seed on good ground. These are they who have an honest and good heart.
1. Therefore, when they hear the Word, they keep it.
2. These people are honest and fair; they are noble people in listening and considering the Word.
3. They honestly seek to learn and know the truth, spiritually as well as physically.
III. Those who are closest to Christ are those who hear and obey
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice."
A. They hear and do!
1. The deepest relationship is not determined by blood, but by hearts and minds meshed together.
2. The person closest to God is the person who obeys God and takes His Word seriously.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.