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Summary: An excited little boy was telling his dad about what had happened to him that day. His dad said, Slow down, you’re talking too fast! His boy shot back at him, Oh, no, Dad, I’m not talking too fast. You’re just listening too slow! Are you listening?

ARE YOU LISTENING?

Matthew 13:18-23

An excited little boy was telling his dad about what had happened to him that day. His dad said, Slow down, you’re talking too fast! His boy shot back at him, Oh, no, Dad, I’m not talking too fast. You’re just listening too slow! Are you listening?

I read this week that we think four to five times faster than we talk. This means that if I talk at 120 words a minute, you’re thinking at about 500 words a minute! I suppose I need to talk a lot faster or you need to listen slower, otherwise I will put you to sleep!

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Are you listening? It pays to listen to the right person, at the right time, and for the right length of time. After Jesus was transfigured on the mountain top, God said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! Matthew 17:5 It always pays to listen to Jesus!

Are you listening? It pays to listen, especially, when it comes to listening to God. The Holy Spirit is speaking to you this morning, are you hearing him? It pays big dividends to listen to him. If you don’t, you’ll never grow!

Ann watched those around her try to persuade the judge to exempt them from serving on the jury. One man explained that he had a severe hearing problem and wouldn’t be able to follow the proceedings. You’re excused, the judge informed him. What did you say? the man asked. The judge repeated himself and motioned to the exit. As the man reached the door, the judge told the clerk, Juror No. 9 is excused, but he will still be paid for his time. Thank you, Your Honor! came the voice from the far end of the courtroom.

To our own detriment, we can be selective in our hearing. Excuse my attitude here, but sometimes it seems like a waste to me. God does a lot of speaking and we miss most of it. Just like the sower who scatters the seed. It lands in all these places where it will not grow. Why bother? Why speak when so little is welcomed?

God speaks because it’s his nature to do so. He wants to reveal himself to us. Jesus said,

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:18-23

1. A hard heart

The first listener has a hard heart. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. vs19 NLT

This listener is hardened to the Gospel, they can’t seem to understand it or grasp it. The description of the hard-packed ground is a picture of the hard heart. It’s not the message that is defective. It’s the individual that does not understand, or worse, is not interested. The Word makes no penetration into the heart. The message goes in one ear and out the other.

The person who is self-sufficient and self-satisfied is exposed to Satan’s attack. He snatches any little bit that was sown in that person’s heart before it can start to grow and bear fruit.

We tend to think of this as only people who don’t know God. But this can easily be us. Are you listening? What do I mean?

At one point during the Little League game, the baseball coach said to one of his players, Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is? The little boy nodded yes. Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team? The little boy nodded yes.

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