Summary: In the parable of the sower Jesus speaks of four kinds of listeners.
ARE YOU LISTENING?
INTRO.- ILL.- An excited little boy was telling his daddy about something that had happened to him that day. His daddy said, "Slow up, honey, you are talking too fast!" His boy shot back at him, "Oh, no, Daddy, I’m not talking too fast. You’re just listening too slow!" ARE YOU LISTENING?
ILL.- It’s been said that we think four to five times faster than we talk. This means that if a speaker talks at 120 words a minute, the audience thinks at about 500 words a minute!
I suppose I need to talk a lot faster in my preaching or else you need to listen slower, otherwise I will put you to sleep.
James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry."
ILL.- The story is told that when Napoleon was making plans to invade England, he was told that an American wanted to see him. "I can give him two minutes," Napoleon said. But two minutes was not long enough to understand the revolutionary idea of a ship propelled by steam. Had Napoleon listened longer to Robert Fulton the history of the world might have been altered.
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, God said in Matthew 17:5 "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. LISTEN TO HIM!" It always pays to listen to Jesus!
ILL.- An 80-year-old grandfather went to his daughter’s house for Sunday dinner. When the meal was over, he announced that he was going to take a walk through the neighborhood. "I’ll be back in twenty minutes," he said. But two hours had passed before he finally returned. "Sorry I’m late," he said. "But I stopped to talk to an old friend and he just wouldn’t stop listening."
ARE YOU LISTENING? Sometimes it pays to listen a very long time. Especially, when it comes to listening to God in His Word. We should never stop listening to the Word of God.
ILL.- Someone said, "Talk and you say what you already know, but listen and you learn something new."
ARE YOU LISTENING? If so, then you are learning. And we all need to learn more about life, about others, and especially, about the Lord!
Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
It pays big dividends to listen to the Lord and learn from Him whether through a sermon, a Sunday School lesson, a radio program, or through your own personal reading of God’s Word.
PROP.- In our text about the parable of the sower Jesus speaks of four different kinds of hearers or listeners.
1- The hard-hearted listener
2- The shallow-hearted listener
3- The clutter-hearted listener
4- The good-hearted listener
I. THE HARD-HEARTED LISTENER
Matt. 13:19 "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 hard-hearted listener is hardened to the Gospel because they can’t seem to understand it or grasp it. Satan snatches any little bit or piece was sown in that person’s heart before it can start to grow and bear fruit.
ILL.- While studying at West Point, Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote, "The first class was studying the time-space relationship later formulated by Einstein as his Theory of Relativity. The text was complex and, being unable to comprehend it, I committed the pages to memory.
"When I was called upon to recite, I solemnly reeled off almost word for word what the book said. Our instructor, Colonel Fieberger, looked at me somewhat quizzically and asked, ‘Do you understand this theory?’ It was a bad moment for me, but I did not hesitate in replying, ‘No, sir.’ You could have heard a pin drop. I braced myself and waited.
"And then the slow words of the professor: ‘Neither do I, Mr. MacArthur. Class dismissed.’"
Brothers and sisters, it may be that some who teach us in life don’t know any more than we do. Or perhaps they don’t have any more understanding than we do.
I do know, however, that in my younger days as a preacher I would preach certain passages of Scripture and later on, I found out I didn’t even know what I was talking about. NO ONE EVER CALLED ME ON IT, HOWEVER. I guess they didn’t know either.
Now when it comes to preaching certain Scriptures, if I don’t think I have a pretty good understanding of it, I won’t preach it! I certain don’t try to pass off the idea that I know everything about every passage of Scripture. Far from it. In fact, the older I get, the more I realize how little I really know.