Summary: We need to develop the virtue of listening to God by making time for the Word, and tilling the ground of our heart, so that we stay receptive.
In our Christian walk with God, one important virtue we need to cultivate is LISTENING.
We must be serious about listening to God and what He is saying to us.
A middle-aged man was distraught over his wife’s stubborn refusal to admit she had a hearing problem. One day he asked his family doctor for advice how to convince his wife that she has this problem.
The doctor promptly told him that when he got home he was to confirm the problem by opening the front door and from there asking his wife what’s for dinner. Then the doctor said, if she doesn’t answer, move closer to the kitchen. Repeat the question again, and if she still doesn’t answer, move right up to her ear and whisper in it, “What’s for dinner, honey?” In this way, the doctor assured him, she’ll have to admit she has the problem.
So the man raced home with joy in his heart and opened the front door. “What’s for dinner, honey?” he asked. When there was no reply he moved closer to the kitchen and asked again. “What’s for dinner, honey?” No reply. When he looked into the kitchen, sure enough, there she was. So he tiptoed over to her and whispered in her ear, “What’s for dinner, honey?”
Immediately she turned and looked straight at him: “For the 4th time, I said we’re having Spaghetti!”
Who is the one having a hearing problem? Could it be me?
• Could it be that we’re facing difficulties and problems because we are not hearing Him right, or have not been hearing Him at all?
• And therefore we are left to figure out things ourselves, finding solutions to life problems on our own?
Is this why Jesus needs to repeat the phrase a few times?
• Mark 4:9 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
• Implicit in this phrase is that we can have ears and not hearing.
• In this parable, Jesus puts it straight - the problem is not with God for not speaking but with man not hearing.
We can identify with this in life, don’t we? Many times we just don’t “hear” that well.
• Our teacher is talking to us, but we’re a hundred miles away — sometimes even more
• Our pastor is preaching, but we’re in a dream — maybe somewhere in Africa in the 1960s
• “Hello? Are you listening?” :-)
And what’s true in the physical realm is likewise true in the spiritual.
• There are times when we don’t hear God very well either.
• He may have been telling us, not 4 times but 40 times before we catch on — and even then it’s “touch and go.”
• Our heavenly antenna isn’t fully pulled out. For some, it wasn’t even installed.
Jesus confronted this "hearing problem" in the first Century.
FIRSTLY, people are not really listening. PATH
• No chance for the truth to sink in, because Satan comes and takes it away.
• Many do not give attention to God and what He has to say.
• They reject the truth outright, and choosing to believe what they like, even if it doesn’t sound true.
I met the sales rep in charge of the Holiday Inn Resort, Batam a few weeks ago.
She came to the church office and I took the opportunity to share with her about Jesus
She said every god is the same, whoever or whatever you believe doesn’t matter.
We just need something to lean on psychologically.
Everything is relative. Morality is subjective. Nothing can be absolute. It all depends on what you like.
I was surprised that she finds this acceptable. This is the postmodern generation, the new age generation.
The SECOND problem is – ROCKY PLACES
• Receive only on the superficial level - shallow. Hear only what feels good.
• When troubles come, they’re unable to accept the truth - how can a good God allow suffering and pain?
• The logical conclusion is – there isn’t a God or that such a God isn’t loving or powerful enough to help.
• Better trust our own selves; rely on our own efforts and plans.
This happened to one brother I knew who used to come to our church.
He faced a huge financial problem in business and was forced into bankruptcy.
Why didn’t God prevent it? Why didn’t He help me out? What’s the use of believing in a God like that?
And so he left God for good. Somehow, to him, God only exists to serve his own needs.
People choose to believe only in what feels good.
And THIRDLY, Jesus talks about the things of this world choking the Word. THORNS
• Too cluttered by the things of the world - we are distracted into pursuing things that are actually non-essential, temporary, transient. And we neglect things that are really important, true and eternal.