Summary: Too often, we feel that we are listening what God is saying to us but we really hear only what we want to hear.
Luke 8:18 "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have."
Introduction: 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!"
How many of you think that you are good listeners? They tell us women tend to be better listeners than men are. 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."
Too often, we feel that we are listening what God is saying to us but we really hear only what we want to hear.
I. A Severe Warning about how we hear.
A. Luke 8:18 "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken, even that which he seems to have."
B. God desires to speak to us. He desires to reveal His will to us, and to be actively involved in leading us.
C. In verses 16, Jesus declares that He came to reveal the truth and not to hide it. 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.
D. How you listen and what you do with it will determine what you receive. It’s the Law of Use: "Use It or Lose It.”
E. Dag Hammersjkold (Markings. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 11.) How can you expect to keep your powers of hearing when you never want to listen? That God should have time for you, you seem to take as much for granted as that you cannot have time for Him.
F. Proverbs 8:34 "Blessed is the man that hears me..."
II. Four Types of Hearers
A. Care-Less Hearers – Luke 8:12 "Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
1. The message goes in one ear and out the other. They could care less what they hear.
2. It is possible for us to hear with our physical ears and not hear with our ears of understanding.
3. 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."
4. Matthew 13:13 "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
5. There are those who make the mistake to imagine that by simply hearing first one preacher and then another they can derive benefit to their souls! Such hearing profits little. A raven can fly from cage to cage, but by doing so it will not be changed into a dove. You can go from banquet room to banquet room, and the sight of the tables of food will never relieve your hunger. What matters is not to just hear but to have and hold the truth personally and inwardly. If you don’t see to this, you will die in your sins, even if ten thousand voices direct you to the way of salvation or even if you’re able to recite the Romans Road from memory. It is a tragedy that the bulk of hearers are hearers only, and are no more likely to go to heaven than the pews they sit on in the churches across this land. (adapted from Charles Haddon Spurgeon)