Summary: The parable of the Sower story with four responses by the hearers: Pay it no mind, A Passing Interest, Too Preoccupied, Perceptive and Productive.
Most of the time in church, the focus is on the speaker and how well they are prepared to present the message. But today we have a parable about the HEARERS and how they receive the word of God.
So listen up because it is all about YOU this morning.
Hearing is an act of responsibility, so ….”Friends, members, visitors….lend me your ears.”
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."
Today I’ll be finished in a few minutes, but I hope you won’t ever stop listening to what God says to you.
Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
In fact he uses this phrase 15 times:
7 times in the gospels and 8 times in the book of Revelation.
We all have physical ears, but we can choose to pay attention or to let it go in one ear and out the other.
The fate of any spoken word depends upon the hearer.
There used to be a phrase that CB radio folks asked, “Do you have your ears on?”
And in today’s commercials for cellphone reception they say, “Can you hear me now?”
In Mark 8:18 Jesus says, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen.”
God’s truth is not just heard but it is spiritually discerned.
Jesus said he spoke in parables not to conceal the truth but because his followers had the ability to understand spiritual things like “the mysteries of the kingdom.”
Others had refused to be open and had closed their ears and eyes and hearts to him.
Truth is revealed to seekers and concealed from cynics.
Prejudice against an idea or a person prevents you from being able to receive facts and accept them.
Truth was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. But many would not accept Him.
They were closed to receiving Him and certainly closed to anything He had to say.
It is to those who RECEIVE and BELIEVE him who are given the power to become the children of God and understand what their Father says.
The more you listen the more you will understand, and the more you will be given insight.
Conversely, the more you ignore the word, the easier it is to forget what you heard.
This is a law of the universe. We may not like it, but that is the way it works.
Jesus went from teaching in the synagogue to teaching on the seashore because the ones who had heard it all before like the scribes and Pharisees tuned him out and turned him out, but the crowds were eager to hear him.
Everyone loves a good story. It has a way of disarming us rather than putting up an argument that might alienate us.
We actually think in pictures.
No one can understand concepts like “beauty” and “goodness” unless we see an example. That is why the word was made flesh in Jesus.
In a story we see the truth more clearly by being able to picture something familiar and then when we discover the parallel, we have our “aha moment.”
Jesus says, “Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear…
Therefore, hear the parable of the sower.”
Then the text mentions four kinds of listeners:
I’ll call this first listener the “pay no mind” 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."
This listener doesn’t understand because they are on the wrong path.
Satan has them confused and tries to keep them that way.
Even if they hear the truth he diverts their attention quickly so that they don’t absorb it and change directions.
They are not convicted because they just pay it no mind and go on their way as usual.
Sometimes the speaker leads them astray by using language that is difficult to understand.
Some preachers and teachers speak with impressive vocabularies and give pompous platitudes but when they are done we are confused rather than enlightened.
A worker asked for a pay raise and got this note back from his supervisor:
"Because of the fluctuation predisposition of your position’s productive capacity as juxtaposed to standard norms, it would be momentarily injudicious to advocate your requested increment."
The puzzled worker went to the supervisor and said, "If this is about my pay raise, I don’t get it."