Summary: Whether God’s Word gets through to us or not depends on our attitudes. Is yours a closed mind? A superficial mind, a distracted mind, or a willing mind? It is only when you really listen and obey can your life be changed and you become productive and use
[Adapted from Rick Warren’s sermon of the same title.]
This morning we’re beginning a new series, "Conversing with God". I will cover it in 4 sessions.
• Frankly, nothing is more important in our walk with God, than be able to hear and understand what God is saying.
• Let’s look at Luke 8:4-15.
Jesus says in 8:8, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Because God speaks!
One of the most basic claims of Christianity is that God speaks to people.
• All through the Bible you see the phrase, "And God said..."
• God wants to have a relationship with you, and that means we need to talk. God has chosen to speak to us.
The problem with communication is that we don’t always hear it correctly.
• We misread one another’s intentions; we misunderstand what is being said.
• Even between 2 very close people like a husband and wife, who spends every day together and talks most of the time, this can happen.
• So how much more challenging would it be to hear God clearly.
That is why I am a little sceptical of people who always so confident of saying, “God told me this or that!”
• I believe this can happen but it is the exception rather than the norm.
• Even pastors who have spend years serving the Lord needs to take time to seek Him.
• I do not have a special phone on my desk that has a direct access to God, like important ministers having a direct line to the President. God does not send me e mail or key in something on my Facebook. I wish sometimes it was as simple as that.
Yet there are other times when God speaks and I know He did, very clearly, like the time when I decided to go full-time. There are times when I know God has put a thought or a deep impression in my mind. I know it’s Him.
What makes the difference? The difference is ATTITUDE.
Whether you get the message or not, depend very much on your attitude.
Jesus says it has to do with our response to the seed. What kind of a ground did it falls on?
• It is not 4 types of people, but 4 kinds of attitudes that people have towards God’s Word.
• You can come with any one of these four attitudes, at different times.
• We need therefore to watch our attitudes because if you receive it well, your life can be changed.
It’s like some cordless phones have different channels on them.
• If you pick up a call and it’s not clear (with a lot of static and noise), you can press a button to search for the best signal and then it switches to that good channel and everything becomes clear.
• Many times God has spoken to you, but it hasn’t come through very clear because you’re not on the best channel. You are disturbed, distracted and troubled by many other things.
How do I better hear God speak to me?
1. I MUST CULTIVATE AN OPEN MIND
The hardened path – a closed mind
The soil must be receptive and not hard.
• I’ve got to want to hear from God, be eager and receptive. I’ve got to be ready and willing to hear.
• This willingness and expectation must be there each time we come before God, either in our QT or worship service.
• We quote Matt 18:20 often at the beginning of the worship service: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” If He is there, then we must expect Him to speak. It’s funny to come together, like the reunion dinner we had, and then to have someone in the group not saying a word throughout the dinner together.
So my heart must be right. I am not here to hear the pastor, or guest speaker, or the worship leader. I’m here to hear God.
• I’m not talking about an audible voice, some writing on the walls or a thunder in the sky. God leaves lingering thoughts and impression in your mind.
• Sometimes it does not come from the whole sermon in its entirety. It may be just one or two liners that the speaker said, and you cannot get it out of your mind. God has spoken.
• But sadly, most of the time, we are not paying attention.
• We don’t believe it’s Him speaking. We don’t believe it’s possible for God to plant thoughts in my mind.
• This is the first type of soil. Your mind is closed.
• 8:5 “…some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.”