Summary: This sermon will teach us how to respond to Jesus' message.
In our last study of the life of Jesus, we looked at Luke’s account of Jesus’ first major parable, the one we know as The Parable of the Sower.
Jesus said that a sower went out to sow his seed. The seed fell on four different soils. The seed fell along the path, on the rock, among the thorns, and into the good soil. When the disciples asked Jesus what the parable meant, he explained it to them. The seed is the word of God. The four different soils represented four different responses to the word of God:
• The path represented hard hearts.
• The rock represented shallow hearts.
• The thorns represented divided hearts.
• The good soil represented fruitful hearts.
Jesus continued teaching how his true followers respond to the word of God. He gave his disciples another parable, the one we call The Parable of the Lamp.
So, let’s read The Parable of the Lamp in Luke 8:16-21:
16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:16-21)
Have you heard the story about three friends who decided to go deer hunting together?
A lawyer, a doctor, and a preacher decided to go deer hunting. As they were walking, along came a huge buck. The three of them shot simultaneously. Immediately the buck dropped to the ground and all three rushed up to see how big it actually was. Upon reaching it they could not figure out whose shot had actually killed the deer.
A heated debated ensued, and a few minutes later a game officer came by and asked what was the problem. The doctor told him that they were debating who shot the buck. The officer took a look at the buck and within a few seconds said with great confidence, “The preacher shot the buck!”
They all wondered how he knew that so quickly. The officer said, “Easy. The bullet went in one ear and out the other.”
Although this story makes fun of preachers, it actually illustrates a far more serious challenge that all of us face. How do we hear God’s word (either read or preached)? Does God’s word go in one ear and out the other? Or do we hear God’s word in such a way that we really obey it?
Jesus of course was a master preacher. His message was about the kingdom of God. He told people that God had created a people for himself. However, all people had rebelled against God. They refused to submit to the sovereign kingship of God. They did not obey the moral law of God and they did what was right in their own eyes. However, God is a merciful God. He determined that he would provide a way for rebellious people to be reconciled to himself. So, he sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to seek and to save the lost. Jesus preached a marvelous message about the good news of the kingdom of God. He said that if people did not turn from their sin, then they would suffer the penalty for their rebellion against God. However, if people repented of their sin by turning from it, and if they believed that Jesus was the one who paid the penalty for their sin, then they could receive God’s forgiveness and be reconciled to God. Now that is good news, isn’t it?
Jesus’ message took the country by storm. Thousands of people came to hear Jesus preach, although they also came to see him perform miracles. A growing number of people believed Jesus and became his followers and disciples.
Toward the end of his Galilean ministry, about 16 months after he started his public ministry, Jesus told people a parable, the one we know as The Parable of the Sower. In this parable Jesus was showing people different responses to his message. Some hear the word of God and there is no response at all. Others hear it and respond superficially, but when testing comes, they fall away. Yet others hear it and respond to it, but as they go on their way the cares and riches and pleasures of life choke them, and they fall away. Finally, some hear the word of God and respond to it, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.