Are You Listening?


 Tammy Kister

Ad Partners


 FSC Securities

Ad Partners

By Henry Nelson | June 1, 2010

Matthew 13:18-21“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 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. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.”{{more}}An excited little boy was telling his daddy about something that had happened to him that day. His daddy said, “Slow up, son, you are talking too fast!” His boy shot back at him, “Oh, no, Daddy, I’m not talking too fast. You are just listening too slow!” ARE YOU LISTENING?It’s been said that we think four to five times faster than we talk. This means that if a speaker talks at 120 words a minute, the audience thinks at about 500 words a minute! James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”It pays to listen to the right person, at the right time, and for the right length of time. After Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, God said in Matthew 17:5 “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” It always pays to listen to Jesus!Sometimes it pays to listen a very long time. Especially, when it comes to listening to God in His Word. We should never stop listening to the Word of God. Someone said, “Talk and you say what you already know, but listen and you learn something new.” If so, then you are learning. And we all need to learn more about life, about others, and especially, about the Lord! Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Amen!It pays big dividends to listen to the Lord and learn from Him whether through a sermon, a Sunday school lesson, a radio program, or through your own personal reading of God’s Word.In our text about the parable of the sower Jesus speaks of four different kinds of hearers or listeners. 1- The hard-hearted listener2- The shallow-hearted listener3- The clutter-hearted listener4- The good-hearted listener1. THE HARD-HEARTED LISTENERMatthew 13:19 says, “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.” Amen!The hard-hearted listener is hardened to the Gospel because he cannot seem to understand it or grasp it. Satan snatches any little bit or piece sown in that person’s heart before it can start to grow and bear fruit. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was complex and, being unable to comprehend it, I committed the pages to memory. When I was called upon to recite, I solemnly reeled off almost word for word what the book said. Our instructor, looked at me somewhat quizzically and asked, ‘Do you understand this theory?’ It was a bad moment for me, but I did not hesitate in replying, ‘No, sir.’ You could have heard a pin drop. I braced myself and waited. “And then the slow words of the professor: ‘Neither do I understand it, class dismissed.’” Amen!Brothers and sisters, it may be that some who teach us in life do not know any more than we do or perhaps they do not have any more understanding than we do. There are many things that we do not understand in life, but most of these things do not really matter.The important thing is for us to have a better understanding of God’s truth in His Word. How can this happen? There is a two-fold remedy: my part and your part.In Colossians 4:3-4 Paul said, “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly. We who preach and teach God’s Word need to present it as clearly as possible. Some sermons and lessons are about as clear as mud, as some have said. 2. THE SHALLOW-HEARTED LISTENERMatthew 13:20-21 says, “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” Amen!The shallow-hearted listener does not have any staying power. They are quick to believe, receive and rejoice, but they do not stay with the program or the person. Many people lack staying power when it comes to anything in life. I have known a number of people who started a jogging program because it seemed so exciting and beneficial, but after only a short time they quit. Why? The excitement wore off. The going got tough. They experienced sore muscles, leg aches, shin splints, tendonitis, etc.What people have done with various sports they have also done with jobs and they have done with Christ and his church! The shallow-hearted listener lacks staying power. They can get excited about the possibility of a better life, but they can’t make it stick. Amen!3. THE CLUTTER-HEARTED LISTENERMatthew. 13:22 says, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” The clutter-hearted listener has cluttered up his life with the things of this world. Some people are caught up in the world of entertainment, which keeps them from being captured by the Lord. The world of entertainment be it TV, movies, sports, hobbies, playing ball, playing everything, doing everything, going everywhere, etc.”Let me look at your checkbook. I heard a preacher say one time and I will tell you what you believe!” Where you spend your money is either a “portrayal” or a betrayal.” The same principle applies to what we do in life, how you spend your time as well as our money. Amen!That is powerful! I realize that we worship on Sunday, the Lord’s Day and it’s not the Sabbath. Some old timers have often called Sunday “the Lord’s Sabbath,” but it is not the same. In Christ we are free. We are free, but constrained by our love for Him. We appreciate so very much what Christ has done for us that we should be moved to honor Him and worship Him on the Lord’s Day! The clutter-hearted listener has cluttered up his life with things instead of seeking to please the Lord.4. THE GOOD-HEARTED LISTENERMatthew 13:23 says, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” The good-hearted listener hears the Word, understands it, and bears fruit. The good-hearted listener sees himself in the mirror of God’s Word and does not like what he sees. Consequently, he does something to change that image. He believes and obeys the Word of God. He allows God’s Word to bear fruit in his life.The good-hearted listener listens, understands, and bears fruit. Jesus said in Revelations 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Amen! Are you listening? Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. He is knocking in many ways and by means of many people. Do you hear him? Are you listening? He is not saying, “Let’s do lunch.” He is saying, “Let’s do life together.” Now I ask again are you listening? Amen!