THE GOSPEL; it is…
…the good news, that through Jesus Christ, God has made away for sins to be forgiven, adoption into His family and eternal life with Him.
Next Sunday Pastor Brett will equip you with The Three Circles
Scripture reading: Luke 8:16-21, ESV
tHE tIE THAT BINDS
Today’s text is a continuation of last week’s text and the tie that binds them together is the word “HEAR.”As Jesus explained the parable of the Sower-Soils toHis disciples, He did so linking each of the 4 types of soil-hearts to the way they “HEARD” the Word of God.
The Hardened Heart – VS 12: heardthe Word, but the devil was able to steal it away, before it could have anyeffect.
The Shallow Heart – VS 13: heardthe Word and at first received it with joy. But in time of testing it waspushed aside and they fell away.
The Crowded Heart – VS 14: heardthe Word and there was an initial positive reaction, but then the cares, richesand pleasures of life choked it outand no fruit was produced.
The Receptive Heart – VS 15: heardthe Word and because the heart was receptive, it took root, developedand produced fruit that is expectedof true saving faith.
The common thread of these 4 “heart conditions” isthe fact that
TheWord was HEARD.
HEARING is more complicated than one might think?
Hearing, but not Listening: It goesin one ear and out the other.
Listening, but not responding: The communication is understood, but a decision ismade that no positive response is warranted.
Listening, and responding: The communication is understood, and one ismotivated to respond positively to the message.
The distinguishing factor is NOT the “WHAT,” but the“HOW.”
VS18: Take care then HOW you hear…
What’s All the fuss?
Jesus says that some will hear well and receive,while some will hear poorly and what they think they have, will be taken away.
Truth Point #1: We can put on an external religious show that doesnot truly represent our inner condition, but intime one’s true heart condition will become evident.
A receptiveheart not only receives the initial seed of God’s Word, but overtime remains receptive and yields to its transforming power. In this way theinitial seed grows and more life, more productivity, more fruit is the result.
TheShallow and Crowded Heart do not actually have the seed of God’sWord growing within. There was an initial appearance of receptivity, but intime the absence of growth becomes evident resulting in the loss of what thatheart thought it had.
Truth Point #2: As in the parable of The Wheat and Tares, (Matthew 13:24-30) both co-existand appear the same for some time. But with time and stress, both the “wheat” and “tare” self-identifyby their fruit or lack thereof.
Ultimately,it comes down to HOW one HEARS The Word of God. Receptively or Non-Receptively. One yields truetransformation, while the other yields, at best, a veneer that over time cannotsustain.
Inpart, this is what “The Light” of VS16 and the Revelation of what is “Hiddenand Secret” in VS17 is all about. With Time and Exposure, theLight of God’s Word reveals the true nature of the human heart.
Receptive - Non-Receptive.
Mother, Father, Sister,Brother – VS19-21
VS19-21brings us to a couple of things that seem to present a problem.
1. Matthew and Mark place this event earlier in Jesus’ministry, before the day He presented the Parable of The Sower/Soils. Is this a problem?
With closerinspection the problem resolves itself when we remember that Luke’s Gospel is not always chronological, but thematic. There are places where he uses an eventout of sequence because it fits with the truth he is trying to get across to Theophilus,the intended recipient.
2. The way Jesusseems to disrespect His Mother and Brothers by not acknowledging themand pointing to His disciples as His new family. Jesus is not beingdisrespectful, He is using the occasion to make an important point, onewe need to “hear” and respond to appropriately.
The Point #3: Jesus’ true eternalfamily is not one of flesh and blood …mother, father, sister, bother… but is made up of those who Hear His Wordand Do It.
Theway one enters Jesus’ eternal spiritual family is through the Light of God’s Word and appropriate receptivity to it.
WhenGod’s Word says that Salvation is not by any human work, but only through faith in Christ, and one hears that but continues trusting in their own manufacturedrighteousness, they’ve heard but NOT responded appropriately.
Whenone hears that Salvation is not by any human work, but only through faith inChrist, and they turn from any self-justification to embrace Jesus as Saviorand Lord, they have heard and responded appropriately.
HOWwe Hear is as important as WHAT we hear.
Wemay hear the most accurate presentation of the Gospel, but if we hear with an unbelieving heart, it will not make us right with God.
Wemust HEAR believingly and hearing believingly translates to working outwhat we’ve heard.
TheGospel received believingly brings salvation. Submissive response to The Gospel is the natural result of hearing believingly.
HOW is your HEARING?
· …is it devoid of listening… in one ear, out theother?
· …is it devoid of response… you hear andunderstand, but chose not to respond appropriately?
· …is it filled with faith-filled response thatmoves toward Jesus?
Beassured that each one of us is HEARING in one of these three ways.
MayGod’s Spirit grant you discernment about HOW you HEAR, and may He grant you wisdom to respond to Him BELIEVINGLY.
The Mission Church is committed to serving God by making disciples in the Des Moines area.
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