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Pastor Shane Ham : Being Careful How We Hear

Storyteller · 42:35 · Recorded August 22, 2021

Being Careful How We Hear

Matthew 13:1-11, 16 (NIV) That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them… But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

Matthew 13:18-23 (NIV) “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 their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The “hearing” principle of God’s Kingdom

In God’s kingdom, power comes not from “getting a hearing,” but by “giving a hearing.”

Matthew 11:1-3 (NIV) After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Matthew 16:25 (NIV) “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

Matthew 20:26-27 (NIV) “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—…”

Matthew 19:21 (NIV) Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Matthew 10:22 (NIV) “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Luke 9:57-58 (NIV) As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

How you “hear” (Warnings about the soils)

1. Beware of listening to the Word of God with a hard heart.

2. Beware of listening to the Word of God with a shallow heart.

Beware of listening to the Word of God with a divided heart.

Don’t ever forget:

God’s job is to remove thorns and stones.

My job is to receive the seed.

Talk It Over
  • What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable (vv. 18-23) reveal about the seed? About the various soils? The fruit? The farmer? Talk it over in your small group.

  • How would you explain this parable to a bunch of city kids who don’t know anything about sowing a field? What modern analogy would you use?

  • What deep “roots” help to prevent a believer from falling away? What gives you roots?

  • What worries can choke your growth in Christ? How can you free your life from these “thorns”?

  • What “crop” does Jesus want believers to yield? What can you do to increase your productivity?

  • Which of the four types of soil best describes your response to the Gospel when you first heard it? How would you describe the root system of your spiritual life now?

  • In the period of your life when your spiritual life was the most unfruitful, what was the main reason? What was the main factor at the time you produced the best crop?

  • What steps will you take today to improve the soil of your spiritual life? Share it with a friend or come to the Prayer Lounge and pray about it with someone.

  • Parents, this is a terrific week for an object lesson. Read the parable together with your kids and then take a walk looking for good soil and soil that makes it difficult for things to grow. Come up with examples of what prevents growth in our faith lives – worry, inattention, doubt, fear, what people think, etc.

Talk It Over
  • What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable (vv. 18-23) reveal about the seed? About the various soils? The fruit? The farmer? Talk it over in your small group.

  • How would you explain this parable to a bunch of city kids who don’t know anything about sowing a field? What modern analogy would you use?

  • What deep “roots” help to prevent a believer from falling away? What gives you roots?

  • What worries can choke your growth in Christ? How can you free your life from these “thorns”?

  • What “crop” does Jesus want believers to yield? What can you do to increase your productivity?

  • Which of the four types of soil best describes your response to the Gospel when you first heard it? How would you describe the root system of your spiritual life now?

  • In the period of your life when your spiritual life was the most unfruitful, what was the main reason? What was the main factor at the time you produced the best crop?

  • What steps will you take today to improve the soil of your spiritual life? Share it with a friend or come to the Prayer Lounge and pray about it with someone.

  • Parents, this is a terrific week for an object lesson. Read the parable together with your kids and then take a walk looking for good soil and soil that makes it difficult for things to grow. Come up with examples of what prevents growth in our faith lives – worry, inattention, doubt, fear, what people think, etc.

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