How is Your Hearing?

(Mark 4:14-20 Pas. Baines, Jr. 2/2018)

Introduction: Did you know that being in church doesn’t mean that the word of God is getting in you? God is calling us to hear and obey His word? Today’s discussion centers around how, “We should work on having fruitful hearing.”

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1. Pathway hearing. Notice in vs. 15 that some people are like the hard soil on a pathway. Their minds and hearts are so hard that the devil takes the seed of God’s word, before they do anything with it.

Remember that as God works through the Pastor and others to help people understand and live by God’s word, the devil is trying to keep us from understanding and obeying God’s word (see I Pet. 5:8).

You cannot digest and obey the word, if the devil takes it from you before you even understand what is being said. Let’s work on keeping the devil from stealing the seed. This may call for being prayerful, strategic about where we sit, and being intentionally about note taking and obeying God’s word.

2. Stony hearing. Notice in vss. 16-17 that some are like the soil that allows for quick but short-term growth. There are too many people who get off to a quick start but have a poor finish. They have great ideas but no follow through. They have zeal but no knowledge (see Rom 10:2).

It is like the person who likes to sing or serve but doesn’t study. These people are known for quitting when a little tension comes into their lives because they have no staying power.

Let’s work on developing our roots. We do this by prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word, because we love and trust Him.

3. Thorny hearing. Notice in vss. 18-19 that some are like the soil that has fruit chocking thorns. These people understand the word, but they don’t produce the fruit of the word. They are distracted by the cares of this world.

Anxiety, depression, or ambition related to their health, wealth, relationships, or mental state have them in a situation likened to a figless fig tree (see Mk 11:12-14).  Some are distracted by peer pressure (see Jn. 12:42-43). They enjoy the praise of people more than the praise of God. Let’s work on fighting through the distractions of our lives and bearing fruit anyhow.

4. Fruitful hearing. Notice in vs. 20 that some are like the soil that bears much fruit. These are people who hear and obey God’s word, because God said so. They don’t allow the cares of this world or even disappointment with the messenger to keep them from doing what God said do.

Their faithfulness is not a favor to the Pastor or simply their enjoyable pastime. They hear and obey because of their relationship with God (see Jn. 10:27). When we hear and obey God’s word, we can be blessed with happiness, health, wealth, relationships, and God honoring contributions. Let’s work on hearing and obeying God’s word, no matter what is going on in our lives.

5. Improve your hearing. Notice in Philippians 3:13-14 that Paul had a desire to grow from one level to the next. In like manner, we should have a desire to grow from one level of hearing to the next level of hearing.  

First, we should work on the quantity of our hearing. Actively listening to Bible based preaching, studying the growth group and/or Sunday School material, working through devotional material, and listening to the Bible are ways of having enough quantity of word.

Second, we should work on the quality of word. To keep the word from just being background noise, we need to make time to meditate (see Ps. 1:1-2) and reflect on God’s word. Note taking will help with your meditation efforts.

Third, we should obey the word. James 2:17 makes clear that faith without works is dead. We have to step out on God’s word.

Fourth, the church ought to be a place where we find encouragement and support to bear fruit. We should find supportive relationships and programming that urges us to hear and obey God’s word. Let’s work on improving our hearing and helping others do the same.

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