Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Listening: What & How

These verses are the tail end of a passage about the importance of "hearing" the gospel. This passage is, in turn, part of a larger one spanning from verses 1 to 34, regarding the "mystery of the kingdom," and the Lord Jesus' use of parables.

The Lord challenges us, "Pay attention to what you hear." The parallel passage in Luke 8:18 reads, "Take care then how you hear". He then warns us that WHAT we choose to listen to, and HOW we listen will determine whether we are included or excluded from God's kingdom.


Health food has gained a lot of ground in the past years. We're more and more concerned about what goes into our physical bodies.

We should be even more concerned about what we allow into our minds and souls. I'll never forget John MacArthur's sermon on Psalm 19, especially this great insight about how God's word makes wise the "simple". 
Simple is a word in the Hebrew that basically means ignorance. But, it has a concrete idea to it that I think is fascinating. It basically comes from a root [word] that means an open door. And the idea of being simple-minded is the idea of an open door. You ever hear people say, "Well I'm open minded?" That's a public statement of ignorance. Everything goes in and everything goes out. It is the inability to discern. 
To say you're open minded, a Hebrew would say to you, "Well close the door! You need to know what to keep in and what to keep out." You have a door on your house for that reason. You keep it closed to keep some things in like children and heat and air conditioning and whatever. And you open it only when you want to let something or someone in. The door is a point of discretion. 
You shouldn't be proud that you let everything in and everything out. Close the door. The word of God does that for you. It teaches you discernment. It teaches you to distinguish. This is critical in producing wisdom. It takes the simple and makes the simple wise....”
As believers, we should be more picky about what we listen to than vegans are about their diet.


It's not enough to make sure that we're listening to biblical teaching, however. There are countless people who sit under the faithful preaching of the Word, Sunday after Sunday, but whose lives are poor indications that they even go to church at all!

We need to be sure we're listening correctly. Our attitude should be characterized by
  • Dependence - "I need to hear this." (Joh. 6:68), "I need grace to submit and obey this" (Luk. 8:10; Jer. 17:9)
  • Praise - "O Lord, just as the Bible says, You really are ______"
  • Repentance - "In what way am I falling short of God's perfect standard? How offensive is this to God?" (Psa. 139:23-24)
  • Trust - "O Lord, as painful/challenging as this message is, I know it's for my good." (Jer. 17:7-8)
  • Obedience - "I will do what will please the Lord." (Mat. 21:28-31)
May these serve as important reminders for us.

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