Hearing and Seeing
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I. Normal Pattern of Good (Receptive) People: Hear...Accept...Bear Fruit
Normal Pattern of Thorny (Unreceptive) People: Hear...Power/Pleasure/Possessions...Barren
18 "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."
A. If we Accept/Welcome/Embrace/Keep/Obey the Word, it produces its intended effects (transformation/freedom, etc) in our lives.
B. If we choke the Word by craving temporal (and unfulfilling) desires for power (security and significance), pleasure and possessions, it will not change us, nor produce a crop of righteousness, nor benefit others. A bad state in which to face judgment day.
C. Our receptivity level increases as we develop a realistic, truth-based view of God, ourselves, and why we’re on earth.
II. One Day Everything Will Be Seen As It Really Is
21 Also He said to them, "Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?
22 "For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.
A. God’s got secrets that He reveals in perfect wisdom, to enlighten us with reality, thereby benefiting us
B. We’ve got secrets that we try to keep hidden to avoid reality and in reality harm ourselves and others by unreality.
III. Everyday our Choices Determine what happens on Judgment Day, therefore “Take Heed”
23 "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
24 Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear.
With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.
25"For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him."
A. The Kingdom Message is not that Jesus died for your sins, but that the promised OT kingdom is coming, in which God rewards righteousness; hence, what we do now, will have repercussions for us throughout eternity.
B. We have control over what and how we hear/obey (cf calls to discipleship; James 1:22 hearers and doers)
B1. Aggressive receptivity results in greater knowledge, power, wisdom, freedom, righteousness, fellowship, and glory
B2. Reluctant receptivity results in triple loss (miss out on God’s blessings now, and in the future, and lose what we’ve got)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. Can we change the kind of soil that we are, or is it all predestined? What can increase our receptivity to God’s Word?
2. Where do people get their view of God, themselves, and how life is supposed to work?
3. What do we miss out on when we hide? Why would someone hide in the dark rather than walk and play in the light?
4. Why are we inclined to not hear, or hear and not obey? How can we change this tendency?
5. What measure are you using to store up God’s instructions and wisdom? How will that effect you on Judgment Day?
6. What place will the Word of God have in your life this year? How does that compare to last year?