Our first lesson in the series taught us how we need to listen to God's word if we want it to make an impact in our lives. Here are the main points that we made during the lesson:
- Every person must hear the word of God. No matter what we believe about the type of soil/heart someone has, everyone (including us) must hear the word of God and be given the opportunity to bear fruit. Jesus taught the word to those who were good soil, and he also taught the word to those who were hardened and distracted.
- How each of us responds to the word depends on two factors: 1) Are we really listening? 2) Are there things in our lives that are hindering the word from doing it's work within us?
- How should we listen? (Mark 4:21-25)
- Often! (4:21-23) God intends the light of His word to shine within us and to reveal things to us. If we are not getting into it often, then we are keeping ourselves from God's blessings. We need to get into it. We need to let it show us who we are, even if what we see will make us uncomfortable and challenge us to make changes in our lives.
- Carefully! (4:24-25) Some translations say in v24 to "take care" or to "take heed" what you hear. If this is the correct translation, then Jesus is showing us that we need to make sure we are giving our attention to the right message - the voice of our shepherd and not competing voices that can take us away from God. This point is true, whether this is the right translation of the passage or not (John 10:4-5, 16). Some translations translate this passage "pay attention to what you hear..." This translation focus not just on what we hear, but how we hear it. Jesus is saying to really pay attention to it. We must listen to it with a certain purpose in mind: to apply it and be changed by it.
With the last point of needing to listen to apply God's word to our lives, here are some questions of application:
- As we read God’s word, do we do so just we can put the check in the box in our daily reading schedule to show we have been making progress, or do we read with the purpose of being fruitful?
- Do we read just so we can be prepared to share information in Bible class, or do we read so we can be equipped by the Lord and so we can stir up one another to love and good works?
- Do we pay attention when God's word is being taught, or are our minds elsewhere during Bible classes and sermons?
If you would like to watch the whole sermon, you can watch it below.