And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (
We are busy people—always so much to do, and seemingly not enough time to do it. Time is too valuable to squander—yet, the Sunday morning sermon may be the most wasted half-hour of the week!
Are you getting anything from the sermon? If not—then it certainly could be the preacher’s fault. As a preacher, I am accountable to God to present His truth clearly and compellingly. The hard reality, however, is that it can also be the fault of the listener. As we look at the parable of the sower, we discover the problem isn’t with the seed—it is the Word of God. The issue isn’t with the sower—the Word is faithfully distributed. The trouble is with the soil—in three-fourths of the cases, the Word of God is unfruitful. This parable is about hearing God’s Word—and not just having physical hears to tune into the sound waves, but spiritual ears to be on God’s frequency.
There are three levels of hearing required for a sermon to hit the target, as given by Jesus in
Mark 4:20, “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.”
1) The information level, where we, “hear the word.” The message goes into the ear and lodges in the brain. Everything starts there, but must not stop there. This would require our attendance. I’ve noticed none of my sermons help those who don’t hear them! So there must be committed attendance.
2) The inspiration level, where we, “accept it.” The message accepted in our head now touches our heart. Information received can have a powerful effect on our emotions. Now, as we will see there is more required, but this is an important intersection of truth and our heart. For this to happen, there needs to be concentrated attention.
3) The transformation level, where we, “bear fruit.” The truth that is in our head and heart now moves to our hands. The mind and emotions now lead to submission of the will. This is consecrated application.
Thus, in every sermon, there are truths we should learn, emotions we should feel, and actions that should be taken. Only when we do all three does the seed produce its God-ordained fruit. How well we respond to the sermon determines how much fruit we bear, “some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
Here are some, “hearing aids.”
- Be prayed up. This opens our heart with expectancy, and cultivates the soil.
- Be present often. There are times we all miss a service, but sometimes the one you need most, will be the one you miss.
- Be prepared to learn. Bring your Bible, open it, and take notes. This will help you concentrate and retain the message.
- Be planning to obey the message. If what is said is true, then we have to do something about it! God isn’t making suggestions!