Thursday, November 5, 2015

Do you Hear what I hear? The Word is calling to you!

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. (Luke 8:11-15)

The explanation of the parable has always applied primarily in reference to evangelism.  I still believe that, however, I cannot help but to see a secondary application which is directed toward believers.

Are there not times in your life when the Word pricks you to the heart? And do you not at times, hide from it in busyness of life or let it be choked aside by the cares of this world?

Verse 15 is very interesting also, "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience." (NKJV)

All kinds of questions arise, such as how did they come to have an 'honest and good heart'?  The Holman Christian Study Bible (HCSB) translates as follows, "But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit."

If they did not ask, they would not know the meaning of the parable (vs. 9).  This still resonates in my heart.  It instructs us that we will not know the mysteries of the Kingdom if we do not ourselves ask in prayer for the illuminating light of the Spirit.  Also, if we would know anything, it must be by the study of the Word!  It takes work.  We must apply ourselves to it if we hope to be instructed. 

When the disciples asked Christ, He did not evade their question, or give them more than they could grasp.  He told them first, why He speaks in parables, and then plainly explained the matter.  Today we have the matter openly revealed in the Word, (vs. 11-15) and for this reason we are often negligent to study and ask the Spirit's enlightenment of the passage. 

The HCSB's rendering of verse 15 is quite revealing.  We bear fruit, by enduring.  'Having heard the Word' hearkens (no pun intended!) back to verse 8 where we read 'he who has ears to hear'.

There is a great emphasis upon the hearing of the Word.  Four times in 5 verses (11-15) we read of a hearing of the Word referenced.  I am reminded of the great passage in Romans 10, especially verse 17, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Some things we learn from this parable -

·        The Word must be heard.  In order for a man to be affected by it, in some way he must be given over to it, either by reading and study, or by preaching and study.  It must be planted.

·        Not every party who hears will let it do its good work.  (This does not invalidate the Word.  Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” God is at all times sovereign.)  Some will be robbed of it by Satan, some will let other matters of the world choke it out, and some will not water it.  All of these matters could be rectified if the party hearing would have faith and pray for help.  Mark 9:24 records a prayer of just the sort needed, "Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”" All people - believers as well,  need to pray as this man at times.  For we all do fade as a leaf - but God is the strength of our heart!

·        Finally we see that by patient endurance we shall bear fruit.  By patient endurance is our faith shown to be real by the outside world.  We are told in verse 15 that having heard the Word, we keep it.  What does this mean except that in the Word there are matters of responsibility which we need to hold on to.  Having heard the Word, we are now held accountable to that Word to obedience.  And it is this which shows a noble and good heart - given by the very Word, is now the heart within. 

Do you think good of God?  Let us strive to hear the word regularly, pray for help from the Spirit regularly, keep the commandments faithfully, repent when we fail, and by enduring in this way, bear fruit for the Kingdom of God!

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