Are You Listening?

What Could You Hear, if you just tried to LISTEN?

Matthew 13

March 17, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (Matthew 13:9)


A.    We put so much importance on seeing – a very “visual” generation

B.     But God puts even more emphasis on our ears, and what we do with them. Whether we use them to listen, or just for decoration

C.     There is so much about “hearing” in the Bible


1.      Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

2.      Proverbs 8:6 “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.”

3.      That is because according to the Bible, the fastest way to our heart, is through the ears!


D.    The question this morning is this… Do we prepare our hearts so that we are hungry when we come to church? We hang on every word? or are we so full, that everything said from this Book, is only muffled sounds?

E.     We often so desire for God to hear US, but the truth is, we first must desire to hear HIM!

F.      This whole month we have dedicated ourselves to become a church that is Ready to Hear!


II.    Background


A.    The Ear is a Miracle of Design (Proverbs 20:12)


1.      God designed the ear


a.       It is AMAZING – not an accident or freak of evolution


1)      God gave us BIG ears – to catch sound waves

2)      A canal directs those sound waves deep into your head…

3)      To a very thin membrane (ear drum) – you think THAT is all there is don’t you!?

4)      That membrane has three of the tiniest bones in your body attached to it that swivel with the slightest amount of sound!

5)      They carry the movement of sound waves (back and forth) to a PISTON PUMP at something called the COCHLEA

6)      The Cochlea is a tiny fluid filled chamber that is shaped kind of like a snail shell

7)      That piston pump pushes in and pulls out against that fluid in the Cochlea so that the sound waves are now transferred into that fluid and into that area that looks like a snail shell

8)      It is in that snail shell part that something even more amazing happens!


a)      All along the inner wall of that snail shell are billions of the smallest hairs

b)      The sound waves push like ocean waves past the tiny hairs that are attached to thousands of the most sensitive nerves in your body!


9)      As those hairs are moved back and forth, the nerves get agitated, and they send electronic messages to the brain saying, There is something happening here.

10)  What is wild is that the nerves are grouped like a very long piano keyboard – the various sounds affect only certain nerves so that the brain gets specific signals from specific nerves telling it that a high-pitched sound has been heard, or a low pitched sound, or anything in between!

11)  If it wasn’t so precise, all your brain would think is NOISE was hitting your ear!


b.      The ear has the most delicate of parts – that’s why God placed them in the HARDEST bones of your body


2.      It is designed to hear things. We are miraculously designed to hear sounds


a.       The slightest sound (20 to 20,000 Hz) – Your ear drum pulsates 20,000 times a second! And we can know it!

b.      The furthest sound

c.       Moving sound


1)      The direction of that sound

2)      Whether something is coming closer or moving away


d.      We use sound to tell if something is solid or hollow – before X-rays

e.       We use sound to tell distances – like bats

f.       It is marvellously designed


3.      But do we listen with it? Do we pay attention?


B.     What Could You Hear, if you just tried to LISTEN with your ears, instead of talk with your mouth all the time?


III. Message - Are You Listening?


A.    Jesus Taught Throughout His Ministry Years (13:1,2)


1.      He did many miracles, but He did more teaching than miracles!

2.      He would travel, then stop, then speak to crowds who came to hear what He had to say

3.      Sometimes the crowds would fill a house

4.      Other times, they would fill a mountainside – 6,000 men and counting!

5.      This day, Jesus left the house He was staying in, and sat down by the Sea of Galilee

6.      Great multitudes (thousands) gathered around him to hear Him

7.      The only thing He could do was climb into a ship and push out a ways so that His voice would carry farther and be heard by the whole crowd

8.      And the whole multitude stood silently, on the shore, listening!


B.     This Day He Taught About Four Soils (13:3-8)


1.      The parable is all about “soil” - Four kinds of soil to be exact

2.      Four ways that we respond to what we hear in the word of God (13:18,19)

3.      Way Side – hard, foot path


a.       No depth for the root

b.      Stolen by birds – which describes how the devil snatches away what people hear even without them knowing it

c.       It is wasted seed – wasted time


4.      Stony Places


a.       Not much depth for the root of the plant to take hold

b.      When the heat of the sun hits the seed, it burned the seed and it withered and died

c.       Never grew

d.      Again, the seed was wasted


5.      Thorny Ground


a.       This took root, but there was no room to grow into a full plant – too many things chocking it out

b.      Chocked by the thorns, weeds, crowded conditions in the field

c.       No fruit, no success

d.      Again, the seed was wasted


6.      Good Ground


a.       Soft soil

b.      Depth of earth allowed for full root penetration

c.       Room to grow

d.      Full growth experienced. Able to produce its fruit –30 times more seeds than planted, 60 times and 90 times the initial planting


7.      The purpose of planting seed is always to produce fruit!


C.     And then, At the End, Jesus Pleads With Everyone to “Hear” What He Just Said (13:9)


1.      They looked at Him and were all confused!

2.      They had heard His “words”, loud and clear

3.      But He asked, had they understood them? Did they even know what He was trying to teach them?


a.       All of what He was teaching was about the coming Kingdom of heaven on earth

b.      About how people get INTO that kingdom!


4.      But, did they use their ears to listen with their heart?

5.      Did what they hear draw them closer to God, or further away?

6.      Throughout His ministry of teaching and miracles, Jesus BEGS people to have listening, attentive, hungry ears! Because, HEARING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SEEING


D.    Even The Twelve Disciples Were Confused (13:10)


1.      Why was Jesus always speaking in parables? They are not clear, easy to understand, so why use them?

2.      Why not just carefully explain everything?


E.     Jesus Then Explains About Why People Don’t Use their Ears Right (13:10-17)


1.      Jesus explains that truth must be wanted. The kingdom of heaven, salvation, the new birth, forgiveness of sins is a mystery, and Jesus wants people to explore the mystery, not just collect information about it!

2.      The more we learn, the more we are taught!!! (Mt 13:12)

3.      The less we are interested in God’s truth, the more that God takes away what we do know!

4.      Isaiah’s Prophesy (Mt 13:14-15)


a.       People have ears, eyes and a mind, and yet will not see God’s way, God’s truth

b.      Waxed gross means to become full

c.       Dull obviously means uninterested in spiritual things – because of believing lies

d.      The key here is that THEY have closed their own eyes, ears, and mind

e.       If they just wanted to, they could believe and be converted – it is completely up to the hearer!!!

f.       People have filled their hearts and ears with wax like ear-plugs so that they don’t have to hear God’s words!


5.      The disciples were the most blessed people because they got to be there when all the Old Testament prophecies were being fulfilled right before people’s eyes

6.      The Old Testament prophets yearned to see what they were seeing (Cf 1Pet 1:10,11)


F.     What Could You Hear, if you just tried to LISTEN, instead of talk all the time! Instead of being frustrated and angry all the time? Instead of thinking you know better all the time? What COULD you hear?


IV. Application


A.    It is funny how the very same preaching, the very same words from the Bible can thrill one person, and yet torment another! (1Cor 1:18)

B.     The reason is in the hearing

C.     Some people CAN’T hear


1.      Not talking about people born deaf – they “hear” more than you think!

2.      But if you are not born again, you were born UNABLE to hear (1Cor 2:14,15)

3.      That’s why Jesus kept pleading with people to get born again!


D.    Some people WON’T hear


1.      Zec 7:11,12  But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.  Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.”

2.      2Ki 17:13,14  Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.  Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.”

3.      They love to have their ears tickled by religions – told what they WANT to hear

4.      Love to hear the praises of men more than of God

5.      Love to fill their hearts with filth and sin and wicked thoughts and imaginations

6.      No wonder this generation can’t hear God pleading “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev 22:17) Come before it is eternally too late!


E.     But Thankfully, there are some people who LOVE to hear from God (John 10:27)


1.      Mark 2:1,2  And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.”

2.      Acts 13:44 “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God” - As Christians, do WE look forward to hearing the word of God?

3.      Nehemiah 8:3  And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.”

4.      Luke 19:48  “…all the people were very attentive to hear him.”


V.    Conclusion – Challenge


A.    What Could You Hear, if you just tried to LISTEN?

B.     It all starts with What We SHOULD Hear with our Ears!


1.      Hear Instruction, and learn - be teachable, be always learning


a.       Pro_8:33  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.”

b.      Pro_19:20  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”

c.       Pro_22:17  Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.”

d.      Pro_23:19  Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.”


2.      Hear Reproof and Rebuke


a.       According to 2Ti 4:2-4 “I am commanded by God to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

b.      Reproof and rebuke are negative words – words that tell someone they are doing something wrong, and are away from God, and they need to get right


3.      Hear Correction – it’s mainly all negative I know, but is the plowing, so that the seeds of right things can be planted in our hearts and lives!


a.       Listen to somebody correct you, and change your direction! Let wise people tell you HOW to GET right!

b.      I know men don’t like to ask directions, but we need to listen to people – not just our “friends”!


4.      Listen to Your parents


a.       Pro_1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” That was written by King Solomon to his 20 year old son!

b.      Pro_4:1  Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.”

c.       Pro_4:10  Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.”

d.      Pro_5:7  Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.”

e.       Pro_4:20  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”

f.       Pro_5:1  My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding


5.      Listen to Your spouse


a.       LISTEN hard

b.      Look at them straight in the eyes – no distractions

c.       Ask questions when you don’t understand

d.      LET them be right

e.       Appreciate them for trying to help


6.      Most of all… Hear the word of God (1Thes 2:13) Make it THE priority


a.       Just listen to it!


1)      It will wash you up on the inside

2)      It will strengthen you and help you know how to trust God through your troubles

3)      Faith grows when we listen to the word of God and believe it (Romans 10:17)


b.      Let it be your meditation – what your mind thinks about

c.       Learn it more than you learn your Maths Multiplication Table

d.      So, Have a QUIET TIME where it is just YOU and your Bible


1)      Eccl 9:17  The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

2)      Be QUIET – no iPod, no internet, no surfing, no facebook, no texting, no TV or radio in the background, no noises at all!


e.       Be back at church TONIGHT and then again on Wednesday evening! Come to HEAR this Book! It is the greatest source of SANITY in the world!


C.    What is Stopping You From Hearing this morning?


1.      Listening to the wrong kind of words (Proverbs 19:27)


a.        “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”

b.      It is like WAX in your ears – blocks you from hearing the important things


2.      No quiet time. No walking alone, quietly, reflecting, praying


a.       Too much noise and information overload

b.      Always having radio or TV playing in the background - some are addicts to the “news” (Acts 17:21)!


3.      Apathy -  DULL of hearing. Not interested in truth - in studying it out!


a.       Mat 13:15,16  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.


4.      Confusion - the devil’s delight! He doesn’t create a lie; he creates a million lies

5.      An Attitude of Rebellion. Ezekiel 12:2 “Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.”

6.      Clear it out! Whatever it takes!


D.    What COULD You Hear, if you just tried to LISTEN? (John 6:63-68)


1.      The wonderful words of eternal life!

2.      Jesus saying, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden…”

3.      The words, “You are now forgiven”

4.      God say, over and over, “I love you with an everlasting, unchanging love!”

5.      The will of God for your life “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it...” (Isaiah 30:21)

6.      The soon shout from heaven “Come up hither!”

7.      The words from Jesus one day in heaven “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”


E.     Unfortunately, most will never hear any of those wonderful words!


1.      But they WILL hear these words…

2.      Mat 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

3.      Mat 25:46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.