Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario begins the sermon series “parables: secrets of the kingdom of heaven” with “The Parable of the Hearers”:
Stories are the medium that Jesus chooses to reveal and disclose what God is like, what He’s doing in the world and what His expectation is for us.
We see in the parables God’s sovereign purposes being displayed and told. They are stories with great intent – kingdom intent.
This parable helps us to hear the other parables.
You haven’t really heard until it has resulted in some action, in some response. There has to be an appropriate follow through on what is said.
It’s the parable of how we hear and how we hear shapes our whole life.
Even though it stares us in the face, people don’t see it; even though the truth shouts at people, they don’t hear it. But if they did, the whole world would be opened up to them. Blessed is the person who has eyes to see; blessed is the person who has ears to hear.
Jesus speaks in parables so that people who want to know the truth can lean in and ask questions and discover the truth with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Parables don’t have their meaning on the surface, they invite thought.
If we will cultivate that leaning into God and listening to what He is saying, not just that I hear it, but what does this mean for me, we can expect more understanding.
There’s nothing wrong with the farmer and there’s nothing wrong with the seed. The issue is always the condition of the heart that receives it. It’s the matter of the soil that embraces the seed that makes the difference.
Any one of us can be hard-hearted. The enemy has a vested interest in our failure.
Faith that is temporary and unproductive is not true faith.
What happened to the good soil that received that call to ministry, was it trouble, was it persecution? I’m sure that’s common to us all, but it’s not a reason to quit. It’s a reason to keep going because without perseverance there is no harvest. We can’t allow the stony ground to rob us of what God wants to do.
Superficiality plagues the church.
Weapons of mass distraction – the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth.
If you follow what God says, there will always be more in your life. This is a promise to us of continual ever-increasing fruit in our lives.
This is a foundational parable because if we cultivate a listening ear of hearing and heeding we will have an open heart where the secrets of the kingdom are plain as day.