Seromon: Hearing God’s Word (part 2) (Luke 8:16-21)

Hearing God’s Word (part2)

Last time I was with you we learned about the importance of hearing the Word of God.  We saw together as Jesus told us a parable that there are different types of hearts onto which the Word of God lands.  There was the good hearts, hard hearts, shallow hearts, and distracted hearts.  Then as Jesus warned us all with, He who has ears to hear, let him hear challenged all of us to be hearers and doers of the Word because the result of the Word falling into a good heart is that it will produce fruit because the one whose heart has been prepared will submit to and obey God’s Word.

Now our Lord takes us further to show us not only is the Word be submitted to and obeyed but He shows us the benefits in doing so.  There are everyday benefits we enjoy as we submit to the Word of God which is the will of Christ.

TT- Spiritual knowledge should be diligently used—J C Ryle
Luke 8:16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
1. The Word Lights Our Path (Luke 8:16)

Luke 8:16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.

Jesus tells us a proverb or a short parable about the absurdity of lighting an oil lamp and then covering it up with a jar.  The reason you light it is so that it will give off light and you will be able to see.  The lamp lights our path.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Here, the Psalmist can make this claim because he is a Doer of the Word.

What is Jesus’ point in telling this short parable?  His point is that to hear the Word is like lighting a oil lamp.  Putting the Word into practice is like holding the lamp up and allowing it to light your path.  To hear the Word and not put it to use is like lighting a lamp and covering it up so it isn’t working for you and it isn’t lighting your path.  You stumble and fall because even though the lamp is lit, it isn’t benefiting you at all.

The Word of God benefits us when we practice it and when we live in light of the truths we know from it.

Let’s think for a moment in terms of practical doctrine or theology.  How does knowing certain theological truths change the way I live my life?  Let’s go down through a basic list together…

I ran across a list from Philip Ryken and I think it expresses very well what I mean…

We make us of the Law by confessing our sins, and we make us of the Gospel by trusting in Jesus Christ.  We make us of the doctrine of election by living with humility, remembering that there is nothing in us to deserve God’s grace.  We make use of the doctrine of justification by living free from any attempt to improve our standing with God, resting instead on the finished work of Christ.  We make use of the doctrine of sanctification by growing in practical holiness—learning to live with the charity, purity, and generosity that Jesus showed us by His example.  We make use of the doctrine of perseverance by remaining steadfast under trial.  We make use of the doctrine of glorification by waiting in hope for Christ’s return.—Ryken (Luke’s Commentary)

Every time we learn something new from God’s Word we must adjust our lives accordingly.

Jesus also indicates that when we are putting the Word to use in our lives, others will see the light as it were shining from us.

The highest form of selfishness is a man who is content to go to heaven alone.  The truest charity is to endeavor to share with others every spark of religious light we possess ourselves, and so hold our own candle that it may give light to everyone around us.—J C Ryle

Put the light to use, it will illuminate our paths and the paths of others.  Is the light being shined by you so other can see?

I remember walking through the woods once without a flashlight.  I forgot mine and so a friend and I were going hunting and he was leading the way.  The problem was that he was shining his light for himself while I was getting hit with branches and slipping because I could see the path.  Jesus wants us to shine the light of truth in such a way as to light our own path and the paths of others…hold it high.

2. The Word Exposes Our Heart (Luke 8:17, 18)

17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
God’s Word not only acts as a lamp so we can see clearly but it also acts as an X-ray machine when it exposes the true condition of our hearts.  This is often the function of the Word we don’t care for.  As believers, we must fight against our natural tendency to ignore God’s Word when it shows us things about ourselves we really don’t care for.

The first point in this section Jesus makes is that everything whether secret or public will eventually be exposed.  We may think we can ignore God’s Word but the reality is we can’t ignore it indefinitely.  It will expose the true condition of our hearts whether we like it or not.  This reality is true for every human who has ever lived and will ever live.

For us, by grace, God has allowed us to see by His Word various trouble spots that we need to change.  His Word will expose those in a believer and then it will also equip us to make biblical change a reality.

When we make those necessary changes, more good will be added to us and we will be able to see even more clearly.

By grace, Jesus also warns us… Take care then how you hear.  He knows that at times we can be deaf to His Word.  At times we can reason our way around it or find some loophole or simply ignore what it says.  Beloved of God, take care then how you hear.

The principle is clear…if we listen and obey more of God’s good things will be added.  We will experience more of His presence, blessings, and care as we submit to His authority.  To ignore will mean those same things will be taken away.  Here Jesus’s point is that the one who thinks he is a Christian will some day discover that even the things he thought he had will be seen as false.  Eventually, the truth will come out and their true nature exposed.

Romans 2:16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.   

How is a believer to use the Word in this case?  We take the Word of God and allow it to show us certain sins to begin with.  Then we allow the Word to begin impacting us because not sinning isn’t really making us more Christ like.  The Word also moves us into a positive direction as our lives not only become more and more free from sin but more and more Christlike.  An example of what I mean is this: We have the commandment in Exodus, “Thou shalt not kill” but if I simply do not kill doesn’t make me any more like Jesus.  There must also be positive steps taken.  Not only do I not kill but Jesus tells me to love my enemy.

The bottom line is this, a person may ignore and talk themselves out of submitting to God’s Word but in the end everything will come under the scrutiny of the Word either to make us more like Jesus or to stand as a witness against us at the judgment.

3. The Word Connects Us to Christ (Luke 8:19-21)

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
This section may seem at first as a disconnected few verses.  It may seem to disrupt the flow of the teaching.  However, it does the opposite.  This section shows us that submitting to the Word of God actually connects us to Christ.

John 12:36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

As we believe and walk in the light we will become sons or children of the light.  The relationship is formed between us and Christ and is strengthened as we obey His Word.

We also can see that implied in this passage is the importance with which Jesus view submitting to His Father’s will.  Nothing was to superceed the Father’s will in the life of Christ.

Family ties are important and Jesus loved His mother and family.  However, we are taught that the relationship we have to Jesus far exceeds that of any earthly relationship.  If we are believers, Jesus is our Brother.  If we are believers then God is our Father.  His will must be our first priority.

Jesus is also saying that if our hearts are changed and we follow His Word, we are closer to Him than His earthly relation.  We can be closer to Christ than His own mother as we follow His Word.  When we hear His Words and do them we are truly Children of God.
Conclusion

Jesus stresses again, Take care then how you hear.  He has said, Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.  How is then that we can hear the Word appropriately?

We must hear it with reverence and fear…

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

Do you approach the Word of God with reverence and fear?  What you hold in you hands are the very oracles of God…what the Bible says, God says…

We must hear through the ears of faith…
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
The Hebrews did not hear through faith but rather through unbelief.  Their lack of obedience to the Word of God indicated the condition of their hearts.  When a person today disregards God’s Word he or she may very well indicate the condition of their hearts as well.

TT- Spiritual knowledge should be diligently used—J C Ryle

Run fast to obey every Word from the Lord.  When we do, our light will be shining brightly, others will be able to see the truth, we will be in a close relationship with Christ, and will be sons and daughters of the Most High God.

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