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28 Luke 8.16-21

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Luke 8:16-21

v    Last week we looked at the Parable of the Soils

Ø     Different types of hearts

§        Hard

§        Shallow

§        Divided

§        And Good

Ø     We looked in depth at the first three

§        Today I would like us to look at the Good heart

·        Jesus says is that the good heart “produced a crop 100x that sown”

v    In our text today, Jesus explains how that is accomplished


READ 8:16-21


v    This section really explains what the good heart looks like

Ø     And Jesus does so in a fairly dramatic way

§        In V. 19-21, Jesus’ family comes to see him

·        He is told that they are there

¨     And he says a startling statement

Ø     His family is not his flesh and blood, but

§        All those who “Hear God’s word and put it into practice”

v    The evidence of a Good Heart is that…

Ø     It Listens and it Does

Ø     It Hears and it Acts

Ø     It pays attention and then performs

v    We tend to get all caught up in the acts

Ø     But before we can do anything…

v    The Good Heart Listens

Ø     Jesus warns us in V. 18…

§        “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen”

Ø     Famed preacher H. A. Ironside used to complain that people had all kinds of mouth gifts; preaching, evangelism, encouragement, but no one had the gift of listening

§        According to Jesus, how one listens to the word of God in all important

Dietrich Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary during the oppressive years of Nazi Germany. In his homiletics class, he always set aside his pencil and listened intently with his Bible open when the students preached, no matter how poor the sermon was. He believed that the preaching of God’s word ought to be attended as if he were listening to the very words of God.

Ø     There are a lot of “I don’t know why’s” in the Bible

§        I don’t know why God chose me to be saved

§        I don’t know why God chose Abraham

§        I don’t know why God chose Isaac instead of Ishmael

§        I don’t know why God chose us to be his voice of evangelism in the world

Ø     But the one we are dealing with here today is…

§        I don’t know why God chose to speak to his people through the preached word

·        But he did…

¨     The worship service centers around the preached word of God

Ø     The sermon

Ø     So how you listen to it is all important

v    According to the Bible, there are 4 ways people listen to the sermon

Ø     Listen Hardly at All

§        That is what Isa 40:21 teaches us

·        In Isaiah 40, The Israelites have once again fallen into idol worship

·        So Isaiah decides to remind the people about who God is

¨     He says in v. 9 ~ Here is your God…

Ø     And then reminds them of what they have been taught about God

§        God is All-Powerful

·        V. 15 ~ Surely the nations are like a drop in the bucket

§         God is Immense

·        V. 12 ~ Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?

¨     William Blake ~ Ancient of Days

§        God is all-knowing

·        V. 13 ~ Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?

·        But the people have forgotten this and turned to idols

¨     READ v. 18-20

¨     So Isaiah sums it all up by saying…

Ø     You must not have been listening at all asking rhetorically…

§        Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?

·        The Israelites have had heard about God from childhood

¨     Yet Isaiah says…

Ø     You know all about God. Haven’t you heard about Him your whole life? Don’t you know that there is only one God?

§        Haven’t you been listening!”

§        We have this same problem today

·        People just don’t listen when they come to church

¨     They don’t pay attention when the sermon is being preached

·        These are the ones that cannot remember what the sermon was about the next day

¨     They can tell you all about the Seinfeld episode last night

¨     They can describe in detail the plot of Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith

¨     They can go on and on about the book they finished last week

¨     They can explain all about the news they heard of the radio

Ø     But they cannot remember what the sermon was about

§        Or what text was preached on

·        Or what one of the main points was

¨     It seems they were hardly listening at all…

Ø     I don’t want to place all of the blame on the listener

§        Many times it is the fault of the preacher

·        Poor preparation, confusing illustrations, too many rabbit trails

¨     I have preach my share of “stinkers”

Ø     But there is an admonishment here for the listener…

§        V. 18 ~ “Consider carefully how you listen”

·        You should listen to the Word of God as if your life depended on it

¨     Because it does!

§        Listen to the sermon like you are panning for gold

·        Describe Panning

¨     Always looking, inspecting, examining

¨     Paying close attention or else something very valuable might slip by

¨     Picking up pieces to see if they are useful

Ø     And the promise is that if you do this

Ø     If you listen that attentively

§        You will always go home with at least one flake or nugget of gold!

The second way people listen according to the Scriptures is…

Ø     Listen to be Entertained

§        God is preparing Ezekiel for how his words will be accepted by the people

§        Ezekiel 33:30-32

·        As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

·        Explain how OT Prophets prophesied (Memorized and sung)

¨     Here Ezekiel is singing the very words of God and the people see it as entertainment

Ø     nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well

§        We have these people today in the church

§        They come to be entertained

§        They come as consumers, not worshippers

·        These are the people that leave church and say…

¨     I liked / did not like the

¨     Service

¨     Sermon

¨     Praise music

¨     Hymns

·        They ask questions as if they are consumers!

¨     What we have to understand is that we are not here as consumers

Ø     We are not here to be entertained

§        We are not here for ourselves

·        We come to worship God and to Hear from God!

¨     God speaking to us!

§        Another danger is one the other side of the microphone…

·        Preachers who are preaching to entertain

¨      2 Tim 4:3-4

Ø      For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths

Ø     A preacher’s great temptation is to preach to inch people’s ears

§        One of the sad states in preaching today is that it has become story-telling and stand-up comedy

·        This is not entertainment!

¨     This is hearing from God!!!

The third way people listen we find in Scripture is those who…

Ø     Listen in Order to Find Fault

§        It has been said…

·        Nothing is easier than faultfinding: no talent, no self-denial, no brains and no character are required to set up in the criticism business

¨     And this is exactly what we see in…

§        Mk 12:13-17

·        Pharisees asking about paying taxes

¨     Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words

§        They came to hear Jesus and catch him in his words!

·        To find fault with him

·        To look for inconsistencies

§        They did the same thing when they asked him what is the greatest commandment

§        They did the same thing when they asked him by what authority he was teaching

·        God = Blaspheming

·        Man = charlatan

v    We must be careful…

Ø     Faultfinding begins as a seed

A little seed lay on the ground,And soon began to sprout."Now, which of all the flowers around," It mused, "shall I come out?The lily's face is fair and proud,But just a trifle cold;The rose, I think, is rather loud,And then, its fashion's old. The violet is all very well,But not a flower I'd choose;Nor yet the Canterbury bell­I never cared for blues,"And so it criticized each flower,This supercilious seed,Until it woke one summer morn,And found itself…a weed

Ø     Fault-finding is easy

§        And once you start planting that weed

·        You will find that it is not so easy to get rid of

¨     You will bring it with you on Sunday mornings

Ø     When you listen to the sermon

Ø     This does not mean that we take everything said in a sermon as God’s word

§        We are to listen very carefully and take what is truth into our hearts

·        For that is how a good listener listens…

Ø     The Good Listener Listens to obtain True Wisdom

§        Example given in Scripture is the Bereans

·        Paul and Silas on their missionary journey come to Berea

§         Acts 17:10-11

·        On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true


v    The first thing we notice about a good listener is that that are excited to hear from God

Ø     The Bereans received the message with great eagerness

§        They were eager to hear from God

§        They were excited to listen to Paul’s and Silas’ sermons

§        They listened actively, attentively

·        As if their very lives depended on it

·        As if they were panning for gold

v    And when they did find some nuggets…

Ø     They did the second thing a good listener does

§        They went home and checked it with the Scriptures and made sure that it wasn’t Pyrite (fools gold)

·        Pyrite found alongside real gold

¨     Looks like it and many a 49er was fooled by it

Ø     And we have to be careful…

§        There is a lot of Pyrite in the pulpits today

·        A lot that sounds good but does not jive with the Scriptures

·        There is a lot that “inches our ears” but does not satisfy the soul

¨     That is why we need to know our Bible so well

v    So the Bereans listened well

Ø     They listened to obtain true wisdom

§        But that is only half the equation

v    Jesus tells us here that a good heart not only listens…

Ø     But also ACTS

§        The evidence that the good heart has Listened is that it Does, it Acts

·        That is the proof of listening!

v    The Good Heart Acts

v    In the summer of 1976, by 7 terrorists hijacked an Air France flight from Athens to Paris with 250 people aboard.  They diverted the plane to Entebbe, Uganda where they landed and promptly released all the hostages except 103 Israelis. The terrorist demanded the release of 53 militants and threatened to blow the plane up if their demands were not met.

v    Perhaps you remember the dramatic conclusion to this hostage situation.  Israel secretly sent in an elite commando squad to Entebbe and freed the hostages and killed all 7 of the hijackers in less than a quarter of and hour.

v    As successful as the rescue was, however, three of the Jewish hostages were killed along with the kidnappers. They didn’t obey the command of the leader of the commandos. As commandos entered the airport terminal they shouted in Hebrew "Get down! Crawl!" Immediately the Hebrew hostages understood the command, while the hijackers did not understand the language of the command and were left standing. Quickly the commandos opened fire and shot the kidnappers who were upright.

v    However, three of the hostages were also mowed down in the gunfire. Two of the prisoners hesitated, perhaps they wanted to get a view of what was proceeding, and they lost their lives. One young man was lying on the floor, but foolishly stood up when the Jewish liberators entered the building. He, likewise, was shot down with the bullets meant for his captors. Had these three men listened and obeyed the soldiers’ command, they would have been free with the rest of their group.

v    100 Obeyed…3 did not

Ø     They heard, but did not put what they heard into practice

§        I think this illustrates what Jesus meant when he said…

·        My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice

Ø     What we see here is an example of what Jesus says in verse 18

§        The promise to the good heart who Listens and then Acts

·        Is that he will be given more

¨     But to those who don’t, Jesus says…

Ø     Even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.


§        Listening is difficult

§        It requires a great deal of energy and skill

·        It is not a passive activity

¨     What you are doing is not a passive activity

Ø     Hopefully it is a highly active activity

§        You have prepared yourself to hear the word of God

·        Prayed

·        Slept

·        Arrived early

·        Sat before church meditating

¨     They will begin to grow in your devotions

Ø     Not maliciously like the Pharisees

Ø     Genesis 1 ~ Creation

§        We ask…

·        Did it really happen like that!?

Ø     We are too fast to see the “inconsistencies” in Scripture

§        We are many times too fast to let the weeds grow

§        They were practicing Indian Time

·        Illustration Green p. 223

§        Do we think about the sermon enough to meditate on it

Ø     Illustration which lists

Ø     The Good heart Acts

Those who live out the Christian life for all to see

¨     In other words, Jesus says…

Ø     If we are putting the words we hear into practice, we will be like lamps

§        If light is not evident for all to see, that just does not make sense!

·        V. 16

¨     Why would you listen and not live out what you have heard?

v    James puts it this way…

Ø     James 1:22-25

§        Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does

Ø     James is saying that if you come here and listen to God’s word and then do not act on it

§        You look into a mirror and them turn and forget what you look like

·        You are unrecognizable

Ø     A Christian who listen to God and then does not act like a Christian is unrecognizable from the rest of the world

§        That is not what we are called to be

·        We are called out of the world

·        To be separate

·        To be different

·        To be cities on a hill

·        To be salt in a bland world

·        To be lamps in a dark room

·        To be recognizable

Ø     And the promise to those with a good heart…

§        The one who listens and does…

·        Is that they will be given even more

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