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Listening with good Soil

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Luke 8:5-8

A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold

the reason we all respond differently to the sermons we hear has more to do with our hearts than our ears. From a human perspective, how the Word of God impacts our lives depends on the preparedness of our hearts or, in agricultural terms, the condition of the ground.
Agriculture was at the heart of Jewish life. It was the way they provided for themselves and made a living. Everyone understood the process of growing crops. The farmer would drape a bag of seeds over his shoulder and walk through the field throwing handfuls of seed onto the ground. It is likely that from where the crowd was sitting listening to Jesus tell this parable, they could actually see farmers sowing seed in the fields. And everyone understood that some of that seed was landing along the paths between the fields. Some was landing on top of rocks. Some was landing among weeds. And some was landing on fertile soil. The fate of the seed—the yield of the seed—had everything to do with the condition of the soil. Jesus used these four kinds of soil to illustrate four kinds of hearts on which the preached Word lands. Some listeners have a stubborn, unreceptive heart. Some listeners have a shallow, superficial heart. Some listeners have a worldly, strangled heart. Some listeners have the heart we all need if we are to respond properly to the Word of God: a soft, receptive heart. Ken Ramey, Expository Listening (The Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), 26–27.

Hard Soil (path)

-The land of Palestine was only divided up by paths running between each persons property. The dirt on these paths was packed down as hard as concrete from travelers. Seeds could not penetrate the rock-hard soil.
people who are indifferent or ignorant to the word of God. The bible and church are irrelevant to their lives
May show up to church from time to time and may even be a regular attender but could care less about what is being said.
Disinterested, distracted, and bored with the preaching
Sermon goes in one ear and out the other. It bounces off their cold, hard heart like seed off asphalt.
Heart (soil) packed down by sin. Suppress the truth in their unrighteousness and allow themselves to become hardened

The Shallow Soil (rocky)

-Not a soil with rocks in it as farmers would remove the rocks. Israel had a layer of limestone running through the land and in some places only a few inches of topsoil cover it. Seed in this area begins to put down roots but the roots would hit the limestone and so the plant would grow up and not down. This would grow faster then the rest of the crop but then soon wilted because there is not enough moisture and would die before actually producing fruit.
those who are impulsively and enthusiastically respond to the Word of God without any thought to the cost. Embrace with excitement but no understanding of significance of commitment to following Jesus
Faith is short-lived, as soon as affliction from faith arrives they will ditch their faith and leave the church
They seem genuine, they look real. Until they are required to pay a price for their faith and the emotional high fades away. When trials and temptations come, they fall back into their old lifestyle never to be seen again

Death by Weeds (thorns)

-soil looks good on the surface but below the surface is full of weeds waiting to grow around any plant. Weeds grow bigger and faster then plants. Block sunlight, absorb moisture, before the plant can produce fruit and dies.
Person receives the Word but their heart so preoccupied with the things of the world that the gospel gets crowded out and choked.
Dies a slow death as it withers away.
Jesus describes three things that choke the word: worries (anxieties), Riches (material distractions), and desires (both sinful and good that take our focus away from Christ)
Person may profess to follow Christ but someone else or something else slowly becomes more important to them and Christ gets pushed aside.
Allow themselves to get interested in the world, then distracted, then preoccupied, then consumed, then obsessed, then choked, and finally strangled

The Right Soil (good Soil)

-provides the perfect environment for seed to germinate and grow. Soft, deep, and free of thorns and weeds. A seed can produces a crop a hundred times more than was planted.
those who hear and understand and accept God’s Word
Receptive heart not just to understand- but to obey in their life
the Word continually produces results in their life creating true lasting change
Only distinguishable by fruit
A christian may backslide and fall away but if they are true they will always come back to bear fruit of repentance
Not about how much fruit but simply the presence of any
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.” The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 8:18.
His point was that you need to be careful how you listen, because how you listen to God’s Word determines whether you will be given more (good soil) or what you have will be taken away (road, rocky, thorny soil). In each case, what the first three soils thought they had was eventually taken away by the devil, trials, and the world. Ken Ramey, Expository Listening (The Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), 32.
In other words, the ultimate evidence that proves you are a Christian is that you hear and obey God’s Word. This entire portion of Luke was designed to emphasize the importance Jesus placed on listening to the Word (vv. 8, 18, 21). Good soil yields the fruit of obedience from the Word of God. That fruitful life is a light that shines for all around to see, and it is the only real demonstration that you are spiritually identified with Jesus. Ken Ramey, Expository Listening (The Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), 33.
What kind of heart do you have as you prepare to enter this arena
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