Mauro Cardoso lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Matthew 13: 1-23

I. Introduction

The psalmist described the person of true sucess as one who listens to and gives earnest heed to the teachings of God's law (Ps. 1:1-3).

Jesus conclude the Sermon on the Mount with a declaration that only those who obey the Word can enjoy a secure life in the present as well as enjoy the hope of an eternal home hereafter (Matt. 7:21-27).

Jesus gave voice to the parable known as the Parable of the Sower in order to emphasize the supreme importance of being a good listener as well as a consistent doer.

The Parable of the Sower expresses the profound faith that if one will sow the divine Word, there will be an eventual harvest.

The great majority will hear the words, but will not really listen and respond.

Do you really want to hear a word from the Lord?

Without our being aware of it, many of us have developed very poor listening habits.

A university professor has made a study of the listening habits of some of his students and has listed ten of the worst listening habits as follows:

(1) One can decide immediately that the subject is uninteresting.
(2) One can criticize the speaker's delivery and not listen.
(3) One can permit oneself to become overstimulated by a facet of that which is communicated and then miss much of what is said.
(3) One can permit oneself to become overstimulated by a facet of that which is communicated and then miss much of what is said.
(5) Some fail to listen because of their efforts to make an outline.
(6) Some have developed the habit of just staring at the speaker and pretending to listen.
(7) One can tolerate or even create distractions that will prevent him from hearing what the speaker is saying.
(8) One can fail to hear because s/he deliberately avoids that which is difficult and technical.
(9) Some fail to hear because they let emotionally loaded words or terms throw them off the subject.
(10) One of the worst listening habits is to skip off on some mental tangent suggested by the speaker and so miss what is being said.

The listener can think much faster than the speaker can talk. It is possible to let eighty percent of one's brain power idle and still comprehend what is being said with the remaining twenty percent.

Do you let poor listening habits prevent you from receiving what God is trying to say when you study the Bible or when you listen to your pastor?

II. The Sower

The sower is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. There is nothing wrong with either the person or the purpose or the method of the divine sower.

III. The Seed is the Word of God (Matt. 13: 19)

The Word of God has a living vitality about it. It can produce tremendous changes if it is received into the heart in faith and commitment.

IV. The Soil (Matt. 13; 15)

As Jesus discusses the various types of soil, in reality He is talking about the manner in which people listen to the divine Word.

A. Are you a wayside hearer? Are your heart and mind hard and unreceptive? Have you neglected to prepare your mind to receive the seed of divine truth? Jesus tells us that the devil is trying to prevent us from receiving the divine truth. He snatches it away as birds snatch away seeds that have fallen on the pathway where there is no soil to cover them.
B. Are you a stony-ground listener? Do you listen in a shallow, superficial manner, making little response at all to the Word of God? If there is no real change within your life and within your habits, it probably means that you are a stony-ground, shallow, superficial listener.
C. Are you a compromising, distracted listener? Do you hear the Word of the Lord and welcome it? But then do you let the cares of this world crowd it out and prevent you from responding as your heart tells you you should respond?

The cares of the world include all of the claims that are made upon us by our neighbors, our business, our profession, our household duties, our school duties.

The love for wealth and the things that wealth can bring can hinder our Bible study and prevent us from being regular in our worship habits. The desire for things material can completely destroy the desire for things spiritual. Living in a competitive and materialistic society which judges success in terms of money, every believer needs to be on guard.

D. Do you listen with an open, receptive heart, eager to respond fully to the Word of the Lord? We should listen to the Word of the Lord...

1. Attentively.
2. Prayerfully.
3. Responsively.
4. Obediently.

Jesus said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

V. Conclusion

Your worship will take on much greater significance if you develop the right kind of listening habits. Decide now to:

A. Really hear.
B. Receive the message.
C. Put it into action in your life.
D. Trust the Holy Spirit's promptings and its directions.
E. Obey the precepts.

Let Jesus Christ become your teacher, friend, and guide.

VI. Illustration

Obedience means marching right on whether we feel like it or not. Many times we go against our feelings. Faith is one thing, feeling is another. - Moody.

Mauro Cardoso lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.