Listening to Sermons Effectively: Lessons from the Parable of the Sower

In the book of Luke chapter 8, Jesus shared one of His most well-known parables, the parable of the sower. In this story, Jesus highlights people’s various responses when they listen to the Word of God. After His disciple asked for the meaning of the parable and after He explained what it meant, He instructed in verse 18; “Take care then how you hear, for 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.” Through this parable, Jesus shows us why it’s important for us to be actively engaged when listening to the Word of God. In this article, we will delve into the depths of the parable of the sower and uncover the key insights that will help us understand why it is vital for us to be fully involved when receiving and internalizing the teachings of God’s Word. By doing so, we can maximize the benefits of sermons and allow them to transform our lives in profound ways.

Prepare Your Heart

Jesus contrasts the Word of God with a seed. Just as the soil needs to be tilled before planting, we need to prepare our hearts before listening to the Word of God. This involves quieting your soul and praying before listening to a sermon. A lot of voices abound in our day and time and it is important that we make sure our heart is not like the soil on the wayside as Jesus describes in verse 12. When we don’t set our hearts and affections apart from the bustle of the wayside, then it becomes easy for the Word to be snatched from our hearts by the devil. We should basically expect God to speak and we should come humbly as people expecting God to speak.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21

Dig Deep

The second type of hearers Jesus talked about were those characterized by the rocky soil. In the book of James chapter 1, the apostle warns about being forgetful hearers of the Word of God after receiving it. These are people who don’t practice the Word that has been received. Jesus said they receive the Word with great joy but when trials come they fall away because they did not have established roots. In order to therefore not fall under this category, hearers of the Word should make sure they apply the Word that they have received.

After listening to a sermon, think about the ways in which you will obey the preached Word and also make sure to take notes. It may be something to start doing or to stop doing. It may be words to speak or to stop speaking. Most of all, it will be an attitude or desire of the heart. Keep a record of your growth so you can be able to clearly measure yourself to see if you are growing in the faith.

Take God’s Word as Supreme

The seeds that fell on thorny grounds were choked up by things that seemed like good things but which can be greatly deceiving. If we do not uphold the Word of God as the most valuable thing that we have available to us, it’ll become easy for the Word to be choked out by the cares, riches and pleasures of life. In 2nd Timothy 4:3, Paul tells Timothy that a lot of listeners will have itchy ears when listening to the Word of God. They would either seek out preachers who will preach what they want to hear so they can feel good about themselves, or they will twist the true Word of God to satisfy their selfish desires. But in order to grow we must seek the true Word of God and uphold it as life and greater than anything the world has to offer.

Be Patient

Jesus characterizes the good soil or heart as the one who hears the Word, keeps it and patiently bears fruit. Patience involves listening to the Word over and over again so as to make the soil of your heart fertile. God doesn’t give us quick fixes for our issues; rather, He requires that we continually seek His guidance, wisdom, and strength. We must submit to the challenging process of sanctification and transformation through the Holy Spirit that gradually refines us to become more like Jesus and live a life pleasing to God.

To develop patience in our walk with Christ, consider doing the following:

  1. Set aside regular time for meditation on God’s Word, beyond weekly sermon listening.
  2. Reread or re-listen to messages, to glean deeper insights and to ensure you have understood the main points.
  3. Engage with other believers for mutual encouragement, accountability, and contextualization of scriptural teachings.
  4. Pray consistently for growth, perseverance, and faithful application of Biblical instructions.
  5. Remember that fruitfulness takes time, and trust God’s faithfulness, as He promises to complete the good work He has begun in you (Philippians 1:6).

In conclusion, the parable of the sower provides us with valuable insights on how to actively engage when listening to the Word of God. To truly transform our lives, we must prepare our hearts, dig deep, uphold the Word of God as supreme, be patient, and participate fully in our spiritual journey. By implementing these lessons, we will maximize the benefits of sermons, strengthen our relationship with God, and grow as fruitful disciples of Christ. So, let us continually seek God’s wisdom, guidance, and strength while embracing our spiritual transformation process with diligence, perseverance, and humility.






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