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“Take heed how ye hear.”
The Scriptures give us much instruction about this business of hearing the Gospel, and how we are to hear it, because much instruction is needed. James wrote, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Whenever we come into the house of God, it should be with an intense desire to hear the Word of God. Thomas Manton, said, “If we were as swift to hear as we are ready to speak there would be less wrath and more profit in our meetings.”
Usually, I find that when people do not profit from the ministry of the Word, it is because they practice exactly the opposite of what James commands. They are slow to hear, swift to speak, and swift to anger. There are many who seem to attend church for no other reason than to find some point of disagreement. They can hardly wait for the preacher to finish talking, so that they can begin and point out his errors. Such people are a continual source of strife and division. They do not worship; and they do everything they can to keep others from worshipping. Let us guard against this tendency of proud, self-willed flesh. May God make us swift to hear and slow to speak.
“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore, let thy words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2)
In the 8th chapter of Luke’s gospel narrative the Lord Jesus Christ gave us a word of instruction about hearing the gospel. He said, “Take heed how ye hear.” Knowing that a great multitude of people were gathered together to hear him out of every city, and knowing that most of them would be hearers only, and not doers of the Word, our Lord spoke to them by a parable. He used the similitude of a farmer who went out to sow his seed (Luke 8:4-15).
You know the parable. In the parable, the Savior plainly tells us that few there are, in any group of hearers, who receive any saving benefit from the preaching of the Gospel. Three things are evident in the parable of the sower.
1. The preaching of the gospel is sowing of the Seed of Life, the Word of God. — Christ the Living Word of God comes to men only by the written Word of God, by the instrumentality of gospel preaching.
2. Only those whose hearts are made good by the regenerating power and grace of God the Holy Ghost receive the Word to the saving of their souls.
3. Once we have received the good seed of the gospel into our hearts, we must take care that nothing chokes it out and destroys its influence.
Then, the Son of God gave this solemn warning to all who hear the gospel preached to them by his ambassadors. — “Take heed, therefore, how ye hear.”
If we would profit from the ordinance of God, if we would profit spiritually and eternally from the preaching of the gospel, we must take heed how we hear it.