Hearing the Word of God

Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23 and Luke 8:4-15

The word of God is as a seed that is planted in the heart of the hearer.  When the word of God is shared, there are different results, depending on the person who receives it.  People sitting in a worship service can hear the message that is preached and leave having experienced something different.  One can say, “That was the best message I have ever heard” and another can say, “It was boring, or, it didn’t do anything for me”.

Jesus revealed this in the parable of the Seed and the Sower as found in Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23 and in Luke 8:4-15.  In this parable Jesus says that the seed is the word of God and there are four kinds of hearers.


Jesus said, “Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And  when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.   And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” Matthew 13:3-9.


Jesus then explained the parable—“ Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.   When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” Matthew 13:18-23.


Let us examine this parable together.


1. Hearer one—This hearer’s heart is hard, he doesn’t understand it, it does not penetrate nor find a place in his heart.  The devil comes along and removes the word of God lest he should believe and be saved.  The word of God is not mixed with faith and does not profit him/her.  In Hebrews 4:2 we read, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”.  When hearing the word of God it must be mixed with faith to profit us.


2. Hearer two—This hearer receives the word of God with joy, but has hard places in his heart and the word of God does not take root.  This hearer endures for a while, but when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word of God, by and by he is offended and turns from it.  He hangs in there as long as it is convenient, but will not stand firm if he is troubled because of the word of God.  His belief is not strong.


3. Hearer three—This hearer receives the word of God and it takes root, but the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and pleasures of this world choke the word of God, and he becomes unfruitful (Luke 8:14).  This hearer still has a world focus.  He focuses so much on the cares of this world that he limits the operation of God’s word in his life.  He allows the riches and pleasures of this world to take precedence over his faithfulness to God’s word.  They occupy his mind and time allowing no place for the word of God.  He is as a tree that produces no fruit.


4. Hearer four—This hearer has an honest and good heart.  He hears the word of God, understands the word of God, keeps it and with patience becomes fruitful.  Here we have the formula for bringing forth spiritual fruit.  First, hear the word of God.  Second, understand the word of God.  Third, keep (obey) the word of God.  Fourth be patient.  It takes time for fruit to appear and come to perfection (be ripe).  Among these hearers there are varying degrees of fruitfulness.  Some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold.  The word is “received not as the word of men but as the word of God, which effectually works in them that believe” 1 Thessalonians 2:13.  In this hearer the word is mixed with faith and effectually works in him/her, and is profitable (Hebrews 4:2).


This is the kind of hearer we must be.


Heavenly Father, bless us with ears that truly hear your word and with hearts that are honest and good.  Plant you word in our hearts and help us to bear fruit in our lives that you may be glorified in us.  Amen.