We are continuing in our study of the Gospel of Luke in this article by looking at Luke 8:16-21. How do you know if someone is listening to you? The only way you know is whether what you've said has been executed. That's what Jesus is talking about in this passage,

So I've got a question for you - How do you hear the Word of God? How's it going? Do you really hear the Word? Does it go through one ear and out the other, or when you hear it do you realize that God has something that he wants you to know, something that He wants you to believe, something that He wants you to act upon, and are you sensitive to what He is saying to you in His Word? Do you respond to it by not only believing it and nodding in affirmation of it but actually doing what the Word of God tells you to do? Or do you listen politely but your mind is in neutral, or even more, there is no impetus in your heart to respond to obedience to God's Word?

That's what Jesus is talking about in this passage. He is exhorting His disciples to listen with care to the Word of God because listening to the Word of God is an eternally important matter. In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that how we respond now to the Word of God reveals ahead of time what is going to happen on the Last Day. And so I want us to look closely at this passage and I want you to see two things that Jesus says loudly and clearly. And by God's grace and by the work of the Holy Spirit, it's my prayer that you will hear what Jesus is saying.



I. God's Word Is Given To Us To Change Us

The first thing that He tells us is that God's Word is given to us to change us. The light of God's Word in us is meant to produce a life that bears witness to God's grace and God's glory. You see that so clearly, don't you, in verse 16, where Jesus says, "No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand so that those who enter may see the light."

Jesus is saying that's what the Word of God is given to produce in your lives. It's given to produce light, the light of a life. In other words, the Word of God is not just given to us so that we will know things that other people don't know. We are to give light through our lives and so Jesus makes it clear that God's truth is put in us so that we may shine, so that our lives bear testimony to the truth that has been put in us.



II. We Must Take Care How We Listen To The Truth And Respond To It

Then Jesus says that we must take care how we listen to the truth and that the way to listen to the truth is to listen to the truth in such a way that we respond to it, that we do it, that we obey it. Look at what Jesus says at the end of this passage in verse 21 - "My mother and My brothers are" - who? - "those who hear the Word of God and do it." What is Jesus saying? He's saying you haven't heard the truth the way God intends you to hear the truth until you've done it. The truth heard rightly is the truth done obediently. The truth is heard rightly only when it produces in our lives, fruit. Again, go back to verse 15 immediately prior to our passage. What does the word produce when it falls in the good soil? "It bears fruit with perseverance."

And Jesus is saying, "When you hear the Word of God, recognize that God has given that Word to you, whether you're reading your Bible alone, whether you're reading it with your family, whether you're listening to the minister read it in a long reading on Sunday morning, whether you're listening to a short passage be, or whether you're hearing the Word expounded.

When you hear that Word, His goal is not simply for you to know something of its contents and even to nod in affirmation that yes you agree with it, but that truth is to be worked into your life in such a way that you respond to that truth with obedience."

So are you listening to the Word of God, really listening to the Word of God - listening to the Word of God, recognizing it's for you, not just for your neighbor sitting next to you, listening to the Word of God realizing that God intends to change you from the inside out by His Word dwelling richly in you so that your light will shine? It's a perennial challenge, isn't it?



III. Application

So how is it with you? Are you hearing the Word of God? Can you remember a time in your life when it was as if the preacher has looked into the inmost recesses of your heart and opened you up and poured the Word of God in and as painful as it was it was the most restorative thing that you've ever experienced and you believed and you were new and you responded. But has it been weeks, and months, and even years since you heard the Word of God like that?

Jesus is saying in this passage how you hear the Word of God reveals something that is going to transpire at the final day. And here is what He says is going to transpire at the final day - the final day, those who have heard the Word of God are going to be given everything, and those who have not heard the Word of God are going to have everything taken away.

Do you realize that what happens every time the Word of God is read, every time the Word of God is proclaimed, something happens in this place or wherever the Word of God is taught rightly that portends what will happen on the Judgment Day?

Do you realize that the Word of God is powerful and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword and it always works? The Word of God always works. It always works to do one of two things - either to draw sinners to faith in Christ and to build up saints in grace in Him, or to heap up the condemnation of those who will not hear it. Those two things always happen when the Word of God is preached.

And those things portend what will happen on the final judgment. And Jesus says what will happen in verse 18 - "To the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away."

That is why listening to the Word of God carefully and rightly is of eternal consequence. My friends, take care how you listen.