Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: DDIY – Don’t Do It Yourself (Life is Better with Some Help)
Week 5: Listen Up!
- Read John 14:26:
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Review of previous weeks – The Holy Spirit will:
- Be our Advocate = Counselor
- Remind us of Jesus’ words
- Teach us things we don’t yet know
- What are some ideas from previous weeks that were especially meaningful or helpful to you personally?
- How are those ideas changing your life? Name some ways you have been living differently as a result of those ideas.
- Read Hebrews 1:1-2:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
Hebrews 1 explains that God’s best and most accurate communication to humanity about Himself is through Jesus – both His life and His teaching. What can we know about God by looking at Jesus?
- Read Luke 8:4-15:
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
This passage has valuable information about how we can become better listeners.
Learning to Listen Involves:
- Cultivating an open mind
Look again at Luke 8:5 and Luke 8:12.
The hardened path represents a closed mind.
- If you want to hear from God, you need to “suspend” whatever judgment, suspicion, and negativity you feel towards the church and Christianity and seek to at least be “willing to believe”. Why is this important? Is it possible?
- Some of the things that can cause us to have a closed mind are listed below. Consider each one and how it might currently be impacting your life and closing you off to hear from God.
- Read Matthew 13:58:
“And (Jesus) did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
What does this verse tell us about the effects of our unbelief on God’s activity in our lives?
- Allocating time to listen
Look again at Luke 8:6 and Luke 8:13.
Rocky ground represents a superficial mind
- What does that word “superficial” mean to you in this context?
- What could you do to listen better to God and let His Word sink in deeper so it makes more of a long-term impact on your life, rather than just being a momentary, emotional feeling that quickly wears off and is forgotten?
- Eliminating the distractions
Look again at Luke 8:7 and Luke 8:14.
Soil with thorns represents a preoccupied mind
- What are some things that tend to distract you from hearing God’s voice when you are trying to read God’s Word or pray? How could you combat those distractions?
- Pastor Dale pointed out that maturity involves delayed gratification. How does this truth relate to this sermon about listening to God’s voice?
- Cooperating with what God speaks
Look again at Luke 8:8 and 8:15.
Good soil represents a willing and obedient heart
- In his book, Gift and Giver, The Holy Spirit for Today, Craig Keener explains that when we decide in our heart to cooperate with what God says, the volume of His communication to us will go up. But if we aren’t following through to act on and do what God has said to us, the volume of God’s communication to us will go down. Have you experienced this in your life? Tell the group about that.
- How willing are you to do whatever God asks of you, regardless of what it is? Do you have any areas that are off-limits for God to direct you in? If so, what are they?
- What is one idea from this sermon that you could act on this week? What practical steps could you take to really live it out?