Joseph Prince - How To Hear God's Word And See Results
This excerpt is from: His Word Brings Life And Healing (27 Jun 2021)
Actually, in the parable of the sower and the ground, the four types of ground is a picture of our heart. Four types of heart. And there's one particular heart attitude that actually receives the bountiful harvest. A hundred-fold, sixty-fold, and thirty-fold. And that is the one I'm coming to right now. So let's look at what Jesus said about His parable to His disciples, because He told them that: "Unto them is given to know". Verse 18. "Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it". There you have it! They hear it, but they don't understand it. "then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside".
So people that hear God's Word and they have no heart to want to understand, or even ask God for wisdom or seek the Lord to have that Word revealed to them, God says: "These are the ones that they become prey to the enemy's theft", right? The Bible says: "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy". John 10:10. "But I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly". That's what Jesus said. Now, if the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, notice the sequence there? He comes to steal first. What does he steal? Then he kills. And then he destroys. He steals the Word of God! Based on this parable, He steals the Word. Why do you think the thief comes to steal, of all the things he wants to steal, He steals the Word of God? You thought he might want to steal your health, steal your relationships with your wife or your husband or your children. No, no, no. He knows when he steals God's Word from you, he steals all these things because these things are a consequence, a harvest of receiving God's Word in your life. So he knows when he takes God's Word out of your heart, you have nothing to reproduce in your life because the power is in the seed. And the seed here is the Word of God. Hallelujah.
So the devil comes to steal the Word. He's so afraid that you will receive God's Word. He is so afraid. That's why it is his priority, number one is to come and take the Word away from your heart. But thanks be to God! We read in this verse that for those who understand, the devil cannot do that. It's only those who do not understand, then comes the wicked one and snatches away the Word that's in his heart. So let's seek to understand God's Word. Amen. The next verse goes on. "But he who received the seed on stony places, that is he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy;" They hear the Word of God or the preaching of the Word. And they say: "Oh, that's good preaching. I enjoy that". Amen. They will shout "Amen"! and things like that. "But yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation", that's trouble, "or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he stumbles". In other words, the devil will try to take God's Word out of your heart. If he can’t steal from you because you understand it, the next thing he wants to do is he would try his best to cause some trouble or persecution to arise.
Notice, it is because of the Word. It says: "Because of the Word". He is after the Word. He is trying to remove the Word. He's trying to say: "This Word is a lie. You cannot believe this Word. See, look at your circumstances. There’s trouble. There’s persecution". Stand steady. Amen. The Bible says this man, he received the Word and he received it with joy. His immediate reaction is joy, but he has no root in himself. So he endures for awhile but when trouble comes, persecution comes because of God's Word, he lets it go. He gives up because he has no root. And thus, the Word becomes unfruitful in his life. And the third category. "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the Word and understands it".
Notice that? The one who receives seed on the good ground, the good heart. The ground is always the heart here. He receives it, he hears it and he understands it. "He is the one who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundred-fold, some sixty and some thirty". So in other words, it behooves us to understand God's Word. We are hungry for the Word of God. We want God's Word expounded to us. Hallelujah. We don't want to hear psychology being preached. We don’t want to hear scientific facts being preached. We don’t want to hear the opinions of experts being preached. We want to hear the Word of the living God! Hallelujah. And we spend time in the Word of God. And you seek understanding. Like in the book of Proverbs. "Lift your voice, cry out for knowledge, cry out for wisdom, seek for her as for hid treasures, you shall understand the wisdom of God and find the knowledge of the Lord". Hallelujah.
So what we want to see here is what causes one to have this hundred-fold harvest in his life. It is the same Word of God that goes into all the four types of heart or ground. It is the same seed. The seed is the Word of God. They heard the Word of God. It's like speaking of the audience in Jesus' time. They were there. They heard his preaching. But there are four types of hearts. And there are those whose hearts are on the wayside. These are seeds sown on the wayside. Notice the wayside speaks of people who are sideliners. They are people who are not in the center. In other words, it's like when they hear the preaching online, for example on Sunday. God’s Word has been preached right? On Sunday. But it's like this. They may switch it on and then they get distracted with doing other things and they might be looking at their phone and it's like, they expect the seed to fall on the wayside. They are hearing, but they are not understanding.
Have you ever had that experience, guys? Where your wife is talking to you? You hear words, but your mind is on something else. You're thinking about golf or something, right? And then she says: "You're not listening to me right"? And then you repeat the very last line that she said just now. You are hearing, but you are not listening. So God says, and He said more than once in this passage here. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear," the Lord said. And your hearing is vital. You need to hear it first, but then you need to be not on the wayside, to be in the center receiving God's Word. And then another thing Jesus said in this parable. Look at what He said about the way you hear. What you hear and the way you hear. "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear". Again, the emphasis. "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear". Then He said to them: "Take heed what you hear". The subject.
We all want to hear God's Word because God's Word is incorruptible seed. God's Word is what regenerates us. God's Word is what raised Jesus from the dead! Hallelujah. Amen! We don't want just corruptible seed. Man's words. Man’s words may or may not have fruit, but not the kind of fruit that God's Word will produce in your life. "So take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. And to you who hear, more will be given".
Now, look at this. Here is Mark’s account. By the way, just to let you know that in the parable of the sower and the seed, it appears in the synoptic gospels, which is Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Not in John, but in the first three gospels. And in all three, you have different insights of the sower and the seed. And one of them would say: "Take heed what you hear". Like over here, Mark would say that. But Luke will say something else. In other words, Jesus said two things. But Mark's emphasis was on the first. What you hear. And look at Luke’s emphasis. "Therefore take heed how you hear for whoever has, to him more will be given and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him".
Now we found the clue. The very thing that we shared just now. What is this having thing? Whoever has. Has what? To him more will be given. Now we see it. To the one who has this hearing attitude, hearing heart, wanting to hear the revelation of the Word, wanting to understand the Word, whoever has this heart, not only He said: "Take heed what you hear". The subject itself, which is the Word of God. Take heed what you hear, but how you hear it. How you hear it. Hallelujah. For whoever has this hearing heart, this hearing attitude towards God's Word, the Bible says: "More". I like the word. Say the word: "More"! "More will be given to you". Say: "More will be given to me". Amen. Then it says the one who does not have this hearing heart, "even what he has will be taken away". And we know who takes it away. It will be taken away. It is so important for us to understand this because both are important. "Take heed what you hear and how you hear". So it's obvious Jesus said these two in one sentence and Mark recorded the first and Luke the latter. And Jesus said: "Take heed what you hear and how you hear".
Let's go back to Mark again. And Jesus says: "Take heed what you hear and how you hear. With the same measure you use". So if you use a thirty-fold measure, you give thirty-fold attention, thirty-fold focus, thirty-fold devotion to it. It will be measured to you, guess what? With the same measure you use. The same measure you use, it'll be measured to you. Thirty-fold, you'll get back what? Thirty-fold benefit, thirty-fold virtue, thirty-fold revelation, thirty-fold wisdom. Thirty-fold harvest. Whatever verse it is you are meditating on, if it is a verse on healing, you will receive healing, but thirty-fold. And He's saying, this is not because it's God's will. It is saying it is your attitude. The same measure you use. If you listen to the gospel with a hundred percent, with the same measure, I'm using the measure of a hundred percent attention to God's Word.
So don't be distracted, friend. If you can, every Sunday, just give that time to the Lord. And isn’t it amazing how the devil will always try to tell you to catch up on something you have not done during the whole week that you could have caught up on, but you didn't, you didn't do all those things. All of a sudden, while you're listening to the God's Word, the devil will say: "You know what? You didn't read this book. You have not read this book. How about this? You didn't contact your friend. Hey, look at your phone. There's a message that just came in". It's like all hell breaks loose sometimes, right? When you are about to receive God's Word, that's the warfare, my friend. It is actually getting into God's Word.
There are so many things trying to hold you back from hearing God's Word because the devil is so afraid! Yes friend. He is afraid that you will receive God's Word because he knows that his influence and his power in that area of your life will be broken. Why? Because the Word of God is greater than him. Hallelujah. So take heed what you hear and how! Your attitude. What kind of measure are you giving? Are you giving a hundred percent attention? Or are you giving sixty-fold attention? Are you giving thirty percent attention? The same measure will be measured back to you. In other words, if you give a hundred-fold attention, a hundred percent attention, a hundred-fold harvest. You'll get full harvest, full results, complete fruitfulness. Hallelujah. And I want that! And I know many of you do as well. But notice it is with the same measure you use. It's got to do with your hearing, how you hear.
As you are listening to God’s Word. And friends, today, there are many ways to listen to God's Word. As you're studying God's Word, you're actually listening. With your inner ear. You are actually listening. And even reading, faith comes by hearing. It's not just hearing audibly from outside. As you are reading, you are also receiving. But there are many who receive by hearing, literally from outside. And we thank God that now we have the advent of audiobooks and audiobooks are like a trend now. And there are people who don't like to read. They find their concentration is not there, but they would rather listen on-the-go. As they are doing things, you know, they're listening to an audiobook. They can finish many books that way.
Friend, how about prioritizing God's Word? It is what matters in these last days, because there's going to come a time. The Bible says, in fact, it's happening already. That there will be a famine, not a famine of food or famine of water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. In other words, people are not hearing the words of the Lord anymore. The supply is there, but they are not hearing the words of the Lord. And because of that famine, everything in their life becomes like famine. Desert, dry, arid. Friend, you can be a "fruitful tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth your fruit in your season. Your leaf will not wither and whatever you do will prosper".