Thesis:"Hearing" unto "having" requires a love driven faith.
Introduction:It has often been said that people only retain ten percent of what they hear. If this is true in respect to listening to Jesus, this translates into having a mere ten percent of the Life that is available or, worse, losing even the ten percent.
In our studies of the parables of Jesus in Luke 8, we have seen that the issue is fruitfulness and the obstacles are two: the desire to hide the Truth; and hearing without understanding. These are the reasons that people only retain ten percent of what they hear.
This morning we have come to the final statement of Jesus' teaching in parables. It is found in Luke 8:18. It is a warning that we need to take seriously.
I. The Nature of the Warning.
A. It begins with the exhortation to "take care".
1. The term so translated is used 117 times out of 135 to refer to using one's eyes to take in some phenomenon.
2. Since the words have to do with "hearing", the issue is metaphorical.
a. One cannot "see" sound.
b. Thus, for one to "see" how he "hears", one must stop long enough to ponder the process.
3. Since the context focuses upon the "gain" of knowing the mysteries of the Kingdom and the "loss" of seeing without seeing and hearing without understanding, Jesus is clearly dealing with what happens to a person in respect to participation in the Kingdom (8:10).
4. Thus, the exhortation insists upon actually doing what Jesus is commanding: taking a serious look at "how" one "hears".
B. It develops with the focus upon "how" one "hears".
1. There are multiple forms of the word "hear" with prepositional prefixes in the New Testament ( eisakouw -- to hear with intent , epakouw -- to hear and respond , parakouw -- to hear and disobey , upakouw -- to hear and do); each having its own particular focus.
2. The issue of hearing in Luke has a revealed sense in this context.
a. In the "Kingdom" words of chapter 6, Jesus made it as plain as He could that the "proper" way to "hear" was to "do" (6:47-49).
b. In the immediately following paragraph in this context, Jesus also returns to the same thesis (8:21).
C. It means, then, to give some serious thought to whether one's "hearing" translates into legitimate action.
II. The "Explanation" of the Warning.
A. On the positive side: gain.
1. What is "gained"?
a. According to both 6:20-22 and 8:14, the "gain" is not to be understood as any of the faux gods of this world.
1 ) Jesus could not have been more clear in His "beatitudes" upon the heirs of the kingdom about these facts: it is the "poor" who are blessed; it is the "hungry" who are blessed; it is those who "weep" who are blessed; it is the "hated", the "ostracized", the "reproached" and the "slandered" who are blessed (6:20-22).
2) Therefore, however we consider the "having", we should not suppose that it will consist of wealth, abundance of food, laughter, and acceptance: these are faux gods.
b. According to both Colossians 3:1-4 and Psalm 23:4, the "gain" is a greater experience of the Presence of God and the Absence of fear.
2. The "gain" is real Life.
B. On the negative side: loss.
1. What is to be lost?
a. Since we are dealing with Kingdom truth, the "losses" will not be of "wealth, food, laughter, or acceptance."
b. The "losses" will be of the twin elements of Life: the experience of the Presence and the experience of fearlessness.
2. What does it mean to "lose"?
a. One cannot "lose" what he does not have.
b. One can "lose" what he "thinks" he has in the sense of discovering that he was living in a delusion.
c. The warning that what one "thinks" he has will be taken from him has to boil down to one reality: "thinking" that one has something worthwhile when he/she does not actually have that can only mean that the gods have not yet been exposed (the exposure comes when the roof falls in and God is nowhere to be found).