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The Purpose of Jesus' Parables

(Matthew 13:9-17)

Lesson 7 -- third quarter 2005
July 17, 2005

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications

Probing Your Own Heart

Have you tuned your ears to the truth?

What are you doing with the truth you have?

Building on Some Foundational Concepts

Our ears must be inclined to hear.

To understand the truth of God, our ears must be disposed to hear. It is not enough to have ears whose natural function is to hear. We must choose to put those ears to their intended use. Otherwise we shall find ourselves among those that "turn away their ears from the truth" (2 Timothy 4:4).

Jesus reveals His truth to those who truly follow Him.

Only to Jesus' disciples "it is given...to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 13:11). You see, only they truly love Him for, having received His commandments, they keep them. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me... I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21).

Only those that accept truth may receive more truth.

That heart which accepts truth will find in itself an increasing capacity for and interest in further truth. To such an heart, further truth shall not be denied. We can find that assurance in Psalm 36:9 -- "in thy light shall we see light." Choose His light and walk in it. As you progress in the Way, you will see even further light.

Truth known but unapplied is eventually lost.

To hear and reject causes the loss of truth. To hear the truth and live it not only causes the retention of truth but also leads to further truth. As Jesus put it, "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have" (Luke 8:18; compare with Matthew 13:12 and Luke 19:24-26).

Questions and Responses

Everyone has ears -- what does Matthew 13:9 mean?

Most of those born with physical ears do not have ears to hear. They use their ears to capture sound and the information it carries. Having ears to hear begins with that also, of course. But that is only the beginning. Having ears to hear means taking that information and doing something with it. In the case of Jesus' teachings, it means accepting them, assimilating them, and living by them.

Why did Jesus speak clearly to some and not to others?

Jesus didn't speak clearly to some because they did not have ears to hear. Conversely, He spoke clearly to others because they did have ears to hear. Below are four verses that further address the question; no doubt you will have others come to your mind.

Jesus speaks clearly to those in whose heart is the fear of the Lord. "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant" (Psalm 25:14).

Jesus speaks clearly to those who readily receive His Word. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Jesus speaks clearly to those who have received His Spirit. "Now we have received...the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Jesus speaks clearly to whomsoever He chooses, according to His own pleasure and purpose. "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself" (Ephesians 1:9).

How do I improve my seeing, hearing, and understanding?

Begin with a rock-solid commitment to live by the truth you presently hold as well as what will be shown you later.

"That the generation to come might... set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God" (Psalm 78:6-8).

"Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God" (1 Chronicles 22:19).

"Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind...if thou seek him, he will be found of thee" (1 Chronicles 28:9).

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart" (Psalm 119:18,34).

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