Overcoming Doubt with Faith
Truth – Let the light shine
How many of you can picture the older couple who has been married for sixty years and maybe does not communicate as well as they should. The husband is sitting in the recliner watching the news on television and his wife notices that the basement door is still not working properly. She noticed this because it slammed shut on her once again. She is definitely not thrilled that every time she does laundry in the basement when she comes back up the stairs and through the door, the automatic closer closes too quickly. Time after time she struggles to squeeze through the door and then it closes sharply and hits her in the backside. She has repeatedly mentioned this to her husband. This time she is going to make certain that her husband hears her. So she walks with purpose into the living room and expresses her dissatisfaction to him. He responds, “What? The basement? What about it? Is it flooded again? The door? It is flooded up to the door?! What do you mean I am not listening to you? We are talking aren’t we?” The problem in this situation is that the man is listening to his wife (kind of listening) but he is not acting upon what she is saying.
How we respond to what we hear has consequences. Jesus said the very same thing. He communicated this idea through the parable of the soils. The difference between the people (represented by four different types of soil) is how they responded to God’s Word. We are about to see Jesus’ conclusion to this lesson and there are consequences once more based upon how we listen and respond.
Truth is meant to be seen and heard (16).
The disciples were given the secrets of the kingdom of God (Lk. 8:9-10).
Jesus has just finished explaining to His disciples that they get to know the secrets of the kingdom of God but others heard parables (8:9-10). Isaiah had been sent by God to preach a message which would blind the eyes and close the ears of those who had continually heard and not acted upon God’s Word (Isa. 6:9-10). His ministry was one of judgment, namely God hardening the hearts of the unbelieving. But, in contrast those who heard and acted upon Jesus’ message would receive the secrets of God’s kingdom explained to them (8:11-15).
Light is meant to be seen (16).
Jesus says something to his disciples that at first glance sounds kind of obvious. No one lights a lamp and then covers the light it gives off. Light is meant to be seen. They may have been thinking, “Did we miss something?” or “Is he testing us to see if we are paying attention?” People light lamps so that the light can be seen.
Jesus has been sharing the secrets of the kingdom of God with his disciples so that they will “let the light shine.” As God’s truth was revealed to them, they were to listen and act on the truth. This would lead to them living out the truth and share it verbally with others. Genuine followers of Christ who hear and act on the truth of God’s Word shine! They do! There is a visible difference in their actions based upon obedience to God’s Word. They obey by sharing God’s truth with others.
The good soil produces fruit (Lk. 8:15).
People are to listen to God’s Word, act on it, and share it with others. They are not to keep it to themselves. This is an evidence of being good soil – they bear fruit, in other words, their light is seen. Jesus told his disciples that they are the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16).
Truth will be revealed (17).
Jesus informs his disciples that whatever is hidden now (the secrets of the kingdom of God – 8:9-10) will not remain hidden. All truth will be revealed (cf. Lk. 12:2-3). People’s response to the truth of God will reveal their heart. God’s Word will reveal a person’s heart by how they hear and act upon what they have heard. They will be one of the four soils (8:11-15).
The disciples would be the means of making God’s truth known. Christians are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Christians living according to God’s Word and sharing God’s Word receive different responses from those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Cor. 2:14-17).
More will be given to those who hear and act upon truth (18).
More light will be given to those who let it shine.
Jesus solemnly warns the disciples to listen carefully to him. The one who has truth will receive more from God but the one who does not have truth will lose even what he thinks he has. Jesus is telling them that those who hear and act on divine truth will receive more (cf. Lk. 19:24-26).
The “person who has” is the one who has turned from his sin and placed his faith in Jesus Christ, so he would be reconciled to God. In reality, such a person has heard God’s truth (the gospel) and acted upon it (turned from his sin and believed). The believer is to continually hear and act upon the Word of God (8:15). Such a person who hears and acts upon God’s Word will bear fruit, and receive more truth (cf. Mk. 4:21-25).
The “person who does not have” is the one who hears God’s Word and does not act upon it (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). Such a person is deceiving himself (cf. Jas. 1:21-24). He is a forgetful hearer. The “one who has” is mentioned as blessed because he hears and acts upon God’s Word (Jas. 1:25).
God soil produces fruit.
Those who hear and act upon divine truth are those mentioned in verse 15. They heard the Word of God, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance. They are shining the light of God’s truth by living in obedience to God’s Word and sharing it with others verbally. They shine! Paul said that same thing to the Philippians (Phil. 2:12-16).
Jesus Christ is in closest relationship with those who hear and act upon truth (19-21).
As we have seen and heard throughout this message, God is declaring that people must listen and act upon his truth (cf. Lk. 11:28). We are about to see this demonstrated through Jesus’ biological family visiting him.
Jesus’ mother Mary and his half-brothers came to see him but they couldn’t get to him because the crowd was in the way (8:19). Mark’s account states that Jesus’ family thought he was out of his mind and they were going to restrain him (cf. 3:20-21). Jesus was teaching divine truth which his biological family heard but did not act upon it. They rejected it – clearly his brothers did not believe in him (Jn. 7:1-9).
When Jesus is told that his mother and brothers are there to see him, Jesus responds by saying, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and obey it.” This would have been shocking for the Jewish listeners. Jesus said his closest relationships are with those who hear and obey God’s Word (Jn. 14:22-24; 15:5-11; 12:44-50).
Craig Keener says, “Thinking of one’s coreligionists as brothers and sisters was common; respecting older persons as mothers or fathers was also widespread. But allowing ties in the religious community to take precedence even over family ties was unheard-of in Judaism, except when a pagan converted to Judaism and regarded his new family as more important than his old one.”1
Jesus is sending a message here. Those who are fruitful soil, those who let the light shine, those who are in closest relationship with him, are those who hear and act upon God’s Word.
Truth is meant to be seen and heard (16). Are you hearing and acting upon God’s Word? Hearing without acting upon what was heard is not applauded in Scripture (cf. Rom. 2:17-24).
Truth will be revealed (17). What does your response to God’s Word reveal about your heart? Does it reveal authentic Christianity (family life, work attitude and conduct, church life, and evangelism – 1 Jn. 4:20-21)?
More will be given to those who hear and act on truth (18). Is the fruit of the Spirit popping up in your life? Such fruit demonstrates the authenticity of one’s relationship with Christ (Gal. 5:22-26).
Jesus is in closest relationship with those who hear and act on truth (19-21). Does the way you hear and act upon God’s Word demonstrate you are in relationship with him (1 Jn. 5:1-4)?
Think – how am I hearing and acting?
Feel – Hearing and acting leads to blessing.
Do – Obey God’s Word.
Because of God’s Word, my next step today is to:
__ turn from my sin and be reconciled to God.
__ confess that I have been hearing God’s Word but not acting upon it.
__ ask God to help me to persevere in hearing and acting on his Word.
– God’s truth is meant to be heard and acted upon. Blessing comes upon those who hear truth and act upon it. The parable of the soils is about how individuals hear and act upon truth. The example that should be emulated is the good soil that bears fruit with steadfast endurance. Such individuals produce fruit. Such individuals shine light. They hear and act upon divine truth. They are genuine believers who continue to grow in their knowledge of God through his Word and prayer, hearing and acting upon divine truth.