You might have thought that every time Jesus spoke every one who listened would have gone away just transformed.
After all, we’re talking Jesus, the Creator of the Universe.
You might have thought that when Jesus the Creator of the Universe spoke, His Word would have changed absolutely everyone who listened for the better.
But it didn’t.
In fact, it wasn’t very long into his preaching ministry that people were plotting to kill him and were calling him demonic.
There were a whole lot of people Jesus’ word didn’t really transformed.
They sat and listened to Jesus and stayed just the same.
Or you might say, they got worse.
Things haven’t changed all that much.
You might have thought that everyone who listens to God’s Word would go away different people. I mean, different people for the better, changed, more like Christ.
After all, we’re talking God’s Word.
You might have thought that all you needed to do was get people in to hear God’s Word and if you could just get them in to hear God’s Word, they’ll have to leave transformed.
But the fact is many people don’t.
There are a whole lot of people God’s Word doesn’t transform.
There a whole lot of people who have sat and listened to God’s Word a whole lot of times and aren’t a whole lot different as a result.
They sit and listen and stay just the same.
Or you might say, they get worse.
Jesus in the parable of the sowers helps us understand exactly how that happens.
He describes four threats to being truly transformed by the Word.
I'll note one today and a couple more tomorrow.
First off, Satan.
When it comes to benefiting from the word, Satan is a major threat.
One of the things that makes listening to Jesus’ word different than say, listening to someone talk about math is that when it comes to math you may not want to listen; but when it comes to Jesus’ word you are not only fighting yourself - there’s also someone else who doesn’t want you to hear it - Satan.
Satan is actively trying to keep people from benefiting from God’s Word.
You remember Jesus puts it like this,
“A sower went to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it…And these are the ones sown along the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them…”
I met a couple Marines this week, literally just back from Iraq…infantrymen. Their job was to patrol the streets, keep the cities safe. With all the violence in Iraq, I can guarantee you as they patrolled they were on the alert because they knew they had an enemy and they didn’t know exactly how or where that enemy would strike.
Physically, it’s hard to relate.
Spiritually, it’s not.
Physically, we’re sitting here in Coopersburg. Spiritually, it’s like we’re in downtown Baghdad.
We’re like those Marines patrolling the streets of some city in Iraq. We have enemy, Satan…and he most definitely is on the attack. His primary concern? He doesn’t want people to benefit from Jesus’ Word. This whole listening to Jesus thing, it’s a war. If Satan were to get together with his demons and talk about their battle plan, most of the meeting is going to focus on how to keep people from really hearing God’s Word.
He’s got all kinds of different strategies for doing that.
Sometimes he uses deception.
You look at the New Testament and you ask how did Satan go about stopping people from really profiting from the Word and you find a two word answer coming up over and over again: false teachers.
Sometimes he uses distortion.
I think that’s basically what he did with Adam and Eve. He took God’s Word and twisted it.
And sometimes he uses distraction.
He and his demons are going to work as hard as they can to get you to focus on anything but Jesus’ word because they know that to really benefit from the Word you have to understand it and to understand it you have to work hard at listening to it.
You’ve got to be focused.
If we want to understand why more people don’t benefit from the word, we can start here, they are not doing just that. They are not paying attention, they are not on the alert, and because of that, they are easy targets for Satan. They easily fall for false teaching, distortions.
When it comes to listening to the Word, this is a supernatural activity and we have a supernatural enemy.
Satan is a threat.