Consider Carefully How You Listen to the Lord (Mark Sermon 18)
May 29, 2022 | Andy Davis
Sanctification, Abiding in Christ
Pastor Andy Davis preaches on Mark 4:21-25 and the fact that people's eternal destiny hangs on how they hear God's word, also their eternal health and daily fruitfulness of their souls depends on how they consider it.
- SERMON Transcript -
I. The Key Moment in Life: Hearing the Word of God
Turn in your Bibles now to Mark chapter 4. We continue our study in this glorious G ospel of Mark. And as we do every week, we come to the key moment in life, the hearing of the word of God. But today we get to study what Jesus said about that moment in a very focused way. Verse 24 of chapter 4, Jesus said, “Consider carefully what you hear”, or literally in the Greek, “See what you hear, see what you hear”. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing God's word. It is by faith that our sins are forgiven. It is by faith that we live and move and have our spiritual being before almighty God. So Jesus is saying be very careful that you understand and accept and believe and obey what you hear from me. When I speak the word of God to you, your soul literally hangs in the balance, Jesus is the saying.
Everything comes down to the moment of hearing God's word. Do you hear God's word in such a way that you are alive spiritually, that you're in a reconciled relationship with God as a result, and that you then bear abundant fruit as a result of how you hear God's word? Or is the word having little or no effect on you at all? Your eternal destiny hangs on how you hear God's word.
“Do you hear God's word in such a way that you are alive spiritually, that you're in a reconciled relationship with God as a result, and that you then bear abundant fruit as a result of how you hear God's word?”
Your daily spiritual health, your continued spiritual fruitfulness depend on the same, the moment of hearing God's word. So in every Christian worship service, the most significant thing is the ministry of the word. The most significant moment for each person sitting in the pews all over the world, wherever they sit to hear is what happens after your eardrums vibrate with the sound of the word of God. What happens then?
Now if you come to church and you're evaluating the church architecturally. You like the carpet, you like the lighting, you like the comfort of the pews or you like the parking. We have good parking here, lots of parking. People were friendly. Coffee was excellent. Thank you, Bill, grateful. The donuts or whatever pastries were, they were your favorite flavors. What a great church. Even if you're evaluating the music offerings, whether this or that song was your favorite, or the bass guitar was too loud, James, or the drums were just what you like, acoustic guitar too soft. Listen, as important as many of those things are, all of them shrink into absolute insignificance compared to this one thing: see how you listen, watch what you hear, consider carefully the word of God.
The eternal health and fruitfulness of your soul does not depend on any of those things or others like them that I've listed. Frankly the same is true of details of my preaching. The sound of my voice, the cadence I use, the grammar, the illustrations, whether I use humor or not, illustrations or not, whether you like my flow or not. Ultimately all that matters is did the preacher preach the pure word of God to you or not? And then if that happened, did I consider carefully the word that was preached to me? What did I do with it? The eternal health and daily fruitfulness of your soul depends on that. Consider carefully what you hear.
Now, the context of this statement is the parable of the seed in the soils. The seed is the word of God as we've been saying, the soils represent different human responses to the word of God. The seed hits the soil. In the first three cases, it produces no fruit at all ultimately, no harvest. In the last case, it produces an amazing abundant harvest, a varying sizes, 30, 60, even a hundred times what was sown. But the key moment is the soil's reception of the seed, that is the heart response to the word of God. Jesus concludes this with a challenge, verse 23 to all to hear, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”.
In private, Jesus explains his parables to his disciples. Look at verses 10-12, “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others gathered around him and asked him about the parables.” So he's alone, he's got his inner circle with him and “he told them the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything said in parables, so that ‘they may be ever seeing, but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding, otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven!’” So the parables given in general without any explanation whatsoever to the teaming crowd was Jesus is saying a form of judgment on them. The parables without explanation seemed to many of them like gibberish. But they actually were brilliant articulations of kingdom truth if you had ears to hear and got the explanation, they could understand it. Now those ears to hear, that's a spiritual capacity to understand spiritual truth about Christ and his kingdom. And it has worked in the hearts of the children of God by the secret working, the powerful working of the Holy Spirit of God.
Now Jesus underscored that this parable, this parable of the seed in the various soil types was a gateway parable by which you could understand his whole body of doctrine, all of his parables, all of his teachings. Verse 13, Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?" He then went on to explain that parable in clear terms to them. Verse 14-20, “The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and snatches away the word that was sown in them. Others like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others like seed sown among the thorns, hear the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others like seed sown on good soil hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop 30, 60, even a hundred times what was sown.” So the key moment in life is how you listen to the Lord when he speaks by his word.
1 Thessalonians chapter 1:4-5, Paul talked about that moment for the Thessalonians when he came to town and preached the word to them, “For we know brothers love by God that he has chosen you because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” And then in the next chapter, that same epistle, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, he says, "And we also thank God continually because when you heard the word of truth, the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe." That's the essence of it. This is not merely the words of a man, this is the word of God for me.
Jesus himself said in John 5:24-25, he said, "I tell you the truth. Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, the time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God and those who hear will live." Well, that's at that moment of hearing the word. In the parable of the Good Shepherd which he told in John chapter 10, he uses the same hearing moment again and again, and again, this idea of hearing him speaking to you. John 10:3, “the sheep listened to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” And “when he is brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
In the end, John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” Verse 16, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” And then finally, John 10:27-28, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
“My sheep listen to my voice, they hear me speaking and they follow me.” That's the key moment. The good shepherd, Jesus is speaking to your soul and he's going out and leading out and you're following him all the way to heaven because you hear his voice. Well, that happens. How does that happen? It happens when you hear the word of God being preached to you. And you know this is not just a human moment, but this is actually God talking to you. You know that by the Holy Spirit.
So what I want to do now is draw out elements from this brief part of Mark chapter 4, elements of how to hear Jesus speaking to you based on these words. There's far more I could say about this moment from the entire New Testament, but I'm just going to zero in on what he says here. If we are being commanded to be very careful how we listen to God's word, what do these verses in particular teach us about that?
II. Listening so we may shine brightly
So first, listening so we may shine brightly. Look at verses 21-22, “He said to them, ‘Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever's concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.’”
Now, this is very interesting, you need to listen carefully to this section, so you'll know how I'm handling the word of God here. Be very careful how you handle it. Jesus' own teachings are meant to shine. That's what he's saying here. He's talking about his own teachings. They are meant to shine and not be hidden. So Jesus in the Sermon in the Mount uses the light on a stand image to talk about us. And I'm going to get to that, I will talk about that in a minute, but that's not what he's talking about here in Mark. In this context, he is talking about his own intentions in teaching these parables and more broadly, all of his teachings, Jesus's own purpose in his teaching ministry in general.
True, he is concealing the truth behind tricky parable language. That is true. And true, he's doing this as an act of judgment to his unbelieving Jewish Nation, that is true, he says that. Verse 11-12, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those on the outside, everything said in parables so that ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven.’” But ultimately, it is not his desire that the truths of the kingdom of God remains secret and hidden. He didn't come into the world to start a mystery religion, a secret cult of insiders, a secret society in which a few select people know all the code language and come in behind closed doors and no one else sees and you've got all these secret passwords and all that. That's not what he came to do. This is not some secret mystery religion being started here.
Jesus entered the world as the light of the world. John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." And again, the next chapter, John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” So Jesus did not enter the world to keep hidden, not at all. It is God's purpose that Jesus would shine on people walking in darkness all over the world. Isaiah 9:2, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light and those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” That's Jesus. Or again, as God the father said to God the son before he was ever incarnate telling him what his mission would be. Isaiah 49:6, “[God the father said to God the son] ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel that I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
That's not some secret mystery religion. That's the light shining for people all over the world. Furthermore, God's word itself is meant to be the light for the world. As the psalmist says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” So while the speaking of these parables is indeed a form of judgment, he does not intend that they remain a secret. So in this context, that's what these teachings mean. Verse 21-22, he said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open." Do you see it there in Mark's gospel, just Mark's gospel, that's the context here? These teachings are going to be everywhere. It's meant for everyone.
So in the course of time, the Holy Spirit ordained that Mark would write these words down in scripture. And also not just the parables, but the explanation of the parables which he gave in secret to the inner circle that day. He wrote that down too. And now I don't know if you noticed, but they're published for all the world to read. I know you've noticed. Yes, they're out and abroad, full access, God intends for this teaching to be made clear, to shine in this present darkness, in this devilish darkness, as a clear light of truth, bringing God's salvation to the ends of the earth. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl or a bed. That makes no sense whatsoever.
Whenever anyone back then went to the expense and trouble of filling up a lamp with expensive olive oil and trimming the wick and igniting it, they did it for a reason, to give light to people in the house. So it is with the incarnation, with Jesus coming, empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the truth, he wanted it published widely and broadly. He wanted everyone to hear it. Practically speaking, this amazing gospel of Mark is part of a worldwide effort to get these truths to the ends of the earth. Start with Bible translation. The Bible, the whole Bible has been translated into 2300+ languages. Portions including Gospel of Mark which would be a top priority for New Testament translators, they are going to go right to it, are well over 3000 languages. Reaching, accessible to 7 billion people on earth. Meanwhile, Bible distribution has been staggering.
Do you have any idea how widespread the Bible is? Print media, electronic media, in India, they're using SIM cards with the whole Bible on it plus other teachings besides. The technology is amazing. Everybody's got a smartphone all over the world. And on these SIM cards, you got whole Bibles in the Hindi language or in other languages that are appropriate to them. It's amazing. But how many paper Bibles are there? How many actual books are there? How could anyone know that? But Google knows. Five billion plus copies of the Bible, think about that, five billion Bibles. So that means Jesus's “secret” explanation of the parables are available and by means of those five billion Bibles. Furthermore, you should know the Bible's public domain. So you can just search online and get the text of the Bible easily. It's out there. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl. It's not God's intention, it's not the Holy Spirit's intention. He wants everyone to have this.
So while Jesus initially hit his explanation to the insiders, his intent was to publish these explanations to the ends of the earth. He then goes on to speak of the apparent mysteries of these doctrines, look at verse 22 “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out in the open.” Now again, you have to stick with me just here in Mark 4. These words are used to one purpose here, but similar words are used to very different purposes elsewhere. In other places, Jesus used this to speak a warning against thinking you can hide your sins from the holy eyes of God. You can't. So a clear example of that is Luke 12, every sin you have ever committed will someday be known far and wide.
There will be no secrets on judgment day. Don't be deceived. So Luke 12:1-3 is saying that, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”, putting on a show of religiosity and there's no truth behind it, corruption, don't do that. This is Luke 12:2- 3, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known.” Same words, different application, different purpose at that point. “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner room will be proclaimed from the roofs.” There he's talking about your words, not his word. But here in Mark, he's talking about his word and the apparent mysteries connected with it. So your secrets will be fully exposed on judgment day. Romans 2:16 says that, “On that day when according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of people by Christ Jesus.” So don't say that it's good to know that, just good to know.
There are going to be no secrets on judgment day so live accordingly. Paul says, "I strive always because of judgment day to keep my conscience clear before God and man." But that's not what he's talking about here. In this context, he's talking about his own teachings, his parables which seem so dark and mysterious. The secrets of the kingdom of God are actually meant for people all over the earth. The hidden words of Christ, so obscure initially will be made clear ultimately, that's what he's saying. Bottom line is Jesus intends all his words, his teachings to be understood, fully understood, by people all over the world. There is no point whatsoever for Jesus to open his mouth and teach dark mysterious things that literally no person on earth can understand or ever will understand. That's foolish. He knows that. The purpose of his speaking is to be clear, to teach.
“The secrets of the kingdom of God are actually meant for people all over the earth.”
All right, so practical application for us is this. We should expect to be able to understand everything in the Bible. We should expect to be able to understand everything in the Bible. Jesus did not speak his words so that no one could understand him. Now I know some teachings are hard to understand. Peter said that about Paul's writings. And Peter wrote some of the hardest passages to interpret the New Testament! Peter! So he wrote some things that are hard to understand too. That doesn't mean you can't ultimately understand them. What would be the point of giving doctrines like that? Some of them are so clear they're like milk, a child can know them old them. But there are harder teachings. However, everything is ultimately meant to be clear.
Now having said that, that's true of the teachings, that's where it starts. The question is next, what does that teaching do to you? How does that teaching, Jesus's beautiful teaching transform you? What does it do in your life? Now, here we go to the Sermon on the Mount for the same language, but now applied to you. Matthew 5:14:16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” So once we have come to Christ, we have been rescued from darkness and brought into light and we become light ourselves, Colossians 1:13, you have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought over to the kingdom of the beloved sun. That's you, Colossians 1:13. And then it says in Ephesians 5:8-9, “For you were one's darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)” and find out what pleases the Lord.
So now we are no longer darkness, we are light, we are the light of the world. And he's not going to ignite you with the truth of the gospel and hide you under a bowl or under bed, he's going to put you up on a stand and you're going to give light to everyone in the house, he's saying. Philippians 2:14-16 says “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold forth the word of life.” You're shining and you're holding out the gospel.
So we listen to Christ's clear teachings, we look at Christ's beautiful radiant light, and then we ourselves are made beautiful, we ourselves are made glorious. Our lives shine, God puts us up on a lamp stand to give light to everyone in the world. And we do this as we share Jesus's teachings, especially the gospel.
III. Listening with a hungry heart
Secondly, listening with a hungry heart, a hungry heart. Look at verse 24 and25, “Consider carefully what you hear”, that's what we began with, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you –– and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” So in this context, Jesus wants his disciples hungry for the word, hungry for the word. The measure that we use is the measure we'll receive. What this means is the more of God's word that we hungrily take in and understand and live out, the more he's going to show us. Remember how Jesus spoke of the good soil producing some 30, some 60, some 100 times what was sown. Christ wants his people burning with a holy ambition. You should be hungry for more. You should be hungry for more. That's what he's saying. Don't ever be satisfied. Hungry for more of God's word, hungry to have more return on God's investment in your life, a bigger harvest. I'm hungry for that.
I think about the Bereans remember in Acts 17:11, it says of them, they “were of more noble character than Thessalonians for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Hungry. They had a holy ambition to know more and more and more and more of God's word.
Perhaps the greatest articulation of this hunger for the word is in Psalm 119. Psalm 119, what a great Psalm that is. I'm just so hungry for God's word. So Psalm 119:10-11, “I seek you with all my heart. Do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” I would just commend scripture memorization to you. Memorize God's word, hide it in your heart so that you won't sin against God. Or again, Psalm 119:14, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” I'm hungry, I want to be as rich as I can in God's word. There's no limit to it. Psalm 119:20, “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” Now the psalmist considered carefully the word that he was reading through meditation. So going back to the whole opening concept, consider carefully how you listen. Meditation, the psalmist said, meditate on it, think deeply on it. Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” You should pray that. Open my eyes, I want to see wonderful things in your word, God. Show me new things. Again, Psalm 119:97, “Oh how I love your law. I meditate on it all day long.” Or again, verse 99, “I have more insight than all my teachers for I meditate on your statutes.”
So the measure the psalmist uses for God's word is to be hungry for it, meditate on it, searching out evermore truth in it what can it tell me? That's what I think it means to consider carefully what you hear. Some truth I've found come immediately, got it right away. Others don't come right away. Basically this whole sermon and how I'm approaching Mark 4 has come as a result of my own meditations. I didn't just quickly jump over to the Sermon on the Mount and say, "Oh, we're the light of the world." That's not what's happening in Mark 4. So I meditate, it's like, that's interesting the Holy Spirit would do that with these same words. It was just meditation on God's word and then new insights come.
Beyond that, is the scriptures urging the measure of obedience. The measure of obedience. You hear God's word, but do you obey it, do you put it into practice? The more we hear and obey God's word, the more he will entrust to us. John 7:17, “If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” Jesus is saying, "You want to know who I am? Then get ready to do God's will. Get ready to obey, then you'll know who I am."
Or even better, John 14:21, which is a prime verse, I love this verse. I recommend it to you for memorization, “Whoever has my commands,” plus, “and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father and I too will love him and we will manifest ourselves to him.” We will disclose ourselves to him. In other words, if you hear and obey God's word, you'll get to know God better, he will reveal himself to you. And it all comes down to hearing and obeying. If you hear and don't obey, you won't know God very well. So that's the measure you use, is the measure you'll receive. If we hungrily study God's word eager to put into practice the things we've learned, God will reveal more and more of himself and his purposes to us. Guess what? Your harvest will be bigger on judgment day. You'll know what God's doing and you won't waste your time on things that are going to be destroyed.
“If we hungrily study God's word eager to put into practice the things we've learned, God will reveal more and more of himself and his purposes to us.”
The measure you use is the measure you receive. Now with this comes a pretty dire warning of judgment, and I would be remiss if I didn't zero in on it. “Whoever has, will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” What does that mean? Well, there could be individuals that start out with great excitement in the word of God. Like the stony ground here, they start out with some joy, they're into it, they think it's great coming to church, listening to God's word, they have a basic understanding of it.
But if they don't continue in God's word and they don't mix it with faith and they don't mix it with obedience, even what they have will be taken from them, Jesus is saying. What does that mean? Fast forward a year, five years, 10 years, they don't care about God's word anymore. It's like they never heard it at all. What they had for that little while got taken from them and now it's nothing to them. Their hearts have gotten hard.
So Hebrews 3:7-8, it says “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart’.” It's a warning here. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Now this text in another place speaks of the measure you use toward other people. There's a measure you use toward the poor and lost people of the world, and that will be the measure you get rewarded with on judgment day. So you want to have that big judgment day reward, then be generous to other people, be lavish toward other people. We're so stingy. Be lavish. Luke 6:38 says, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap for what the measure you use will be measured to you.” So that's horizontal. You take in God's word, you're hungry for it, it comes in and then it starts pouring out. Yes, in teaching, and evangelism, but also in finances, caring for the poor and needy, just serving people. The measure you use is the measure you get on judgment day.
All right, lessons. Let me just ask some questions of you as we close. How would you characterize your hearing of God's word? Consider carefully what you hear, how would you characterize it? Do you understand that the hearing of God's word with a faith filled, submissive, obedient heart is the key to your eternal life and your spiritual health? Do you understand that? It's the key to everything? Are you in a regular pattern of Bible intake in your life? Are you feeding on God's word daily? Do you have a quiet time? Do you feed your soul on the word of God?
I'm not asking, do you think a quiet time is a good idea? I didn't ask you that. I asked, do you have one? Is this your regular habit? That's what I'm asking. Do you expect that Christ will reveal his secrets to you if you meditate on it and go after it? If you come up to a hard text, do you work on it and ask him to reveal it to you? Do you expect that Christ's word will shine brightly like a light shining in your heart and in this present dark world? Do you expect that?
Do you listen to God's words so that you yourself can shine brightly in this age? Lord, make me a better person, so that I can shine in this dark world. Are you holding forth, Philippians 2:16, holding forth the word of truth to people like you're a star shining in a dark place? Is that what you're doing? Do you boldly share the gospel to lost neighbors, coworkers, family members, even total strangers?
So I was on a plane this week and every seat in the plane was taken but the one next to me. That was odd because I like doing plane evangelism. I thought, "Okay, I'll be reading a book or something like that." An older woman had come and I knew the seat next to me, I knew its number and she said that number was hers and then promptly sat in the wrong seat. I wasn't going to get involved.
But then came, as the last person on the plane, a very large man. I mean, significantly large, and my heart sank. I'm being honest with you. I can be a little selfish when it comes to these things. I feel like I've been assigned by the airline a certain zone that's mine. You guys know what I'm talking about? And this guy he didn't ask, but he wanted to use some of my zone. And to make matters worse, he had a wallet in his pocket here in the side which just definitely it was like, if there were an alarm system, it would be going off. That's my area. However, we had the richest gospel conversation I've had in a long time. He was the one. Do you understand? He was the one that was chosen for me, not the older woman who was much smaller than he was. But that was the guy. His name was Pete, lived in Western Massachusetts, works for a record company, was coming from a weekend in Las Vegas. He needed the Lord. And I'm not saying he came to Christ. I'm saying we talked about it for about 45 minutes. I asked him to read the gospel of Mark, he said he would get it, he would read it with his mother, she's religious. So all right, great, the two of them can read it together.
I'm just telling you there's a selfishness inside my heart that fights against that but God can use us even as selfish as we are. Are we willing to do that? Do you have a hungry heart toward God's word? Do you show that in your life? Are you meditating on it? Are you memorizing it? Do you see that? And in your private life, would you say how are you responding to the word?
How would you characterize your spiritual state right now? Are you plateaued? Are you growing? Are you declining? Are you regressing? Are you bored? Are you dormant? Are you growing? What? What's happening? Now, the most important of all of God's words is the milk of the gospel, the simplicity of the gospel. “For what I received”, 1 Corinthians 15, “I passed on to you as a first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” There is nothing more important than that for you. Have you believed in that for the forgiveness of your sins? It's everything. Your eternity depends on that. Have you? Have you trusted in Christ? 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolve to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
“The most important of all of God's words is the milk of the gospel, the simplicity of the gospel.”
Now I make a pledge to you, a promise that as long as I live and I have this role to be the regular preacher of the word from this pulpit, I am determined to preach the word of God to you week after week. I have nothing else to offer you. And like Paul said to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:20, "I have not hesitated to proclaim anything that would be helpful to you." Or in Acts 20:27, I've not shrunk back from proclaiming the whole council of God, everything in God's word. My call is to do what Jesus called Peter to do, feed my sheep, feed my sheep, feed my sheep, John 21. That's what I want to do.
And I'm committed that all of the men who get up here to preach, I'll be on a study leave as I do in the summer to work on a couple of books and there'll be men here preaching to you, all of them are committed to the same thing or they wouldn't preach here. And then when my time comes and I'm not here anymore, you as a congregation are responsible for this pulpit to make certain that the person who stands here does the same, your souls depend on it.
Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for this clear message on the vital significance of hearing the word of God, consider carefully what you hear, how you hear. God work this in us now by the Spirit. Thank you for Jesus, thank you for his teaching, thank you for the word of God. Thank you that it's come to us pure, ready for us to feed on. Thank you for all these things in Jesus's name. Amen.