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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   Take Heed What You Hear (4:21-25)

INTRODUCTION

1. When we have opportunities to hear or read the Word of God...
   a. Are we aware that we will be judged by we how give heed?
   b. That the blessings we receive are proportionate to how we hear?

2. During His ministry, Jesus began teaching in parables...
   a. To the public He would tell the parables - Mk 4:1-2
   b. In private He would explain them to His disciples - Mk 4:10-12,
      33-34

3. In "The Parable Of The Four Soils" Jesus...
   a. Illustrated how not all receive the Word as they should
   b. Ended with the cry, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" - Mk
      4:9

[After explaining the parable, Jesus exhorted His disciples to "Take
Heed What You Hear" (Mk 4:21-25).  Let's first consider Jesus' words...]

I. AS CHARGED TO THE DISCIPLES

   A. THAT WHICH IS HIDDEN IS TO BE MADE KNOWN...
      1. Jesus asked rhetorical questions involving a lamp - Mk 4:21
      2. What was hidden would be revealed, what was secret should come
         to light - Mk 4:22
      3. The context regards His use of parables and the ultimate
         intention of His teaching
         a. Jesus spoke publicly in parables at the time - Mk 4:11
         b. The meaning was explained privately - Mk 4:33-34
         c. But His teaching was meant one day to be proclaimed abroad
         d. His disciples would be involved in publicly proclaiming it
            - cf. Mt 10:27
      4. Thus they were to pay close attention to what He was saying
         - Mk 4:23
      -- Jesus intended one day for all to hear and know His teaching

   B. TAKE HEED WHAT YOU HEAR...
      1. Jesus charged His disciples to take heed what they hear - Mk
         4:24a
      2. The importance of taking heed is repeatedly stressed - Mk 4:
         24b-25
         a. "With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
         b. "To you who hear, more will be given"
         c. "For whoever has, to him more will be given"
         d. "But whoever does not have, even what he has will be take
            away from him"
      3. This is illustrated in the parable of The Talents
         a. Talents given according to each person's ability - Mt 25:15
         b. Those who utilized their talents received more
            responsibility - Mt 25:20-23
         c. The one talent man lost that which he did not utilize - Mt
            25:24-28
         d. "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will
            have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he
            has will be taken away." - Mt 25:29
      -- Jesus promised more for those who take heed to what they hear,
         utilize what they have

[Jesus spoke these words to prepare and motivate His disciples for their
future service.  Let's now reflect on His words...]

II. AS APPLIED TO US TODAY

   A. THAT WHICH WAS HIDDEN HAS BEEN MADE KNOWN...
      1. Things kept private were to be made public after His
         resurrection - cf. Mk 9:9
      2. The Spirit would be given to guide the apostles into all the
         truth - Jn 16:12-13
      3. They were to proclaim the gospel and His commandments to all
         - Mk 16:15; Mt 28:19-20
      4. The apostles (including Paul) were faithful to their charge
         - Ac 20:27
      5. What was once a "mystery" has now been revealed - Ro 16:25-26;
         Ep 3:3-5,8-9
      -- In the New Testament, that which was hidden can now be known by
         all!

   B. TAKE HEED WHAT YOU HEAR...
      1. The need to take heed to what we hear is still the same
      2. Consider the importance of listening carefully:
         a. To be blessed - cf. Mt 13:16-17
         b. To have faith - cf. Ro 1:16-17; 10:17
         c. To bear fruit - cf. Lk 8:15; Col 1:6
         d. To prevent apostasy - cf. He 2:1-3
         e. To avoid rejection and condemnation - cf. Mt 10:14-15; Ac
            13:44-49; Mt 12:41-42
         -- For more, see "How Well Do You Listen?"
      3. The principle of measure remains the same - Mk 4:24-25
         a. "With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
         b. "To you who hear, more will be given"
         c. "For whoever has, to him more will be given"
         d. "But whoever does not have, even what he has will be take
            away from him"
      -- For those willing give careful heed to the Word of God, they
         will be richly blessed!

CONCLUSION

1. There is a well known maxim:  "You get out of something what you put
   into it."

2. Does this not explain why many get little out of religion and the
   Bible in particular...?
   a. They have little interest in spiritual matters
   b. They make little effort to learn what the Bible says
   c. Their interest in spiritual things declines with time

3. Yet Jesus promises for those willing to "Take Heed What You Hear"...
   a. "With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
   b. "To you who hear, more will be given"
   c. "For whoever has, to him more will be given"

That is why some never stagnate in their spiritual growth, why their
faith is refreshed and renewed daily (cf. 2Co 4:16).  And so together
with Jesus we offer the following admonition:

              "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
                               (Mk 4:23)

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