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 (Manna 46: Spreading the Gospel)
He Who Has An Ear Let Him Hear
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Adapted sermon by Elder Hsieh – Taiwan

On five different occasions in the four gospels, Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”—three times in the book of Matthew, once in the book of Mark, and once in the book of Luke. The actual total is seven times if each occurrence of the parable of the sower is counted separately. Including the eight times it is recorded in the book of Revelation, this statement appears 15 times in the Bible, 13 of which are spoken.

Among all of our facial features, the function of the ear is to hear and to listen. Everyone has ears. Some people are born with perfect ears, while others are born with imperfect ones. That is, they are partially or fully deaf. The ears to which Jesus refers, however, are not perfect ears but, rather, spiritual ones.

He is instructing the listener to pay heed to an especially important teaching. “To hear” is not the simple act of hearing but also of obeying. Unlike many who “seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Mt ), we must be attentive and obey Jesus’ teachings so that His words are not spoken in vain.

We are also entrusted with the mission to impart the message of salvation onto others but if we do not heed or listen to the Lord’s teachings, then our hearers will also listen in vain, and His message would fall on deaf ears.

Therefore, before we instruct others to accept the good news of Jesus Christ, we need to make sure that the seed of the gospel is, first and foremost, firmly planted in us. And from this proclamation, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” we learn several teachings about how we ought to preach.


            “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mt 11:14-15)

Jesus described John the Baptist as the “Elijah who [was] to come.” What was the importance of his coming? Why did Jesus call for those who had ears to hear? Who was Elijah?

Elijah was a great prophet of the Lord whose victory over 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel showed the Israelites the one true God and caused them to turn their hearts back to Him (1 Kings 18:20-40). This was the same Elijah who “[turned] the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest [the Lord] come and strike the earth with a curse,” as recorded in the book of Malachi (Mal 4:5-6).

God would send another Elijah to the Israelites before the apocalypse. This Elijah of the New Testament was John the Baptist, whose mission was to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

He was the person who prepared the way for the Lord Jesus (Is 40:3; Mal 3:1; Mt 3:3; Mk 1:1-3). He came “baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3). This baptism of repentance prepared the hearts of those who were baptized to receive the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:4).

He bore witness for Jesus, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me’” (Jn -30).

Today, we are entrusted with the mission to turn the hearts of men back to the hearts of the heavenly Father, to bring others to repentance, and to unite them with the Shepherd.

All our efforts point to the Lord Jesus Christ and not ourselves, so that all will come to accept Him as their Lord and Savior. We are not preaching ourselves or our own glory, but the glory of the Son of God.


The Parable of the Sower (Mt 13:3-9; Mk 4:3-9: Lk 8:4-15)

In this parable, the same seed was sown in four different places and produced four different crops. The people who received seed by the wayside were those from whom Satan would snatch away the word of God to prevent them from believing and being saved, because they heard His word and did not understand it.

The people who received the seed on stony places were the ones who heard the word and received it with joy, but their belief was temporary because the word did not take root in their heart. When they were tempted (or persecuted), they gave up.

Those who received the seed among the thorns were the ones who heard the word but were unfruitful because they were choked by the cares, riches, and pleasures of the world. The seed that fell on good ground represents the people who heard the word, kept it in their good, honest heart, and patiently bore fruit (Lk 8:4-15).

However, there are various types of good ground, which is why there were thirty, sixty, or hundredfold yields of crops (Mt 13:9, Mk 4:8). This parable tells us that it is very difficult for a person to obtain salvation. Only one out of four people is fruitful.

Those who are fruitful bear different types of fruits, just as those who receive the Holy Spirit bear different fruits of the Spirit (Gal -23). These fruits of the Spirit will be important in determining salvation on Judgment Day (-13).

The Parable of the Tares (Mt -43)

This parable tells us that Jesus purchased the church, which is His body, with His own blood (Act ; Eph ). The seeds that were sown were good, but the devil came and sowed tares among the wheat. So when the grain sprouted and produced a crop, the tares also appeared.

The owner, fearing that gathering up the tares would also uproot the wheat, ordered his servants to leave the tares alone. The tares represent the members in church who not only are unfruitful but also hinder the growth of the wheat.

These members perhaps should have been but were not excommunicated for fear that doing so would adversely affect the faith of their family members and cause them to stop coming to church. As long as these members do not “leaven” the entire congregation (1 Cor 5:6-7), they will be allowed to remain in church to be left for God to judge.

On judgment day the Son of man, the Lord Jesus, will send His angels to gather out from His kingdom (the church) all those who offend and practice lawlessness, and cast them into the furnace of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Mt -42).

This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt ). We need to ask ourselves: Am I a wheat that will be harvested and stored in heaven, or am I a tare that will be cast into the furnace of fire?

Satan is always lurking to turn people away from God, and he works extra hard on those who understand the great commission to save souls. Therefore, since each of us is given this commission, each of us is also susceptible to Satan’s snare.

From this parable and a few other parables Jesus taught (i.e. parable of the dragnet, Mt -50; parable of the wedding feast, Mt 22:1-14), we know that few will be saved in this world, which is why Jesus told us to listen closer.

Therefore, it is important that we ensure our own salvation while we evangelize to others. In fact, the more we live out the good Christian life and follow Jesus’ teachings and do His will, the better our yields (and the fruits we bear) will be—both in ourselves and in the way we affect our hearers.

Let us not lose our own place in heaven in an effort to save another. Let us be edifying examples to believers and nonbelievers alike, and when our Lord Jesus comes again and hears us saying, “Lord, Lord,” He would let us in.

This is why Jesus, at the end of the parable of the sower, commanded, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”


            “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Lk 14:33-35)

These verses teach us that if we want to participate in the work of spreading the gospel, we must have a spirit of sacrifice, forsaking all our worldly cares to bear our own cross and follow Him. We must ask ourselves whether we have this type of spirit to follow Him to the end. If not, it would be better if we did not try to be His disciples, lest we be mocked.

This type of sacrifice is very precious, as indicated by Jesus in this teaching. The value of salt is determined by its flavor; it can be used for seasoning and preserving food. For salt to give its flavor, it must be dissolved (i.e. sacrifice itself). Hence, it best represents the spirit of sacrifice.

Jesus once said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (Jn ). This teaches us the efficacy of sacrifice: Jesus, like a grain of wheat, sacrificed Himself for mankind and thereby brought into being many sons of God (Rom 5:6-11).

Moreover, we must be the salt of the world (Mt ). We must sacrifice ourselves to “adjust” the evil “flavor” (or trend) of the world for the better, exhibiting love and contributing good to mankind just as Jesus did. Only then can we be considered the salt of the world.

A disciple who does not have this type of love is like salt that has lost its flavor, which is not fit for use and will be thrown out (i.e. scorned by men and looked upon as dung). From this teaching, we realize how difficult it is to be a disciple of the Lord. If we are unable to sacrifice ourselves and commit to the great commission out of love for others, we would be no better than nonbelievers.

We must learn how to show love toward others so that Jesus has not taught us in vain and we are worthy to be called His disciples. So once again, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

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Publisher: True Jesus Church