“Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Luke 8:18
In Jesus’ day, teaching in parables presented a great deal of perplexity to the hearers. They seem to suggest that the truth is hidden from the crowds, but just the opposite is true. Jesus’ teaching is a light that is intended to shine so that sinners may see and be saved.
There has always been a “fearful responsibility” not only for those who preach and teach the word of God but also for those who hear the word of God.
No doubt it is solemn to speak on behalf of God to the people. Preachers/teachers are called to speak the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). There is no room for leaving out the hard facts and sugar coating them with a “feel-good” message. Preachers/teachers who are called to this duty are required to be very faithful.
When the preacher’s work is done in the right way, his responsibility ceases, and the responsibility of the hearer begins. One of our Lord’s most earnest words was: “Therefore take heed how you hear” (Luke 8:18). When a person hears the truth, what will he do with it? Will he believe it and accept it? Or will he reject it? He cannot pretend that he has not heard it, after all, he is there in the assembly of God. Not only must he account for the opportunity of hearing before God—but he is also accountable for acting on it. If he listens and yields to the influences of the truth, his heart grows softer; but if he rejects it, he is hardened by it.
No message from holy Scripture, heard or read, leaves one as it finds him. It makes some impression that is determined by what the hearer does with it. Therefore, we need to think a little of this side of responsibility – hearing, because hearing the word of God has an equally fearful responsibility as preaching the word of God.