(This sermon was preached on January 25, 2009 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. You may listen to the mp3 , then go to listen to other sermons in the archive. Take time to read Luke 8:16-21.)
Would it not be wonderful if large crowds gathered at a house of worship automatically meant that God’s work was being done? In Luke 8:4, the Word says, “And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him.” Yet, great crowds at Christian churches, even the crowds that followed Jesus, did not mean that they would become followers. John 2:23-25 says,
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many
believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust
himself to them, because he knew all people
 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew
what was in man.
People saw what Jesus did, heard what Jesus said, and even followed Jesus’ lead. Did this show saving faith?
In Luke 8, Jesus demonstrates the Spirit power of the Word. From the calming of the storm to the healing of a demoniac, to even raising someone from the day, Jesus showed the authoritative power of the Word because it bears the seal of God. God sends His ambassadors from His heavenly country with His message of deliverance and mercy from his wrath against our sin and into His mercy through Jesus’ work on the cross.
As we look at this passage this morning, Jesus gives us a phrase that we must take to heart. “Take care then how you hear. . . .” Mark 4 in the parallel passage says, “Pay attention to what you hear.” Jesus seems to be making a distinction on how one hears. Apparently, one can hear without hearing. You can have the sound waves hit your eardrum, pass through the small bones in the ear which resonate, sending a signal to your brain so you can hear the words which are spoken. How you hear the word and what you do with the Word you have heard reveals much about the condition of your heart before God.
1. Hear the Word as a light for your path.
In verses 16-17, Jesus says, ““No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
Understand where this passage falls. The Sunday before I went to Trinidad, we examined Luke 8:4-15 in looking at the Parable of the Soils. The sower went to plant seed, which Jesus tells us served as the Word of God. The parables served to proclaim the Word, but the message of that Word was hidden to those who not only refused to hear, but from those whose hearts did not have the proper soil for the Word to take hold.
Jesus though goes further. He says basically, “If you have good soil and have received the message, don’t cover the message up! You are
lamps because of the Word that is in you. Now shine!” You see, we as the people of God cannot be lights in the world unless the Word of Christ is dwelling in us richly (Colossians 3:15). In fact, do you recall that Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
What are lamps good for? Lamps light up rooms so people can see where they are and what is located in those rooms. Lamps also
light the way we are going. And His Word moving in us shows the way. While in Trinidad, they had this Christian radio station on the
majority of the time. During one of the breaks in music, the deejay came on and said, “Dear Christian, you just need to dream those big dreams that you have, and when you have faith to believe it will come to pass, God will give you what you want.” I had just read about where Joel Osteen said that you need a life of generosity, and because of your generosity, God will bless you abundantly.
In America and in Trinidad, so many preach the message, “Do this, dream this, smile more, pray more, read more, give more, and God will
bless.” Messages like this are not lamps, but are caution lights blinking for us to move away and detour to the actual gospel. The lamp of God’s Word always shines upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified, who says, “I am extending my grace and mercy to you based upon what I’ve done. You are like sheep who have gone astray, each turning to your own way. What you need is not to chase after dreams by drumming up more faith and doing more so my Father will bless. He has already blessed you with the cross and empty tomb. You can dream and do and act, but you do not have the spiritual furniture arranged in your mind to handle, because even our best dreams drift
away from God.”
James 1:16-18 says:,
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.”
Notice: every blessing we have does not begin with a “dream within,” but from the Father above. Notice that our “dreams” may change with our inner emotions or our outward circumstances, but the Father has “no variation or shadow due to change.” He is steadfast, our rock and refuge. Notice that we become believers not by our own will and decision but “of his own will … by the word of truth.” Notice it is all of him. And once we get away from the Word of God, we stray from the path of God until the Spirit of God convicts us of the truth of God so we will repent and ask forgiveness of God so we will be restored by God.