Matthew 13:12,13 - Growing In Christ

Mat 13:12 (NLT)  To those who are open to my teaching, more
understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But
to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken
away from them.
Mat 13:13 (NLT)  That is why I tell these stories, because
people see what I do, but they don't really see. They hear what I say,
but they don't really hear, and they don't understand.

Jesus used many illustrations, or 'parables,' when speaking to
the crowds. A parable compares something familiar to something
unfamiliar. It helps us understand spiritual truth by using everyday objects
and relationships. Parables compel listeners to discover truth,
while at the same time concealing the truth from those too lazy or too
stubborn to see it. To those who are honestly searching, the truth
becomes clear. [Life Application SB]

Parables were not difficult to understand. Jesus masterfully
taught moral principles by using simple, down-to-earth illustrations
about everyday objects familiar to farmers, fishermen, merchants and
others in his audience. At the same time, the deeper meanings of Jesus'
parables seemed obscure (or even incomprehensible) to those who opposed
Jesus or who simply were not attuned to his mission and message.
People with ears to hear (those seriously seeking the truth)
could dig deeper and find - profound spiritual insight. For others,
Jesus' parables were little more than fascinating but puzzling riddles.
Those who were resistant to his message would not have the interest or
the energy to pursue deeper truths. [Quest SB]

An inescapable law of life. In every sphere of life more is
given to the man who has, and what he has is taken away from the man
who has not. In the world of scholarship the student who labours to
amass knowledge is capable of acquiring more knowledge. It is to him
that the research, the advanced courses, the deeper things are given;
and that is so because by his diligence and fidelity he has made
himself fit to receive them. On the other hand, the student who is lazy
and refuses to work inevitably loses even the knowledge which he
Many a person had some skill in a craft or game and lost it,
because he neglected it. The diligent and hard-working person is in a
position to be given more and more; the lazy person may well lose even
what he has. Any gift can be developed; and, since nothing in life
stands still, if a gift is not developed, it is lost.
It is so with goodness. Every temptation we conquer makes us
more able to conquer the next and every temptation to which we fail
makes us less able to withstand the next attack. Every good thing we
do, every act of self-discipline and of service, makes us better
able for the next; and every time we fail to use such an opportunity
we make ourselves less able to seize the next when it comes.
Life is always a process of gaining more or losing more. Jesus
laid down the truth that the nearer a man lives to him, the nearer to
the Christian ideal he will grow. And the more a man drifts away
from Christ, the less he is able to reach to goodness; for weakness,
like strength, is an increasing thing. [Barclay Commentary]

Our Lord warns that the human heart can be so pounded and beaten
down with the traffic of sin that it becomes completely insensitive
to the gospel. This is the heart that knows no repentance, no
sorrow over sin, no guilt, and no concern for the things of God. It
allows itself to be trampled by an endless procession of evil thoughts,
cherished sins, and ungodly activities. It is careless, callous,
indifferent, never broken up or softened by conviction or sorrow for
wrongdoing. This is the heart of the fool described in Proverbs. The fool
hates knowledge, and resists instruction. The fool despises wisdom and
says in his heart there is no God. He will not hear. His mind is
closed. And he does not want to be bothered with a gospel invitation.
Many people have hearts like that. You can shower them with
seed, but it just lies there. It does not penetrate. And it does not
stay very long before Satan comes and takes it away completely. Each
time you try to witness to such a person, you must start again at the
Dry, hard, soil on the edge of the field does not necessarily
signify someone who is anti-religious. Some of the hardest individuals
in the world remain on the fringes of true religion. But because
sin has so hardened their hearts, they are utterly unproductive and
unresponsive to God. John F. MacArthur, Jr. [Time With God SB]

One beautiful spring morning, an experienced hiker was walking
with a friend down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The streets rumbled
with the sounds of weekday rush-hour traffic. Suddenly the hiker
stopped. "Listen," he said. "I hear a cricket."
"That's nonsense!" his friend scoffed. "Why do you think you
hear a lowly cricket in all this downtown uproar?"
"I'm sure I do," the hiker said. "Watch this." He pulled a dime
from his pocket and dropped it on the pavement. Almost all of the
people nearby stopped at the sound of the coin hitting the concrete.
"All of us are tuned to certain things," the hiker said to his
friend. "Our ears hear what they are tuned to. Mine happen to be tuned
to crickets."
In a similar way we need to be open to God's word. Jesus said we
need "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" before we can tune in to the
gospel. How was the hiker's hearing the cricket like the ability to hear
Jesus' message? [Youth SB]

The gospel is "foolishness" to some (see 1 Cor. 1:23) because
"the natural man," unconditioned by the influence of the Holy Spirit,
has no capacity for receiving "the things of the Spirit of God" (see
1 Cor. 2:14).... The ground must be ready for the seed to a
certain extent before it can receive the seed with profit. Those who
have made practical use of the truth revealed to them will be given
more truth. Those who are spiritually receptive will get infinitely
more good from any presentation of truth than the keenest minds that
are lacking in spiritual receptiveness. The wonderful gifts of
Heaven are for those who eagerly desire them (see DA 827). [SDA

Once you grow and develop the right condition inwardly, the
words which Jesus spoke become so clear that you are amazed that you
did not grasp them before. Our Lord doesn't hide these things from
us, but we are not prepared to receive them until we are in the
right condition in our spiritual life. [In His Time; My Utmost For His
Highest re Mar.9:9]

Christianity can be understood only from the inside. It is only
after personal encounter with Jesus Christ that a man can understand.
To criticize from outside is to criticize in ignorance. It is only
the man who is prepared to become a disciple who can enter into the
most precious things of the Christian faith. [Barclay Commentary]

All of God's revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to
us through obedience. Even the smallest bit of obedience opens
heaven, and the deepest truths of God immediately become ours.  [In His
Time; My Utmost For His Highest]

He who does not improve the first operations of grace, howsoever
small, is in danger of losing not only all the possible product, but
even the principal; for God delights to heap benefits on those who
properly improve them. (Adam Clarke Commentary)