I'm working on a sermon from Luke 8:1-15 (Parable of the Soils). While reading commentary by Philip Ryken I was impressed by the closing paragraph on the teaching of the soils. He hits the nail on the head.
Usually when people listen to a sermon they make some kind of evaluation. "I thought that was a really good sermon," they say, or perhaps they say that it wasn't a good sermon at all. Either way, the sermon is what they want to assess. But according to the parable of the soils, it is really God's word that evaluates us, because the way we respond shows what is in our hearts. Good hearing is just as important as good preaching. If the gospel is truly preached, then what we say about the sermon says more about us than it does about the sermon. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
While reading this closing paragraph of Ryken's my mind was drawn to the verses in Luke's gospel that immediately follow the parable of the soils. Luke 8:16-18 Jesus points out that a lamp is lit to be seen, things will be disclosed, and then says in v. 17, " Therefore, consider carefully how you listen...."