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Opening Questions and Prayer

  • Who was the first person to share the Gospel with you?

    • How did you respond?

  • Who are some people who continue to teach you about your faith?

  • Thank God for sending those people who shared His Truth with you. Ask for guidance as you study the Bible today.

Read Matthew 13:1-9

1 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

  • Who is the audience that Jesus tells this parable to?

  • What are the four types of soils?

  • How would this parable have connected with the audience?

  • What stands out to you about this parable?

Read Matthew 13:10-15

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say,

you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. 15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’

  • Why did the disciples ask Jesus about why He used parables instead of the meaning of the parable?

  • What reasons did Jesus give for speaking in parables?

  • What are some ways you listen to Jesus’ teaching in your own life?

  • When you don’t understand something in the Bible, how do you seek out answers?

  • How can you help teach others about the kingdom of God and bring understanding to those who may not get it?

Read Matthew 13:16-17

16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.

  • Why did the disciples see and hear when others didn’t?

  • Even though some prophets and righteous people didn’t get to see the coming Messiah, how did they help those who got to meet Jesus to understand who He really was?

  • What are you doing now to help future generations know, understand, and live out their faith in Jesus?

Read Matthew 13:18-19

18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.

  • What are some ways you have seen people hear the word of God, but ignore or deny it?

  • Why does the evil one want to snatch the Gospel away from people’s hearts?

  • What are some ways you can guard yourself and others from the attacks of the enemy?

Read Matthew 13:20-21

20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.

  • What are some ways you have seen people have a great conversion moment, but then later fall away or stop following God when things get tough?

  • How can someone make sure they are deeply rooted in their faith?

  • What are some things you do daily to stay rooted in God’s Word and your faith in Jesus?

  • How can you help others grow in their faith?

Read Matthew 13:22

22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

  • What are some ways you have seen people that seem to follow Jesus slip away from their faith because of the things of this world?

  • How could worries of this life, when tried to be handled on our own instead of turning them to God, drive a wedge between us and God?

    • What are some worries you need to turn over to the Lord?

  • Why does the lure of wealth lead people away from the things of God?

    • How do you guard against this in your own life?

  • Who is someone you know that may be heading away from the Lord because of worries or wealth that you could talk to this week?

Read Matthew 13:23

23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

  • What are some ways you have seen people make a commitment to follow Jesus and then use their life to tell others about Him?

  • What are some ways you can sow the seed of the Gospel with those in your circles of influence?

  • How can you plant Gospel seeds at your church with the next generation?

  • What is one thing you can do this week to plant the seed of the Gospel?

Memorize it!

Matthew 13:23 CSB 23 But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.”

Closing thoughts and prayer

It’s often easy to read the Bible and then go about our day without really examining what we learned. With the parables, Jesus challenged His listeners to not just hear what He was saying, but to understand it. Once they understood, He expected them to change their way of thinking and living. It’s not enough to just listen to teaching, but we are called to go and sow Gospel seeds wherever we go. We are to help water and plant, and allow God to do the growing in people’s lives.

Pray for one or two people that you can share the Gospel with this week. Pray that their hearts would be good soil for the Gospel to grow and produce even more fruit!

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