Introduction: Jesus used parables, what I call “word-pictures,” to
teach the lessons of the Kingdom of Heaven. This week we turn our
study to a few of these parables that better help us to understand
the controversy between good and evil. Let’s dive in!
- Read Matthew 13:1-2. Jesus sat in the boat while people
stood on the shore to hear Him. Think about the last time
you were at an “event.” Were you ever standing up? (You
stand up when things get exciting and you want to be able
to see. The people must have been very interested in
seeing and hearing Jesus.)
- Read Matthew 13:3-6. Is Jesus giving a farming lesson?
(No. Verse 3 tells us that Jesus “told them many things in
parables.” Jesus was teaching them lessons about the
Kingdom of Heaven through every-day illustrations.)
- Read Matthew 13:7-9 to finish up the rest of Jesus’
parable. What is necessary to understand the meaning of
this story? (In verse 9 Jesus suggests that just having
ears will do it. But, in the verses that follow Jesus also
says the people “hardly hear with their ears.” (v.15).)
- You all have ears (in the case of the Internet readers,
eyes), who do you think is the sower? What is the seed?
(The sower is you when you share the gospel message with
others. Jesus, of course, is the chief “sower.” The seed
are truths about the gospel or the word of God.)
- The lesson suggests (Sunday) that the seed is
“Christ’s righteousness.” Do you agree?
- Is this a smart farmer? Why not save seed and only sling
it on the good soil?
- Any gardeners here? Anyone know about “amending”
soil? Would this farmer, if he were smarter, have
worked on amending the soil?
- What do these aspects of this parable teach us?
Should we only sow in “fertile” soil? Should we work
to “amend” bad soil? Or, is this an element of the
story that is not intended to teach us anything about
- Let’s read on to see what Jesus says we should be learning
from this parable. Read Matthew 13:18-19. In the conflict
between good and evil, what lesson do we learn here? (When
we are out spreading the gospel, Satan is actively working
to thwart our efforts.)
- Is there anything we can do about the problem of the
seed falling on the path?
- Should we just not sow on the path? (How would
you know a “path” person from a “fertile soil”
- Can we change the path soil?
- If you said, “yes, we can change it,” what
does the Bible say makes path soil? What
would you do to change it?(“Path” soil
represents (v.19) people who do not
understand the gospel message. In my
experience, most people do not read well.
When “King James only” people insist that
new converts read only the King James
version of the Bible, they are directly
contributing to the “hard path” problem
and giving Satan an opportunity to steal
away new converts. Another problem area is
that believers have a special Bible
vocabulary. The average person does not
know, for example, what “sanctified”
means. We need to be sure that we make the
gospel clear and simple to understand.)
- Read Matthew 13:20-21. What problem in these verses can we
work on and what problem is beyond us? (We probably cannot
do much about trouble or persecution. But we might be able
to throw more dirt on the convert to help the root
- What would you do to throw more dirt on a new
believer? (Verse 21 says that trouble comes to this
person “because of the word.” This kind of new
convert decides the gospel is not worth the trouble.
The solution seems to be to instill in new believers
a sense of the worth of following God. These new
people (v.20) are inclined towards God, they feel the
joy of God, they just need to realize the worth of
being in a right relationship with God.)
- Read Matthew 13:22. The problems that kill the seed in
verse 22 seem much like the problems that killed the seed
in verse 21. Are they the same? Or, do you see a
difference? (The problems of verse 21 come from a direct
attack by Satan on your religious beliefs. The important
phrase is “because of the word.” The problems of verse
22, on the other hand, are the difficulties of everyday
- Does the person who grows from the seed planted in
the weedy soil leave the faith? (No. These are the
people sitting in the pews each week who never do
anything to promote the gospel. They never have the
time to be involved because they are dealing with
problems or making money. As a result, they are
sitting there, but are “unfruitful.”)
- Is that you?
- What can we do to help those in this situation?
How do we “amend” this weedy soil? (These people
need a real heart conversion. They either
believe God’s work is of secondary importance,
or they do not trust God with the “worries of
this life.” A heart conversion is required to
change this attitude.)
- Read Matthew 13:23. What is the key to being a productive
believer? (Hearing and understanding. Just telling people
is not enough. We must do our best to make the gospel
- For those of you who want to dig deeper, read Matthew
13:10-17. Think about why Jesus, on one hand,
emphasizes the importance of understanding the
gospel, and, on the other hand, suggests He teaches
by parables to keep secret the principles of the
kingdom of heaven. (I think Jesus is saying just the
opposite of what He appears to be saying. Speaking in
parables helped (v. 15) the calloused heart, hard of
hearing, barely seeing people to understand the
- As you review this parable in your mind, what are Satan’s
chief weapons against your spiritual health? (Not
understanding God’s word and not caring enough about God’s
word when Satan attacks us directly or through everyday
- Lost Coin
- Read Luke 15:8-10. Tell me who you think each character in
this story represents?
- The woman?
- The coin? (The woman is God and the coin is us.)
- To whom does God consider that you rightfully belong?
(Jesus starts out with the assumption that we belong
- Are these valuable coins? What does this say about
God’s view of you? Imagine if the parable said, “and
a woman dropped her gum on the floor?”
- If God is like this woman, what is His attitude
towards our salvation? (This is such a beautiful
picture of a loving, caring God. Instead of being
harsh and judgmental, God is doing His best to save
us. He doesn’t say, “Well, I’ve got most of them, the
one that fell down is not worth the trouble.”)
- What do you think the light represents in this
parable? What do you think the sweeping represents?
What does the careful search represent? (The light
represents God’s truth. He makes His truth available
to each one of us. His sweeping represents His
attempt to clear away the debris in our life so that
we can more clearly understand His will. The careful
search represents His individual concern and efforts
for each one of us. When we are in the gospel light,
when the debris of life is pushed aside, it is easier
for us to respond to God’s rescue efforts.)
- What lesson does this parable of the coin teach us
about the conflict between good and evil? (That God
has not left us on our own. He not only has the
desire to save us, but He is working as hard as
possible to save us. Praise God!)
- Let’s go back and pick up the introduction to this series
of parables. Read Luke 15:1-2. How does Jesus’ attitude
compare with that of the religious leaders of the day?
- How about you? How do you view sinners?
- Friend, these parables show that God cares for us. He
pursues sinners. We are to be co-laborers with Him in
spreading the gospel message that saves humans. Will you
- Next Week: The Great Controversy and Miracles of Jesus.