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!

  1. Sower

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

    3. 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).)

    4. 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.)

      1. The lesson suggests (Sunday) that the seed is
        “Christ’s righteousness.” Do you agree?

    5. Is this a smart farmer? Why not save seed and only sling
      it on the good soil?

      1. Any gardeners here? Anyone know about “amending”
        soil? Would this farmer, if he were smarter, have
        worked on amending the soil?

      2. 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
        sowing techniques?

    6. 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.)

      1. Is there anything we can do about the problem of the
        seed falling on the path?

        1. Should we just not sow on the path? (How would
          you know a “path” person from a “fertile soil”

        2. Can we change the path soil?

          1. 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.)

    7. 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

      1. 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.)

    8. 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

      1. 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.”)

        1. Is that you?

        2. 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.)

    1. 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

      1. 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

    2. 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
      life problems.)

  1. Lost Coin

    1. Read Luke 15:8-10. Tell me who you think each character in
      this story represents?

      1. The woman?

      2. The coin? (The woman is God and the coin is us.)

      3. To whom does God consider that you rightfully belong?
        (Jesus starts out with the assumption that we belong
        to Him.)

      4. 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?”

      5. 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.”)

      6. 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.)

      7. 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!)

    2. 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?

      1. How about you? How do you view sinners?

    3. 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

      join in?

  2. Next Week: The Great Controversy and Miracles of Jesus.