Curriculum

Dive Deeper

5 Thru 5 (Part 1)

Rhordan Wicks

INTRODUCTION

In this series, we are diving into the five parables of Jesus in the New Testament. Parables are short, fictitious stories Jesus told as a way to explain how he was bringing the Kingdom of God. The word “parable” is a compound word in Greek meaning “to set alongside.” The parables are set alongside the reality of Jesus’ announcement of the Kingdom of God, not just as moral ideals.

In our first instalment, we look at the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20 & Luke 8:4-15). This is the first parable that Jesus used to teach the crowd. When Jesus told the parable of the sower, he focused on the soil. This parable has a lesson that still rings true today and it speaks about the soil of our hearts.

This parable teaches us this simple truth – how we listen to God’s Word determines how we experience God’s World. So how do we learn to listen and understand His Word? The preacher shared 3 simple keys. 

  1. By giving active attention 
  2. By being faithful and obedient to God 
  3. By engaging in community

DISCUSSION

  1. Are you a plant lover or enjoy gardening? What type of soil is best for plant growth? 

  2. Read Mark 4:1-20 and Matthew 13:1-23. Over the years, the story has come to be known as “The Parable of the Sower”. Do you think this is the most descriptive title of the story? What other titles might be appropriate?

  3. Parables are stories taken from everyday life, and have a meaning that “lay along-side” interesting details of the story.  Jesus’ followers asked him in private to explain what the parable meant. 

    a. What does the seed represent? 

    b. What happens to the seed in each soil? 

    c. The four kinds of soil represent four kinds of people – what are the four kinds of people? What is the state of their hearts when it comes to God’s Word? 

    d. Why did Jesus conclude His parable saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear?”

  4. The preacher gave three simple keys to train our hearts to listen to God’s Word. Share how they have helped you in your spiritual journey in becoming the ‘good soil’? Did you face any challenges in the process? What actions did you take?
     
  5. Where are you in this parable? Are you sowing a lot of seed, just one seed here or there, or just watching other people sow seed? Are you the “good soil”? If so, are you bearing fruit? 

What do you plan to do in the next week to apply what you have learned today?

WHAT WILL YOU DO

The lesson in this parable is one about God’s Word and the responses from those who hear it. Not everyone who hears Jesus’ words will listen or respond to it because we can have a “soil problem” in our hearts.

We need to evaluate our “soil”: Is my heart hardened with an obstinate or blind streak in hearing His Word and refusing to obey it?  Have I hardened my heart with excuses for not listening?

Is my heart soil so shallow that no deep roots can grow to support His word? Maybe our heart soil is crowding out the growth of His word with the cares and responsibilities of our life.

Jesus cautions us against all these things that lead to less optimum growth of His Word.  His desire is for our hearts to be receptive to Him when He speaks to us.  Only we can decide how that happens. Our natural inclination is to look at ourselves rather than Jesus.  But we can ask Him to show us the rocks and thorns we need to clean out to make space for His Spirit to grow.

“Test me Lord and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” Psalm 26:2 (NIV)

We can speak this verse anytime to ask Him to show us where we need to change our lives. His Spirit will convict us of areas that need attention.

MEMORY VERSE

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” – Mark 4:20 NIV