Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23: Parable Of The Soils

Welcome back the group and acknowledge any new members. Share with them that the purpose of the group is to help people discover more about God and how He relates to their lives. Explain that anyone is welcome, and if they have other friends that they would like to invite to join, they are welcome.

Care

Begin the session by asking:

· What are you thankful for this week?

· What are you struggling with and how can we help?

Spend time praying for their concerns

Accountability

· How did you apply the lesson from last week? How did it go for you?

· Who did you share the story with, and what was their response?

Story: Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

Relate the Purpose: There are Different Kinds of Responses to the Gospel

Relate the Background: Jesus’ ministry was growing and many were beginning to follow Him. Some were sincere, but others were really trying to oppose Him. The Pharisees, the religious rulers of Jesus’ day, did not want people to follow Jesus. Jesus began teaching lessons through parables so that only those who he intended to teach could understand. Parables are stories with a moral or spiritual lesson.

Read the Story: Either the facilitator or members of the group can read. Read it once with Bibles open with the members following along, and once with Bibles closed.

Matthew 13:3-8

3 Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:

A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. 4 While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. 5 Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. 7 Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. 8 But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered.

18 Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer:

19 The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. 20 The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. 21 But they don’t have deep roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.

22 The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. 23 The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Retell the Story: Have a group member retell the story in their own words. If they miss parts or misunderstand, ask the rest of the group to help them, or fill in what they have forgotten.

Ask Questions for discussion and clarification: These are sample questions you might use for this story. Also use your own. Let their answers to your questions do the teaching.

Application

What is your “I will _____________”for this lesson?

Who will you share this story with?

Summarize the Session: (Relate to the Purpose)

Many will hear the Gospel, but there will be different responses to it. It is important to firmly decide what kind of soil you will be. Will you be easily discouraged when troubles come? Or will you let the seed take deep root in you that you may be strong and flourish.

Close in Prayer:

Thank God for the Good News that has taken root in your heart. Pray that God would continue to search your heart and expose what kind of soil you are. Pray also for the people God is leading you to share the Gospel to. Pray that they will have fertile soil for the Gospel in their hearts.

Set the time and place for the next meeting, and remind them to feel free to invite others to join the group. Ask the group to read the next story before the next meeting and prepare to share a summary in their own words.