Small Group Sermon Series Parables Of Jesus - Session 4
Speaker: Peter Ahn
Date: July 16, 2017
Luke 8:4-18 [NIV]
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:
5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.
6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant.
10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.
17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
Jesus used parables both to reveal God’s ways to people and to conceal it. The meaning of the parable of the soil is so concealed that the disciples ask Jesus to clarify what the story is about. In response, Jesus gives a detailed explanation which shows that the story of the soil gives a picture of four different responses on the spiritual journey. Following Jesus requires “a long obedience” as theologian Eugene Peterson says. This parable helps us become aware of the pitfalls we can look out for in pursuing Christ.\
- How would you describe the soil’s relationship and impact upon seed?
- How would you describe your relationship with God in this season?
- Is faith easy or challenging for you? What aspects of the faith journey are challenging?
- Which side of the spectrum do you swing towards - do you tend to see the devil as absent or tend to overemphasize his presence in challenges and temptations that arise?
- What is a healthy way to recognize the devil’s activity while being mindful of God’s greater and ultimate authority?
- When things don’t work out the way you would like, does this test your relationship with God? In what ways?
- Are you a second or third-generation Christian? Do you see ways that you may take your faith for granted rather than taking greater ownership of your faith, as evidenced by turning away from faith under pressure?
- Worry prevents us from maturing as followers of Jesus. Has worry played a recurring big role in your family generationally?
- Worry, pleasures, money are all major distractions like the thorns in the story that choked the plants that were growing. Which of these do you wrestle most with?
- Good soil comes from perseverance. Eugene Peterson, a theologian and author of The Message translation of the Bible, describes discipleship as a “long obedience in the same direction.” What would help you, in this season of your faith journey, to stay the course? Some ideas are more time in Scripture, deeper relationships of transparency with believers, growing in skills for emotionally healthy relationships, sharing faith.
- Does the word of God shape how you live life? In what ways?
- What aspects of relationships with believers needs strengthening in your life, whether within or outside of your family, to stay the course?
- How have you grown in becoming more vulnerable or transparent with other believers? What draws you or keeps you from sharing your sins with others?
- Have you experienced the grace of having another believer hear you share your sins or having a regular accountability partner? If so, how has this been helpful in your walk with God?
- How are you sharing your brokenness (testimony) with others and shining your light in the places you get to be in (home, work, neighborhood, stores, etc.)
- What type of soil are you? What do you need to become or remain good soil?
- God gives good gifts to His children. That can include unexpected provision or an awareness of something we need to let go of or change. They are all gifts if they come from God because God moves draws us in love. What is one area you sense God lovingly inviting you to tend to currently in your life of following Jesus? Perhaps it’s a belief or a practice.
- Pair up if people are comfortable to share vulnerably and pray for each other in areas of need. If the group is small and comfortable with it, this can be done collectively as a group as well.
- Follow up on any pending prayer requests from the previous session and share any new prayer requests.