The Preaching of the Gospel
Lesson 25

The material for this lesson is largely drawn from the parable of the sower, as recorded in: Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23; Mark 4:1–20; Luke 8:4–15.

In His teaching Christ employed the things of the natural world to bring home to the minds of His listeners truths that were of a spiritual nature. The things of nature and the life-experiences of His hearers were connected with the truths of the written Word in such a way that forever afterward, lessons of eternal value were linked with their daily experiences, keeping constantly before them the reality of the spiritual world. In thus connecting the natural to the spiritual world, these lessons are links in the chain of truth that unites man with God, and earth with heaven.

1. What method of teaching did Christ most often employ?

Matthew 13:34
Matthew 13:34

2. What reason did Jesus give for teaching in parables?

Matthew 13:13
Matthew 13:13

Note: In the earlier part of His ministry Christ had spoken to the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have understood the truths He taught. Many of the people, however, were unprepared to accept or even understand the things He presented. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teachings with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He gained their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled His words, and their minds, impressed by the Holy Spirit, grasped the significance of the lessons He had presented.

3. How do we understand unseen spiritual truths?

Romans 1:20
Romans 1:20

Note: In all His teaching Christ brought the mind of man in contact with the mind of the Creator through the things He had made. He taught them to see and know Him as manifested in His works, in His Word, and by His providences.

4. To what did Jesus liken the preaching of the gospel?

Matthew 13:3
Matthew 13:3

5. Who is represented by the Sower?

Matthew 13:37
Matthew 13:37

6. What is represented by the seed sown?

Luke 8:11
Luke 8:11

7. What are Christ’s words to us?

John 6:63
John 6:63

Note: Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. There is in every seed the life of the plant. Sow the seed under the right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant.

8. When we accept Christ’s words, what do we receive?

John 5:24
John 5:24

Note: In every promise of the Word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. Received into the soul by faith the seed will bring forth character and life after the similitude of the life and character of God. See 2 Peter 1:4.

9. Upon how many types of soil did the seed fall?

Matthew 13:4–8
Matthew 13:4–8

10. What was the first type of ground mentioned, on which seed fell?

Matthew 13:4
Matthew 13:4

Note: The wayside represents the heart of an inattentive hearer. Like the hard-beaten path, there is no chance for the seed to take root.

11. What is it that hardens our hearts?

Hebrews 3:13
Hebrews 3:13

Note: The world’s traffic, its pleasures and sin, paralyzes the spiritual faculties of the soul, rendering them insensitive to the preaching of the gospel. Though men may hear the Word, they do not feel any need, and they fail to recognize that the words spoken apply to them. The Word finds no place to take root and Satan catches it away.

12. When the sun came out, what happened to the plants that grew on the stony soil?

Matthew 13:6
Matthew 13:6

Note: Because there was little depth of soil, it was quickly warmed by the sun’s rays, and the seeds quickly sprouted and grew. As the growing plant developed, however, this same soil lacked the depth to give it moisture and nutrition, and, just as quickly as it had sprung up, the plant withered away. Many who make a profession of religion are stony-ground hearers. Their hearts are moved by the presentation of the gospel, and they desire the reward of the righteous. They make their decision, however, without regard to the cost involved and, when difficulties arise, they quickly become discouraged. The love of self is not subdued, and they fail to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Easily convinced, they appear to be bright converts, but their religion is only superficial. They rejoice for a season, for they believe that religion will free them from difficulty and trial. While life moves smoothly with them they may appear to be consistent Christians, but they cannot bear reproach for Christ’s sake. When the Word of God points out some cherished sin or requires self-denial or sacrifice, they are offended, and, losing sight of eternal realities, they go back to the world.

13. What do the thorns that choked out the good seed represent?

Luke 8:14
Luke 8:14

Note: Here are included things which may not in themselves be wrong, but which are made first instead of the kingdom of God. Whatever attracts the mind from God is an enemy of the soul.

Christians can and must engage in business and they can do so without committing sin. When, however, their whole energy is absorbed in business enterprises, and they feel obliged to neglect spiritual interests in the pursuit of worldly enterprises, they separate themselves from God.

14. What is Christ’s admonition to those who seek for success in this life?

Matthew 6:33
Matthew 6:33

15. What class of people in particular, did Christ come to seek?

Mark 2:17
Mark 2:17

Note: The good soil does not represent hearts that are free from sin, but honest hearts that yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

16. As we receive the Word of God, what is it able to do in us?

1 Thessalonians 2:13
1 Thessalonians 2:13

17. What is the mark of distinction between the true Christian and the mere professor?

Matthew 7:16–18
Matthew 7:16–18

Note: In religion, profession means nothing without works that correspond. Those who have heard the Word of God and received it into the soul will give evidence of that fact by good works.

18. What will eventually become of those who fail of bringing forth good fruit?

Matthew 7:19
Matthew 7:19

Note: To profess a relationship with Christ, while the life does not reflect obedience to God’s revealed will, will bring the reward of disobedience. See Matthew 7:21–23.

19. What is God’s Word in our hearts able to accomplish in our lives?

Psalm 119:11
Psalm 119:11

Note: The truth separates man from his sins, from his hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. Lifting him above the weakness of his natural tendencies, “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

20. With Christ abiding in our hearts by His Word, whose life will our life resemble?

1 John 2:6
1 John 2:6

21. What does the apostle say of Christ’s life?

1 Peter 2:21–22
1 Peter 2:21–22

It is for us to receive God’s Word and hold it fast, yielding ourselves fully to its control, and its purpose will be accomplished in us. As the heart is converted to the truth, the work of transformation goes on. Continual devotion and piety establish so close a relation between Jesus and His disciple that the Christian becomes like Him in mind and character.

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