Preaching the Gospel
Lesson 16

In His teaching Jesus used things of nature to help the people understand the spiritual truths He was teaching them. By using this method of teaching, Jesus connected in their minds, the truths of His written Word with their everyday experiences. Whenever they saw a shepherd with his flock of sheep, they would remember the Good Shepherd and the care He has for each one of us. When they saw a farmer working in his field, they would be prompted to remember the Sower who went forth to sow seeds of gospel truth. Wherever they turned, they would see things that would remind them of the words of Jesus, bringing to their remembrance the important lessons He had taught them.

And there was yet another reason Jesus taught in parables. Among those who gathered to listen to Him were priests and rabbis who desired above all else to find something in His teaching for which they might accuse Him and cause His condemnation. In parables He rebuked their hypocrisy and wicked works and in figurative language clothed the truth in such a way that though they understood the cutting truths He presented, there was nothing in that which He said that they could use against Him.

1. How do we understand spiritual truths?

Romans 1:20

2. What method of teaching did Jesus most frequently use?

Matthew 13:13

Note: In the early part of His ministry, Jesus had spoken to the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have understood the truths He taught. However, for so long they had been taught errors that their minds had a very hard time opening to understand the truths Jesus presented. For this reason also, He taught them in parables. By connecting His teachings with the scenes of their everyday life, He gained their attention and impressed their hearts.

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

Matthew 13:3

4. Who is represented by the Sower?

Matthew 13:37

5. What is represented by the seed sown?

Luke 8:11

6. What are Christ’s words to us?

John 6:63

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

John 5:24

Note: In every promise to be found in the Word of God, is the power 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 that will resemble the life and character of God.

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

Matthew 13:4–8

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

Matthew 13:4

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

10. What is it that hardens our hearts?

Hebrews 3:13

Note: The world’s traffic, its pleasures and sin, paralyzes the spiritual capacity of the soul, rendering it 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.

11. What happened to the plants that grew on the stony soil?

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.

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

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 it is necessary to neglect spiritual interests in order to pursue worldly enterprises, they separate themselves from God.

13. What is the key to true success in this life?

Matthew 6:33

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

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.

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

1 Thessalonians 2:13

16. What distinguishes the true Christian and the mere professor?

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.

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

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.

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

2 Peter 1:4

Note: This lust is not to be understood as referring simply to sexual immorality, but to all unlawful desires. It includes all the desires of the selfish heart.

The truth separates man from his sins, from his inherited as well as 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

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

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