What's Wrong With the Gospel?
Preface to the film (Matthew 12:46-49): Jesus has just publicly distanced himself from his family because of their unbelief.
- Why did Jesus’ message resonate with some and not with others? Why do people go through “religious phases,” then go back to the same place they started?
I. Explaining the parable
|The Metaphor||The Explanation||The Result|
|Seed falls on the path, where the birds eat it (v. 4)||Represents the one who hears the gospel, but does not understand it (v. 19)||The evil one snatches it away (v. 19)|
|Seed falls on rocky ground without much soil (v. 5)||Represents the one who hears the word, but has no rooting (v. 20)||Fades away at the first sign of difficulty (v. 21)|
|Seed falls among thorns (v. 7)||Represents the one who lacks fruitfulness because of other life desires (v. 22)||Potential fruit is choked out by competing passions (v. 22)|
|Seed falls on good soil (v. 8)||Represents the one who hears the word and understands it (v. 23)||Produces an overwhelming crop (v. 23)|
II. Applying the parable
What type of soil are you?
The path – When you hear the message of what Jesus taught, who he was, and what his death meant, it does not make any sense to you at all.
· Project: Open yourself to the possibility that there is something about God that you don’t yet understand. Read the book of John this week with this prayer in mind: “God, if you’re there, help me understand what I need to understand.”
The rocky ground – You have spontaneous expressions of faith and spirituality, but they are irregular and quickly fade when being a Christian is difficult.
· Project: Ask the Lord to show you how to develop roots in your faith. Some possibilities include:
o Joining a small group.
o Reading through the Bible in 2009.
o Finding someone who is rooted to serve as your mentor.
The thorn-infested soil – You have some spiritual roots, but there are so many competing values and priorities in your life that you’re seeing no fruit.
- What’s fruit?
· Project: Ask the Lord to show you what passions in your life are acting as thorns. Find someone (a small group, spouse, mentor, friend) to confess to, and ask them to speak into your life about whether they agree.
The good soil – You hear and understand the gospel, and you’ve set yourself up bear fruit.
Conclusion: The spread of the kingdom of God is meant to being non-descript, but yet overwhelming in scope.