Leader Thoughts

Because our church service was canceled this last Sunday this will be a stand alone home group lesson. There is not a sermon that connects with this home group lesson so we will need to do a little more set up than normal for our group. In this home group we will explore one passage together and talk through the application for the passage in our lives. We are going to explore the parable of the sower that Jesus Teaches.

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“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places . . . Other seed fell among thorns . . . Still other seed fell on good soil.” — Matthew 13:3–8.

Although this is often known as the parable of the sower and the seed, it can also be said this is a parable about the soil. All four types of soil are essentially the same dirt but are in different conditions and respond in different ways to cultivation.

What made one soil more responsive and the other less?

When the New Testament was written, communities were agriculturally based. A family would be appointed a section of land to farm. Every farmer’s plot was adjacent to their neighbor’s. In order to get to the fields, the farmers would walk along the boundaries bordering each field to avoid stepping on the growing plants. The “path” was held in common by all the farmers. Over time, the soil on the path would compact. It was never plowed and never fertilized. In the parable, the seed that is sown on the path is not able to penetrate the ground because of the constant use. The condition of the first soil is hard and impermeable.

The second type of soil mentioned in the parable is the “rocky” places” or the shallow soil where the plow didn’t cut deeply enough to break up the shale or hard ground just below the surface. This soil produced only plants with weak, shallow roots.

The third type of soil mentioned is the thorny soil, most likely found in the corners of the field where the plow couldn’t reach; here, weeds overtook what was planted.

All the types of soils mentioned here are actually in the same plot of ground with one major difference: Only one area was fully yielded to cultivation, to being changed and prepared for planting. That area was called the good soil.

The greatest amount of fruit produced was not determined by how rich the soil was, but how yielded to the plow it was. The soil in each condition received seed, but not all produced quality fruit.

Everyone receives seed, the Word of God. Everyone has potential for the harvest, living a fruitful life, but the ones who will produce the most fruit will be the ones most yielded to cultivation.

Application

How I apply this passage is by asking questions: Can I be “cultivated” in my life? How correctable am I? How quickly do I repent? Can I self-correct? The greater my yielding to God’s cultivation the greater the capacity of my fruitfulness in life.

Home Group Guide

OPENING

What are some of your favorite teachings or stories in scripture? Why do these stand out to you?

What are some of the more difficult teachings in scripture for you to follow? Why are these difficult for you?

SCRIPTURE

Say something like: Today we want to explore the teaching of the parable of the sower. We want to make note of the four different types of soil. Ultimately we want to examine our own heart and it’s condition to hold and grow truth.

Read: Mark 4: 1-8

  1. What are the four different types of soil?

  2. What can we see to be true about the soil on the path? What is it teaching us?

  3. What can we see to be true about the soil that is rocky? What is it teaching us?

  4. What can we see to be true about the thorny soil? What is it teaching us?

  5. What can we see to be true about the good soil? What is it teaching us?

    APPLICATION

Say something like: All of these soils are in the same area. The only difference is how well they took to cultivation.

1. Do I allow God’s word to cultivate my life?

2. Which soil does your life most currently look like? Why would you say so? How can this change if it’s not the good soil?

PRAYER

Ask God to examine our heart. Cultivate the hardness, remove the rocks and thorns. Make in us a good soil.