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Lesson 16: Stories Jesus Told

In His teaching Jesus used things of daily life and nature to help the people understand the spiritual truths He was trying to teach 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.

Jesusí Object Lessons

1. What method of teaching did Jesus most often use? Matthew 13:34.

"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them."

2. Why did Jesus say He taught the people this way? Matthew 13:13.

"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

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. Many of the people, however, were not prepared to accept or even understand the things He was teaching. 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. Later as they looked at the scenes Jesus had described, they remembered His words, and their minds, impressed by the Holy Spirit, were able to understand the real meaning of the lessons He had spoken to them.

3. How do we understand unseen spiritual truths? Romans 1:20.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."

Note: There are many spiritual truths that can be difficult to understand because they are about things we cannot see. As we study the things God has made, we learn to know more about Him. In the things about us, God has given evidence of His existence, so that all may know of His existence.

4. To what did Jesus liken the preaching of the gospel? Matthew 13:3.

"And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower [seed planter] went forth to sow."

5. Who is represented by the Sower? Matthew 13:37.

"He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man."

6. What is represented by the seed sown? Luke 8:11.

"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."

7. What are Christís words to us? John 6:63.

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

Note: Every seed has in itself a life that waits to sprout and grow. This life is put there by God. If you sow the seed under the right conditions, it will develop its own life in a plant.

8. When we accept Jesusí words, what do we receive? John 5:24.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

Note: Just as the seed contains within itself the life properties that will cause it to sprout and grow into a living plant, so in every promise of Godís Word, there is in that promise the very power of God to make that promise come true to us.

In every command, like every promise God has given us, there is the power in that word to make it possible for us to do what He asks us to do. God does not tell us to do anything for which He does not provide the power for us to do it.

It is like if I ask you to go buy me a car. You say, "I canít, I donít have the money to buy a car!" But if I give you the money then you can buy me the car. God always provides what we need to obey Him if we choose to do so. When God told Israel to march across the Jordan River, there was in that command the power that made it possible for them to walk across the river. If you will remember, the moment the priestís feet touched the river, the river stopped flowing, and the people walked across the river bed. See Joshua 3:15-17.

9. How many types of soil did the good seed fall on? Matthew 13:4-8.

"And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."

10. What was the first type of ground mentioned, on which seed fell? Matthew 13:4.

"And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up."

Note: The wayside represents the heart of a person who is not a careful listener. Like the hard-beaten path, there is really no chance for the seed to take root, because they have not been an interested listener.

11. What is it that hardens our hearts? Hebrews 3:13.

"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

Note: If we do not carefully guard our minds, the interests and excitement of the things of this world, will so attract us, that we have little time or interest to learn about spiritual truth. Bible study seems to be boring and uninteresting and none of the things we read or hear there seem to have any importance for us. In this way, the Word finds no place to take root in our hearts 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.

"And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."

Note: Because there was so little depth of soil, it was quickly warmed by the sunís rays, and the seeds quickly sprouted and grew. But as the growing plant developed, the soil lacked the depth to give it moisture and the important food elements that plants need to grow healthy and strong. Just as quickly as it sprang up, the plant withered and died.

Many who call themselves Christians are stony-ground hearers. They are interested in the Bible stories, and they donít want to be lost, but they do not consider all that it means to be a follower of Jesus. When temptations and difficulties arise, they quickly become discouraged.

The love of self is still stronger than the love of Jesus and they do not see sin to be such a bad thing. Though they were easily convinced of the Bible truth, and for a while looked like Christians, their religious experience is not a very deep one. They are happy for a short time, for they believe that following Jesus will free them from all difficulty and trial. While life moves smoothly they may appear to be real Christians, but they cannot bear criticism for Christís sake. When the Word of God points to some cherished sin or requires some self-denial or sacrifice, their feelings are hurt and they go back to their old way of life.

13. What do the thorns that choked out the good seed represent? Luke 8:14.

"And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection."

Note: Not everything that is included as a thorn is necessarily wrong in itself. There are many good things that are OK until they become more important to us than following Jesus. Anything that becomes so important to us that it takes our minds away from God, is an enemy of our soul.

14. What did Jesus tell us was the most important thing for us to strive for? Matthew 6:33.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

15. What class of people did Christ especially come to seek? Mark 2:17.

"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Note: The good soil does not represent hearts that are free from sin, but honest hearts that will yield to the working of the Holy Spirit and are willing to learn and change.

16. As we receive the Word of God, what is it able to do in us? 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

Note: In Luke 7 you will find the story of a centurion whose servant was sick. This man sent word to Jesus, asking Him to heal his servant. Jesus began making His way to the manís home. When the centurion heard this, he came himself to Jesus saying he did not think himself worthy to have Jesus come to his home, but that if Christ would only speak the word, his servant would be healed. When He heard this, Jesus said that He had not found such faith in all Israel.

Jesus showed that believing that His Word can do what He says, is evidence of great faith. Our verse says that the Word of God received, works effectually in those who believe, Paul is again saying the same thing; there is the power in the Word to accomplish the thing it speaks in our lives, if we are willing and believe.

17. What is the difference between the true Christian and those who are Christians in name only? Matthew 7:16-18.

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

18. What will eventually become of those who do not bring forth good fruit? Matthew 7:19.

"Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn [cut] down, and cast into the fire."

Note: To say that we are Christians, while in our life we are disobedient, will bring us the reward of disobedience.

19. What is Godís Word in our hearts able to do for us? Psalm 119:11.

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Note: The truth of Godís Word separates us from our sins. If we allow it to live in our hearts, it will not only make us obedient, but even our thoughts will become good thoughts. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that it will bring "every thought to the obedience of Christ."

20. If Jesus, by His Word, is truly living in our hearts, whose life will our lives resemble? 1 John 2:6.

"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

21. What does Peter tell us about Jesusí life? 1 Peter 2:21.

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."

22. Whose mind does the Christian have? 1 Corinthians 2:16.

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

Note: When we accept Godís Word into our hearts, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we become changed inside. As we seek to know more about Jesus, we become more and more like Him in life and character.

We need to remember that when God speaks, whether it was as it was at Creation , when God spoke and a world appeared, or as in the Bible when the words are the words written by the prophets from the thoughts put in their minds by the Spirit of God, it is all the same; those words are powerful and have in them the power to accomplish the thing spoken. When God spoke and said, "Let the earth bring forth grass...," grass sprang up. God didnít have to do any special work to make it happen; the power was in His Word.

When Jesus was on the earth, He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead, all by His powerful Word. Thus, when we read in the Scriptures His will for our lives, the power to make this real in our lives is in that Word, if we are willing to allow it to work in us, it will make us just what Jesus wants us to be.

So, let us all be willing workers for Jesus. Make that decision today, walk with Him and let Him work to mold and shape you according to His will.

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