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Bible Study: God’s plans will be fulfilled

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passage: Matthew 13

Discussion Questions:

— Why are stories so effective at teaching truths?

— Why should believers be encouraged that the growth of the kingdom is God’s responsibility and not our own?

— What steps do you take to make sure the thorns of daily life do not choke out the seed of the kingdom in your life?

Food for Thought:

Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. Jesus used a lot of agrarian imagery, the common language of the culture, both in His sermons and in His stories. But He used these images in a different way than His hearers would have expected.

Jesus explained this parable to His disciples in Matthew 13:18-23. The seed sown is the Word about the kingdom – or the Gospel. A person’s response to the Gospel depends on the nature of the soil, or the state of his or her heart. The human sower has no way of knowing which hearts will be receptive and which ones won’t. So the sowing of the seed — the preaching and sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — must be done anywhere and everywhere because the responsibility for the growth is not our own but God’s.

These kingdom parables help us see everyday life with spiritual resonance. Events in the news or in the neighborhood may look bleak, but Christ is upholding the universe. His plans will be fulfilled. The proliferation of evil seems inevitable, but Christ’s church is continuing and will continue to bear fruit.

As you read this right now, there are cares and worries in your life that can steal your joy in Christ if not submitted to His care. You may not be going through anything especially difficult, anything “big” that could distract you from kingdom fruitfulness, but the danger to get off mission is always there. In fact, it may be during times of relative ease that we are most in danger. Suffering and hardship typically have a way of pushing us closer to God in faith. In your preoccupation and planning, are you forgetting to meditate on God’s Word, to pray, and to apply His Word to your life?

Today can be the day of repentance and a fresh start. Don’t underestimate the power of the Gospel in your life to recenter your mind and refocus your gaze on the “author and perfecter” of your faith — Jesus.

The Gospel Project

The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/GospelProject.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.