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Mark 3:13 - 4:34(1)

Good Questions by Josh Hunt

These Questions Have Groups Talking



Once again, there is a whole lot here. I am going to concentrate on the parable of the sower and soil while providing more questions than you can use with the rest of the passage. Pick out what your group needs to concentrate on and touch lightly on the rest. Concentrate on one issue for the day.

Mark 3:13 - 4:34(2)




  1. Let me ask you to read this passage silently. As you do, imagine this is your morning quiet time. Look for one or two verses that strike you as the "verse of the day."
  2. In verse 14 we read about the appointing of the Apostles. What does "apostle" mean? Do we have apostles today?
  3. What kind of personality do you think John was? What dos his nickname tell us about him?
  4. Why did Jesus choose Judas, knowing he would betray him?(4)
  5. What was Jesus' family about in verse 21?
  6. What are some applications of Jesus teaching in verse 25? How does this relate to family life, to church life, to business life?
  7. Why is unity so important to a family or church?
  8. How can tight unity be achieved in a family or church?
  9. On what basis does Jesus argue that he cannot be in cahoots with Satan?
  10. What sin does Jesus say is not forgivable?(5) What is this about?
  11. Skip down to 4:10 - 12. Why did Jesus speak in parables?(6)
  12. Explain the meaning of Jesus parable in 4:26 - 29.
  13. What about the parable of the mustard seed. Is this saying the same thing, or something different?
  14. Let's return to the parable of the four soils found in 4:1 - 20. Let's make a chart of the four soils on the board. Let's put a column for the type of soil and what happened.(7)
  15. This truth could apply to the salvation message itself, or it could apply to any other teaching we hear. In other words, we could hear a teaching on prayer, like we talked about last week. We could have one of four responses, as the four soils illustrate. Have you ever heard a teaching-maybe on prayer or something else-received it with joy, but, in the long run, it did not make too much difference in your life? Has this ever happened to you? Who could tell us about such a time?(8)
  16. In contrast to this, what are some sermons, books or teachings that you have heard and they permanently altered the trajectory of your life?(9)
  17. What marks good soil, according to verse 20?
  18. Is Jesus saying that if we don't reproduce 30, 60 or 100 times we are bad soil?(10)
  19. How in the world can we produce a crop of 30, 60 or 100 times?(11)
  20. How has God gifted you to contribute to the evangelistic/ disciplemaking process?
  21. How could we work together to grow our group so that we could, as a class, be obedient to this command?(12)
  22. Would you join me in prayer, telling God that we want to be good soil? Would you join me in praying that we want to grow and reproduce and multiply 30, 60 or if He really blesses our work, 100 fold? Let's pray.

1. These lessons are used under a licensing arrangement with Lifeway Resources. To learn about many of the fine products that they have available, call them at 1 (800) 458 2772.

2. Mark 3:13-4:34

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. [14] He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach [15] and to have authority to drive out demons. [16] These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); [17] James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); [18] Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot [19] and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

[20] Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. [21] When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

[22] And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."

[23] So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan? [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. [26] And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. [27] In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. [28] I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. [29] But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."

[30] He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."

[31] Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. [32] A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."

[33] "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.

[34] Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! [35] Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

[4:1] Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. [2] He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: [3] "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [4] As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. [5] Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. [6] But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. [7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. [8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."

[9] Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

[10] When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. [11] He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables [12] so that,

" 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,

and ever hearing but never understanding;

otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'"

[13] Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? [14] The farmer sows the word. [15] Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. [16] Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. [17] But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. [18] Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; [19] but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. [20] Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."

[21] He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? [22] For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. [23] If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

[24] "Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more. [25] Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."

[26] He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. [27] Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. [28] All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. [29] As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

[30] Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? [31] It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. [32] Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."

[33] With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. [34] He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

3. Heavy, long term accountability doesn't work in an open, Sunday School type group, but you can do some light, week-to-week accountability.

4. Jesus came for a purpose. That purpose was to be betrayed, turned over to the authorities, crucified, resurrected, and in doing so to pay the penalty for our sins. Judas was part of the plan.

5. I don't mean for these lessons to replace good study in quarterlies, teaching helps and commentaries. A lot of guys smarter than me have written some good stuff on this. I trust you are doing some reading during the week to inform you on this. Good Sunday School is more than pooled ignorance. You make sure you are bringing some clear thinking truth to the table. Life way resources offers a good number of helpful products.

6. Another difficult passage to understand. Again, consult the commentaries.

7. I have in minds something like this:

Type of SoilWhat happened
Soil on the pathSatan takes the seed away.
Rocky soilReceive it with joy. Trouble or persecution come, the fall away.
ThornsThe worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Good soilOthers, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."

8. Probably for most of us it happens several times a month. We hear sermons that warm our hearts, but they do not change our lives.

9. Jack Taylor did a series of messages once on praise that I was privileged to enjoy. My life has never been the same.

10. This is the verse I call the most convicting verse in all the Bible. But, through the process of reproduction and multiplication, it can be achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.

11. By working together in groups to double every two years or less. Not personal reproduction, group reproduction. Each one using their gifts to grow their group to double every two years or less and doubling the church in our countries every 20 years or less. In many parts of the world, this is already taking place. My father estimates that the work in the Philippines where they served our Lord as missionaries has doubled every ten years. The gospel should grow rapidly.

12. What an opportunity to do some vision casting around the goal of doubling your class every two years or less. Explain how you can use the ministry of hospitality. Explain about inviting every member and every visitor to every fellowship every month. Invite a team to help you by serving as inreach leaders, outreach leaders and so forth.

























































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