Group Guide

This Week's City 7:

2. Are there sources outside the Bible that confirm the Biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? Many Roman and Jewish historians have confirmed that the apostles died as martyrs for preaching that they saw Jesus risen from the grave. No one dies for something they know to be a lie.
(Luke 1:1-4; Acts 26:26; 1 John 1:1-4, Josephus, Clement, Hegesippus, Tertullian, Origen, Polycarp)

Ice-Breaker:

Do you have a green thumb? Are you into gardening? Which ones of you couldn't keep a cactus alive?

Discussion Questions:

  • Jesus' simple illustration shows us four different responses to the Gospel. He is talking to the crowd about what an authentic follower looks like. He transitions from "come and see" to "come and follow." He was looking for more than superficial adherence. The parable is meant to separate the sincere seeker from the casual hearer. The first heart Jesus addresses is the HARD heart. The seed that fell on the hard soil is stolen away. When God seeks to speak to humanity, there is a cosmic battle that breaks out. Satan and his demons seek to destroy every good work of God. Have you ever been there where your heart was hardened to the message of the Gospel? Is there someone in your life now that falls into this category?

  • The next type of heart Jesus shows us is the SHALLOW heart. This seed fell among rocks so that it only grew shallow roots. It died for a lack of moisture. This kind of person receives the message with joy and may have even "prayed the prayer." But there is no objective evidence to prove that there has been any kind of heart change. Confession doesn't always equal conversion. Their lives show zero growth since the day they were "saved." They have no roots. Authentic followers of Jesus will persevere till the end. They might fall, but they wont fall away. They come back because they want to know Jesus. Have you ever had this kind of shallow heart? Maybe you are there now? How does someone know if they truly have deep spiritual roots?

  • Next is the DISTRACTED heart. This is the seed that falls among the thorns, and the Gospel message is eventually crowded and choked out. Whereas the shallow heart turns away because of shallow roots, the distracted heart turns away because of life's pleasures. Their hearts are divided. They love Jesus but they also love the stuff of the world. They attempt to have all the pleasures of life and then add a little Jesus to it. But God's word says that we cannot serve "both God and wealth." So all of our stuff and activities and busy schedules start to choke out the Gospel in our lives and we don't grow. This is the trap that so many of us fall into. Question: Do your work, sports, hobbies, kids' activities determine your spiritual life, or does your spiritual life determine the rest? Where do you struggle to keep God first? What are the idols in your life? What needs to change?

  • Finally, we see the FRUITFUL heart. This is the seed that falls on good and fertile soil, and it produces a great harvest. This kind of life is full of transformation because it hungers for more of God and his Word. It's also a life of multiplication because they make other disciples. They are a light in the darkness, a witness, an ambassador. Does this sound like your life? Is there evidence of transformation and spiritual growth in your life? Do you spend time connecting, loving, serving, praying, inviting and sharing with others?  

  • The big idea from Sunday was, "JUSTIFICATION produces SANCTIFICATION."  If someone is truly saved, time will tell. There will either be fruit and growth or there won't. Eventually everything will be brought to light when you stand before God. The truth will be made known! We can fool each other, but we can't fool him. He will reveal the true condition of our hearts. The heart with good soil, the believer, is constantly examining their lives, repenting, and wrestling with the first three types of soil. Satan is always trying to destroy what God is doing in us. So Jesus says to us, "Be careful how you hear!" Given all we've discussed, what do we need to do? Which soil are you? How do we stay hungry? How do we continue to lean into him and stay interested in the right things?

Prayer Topics:

  • That our hearts would stay soft to God's message of grace.
  • That we would have deep spiritual roots.
  • That we would weed out all idols in our lives.
  • That we would have fruitful lives.

1 Comment


Marcus - May 9th, 2022 at 7:38pm

Amen!