The Parable of the Sower

Dear Parents,

This week, we looked closely at the Parable of the Sower. The Gospels record dozens of Jesus’ parables. A parable is a story Jesus told to help people understand the kingdom of God. Each parable taught a lesson and revealed secrets of God’s kingdom for those who would understand. (See Matt. 13:10-13.)

The parable of the sower would have resonated with those listening because they would have been familiar with the practice of sowing or planting seed. But the parable had a deeper meaning. It contained a lesson about God’s Word and the responses of those who hear it. In the parable, a sower’s seeds fell in four different places. Some of the seeds fell along the path, where they were eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on rocky ground. Those seeds had no roots, so they withered in the sun. Other seeds fell among thorns, and they were choked out. Other seeds fell on good soil, and they produced a crop—a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was planted.

After Jesus told the parable, He explained it to His disciples. The soil represents people’s hearts, and the seed is the word about God’s kingdom. The person whose heart is like the hard soil hears the good news about God, but he does not understand it or he rejects it. The person whose heart is like the rocky soil is quick to receive the truth, but when life gets hard, he falls away. The person whose heart is like the thorny soil cares more about the things of the world than the good news about God, and the seed cannot grow. The person whose heart is like the good soil hears the good news about God and receives it. He bears fruit, more than what was planted. In the life of a believer, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) is evident.

Jesus’ lesson still holds true today. Not everyone believes the truth about Jesus. Some don’t understand it, some believe in Jesus for selfish reasons, and some only want part of Jesus because they love other things more. But those who hear the gospel and understand who Jesus is will become like Jesus and share His good news with others.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Parents,

Jesus told parables to people when he was teaching. A parable is a story about something that you already know about, that helps you to understand something about God and his kingdom. When Jesus told parables, he talked about things that were common. Some of the things we might read in the Bible aren’t part of our lives today, but we can still learn about God from the stories that Jesus told.

Ask your children to turn in their Bibles to Luke 15:1.

By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.”

Ask them to retell the story, what happened, and what they think it might tell us about God.
Ask & Discuss:
• How do you feel when you lose something? What about when you find it again?
• Who are the sheep in the story? (99 vs. 1)
• Who is the shepherd in the story?
• Why did the shepherd rejoice when he found the sheep that was lost?
• If the shepherd represents God, how do you think God feels when he finds his lost sheep?
• Are there other things that this parable tells you? About Jesus? About people?

Jesus Will Return

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story focuses on the last few chapters of the Book of Revelation. While he was a prisoner on the island of Patmos, the apostle John had an amazing vision of heaven. Jesus told John to write down everything he saw. John saw things that will happen when Jesus comes back to earth. Jesus—who entered Jerusalem humbly on a donkey—will come victoriously, riding on a white horse. His name will be on His robe and His thigh:

KING OF KINGS
AND LORD OF LORDS.

Satan and the evil ones will be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire. The Lord will be on His throne. Then out of heaven will come a new creation—a new heaven and a new earth. God will dwell with humanity. They will be His people, and He will be their God.

John described the beauty of the New City—the New Jerusalem. The streets will be pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the city wall will be adorned with precious stones. The city will not need the sun or the moon because God’s glory will illuminate it. There will be no darkness, and nothing evil will ever come into the city.

The promised return of Christ should fill believers with hope, strengthening them to persevere through the trials of this life and remain faithful to the Lord. When Christ returns, those who trust in Him will be with Him and enjoy Him forever. God will undo every bad thing caused by sin—no more death, no more pain, no more tears. Jesus is making all things new!

Christ’s return should also give believers a sense of urgency to share the gospel with the world. It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes! (Rom. 1:16) Jesus is coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Read Revelation 21:3-6. Provide paper, crayons, and markers for kids to draw a picture of what the New Earth will be like. Talk about what it will be like to live with God forever.

God’s Warning to Seven Churches

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Can you feel it? We are so very close to the end of the Bible, but it is certainly not the end of God’s plan to save sinners. Today’s Bible story teaches kids about John’s vision of Jesus in the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible and it tells about things that will happen in the future. A glimpse of the future kingdom of God gives believers hope and compels them to remain faithful to Christ and to tell others about Him.

The apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation from the island of Patmos. John was likely sent to Patmos as a prisoner, arrested for preaching the gospel. The Book of Revelation opens with John’s description of a vision. In the vision, Jesus warned seven local churches in Asia. In most cases, Jesus commended the church for their good work, warned them about the areas in which they needed correction, and urged them to return to Him. Each time, Jesus promised to reward those who remain faithful to Him.

Jesus loves the church. The church is made up of people who have trusted in Jesus, who are committed to one another, and who meet together to worship Jesus and share the gospel. Jesus loves the church as His bride. (See Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9.) Jesus’ message to seven local churches called them to turn away from their sin and remain faithful to Him. The Lord is slow to anger (Ex. 34-6-7) and patient, wanting everyone to repent (2 Pet. 3:9).

The early churches faced some problems. They did not love like they should, they believed false teaching and did wrong things, and they were lukewarm—useless to the cause of Christ. Churches still face these problems today. We can pray for our churches to be faithful, effective instruments in spreading the gospel.

Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 1:8). In the Greek alphabet, alpha is the first letter and omega is the last. Jesus is the A to Z. Jesus is the beginning and the end, but not just those; He is everything in-between. Jesus made all things. (John 1:3) He is in control of all things. He holds all things together. (Col. 1:17) And He is coming back someday!

Open your Bible to Revelation 1–3 and briefly review Jesus’ message to the churches. Invite a family member to read Revelation 3:19. Talk about how Jesus loved each of these churches, and He warned them against sinning. Jesus also encouraged them to do what is right. Invite family members to write or draw encouraging notes to one another this week.