(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.com under the tab called “Blog”)
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.
Everyone knows what I am talking about when I refer to the cupboard or drawer in the kitchen that is home to the clutter. Home to all the stuff that is piled behind the door or shoved in the drawer, out of sight and hopefully, out of mind. These can be nasty places. Void of organization, order or thought, things most times get tossed into the abyss of chaos. Got a horror drawer story? Got a cupboard that needs some TLC?
On Sunday we talked about how our hearts can become like that cupboard. Our hearts are receptive environments that, if not guarded, can become a spiritual wasteland. In other words, if we are not careful, “stuff” can accumulate in our hearts that will sabotage or prevent any spiritual growth, vitality and health. We tend to drift into spiritual sickness, and we must choose with God’s help to move into spiritual wholeness and health.
Take some time to look at the text we studied on Sunday, Luke 8:1-15. This is a very well-known parable of Jesus. As a group or alone, use these questions to examine the text.
- What does the parable tell us about the audience Jesus is speaking to? (their occupations, heart condition)
- Why do you think Luke includes v.1-3 when Matthew and Mark do not? How is this group in v.1-3 different than those coming from the towns to see Jesus? v.4
- What is the heart receptive to?
- What is the relationship of the seed to the other foreign elements found in the human heart?
- I think that, while Jesus is primarily thinking of a pre-believer audience, can this scenario of the human heart describe what believers also experience at times? Check out Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4 and see how this parable illustrates His temptation.
On Sunday I talked about how, for both believers and non-believers, our hearts can be “loud” places - birds chirping, worries that consume us, riches that entice us and pleasures that woo us. At times, there is much going on in our hearts that is attempting to invade them and supplant the seed.
As a group, respond to the following questions:
- As a Christ follower, have you ever been hesitant to take the next step with God because of the internal noise?
- Have you ever experienced unusual tension or push back when attempting to spend time in the Word?
- What does the “bird” sometimes “chirp” (speak for those needing translation) in your ear to distract you from seeding your heart with the Word?
There are a whole group of people in this text (v.10b) whose hearts could be described by the first three soils Jesus identifies. You will note that Jesus is quoting Isaiah in v.10. This Jewish audience have “parents” who rejected the word of God. By 700 B.C., the nation of Israel had had the sanctuary, the priesthood, the prophets and the scriptures for centuries. And yet in their sin and rebellion they had moved farther away from God than the people of the earlier centuries. Now this generation seems to be following in the exact pattern as their parents. Listening can be complex because of what goes on in our hearts, but what goes on in our hearts can be reflective of family patterns and family ways - generations. Generations that have allowed the birds to chirp, the worries to consume, the riches to entice and the pleasures to woo… listening that happened in a loud world of generational noise.
- Do you have a family line that has encouraged the seed to go deep in your life?
- What generational patterns do you have to intentionally work against as you allow the seed to grow in your life?
- In other words does your generational line model and encourage seed planting or seed supplanting?
As we think of the people in our lives that are far from God, take some time to pray for them. Read the following texts on the work of the “bird” in non-believers’ lives.
What is Satan's aim and his strategies?
- He is the Father of lies. (John 8:44)
- Therefore, his chief enemy is truth, the seed - he opposes God's word. (Genesis 3:1-5)
- He casts doubt on God's goodness. (Genesis 3:1-5 )
- He blinds the minds of unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- He exploits a lack of understanding. (Matthew 13:19)
“A wartime mindset must include shrewd knowledge of enemy tactics. Ephesians 5:11, "Take no part in unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." Christianity stands or falls with the reality of Satan and demons. Why? Because Jesus spent his whole ministry fighting them. If they are not real he is reduced to a comic figure.” John Piper
Take some time to pray for believers.
He (the bird) attacks faith to destroy believers:
- Attacks faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 11:3 )
- Brings persecution. (Revelation. 2:9; 1 Peter 5:8; Luke 22:31 )
- Can work through un-confessed sin to cause physical sickness (James 5:13-16 - key verse v.16)
- Dissension over doctrine and causes rifts. (Romans 16:17-20)
- Sexual allurements. (1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Timothy 5:15)
- Unresolved anger. (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:27)
- Pride. (1 Timothy 3:6)
Next week we will spend some more time developing Luke 8:15.
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