The Purpose of the Parables
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: We are surrounded with so-called mysteries. It seems that nightly there are a half-dozen shows devoted to dealing with the inexplicable and unknown. But a mystery in biblical language is something entirely different: it is a truth that’s out in the open but only rightly understood if God reveals it. In other words, it’s an “open secret.” And to some, God gives the ability to discern that truth.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What is the “knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven” (verse 11)?
2. What is the most natural response to receiving a gift? What are some unreasonable responses?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. What does it mean to say that some things are “spiritually discerned”?
4. In what sense is salvation both an event and a process?
5. We sing and speak about God being a “generous God.” What are some of the gifts we receive from God? What does that tell us about his care for us in the future?
1. Read Matthew 13:10.
2. Read Matthew 13:11.
3. “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom, but to them it has not been given.”
4. “Jesus’ answer cannot legitimately be softened: at least one of the functions of parables is to conceal the truth.” – D.A. Carson
5. “This is hard. But the sentence cannot be explained away. And we will accept it as it stands only if we are prepared to let God be God. The God of Jesus and of the biblical writers is not a God caught by surprise by the response of people, or a Sower whose farming technique is bad. This sovereignty paragraph wants to correct unworthy notions of God.” – Frederick Dale Bruner
6. 01. Salvation is a gift, granted freely and generously to those whom God has chosen.
7. Read Matthew 13:12-13.
8. Read Matthew 13:14-17.
9. 02. The message of the kingdom has a hardening effect on those who cling to their independence from God.
10. “The human heart is so held down by the power of Satan that unless it is miraculously raised up by the Spirit of God it cannot of itself either see or hear things that strike the eyes and ears so plainly as to be palatable.” – Martin Luther
11. 03. Jesus taught in such a way to magnify the sovereign grace of God, and he did so for our assurance.