“March 18–24. Matthew 13; Luke 8; 13: ‘Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“March 18–24. Matthew 13; Luke 8; 13,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Review with the class “Ideas to Improve Your Personal Scripture Study” in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. Invite class members to share methods they used to study Matthew 13 and Luke 8; 13.
To help those you teach visualize the messages of the parable of the sower, you could bring some seeds, a pot of soil, and a pot of small rocks to class. Ask a class member to plant one seed in the soil and one in the rocks. Which seed will grow better, and why? How does this object lesson relate to the parable in Matthew 13:1–23? How can we prepare our hearts to receive the word of God?
How can you use the parable of the sower to inspire your class members to prepare their hearts to receive the word of God? You could write Disciples and Others on the board. Invite class members to read Matthew 13:10–17 and look for how the Savior described the differences between His disciples and others who heard His parables. Then ask class members to search verses 18–23, looking for what might cause our ears to become “dull of hearing” or our eyes to close to spiritual things. What direction are we receiving in our day from God and His servants? In what ways are we cultivating “good ground”? (verse 23).
You might invite a few class members to each come prepared to teach a section from Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s message “The Parable of the Sower” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 32–35). What does his message add to our understanding of the parable?
How can you help class members understand the truths about the Church that were taught in Jesus’s parables in Matthew 13? You could list a few of the parables on the board (see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families and Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 293–303). Ask small groups of class members to study each parable and look for what they learn about the growth and destiny of the Church. One way to compile all of the thoughts from each group is to draw a large circle on the board and label it Christ’s Church (“the kingdom of heaven”). As each group shares, they could write something in the circle that they learned about the growth and destiny of the Church.
What do we learn about the value of belonging to the Church from the parables of the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price, found in Matthew 13:44–46? Some members of your class (or people they know) may have made sacrifices—whether big or small—to become members of the Church. Invite class members to share sacrifices they have made or seen others make in order to belong to the Church. What blessings have come as a result? Consider sharing President Gordon B. Hinckley’s story about the naval officer in “Additional Resources.” Invite class members to ponder what they feel prompted to sacrifice for the Church.
How can you help your class draw lessons from the parable of the wheat and the tares that will help them remain faithful Latter-day Saints? Start by inviting a class member to summarize the parable and its interpretation. It might also be helpful to display the picture of wheat and tares from this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. What are some lessons in this parable for our day? Why is it important to know that the Lord allows His Saints to “grow together” (Matthew 13:30) with the wicked until the time of the harvest? How can we keep our faith strong in this environment, when wickedness is all around us? Doctrine and Covenants 86 gives additional insights into the latter-day application of this parable.
The statement by Elder L. Tom Perry in “Additional Resources” suggests that the tares could represent “wicked and worldly ways” that infiltrate our lives. To help class members ponder how they can discern this type of spiritual tare, write on strips of paper several gospel truths and several false, worldly ideas or practices. Place the strips together in a container. Then ask class members to select a few and discuss which are truths and which are falsehoods. (Many of these truths and falsehoods are identified in general conference addresses; you could look there for ideas.) How can we follow Elder Perry’s counsel to “nourish that which is good” in our lives?
You might mention that next week’s reading tells of people who had followed Jesus but then “walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Tell class members they can find insights that could help them and others remain faithful to the Savior.
President Gordon B. Hinckley shared an experience he had with a naval officer from Asia who had recently joined the Church:
“He was introduced to me just before he was to return to his native land. We spoke of [gospel truths], and then I said: ‘Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?’
“His face clouded, and he replied, ‘My family will be disappointed. They may cast me out and regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.’
“I asked, ‘Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?’
“His dark eyes, moistened by tears, shone … as he answered, ‘It’s true, isn’t it?’
“Ashamed at having asked the question, I responded, ‘Yes, it’s true.’
“To which he replied, ‘Then what else matters?’” (“It’s True, Isn’t It?” Ensign, July 1993, 2).
Elder L. Tom Perry taught: “That old enemy of all mankind has found as many devices as he can think of to scatter tares far and wide. He has found ways to have them penetrate even the sanctity of our own homes. The wicked and worldly ways have become so widespread there seems to be no real way of weeding them out. They come by wire and through the air into the very devices we have developed to educate and entertain us. The wheat and the tares have grown close together. A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear” (“Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 44).
Center your teaching on doctrine. Make sure your class discussions focus on the foundational doctrine in the scriptures. You can do this by asking students to read scriptures in advance, centering your class discussions on the scriptures, and asking class members to share their testimonies of true doctrine. (See Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 20–21.)