Key verse: Mark 4:12
Big idea: The Son of God opens our eyes.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus often spoke in parables: small stories that were simple enough for anyone to hear and remember but so profound that their true import often went unnoticed. Like a seed thrown on the ground, it might sit dormant for a period, but under the right conditions it could explode with life. In the case of a seed, the seed waits for the right soil moisture and temperature. In the case of the gospel message, the Word may stay in our hearts until the Son of God sends the Holy Spirit to convict us. When the Spirit convicts us, we are faced with the decision to respond and bear fruit or not, but we cannot get ahead of God's work in our spirits.
In the parable of the sower, there were three hearts where the seed did not take root. One was the hard heart, where Satan plucked the seed away without any semblance of life. Another was the shallow heart, which seemed to be alive for a moment but died away when the heat came. The third was the crowded heart, where the weeds and thorns of life choked out the seed of the good news. These three enemies of the Christian (the Devil, the flesh, and the world) can keep a believer from bearing the fruit which God calls us to. They are those who see without perceiving, and hear without understanding: their interaction with God's Word is superficial and fleeting. But even a seed in good soil will not bear fruit until the right time. The seeds are planted and watered but only God can make them grow.
Discussion idea: Who is someone you have been waiting on to respond to the gospel? What does it mean that their response is in God's timing? How does that affect our style of evangelism?
Prayer focus: Ask God to draw the specific person from the discussion to Himself.