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36: The Kingdom of God – Part 1

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:21-25

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 13:1-23 Mark 4:1-25 Luke 8:4-18

Outline:

  1. Crowded Out Matt. 13:1-3
  2. The Story Matt. 13:4-9
  3. The Reason Matt. 13:10-17
  4. The Interpretation Matt. 13:18-23
  5. The Purpose Mark 4:21-25

Context/Discussion/Comments:

It appears that the location of the past two lessons and this one is at Capernaum. It could have happened at another seaside location but Capernaum seems more likely. After the previous confrontation with the Jewish leaders, Jesus begins to talk in parables. The concept of repentance is foreign to the Leaders so Jesus changes His teaching methods to relate to the surrounding agricultural community.

Jesus, after being accused of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub, seeks to be alone by the Sea but a large crowd gathers and forces Him to teach from a boat once again. He tells them a story about a man who casts seed on four types of soil; along a path, among the rocks, among thorns, and on good soil. The first seed is eaten by birds. The second seed dies after being scorched by the sun. The third seed is choked out by thorns. The forth seed grows and produces bumper crops.

The disciples are puzzled and ask Jesus why He is talking in parables. Jesus replies that these teachings about the Kingdom are for their ears only. They are to be given more information because of their faith but the people are to be given less because they lack faith. The disciples are blessed because they hear Jesus’ teachings and they see the result of His teaching. Therefore, Jesus proceeds to give His disciples a personal interpretation of this parable.

The first seed sown along the path is seed that was not understood and the Evil One comes along and snatches it away. This is similar to the Pharisees accusing Jesus of healing in the name of Beelzebub. The seed sown on rocky soil is received with joy but it doesn’t last when trouble or persecution comes. In other words, the Gospel isn’t worth a steadfast personal commitment. The third seed sown among the thorns are people who hear but other priorities take precedence to obeying God and they bear no fruit. The seed sown on good soil hears, understands, and takes root. Life changes and a bountiful crop is produced.

Jesus then instructs His disciples to start letting others know what they understand to be true. The more they understand and share the more He will teach them. Failure to do so will cause them to lose the understanding they have [Judas]. In other words, one’s faith needs to be exercised. James, Jesus’ half brother, wrote in His epistle that faith without works is dead.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. People love to hear truth but they have a difficult time accepting Truth. We prefer our own truth over God’s Truth.
  2. Four attitudes are expressed:
    • Attitude of indifference.
    • Attitude of passing fancy.
    • Attitude of competing priorities.
    • Attitude of consistent and constant devotion.
      Check your own attitude regarding God’s Truth/Word and the Gospel.
  3. Change your presentation to coincide with the interests of the audience you are hoping to reach.
  4. The more Truth you know, the more Truth will be revealed to you. Never stop reading and studying God’s Word.
  5. We may not be able to see and hear Jesus directly but we can see and hear indirectly through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers.
  6. Evaluate your life.
    • No fruit, no growth.
    • No fruit, no assurance.
    • No fruit, no reward.
    • “What profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?”
  7. True disciples of Jesus Christ will reproduce. We are known by our fruit.
  8. Share the light you have and your light will get brighter. Don’t share the light you have and it will go out. In the Lord’s economy, status quo does not exist.

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