The Book of Matthew

Thursday: Parables of the Kingdom

Theme

Sermon: Thy Kingdom Come
Scripture: Matthew 6:10
In this week’s lessons, we learn what the kingdom of God is and how it manifests itself on earth.
Theme: Parables of the Kingdom
The first parable of the kingdom is the parable of the sower. Jesus said that a man went out to sow seed. It happened that some of it fell on a hard surface where it was devoured by birds; some of it fell in shallow ground and sprang up quickly only to be scorched by the sun; some fell among thorns and was choked by them; and some fell on good ground where it produced in some cases a hundred handfuls of grain for one handful, in others sixty for one, and in still others thirty for one. He then explained the parable, showing that the seed was the Word of His kingdom and that the Word was to have different effects in the lives of those who heard it. Some hearts would be so hard that they would not receive it at all, and the devil’s cohorts would soon snatch it away. Others would receive it as a novelty as did the men of Athens in Paul’s day, but they would soon lose interest, particularly in the face of persecution. The third class would consist of those who allow the Word to be choked out by their delight in riches. Only the fourth class was to be made up of those who would hear the gospel and in whom it would take root. 
This means that the Church age is to be a seed-sowing age in which only one part of the preaching of the kingdom of God will bear fruit. It is obvious that the parable does away with the idea that the preaching of the gospel will be more and more effective and will inevitably bring a total triumph for the Church as time goes on. 
The second parable that Jesus told makes this same point even more clearly. It is the story of the wheat and the tares. Jesus said that a man went out to sow grain in his field but that after he had done it an enemy came and sowed tares. The two plants grew up together, the one true wheat, the other a plant that looked like wheat but which was useless as food. In the story, the servants wanted to pull up the tares, but the owner of the land told them that they were not to do this lest they uproot some of the wheat also. Instead, they were to let both grow together until the harvest, at which time the grain would be gathered into the barns and the tares would be burned. 
When Jesus was alone with His disciples He then explained that the field was the world, the wheat represented those who belonged to Him, and the tares represented the children of the devil. In other words, according to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church would always contain within it those who were God’s true children and those who were the imitation children of the devil. This would be true throughout Church history. Moreover, since some of His children would look so much like those whom the devil counterfeited, no one was to try to separate the two on this earth lest some of the Christians should perish with the others. The point of the parable is that these unsatisfactory conditions will remain until the end of this age. 
All of the other parables make similar points; that is, that the extension of the kingdom of God in this age will always be accompanied by the devil’s influence and will always be imperfect. The parable of the mustard seed points to the abnormal growth of church structures. The parable of the leaven teaches that in this age the kingdom of heaven in one sense will always encompass evil. The stories of the field with treasure in it and the pearl of great price tell of the sacrifice that Christ made to win us for Himself. The final parable, the parable of the dragnet, points to the day in which the Son of God will judge all men. In that day the net will be pulled to shore, those who have been made righteous through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ will be gathered to the Lord, and the bad will be put away from Him forever. 
Study Questions:

What do we learn about the kingdom of God and men’s response to the gospel from the parable of the sower?
What does the parable of the wheat and the tares teach us about the kingdom?

Reflection: How do we see the devil’s influence even within the Church?
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to Philip Ryken’s message, “Kingdom Come.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

Study Questions
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