GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus
Jesus has been teaching about the character of the Kingdom of Heaven and the paths of Disciples – those who have believed in and are now following him. Jesus now introduces a number of parables. Parables in the Bible are stories with two purposes – to reveal and to conceal. Revelation provided spiritual direction and understanding to the disciples. Concealment resulted from those who rejected the message of the Kingdom and reflected the consequences of unbelief. And the promise is this: just as the mustard seed is the smallest of the seeds and yeast is but a small part of the dough, the end result of these truths is ‘the largest of the garden plants’ and ‘it worked through the dough’ – the promise is faith and obedience that grows in us to provide the greatest of values and eternal worth in heaven, if not on earth.
Matthew 13:40-43 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13:44-45 44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.”
Matthew 13:47-50 47“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
1. Kingdom Weeding – In and Out. No mistaking the message. The enemy of heaven and of those who follow Jesus is the devil. At every level where a disciple seeks to grow and obey, opposition waits. Following the parable of the soils, the good seed is snatched away. Again, this likely is the first soil, pre-salvation. The warning is clear. If the word, here the truth about Jesus and the Kingdom, is not taken in, made personal, believed by faith, the result is the destruction of the listener in eternity. If we believe the Bible, if we believe in heaven, then we believe in and see the reality of hell as well.
2. Kingdom Joy – Seeking and Valuing that Which Lasts Into Eternity. So it is with the mustard seed and yeast in dough, from the smallest comes the largest and greatest – life abundant. By contrast, like the last three soils parable, though there is testing, though there is the temptations of wealth and the distractions of world-worries, as we believe and follow Jesus, the result is an abundant life-crop, joy that has no earthly parallel. The reward is clear. With this joy, he sold everything as his ‘buy-in’ to the kingdom and its rewards. 3. Kingdom Truth – That which Provides Life Direction. Finally, coupling both warnings and rewards, the parable of the net both warns that God’s angels will separate the good and bad fish – the wicked from the righteous. This parable ends with reminding the disciples that real Truth in the Kingdom and in Heaven is instruction that comes from true teachers of the law – ones that bring new truth and treasures that come from a proper understanding of the law, of the Old Testament, and how those instructions pointed to Messiah, to Jesus, and to his message and redemptive work on their behalf.
There is no fence-sitting in the Kingdom of God, and God has no grandchildren. Each person – man, woman, child – is faced with the truth and reality of Jesus and must make his or her choice and decision. No exceptions, exemptions, no skipping a generation. God’s best to you as you consider and apply these important truths – for you and for me.
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[a]12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:11-12.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11.
The crisis of life that turns out other than what we planned. Case study: John the Baptist.
— John Moore