The Secret of the Kingdom of God
My son gave me a plant to take care of. it was chinses parsley, a few weeks later after he had given me the plant he was visiting us and looked outside at the plant. Let us just say it wasn’t looking too good. Let’s just say it was kind of dead. He looks at me and says you didn’t water it did you. No. I forgot. Growth isn’t going to happen without some effort on our part. Jesus spoke of those who are given the seeds of the gospel message and how some grow and others don’t depending on their response
- The purpose of parables – was not to make clear or better illustrate a truth. In fact when the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables to the crowd he indicated they were a way to hide the message from the dull of hearing, the willfully ignorant and those who hardened their heart toward the message but to open the secrets of the kingdom of God to those who by faith are willing to receive what is being said.
- The crowd vs disciples – throughout the gospels, we see two groups that Jesus addressed. The Crowds and those he was discipling.
The crowds were made up of
- Fans but not followers – “Jesus do a miracle” “Jesus entertain us”, I like Jesus, Jesus is cool but I don’t want to change my life. – many today are fans of Jesus but not followers, they like a Jesus until he says repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. They want im ok your ok Jesus.
- Those with hidden agendas– the Pharisees saw Jesus as a threat that could take away their power and influence and so the devil used them to work against Jesus. -Today we have those with an agenda that come against The church and everything Jesus and Christianity stand for. Many claim to be Christian be espouse views that are contrary to scriptures. Their agenda is against the unborn and the sanctity of life, the elimination of gender distinction, and the sanctity of marriage and anything that remotely reflects biblical morality.
- Potential disciples– those who desire to hear what God has to say.
Be a disciple maker, not a crowd pleaser– The church today must be very careful that we don’t fall into the trap of trying so hard to attract the crowd at the expense of scaring off the disciples. We can try so hard to make the gospel palatable, by holding back hard to hear truths about repentance of sin, and the pursuit of holiness, by trying to entertain rather than invite the presence of the Holy Spirit
It’s like a restaurant that changes its menu to appeal to everybody and drives away those who regularly enjoyed the good meal. Rather than the uncompromised Word of God on the menu, we serve We serve Jesus light great taste less conviction, none of the salvation.
Four hearers- Jesus describes how people hear the message of the gospel and what they do with it.
The hardened heart– the devil is represented as a bird that steals the seed of God’s Word from those who have hardened their hearts. A hard heart doesn’t have to be mean. They don’t have to act like a Grinch. They just reject the idea that they need what God is offering.
Birds and the devils influence-A later parable describes the kingdom of God like a large tree and the birds are resting on its branches. The devil not only keeps the message from the hard of heart but he infiltrates the churches as a bird on the branch influencing them to compromise the teaching. A lot of birds are nesting in the branches of the church today. Be wary.
The shallow Heart- The moment they are persecuted for not going along with the crowd, for not acquiescing to the majority or bowing down to the culture they give in. They don’t want to make waves. It is so sad to see in this culture how easily many bows to political correctness or the perceived majority opinion. But without that deep conviction, many quickly fall away.
Christian celebrities when they get acclaim all the sudden get shy about giving direct answers about what the Bible teaches. They compromise with the culture.
We need to be bold– it might cost us popularity or even a job. I am proud of those of you that have stood your ground on the job. It is not easy.
The crowded Heart- this person is too busy for God. They have allowed their heart to be led by the love of money and material things and have not grown spiritually. This person doesn’t have to have money or success they just have to be so preoccupied with the pursuit of it that they don’t have time to for God.
The open heart- is the one that responds to the good news and grows and produces fruit, that is spiritual maturity that affects the people around them, the builds up other believers, leads people to Christ and glorifies God.
Grow in the knowledge of God
Mature in their personal faith
Live lives of spiritual integrity that leads others to Christ