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Summary: The nature of the kingdom and its growth.

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Matthew 13-

Find the hidden kingdom !

Tables and illustrations as well as audio and slides appear at

http://jubilee-church.org/sermons/mt13.htm

Discussion questions, followed by detailed notes.

1. Was finding the Kingdom easy or difficult for you?

2. Did you get put off by the church? Do you think other people do?

3. Do you agree that sometimes the church as a whole can be ‘Of the World but not in it’ instead of ‘in the world but not of it’?

4. Do you find it easy to believe that the kingdom is going to grow dramatically large?

5. Are you excited to be part of the worldwide Church at this time? This church? This group of churches?

6. What can we do to further the expansion of the kingdom into our communities? What do you think we should be considering as God leads us? (eg social action, upholding principles at work, parenting classes, homes for ex-offenders etc…)

Introduction

Church is only mentioned twice in gospels, kingdom hundreds of times. Kingdom is bigger than the church!

Parables confound the theologian or philosopher but delight the children and simple

· The Kingdom is no novel invention that needs a PR job done!

· Its communication isn’t showy but simple.

· The parables have the effect of illuminating the subject of the kingdom for those who are willing to accept the message and of darkening it for those who reject the message of the present reality of the kingdom.[i]

· The kingdom message of Jesus was the most radical message the world has ever heard. Here is a true revolution, not launched with guns, tanks and soldiers but with a wandering preacher in Galilee.

Detailed note-

‘The doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, which was the main teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought. It is small wonder if the world of that time failed to grasp its full significance, and recoiled in dismay from even a half apprehension of its tremendous challenges to the established habits and institutions of mankind. For the doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus seems to have preached it, was no less than a bold and uncompromising demand for a complete change and cleansing of the life of our struggling race, an utter cleansing, without and within……….. It is true that he said his kingdom was not of this world, that it was in the hearts of men and not upon a throne; but it is equally clear that wherever and in what measure his kingdom was set up in the hearts of men, the outer world would be in that measure revolutionized and made new……….

The personal teaching of Jesus does seem to mark a new phase in the moral and spiritual life of our race. Its insistence upon the universal Fatherhood of God and the implicit brotherhood of all men, its insistence upon the sacredness of every human personality as a living temple of God, was to have the profoundest effect upon all the subsequent social and political life of mankind. With Christianity, with the spreading teachings of Jesus, a new respect appears in the world for man as man.’ H.G. Wells (1866–1946), Outline of History, vol. 1, ch. 28, sect. 2 (1920).

Why parables (see v 35) “It is assumed by the Psalmist (Ps. 78:2) that there was a hidden meaning in “God’s ancient dealings with his people. A typical, archetypical, and prefigurative element ran through the whole. The history of the dealings is one long Old Testament parable. Things long kept secret, and that were hidden indeed in the depths of the divine mind from before the foundation of the world, were involved in these dealings. And hence the evangelist wisely sees, in the parabolic teaching of our Lord, a real culmination of the older parabolic teaching of the Psalmist. The culmination was divinely intended, and hence the expression that it might be fulfilled” (Morison on Matthew).[ii]

Many Agree that the parables hear show us what the kingdom is like-

The Parable

Kingdom Expectations

Unexpected Form

The sower

Messiah rules all nations.

Individuals respond to God’s invitation.

Wheat/tares

Citizens rule the world with Christ.

Citizens live among people of the world. people of the world.

Mustard seed

Kingdom begins in majestic glory.

Kingdom begins in insignificance.

Leaven

The kingdom includes only the righteous.

Citizens become increasingly righteous.

Hidden treasure

The kingdom is public, for all.

The kingdom is hidden and for individual “purchase.”

Priceless pearl

Kingdom brings valued things.

The kingdom requires abandoning earthly values.

Dragnet

Kingdom begins with separation of unrighteous.

Kingdom ends with separation of the unrighteous.

(The Bible Reader’s Companion) [iii]

The Kingdom, is so unlike a worldy kingdom because it is a hidden one

The kingdom is hidden because-

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