Summary: The final question which it leaves with us is this: Are you really changed by your contact with Jesus Christ and are you still changing? Everyone in this congregation in one way or another has had a contact, a touch, with Jesus, has heard his voice.
Opening illustration: A certain man went to Church one Sunday. He frowned when the organist missed a note during the opening hymn. He gave a mean stare at two teenagers talking to each other when the congregation was at prayer. During the Scripture readings, he kept looking impatiently at his watch. When the collection basket was passed he felt that the usher was watching to see how much he gave. During the sermon, he felt mighty pleased with himself when he caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue. He was tight-lipped during all of the worship songs. As he slipped out a side door during the closing hymn, he muttered to himself, "That was terrible. What a bunch of clods. Never again!"
A certain other man went to Church one Sunday He was edified by the organist’s moving rendition of "Amazing Grace." He marveled at the sight of a father exchanging hugs with the little child draped over his shoulder. He had but one thought when the collection basket was passed: "Some of what I give will be used to serve the needy. Am I giving enough?" He listened attentively to the Scripture readings, which spoke of God’s incredible love for the human family. He heard something in the sermon that helped him with a question that had bothered him for a long time. He enthusiastically joined in the singing of the closing hymn of praise. As he left the Church, he said to himself, "How good it is to be here and share in the experience of the Presence of God!"
Both men had gone to the same Church, on the same Sunday! Why was each one’s experience of the same place so different? You could more or less easily see where each one is going if there were to die today. The judgment is inevitable in the Kingdom of Heaven. Where are you destined? (From a sermon by Don Hawks, "What Am I looking for?")
Let us turn to Matthew 13 and catch up with the parable Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven.
Introduction: We remember that the Kingdom is defined as the rule and reign of the Lord Jesus over His people. For now that is an invisible, internal kingdom. Jesus rules over our hearts. In an age to come, it will be a visible, physical kingdom too.
Also, we’ve said that in these Kingdom parables, Jesus has been revealing something about how God will establish His purposes in the world. It will be done by sowing the seed of His Word among men – although not everyone will receive it. It will be done by allowing the seed to grow together – the good and the bad – until the harvest. It will be accomplished through small things and will spread from seemingly insignificant means. And, we saw in the last couple of parables that those who make up the kingdom of God are viewed as valuable treasures in His sight. In this parable, Jesus shares another truth about the coming of the kingdom. There will be a judgment day.
What is the role of the Dragnet in the Kingdom of Heaven?
The Parable of the Dragnet is about the end-time judgment of all souls. This includes all people living at the time of the Lord’s return, and all the dead who have ever lived upon the earth from the beginning of time. The sea gives up the dead in it and death and Hades give up the dead in them. Those who are alive and remain at the coming of our Lord Jesus will appear at this judgment (Revelation 20: 12-15). In other words: Everyone who has ever lived or will live appears before this judgment which is commonly referred to as the “Great White Throne Judgment” (Revelation 20:11).
1. The Picture of the Judgment (47-48)
Again Jesus uses a common story with a spiritual truth: a fish story. Now, I’m not much of a fisherman. If I had a fish story to tell, it really would be a BIG ONE because I haven’t been fishing for a long time to have a real fish story. But I have found that in Galilee there were three common types of fishing.
There was the hook and line method which Peter used to catch a fish with a coin in his mouth that Jesus used to pay taxes. There was the small casting net method in which a man would hand cast a net in shallow water over schools of small fish.
Then there was the large "dragnet" method in which a large net would be pulled between two boats to catch large amounts of fish. When this method was used, all types of things: weeds, rocks, trash, small fish, large fish - anything in the path of the net would eventually be caught by the fishermen using a dragnet.