Summary: Believe it or not, occasionally I do find myself using algebra—usually when I need to figure a percentage. And if you work construction, I’ll bet you find yourself using a lot of that geometry you swore you’d never need. In the end, understanding algebr
October 17, 2004
NOW THAT YOU UNDERSTAND
Why do I have to do this? What difference does it make if I understand? I’m never going to use algebra in real life. Maybe you said something like that when you were in school? Maybe you hear your kids say it now. Believe it or not, occasionally I do find myself using algebra—usually when I need to figure a percentage. And if you work construction, I’ll bet you find yourself using a lot of that geometry you swore you’d never need. In the end, understanding algebra and geometry and other subjects we learned in school can make a difference in our lives.
But what about the things we learn in church? Can learning about the Bible and understanding what it means make a difference in our lives? Stop and think about it. Many of you are here every Sunday. Week after week, month after month, year after year you sit in Bible studies and in Sunday school, and in this worship service. You listen to God’s Word. You learn about God’s Word. And, I hope as a result, you come to the place where you understand God’s Word. What difference does that make for you? Or maybe the better question is, “What difference should it make?” In other words, is all the time you spend in church wasted time? Or has the understanding you’ve gained from the Bible worked the work of God in you? Has it changed who you are? Has it changed what you do?
Today, Jesus will help you answer that question. In Matthew 13, Jesus uses parables to teach His disciples many truths about the kingdom of God. In Matthew 13:51-52 He asks them what they have learned. At the conclusion of class, Jesus asks His disciples, Have you understood all these things? But Jesus does more than that. Not only does Jesus ask if they have understood, He tells how their understanding of truth should impact their lives.
What difference should your understanding of God’s Word make in your life? What difference should it make in mine? Let’s discover the answer to that question in Matthew 13:51-52. Having just taught His disciples about the kingdom of heaven, Jesus says, “Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they replied. He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
For the last six weeks, Jesus has been using parables to teach you and me about the kingdom of heaven. We’ve all been here in church listening. And now Jesus is asking you and me, Have you understood all these things?
Do you understand the parable of the sower? Do you understand that not everyone who listens to the truth really hears it? Do you know what kind of listener you need to be before the kingdom of heaven can be yours? Do you understand the parable of the weeds? Do you understand that in this present day the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil grow together in this world? Yes, wickedness is increasing in our world. But it does not increase alone. The kingdom is also advancing. In the end, the wheat will not be choked out. In the end it is the kingdom that will prevail.
Have you understood all these things? Have you understood the parable of the mustard seed and the yeast? Do you understand that even though the kingdom starts small, it will one day fill up the earth? Do you understand how just a small pinch of yeast infiltrates the whole lump of dough? And do you understand that we are God’s yeast?
Do you understand the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price? Do you see how the worth of God’s kingdom far exceeds the worth of everything you presently possess in this world and everything you possibly could possess? And do you understand the parable of the net? Do you know that the wicked will one day be separated from the righteous and cast into hell? Do you see how inevitable the coming judgment is? Have you understood all these things? Are you understanding them today?
When the disciples said, “Yes, Lord, we understand,” how did Jesus respond? What did Jesus say? What Jesus said to them, I believe He says to us today. In verse 52, Jesus says, Therefore (therefore, since you do understand the truths of the kingdom, here’s how it ought to change your life). Therefore, every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasure as well as old.