Summary: Looking at the parables
Parables of the Kingdom
Intro: Today we are going to talk about some of the parables of the bible. What is a parable? Many times it has been called "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." Really, it is simply a word picture to better help us understand. Jesus knew that if he taught "theology" the people would be bored and fall asleep. Instead he talked about things thew knew about: farming, business, life at home, family. This morning we want to look at some of these pictures Jesus used as he taught about the kingdom of God.
Read vs. 1-2
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables
I. Why did Jesus teach in parables?
A. Opposition to him was mounting - 12:14 - Jews plotting to kill him
*you can say things without making direct reference
B. To make things more on the disciples level: using ideas they were familiar with
C. To find out their level of desire: vs. 10-17
The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "`You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Jesus used parables because the hearts of the people were hard. He knew that those with open hearts and a desire to learn would hear and understand. Those who have a hard heart will never understand.
**We need to be careful to look at our own hearts to see if we have a desire to learn and know God. If weread the scripture and it doesn’t make sense, maybe it’s because we don’t have the right kind of heart.
Speaking of the right kind of heart, let’s look at the first parable Jesus told.
I. The Make-up of the kingdom of God - vs. 3-9
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear."
This has been called the parable of the four soils.
The interpretation of this parable is in verses 18-23
"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
This parable really talks about the hearts of men. As you look at your heart this morning, what kind of heart do you have towards the word of God.