Summary: This weeks message from our Kingdom of God series looks at the mystery of the Kingdom of God. It also looks at those hindrances to the Kingdom including, pride, intellect, prejudice, and a calloused heart.
The Kingdom of God
“The Kingdom Mystery”
Tonight we’ll be looking at the mystery of the Kingdom of God, so let’s get right into it and read our passage.
Read Matthew 13:10-17
This passage follows the very first parable spoken by Jesus, “The Seed and the Sower,” or “The Parable of the Soils.” The last words Jesus spoke in the parable is, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9)
After hearing the parable the disciples were surprised that Jesus used this particular teaching method. A parable was usually a short simple story that placed one thing beside something else for the sake of comparison. Therefore, figurative sayings, similes, and metaphors were all considered parables.
In his book, “Interpreting The Parables,” A. M. Hunter defined a parable as “a comparison drawn from nature or daily life and designed to illuminate some spiritual truth.”
After Jesus had told this parable, He answered the disciples question as to why He was teaching in this particular manner or way, and in so doing relates a misunderstanding about the Kingdom of God that many people have.
People today think of Christianity and our teaching of the Scriptures and using biblical terminology as ancient and outmoded seeing how we’re living in the 21st century with all of its scientific advantages and philosophies, as compared to those who lived in the 1st century and their unsophisticated world.
Further they have a problem with miracles and the supernatural because science hasn’t been able to explain the power of faith and belief. Their point is that as long as we continue to give the gospel message with all this biblical baggage, as they call it, attached, then it’s all just old religion, and it isn’t applicable for our day.
They basically say that we have to get back to the simplicity of what Jesus taught, and that we have to leave behind theology, biblical terminology, and all these outdated ideas that led to the Reformation. And what even sadder is that many within the church, and a lot of the teaching that comes from the pulpit, seem to agree with this assessment.
They have made their messages seeker friendly, so much so that people confuse church services with motivational talks. They have also done away with words like sin, Satan, and hell, along with their doctrines.
And the really incredible part is that the words Jesus spoke concerning parables in our text directly refute that position.
So let’s take a look at what Jesus said about the Kingdom of God.
1. It’s A Mystery
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:11 NKJV)
Wow, talk about being seeker unfriendly. “I speak in parables so they don’t get it,” Jesus was saying. People today say that the whole idea that Christian truth being something that is simple if we just get all these words and old fashioned ideas like Jesus’ miracles, absolute truth, and when we get out of the way that Jesus is the only way, then everything will be fine, but this is totally against what Jesus was saying.
The Apostle Paul said,
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)
The New Living Translations says, “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.”
The misunderstanding comes from a misperception that unconverted people by nature and reason can understand God’s word, follow what it says, and put it into practice.
But Jesus said, no way. The reason He spoke in parables is because the Kingdom of God is a mystery, that is, it’s totally and completely unlike anything humanity has ever heard, or even imagined. And until they’re born again, until they’re minds are spiritually renewed and have the Holy Spirit living inside, they never will.
The word Jesus uses is “mystery.” The message concerning the Kingdom of God is neither obvious nor is it simple. This is seen in that the disciples didn’t know what He was talking about in His parable.
Jesus actually told them of the necessity of His leaving, and that was to send the Holy Spirit who would then be their guide into God’s truth.
“It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you … when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:7, 13a)