Summary: A look at some of the parables in Matthew 13.
The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…
Matthew 13:31-35; 44-52
September 17, 2006
As we go through the book of Matthew, we’ve had opportunity to witness Jesus in action, particularly in how He taught about the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven.
And over the last few weeks we’ve looked at how Jesus used parables to communicate to those around Him.
Parables were a tool Jesus used to bring truth and teach lessons to people, and he used them all the time.
In fact, although we aren’t focusing on that aspect today, we find a reference to His use of them here in our Scripture passage, Matthew 13, starting in verse 31 (page 691 of the Bibles in the seats).
In verses 34-35 we find the following –
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
"I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world."
One of the more unique things about the gospel according to Matthew is that Matthew quotes Jesus using the phrase “kingdom of heaven” more than any of the other gospel authors.
Well, just what is the kingdom of heaven? I want to give you what I think is the best, most concise definition that I could find, and I’ve put it in your note-taking guide.
“The kingdom of heaven” is God ruling in the lives of his people.—New Century Version Dictionary
I really like that definition, because it just puts it at the bottom line, making it easier to understand for us.
It’s not about the time we’ll spend in heaven, it’s about the time we spend on earth, and that’s critically important, because if we don’t realize that, then we run the risk of becoming so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good.
Although that’s really only a risk if you’re heavenly minded to begin with!
I’ve mentioned a few times that we should be people who anticipate out time in heaven, but we also need to be people who reflect that anticipation to those who need Jesus.
The idea of my time with you this morning is just to go through five parables Jesus uses to describe the kingdom and those in it, and my hope is that in all of this, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the kingdom.
As we go through this passage, I’m going to go it in reverse order, because I want to do something a bit different as we close, okay?
Just hang with me, and you’ll be okay. I want to start off by looking how Jesus ends this section. In verses 51-52 Jesus says that…
Those who teach about the kingdom are like…
Verses 51-52 –
51 "Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked.
"Yes," they replied.
52 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."
Why do I say treasure collectors? Because I couldn’t think of anything else. Not really. I didn’t want to just say “treasure hunters” because that might seem greedy.
But a collector generally likes to show off his or her collection. They’ve scraped and scrounged for it, and they want others to see the fruits of their labor.
Jesus equates these treasure collectors with those who teach the Word of God.
Sunday School and Wednesday night teachers, those who lead small groups, and yes, pastors, we have an obligation to seek to bring new treasures to our charges as well as the old, timeless teachings and principles of Scripture.
Just in case you didn’t know, pizza is my favorite food of all time. In my opinion, it’s very hard to go wrong with pizza, unless you make it with any kind of “fruit” toppings, or it’s one of those cold pizzas made with a pastry crust with cream cheese and kiwis for toppings. But I digress.
To me, pizza is good.
But even I can get tired of pizza, if that’s all I eat for a while. It takes a lot for that to happen, but it can, and it has, especially when I worked at Pizza Hut in Brookings.
So occasionally I would change things up and have spaghetti and (gasp!) a salad. And the change was good! I found out that I actually like salad sometimes.
You throw enough ketchup on something and you can make anything taste good, right?
What I’m saying here is that oftentimes we who are in positions where we present the Word of God to people tend to keep serving the same old thing.