Summary: Today we are going to take a look at the kingdom of heaven.
INTRO: When I say the word Heaven what comes to your mind?
"There are a lot of questions the Bible doesn’t answer about the Hereafter. But I think one reason is illustrated by the story of a boy sitting down to a bowl of spinach when there’s a chocolate cake at the end of the table. He’s going to have a rough time eating the spinach when his eyes are on the cake. And if the Lord had explained everything to us about what’s ours to come, I think we’d have a rough time with our spinach down here." (Vance Havner)
: Think of
stepping on shore, and finding it Heaven!
of taking hold of a hand, and finding it God’s hand, of breathing a new air, and finding it celestial air, of feeling invigorated, and finding it immorality,
of passing from storm to tempest to an unknown calm, of waking up, and finding it home.
Today we are going to take a look at the kingdom of heaven. TITLE: The Kingdom of Heaven
TEXT: Matthew 13:31-33
I. What is the kingdom of heaven? It is the sovereign activity of God as King, saving men and overcoming evil, and establishing the new order to come.
A. Jesus describes what the kingdom of God is like.
1. He compares it to a mustard seed. The mustard plant of Palestine was very different from the mustard plant which we know in this country. In the East when you speak of a mustard seed it represents smallness to the Jewish mind. In Palestine this little grain of mustard seed grows into something like a tree.
2. The Lord is pointing out the kingdom of heaven starts from the smallest beginnings, but no man knows where it will end.
B. Think of it—the kingdom starts small but ends big.
1. Think in my own life, go back some 20 years, saying a prayer at an altar, inviting God into my life, a small event had a major impact on my life, my wife’s life, my children’s lives.
-I think a lot of times in Christianity we get discouraged because it’s not big and dramatic (the earthquake experience).
2. Jesus started small, used 12 men to change a world.
Example. One of the great stories of the Christian church is the story of Telemachus. He was a hermit of the desert but something told him—the call of God—that he must go to Rome. He went. Rome was nominally Christian, but even in Christian Rome the gladiatorial games went on, in which men fought with each other, and crowds roared with the lust for blood. Telemachus found his way to the games. Eighty thousand people were there to spectate. He was horrified. Were these men slaughtering each other not also children of God? He leaped from his seat, right into the arena, and stood between the gladiators. He was tossed aside. He came back. The crowd were angry; they began to stone him. Still he struggled back between the gladiators. The prefect’s command rang out; a sword flashed in the sunlight, and Telemachus was dead. Suddenly there was a hush; suddenly the crowd realized what had happened; a holy man lay dead. Something happened that day to Rome, for there were never again any gladiatorial games. By his death one man had let loose something that cleansed an empire.
Thought: Who knows, maybe today God wants to change an empire and he’s going to use you. Lord willing, it may not be in the way Telemachus was used. Maybe it’s going to start by coming to know the Lord and your child will be raised in godly home and will one day be the next president of the United States, the next Billy Graham, or James Dobson.
-The kingdom starts small but no man knows where it will end. Jesus in this parable instructs that this seed will become like a tree giving shelter.
C. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast.
1. Yeast doesn’t grow, it permeates, it transforms. Yeast changes the makeup of the product it’s put into.
-When you put yeast into a lump of dough, what happens? It begins to rise; when the kingdom (ways of God) is accepted, it changes people’s lives.
2. Listen to Acts 17:6, when Christianity came to Thessalonica the cry was, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also."
-Amazingly Christianity started out so small, now a few years later it’s interesting listening to this view "they have turned the world upside down."
Summary: The kingdom of God starts small but grows immensely touching a lot of people and it changes us.
II. What is the kingdom of God doing? Matthew 11:12, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it."