The Parables of the Kingdom

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses thirty-one through fifty-eight of the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matthew 13:31-32).

 

            “Another parable spake he unto them,; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:33-35).

 

            “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:36-43).

 

            “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field” (Matthew 13:44).

 

            “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).

 

            “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:47-50).

            “Jesus saith unto them, have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:51-52).

 

            “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:53-58).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the continuation of a chapter in which we are introduced to the parables of Jesus. As you read the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the beginning of an entirely different teaching method and style of the Lord Jesus. In all reality it is quite interesting when considering the words found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding Jesus teaching the mysteries of the kingdom. If you wish to truly understand the words and language found within this passage of Scripture you must needs recognize that the words presented here highlight and underscore the beginning of the teaching concerning the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. It is indeed true that when Jesus returned to Galilee from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit He began preaching repentance for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. It is also true that when Jesus returned from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit He would travel throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues—and not only teaching in their synagogues but also preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. With this being said we must needs recognize that the entire Sermon on the Mount is centered upon the incredible truth of the kingdom of heaven itself and the Lord Jesus making a powerful declaration concerning the kingdom and its presence in the midst of the earth.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the mysteries of the kingdom. While it is true that when Jesus first began speaking in parables the first parable does not seem to suggest anything concerning the kingdom of heaven we must needs recognize and understand that the words which are found in this chapter bring us face to face with the tremendous truth regarding the kingdom of heaven. The original and initial parable regarding the sower who went out sowing seed is indeed a powerful picture of one who went out into the world sowing the seed. If we take the time to consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we must needs understand that the sower who sowed the seed might very well have been represented by the Lord Jesus Himself. During those days the Lord Jesus would indeed go forth into the land sowing the seed of the word of the kingdom. Beginning within Galilee Jesus would journey into Jerusalem as well as Judaea teaching the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. What we find here within this passage of Scripture is an incredibly unique picture of the Lord Jesus beginning to teach the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven unto His disciples and the multitudes who had gathered themselves together unto Him to hear Him speak.

 

            As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible reality of the Lord Jesus leaving the house and going unto the seaside. When great multitudes resorted themselves from the surrounding regions unto Him Jesus would get Himself into a small ship and would proceed to teach the people from the midst of the ship. When Jesus began opening His mouth He would indeed do so by speaking the first of many parables He would teach during those days. This original parable He would teach would be centered upon the sowing of the seed and the various different soils and grounds upon which the seed was sown. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the incredibly awesome truth surrounding the seed of the word of the. Kingdom being sown unto and upon various different grounds as the sower went. Oh the more I think about and consider this truly astonishing parable the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding His not only describing the sower who went out to sow the seed, and not only the various different grounds upon and into which the seed would fall but also the direct result of the seed which was sown unto those grounds.

 

            If you take the time to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find this parable essentially being a powerful description of the various different types of soil and hearts which would hear and perhaps even receive the word of the kingdom. When Jesus taught this parable of the seed and the sower He would not only speak of the sower who went forth sowing seed but He would also speak forth and reveal the tremendous and wonderful truth of the different soils and grounds the seed would fall. Oh the more I think about and consider this reality the more I am brought face to face with whether or not the sower who went forth sowing seed was aware of those places where they were sowing seed. Did the sower know that when they began sowing seed they would be sowing seed by the wayside where the fowls of the air would swoop down and devour what was sown? Did the sower know that as they continued sowing seed they would sow some upon the stony ground and that there would initially be fruit and a harvest that would spring forth, however, because the seed had no depth or root the fruit which would spring forth would be scorched by the sun? Did the sower who sowed the seed know and understand that they would also sow some seed among the thorns and that there would indeed be fruit that would spring forth from the ground and yet how the thorns would choke the life out of the fruit? There is not a doubt in my mind the sower who went forth sowing seed was ultimately looking for good soil and good ground in which to sow the seed that it might bring forth fruit—some an hundred, some sixty and some thirty.

 

            The more I think about this parable the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the truth surrounding the sower, the seed and the soil. What’s more is that I not only see a picture of the sower, a picture of the seed and a picture of the soil but I also see a picture of what would happen to the seed which was sown. I can’t help but read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible reality of the sower who went forth sowing seed and undoubtedly desired that the seed he would sow would bring forth fruit. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning the seed which was sown is that there were indeed four different soils and four different grounds upon which the seed would be sown. As you continue reading the words which are found in this chapter you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the types of soil upon which the seed was sown and how where the seed was sown would determine whether or not fruit would spring forth. What’s more is that not only would the type of soil the seed was sown upon determine what type of fruit would spring forth but it would also determine what would happen to that fruit once it had indeed sprang forth from the ground upon the earth.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage and I can’t help but consider the tremendous truth surrounding this sower who went forth sowing the seed and how the seed represents the word of the kingdom of heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in this passage of Scripture for the one who sowed the seed could indeed be absolutely anyone who sets forth to teach and preach the word and gospel of the kingdom of heaven. What we find here on this particular occasion and during these days is the Lord Jesus teaching and preaching the word and gospel of the kingdom. What we must needs recognize, however, is that during these days it wasn’t merely Jesus who would go forth teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom. If you read the tenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew as well as Luke you will find that Jesus raised up, ordained and appointed the twelve apostles as well as seventy others whom He would send forth into the harvest that they might teach and preach the word and gospel of the kingdom. During the days in which the Lord Jesus would walk upon the earth He would indeed teach and preach the word and gospel of the kingdom of heaven, however, it wouldn’t merely be the Lord Jesus who would go forth teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom for we also find the twelve apostles and seventy others being sent forth to teach and preach the word and gospel of the kingdom. It is with this being said I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of both the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke:

 

            “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. How the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus and Lebbaues, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house by worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be no tworthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:1-15).

 

            It was in this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus ordaining and appointing the twelve disciples whom he would send forth as apostles and ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven in the midst of Judaea, Galilee and Jerusalem. What we find within this passage is an incredibly strong and powerful picture of Jesus ordaining and appointing the twelve disciples to be His ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven—and not only ambassadors of the kingdom but also partners together in the work and ministry of the kingdom. What’s more is that what we find here is Jesus inviting the twelve apostles to be the answer to the prayer which He had previously spoken to them of. In the final verses of the ninth chapter you will find the Lord Jesus being moved with compassion as He looked out upon the multitudes for He saw them as sheep without a shepherd and being scattered. With this being said we find Jesus declaring unto His disciples how the harvest was truly plentiful but the laborers were indeed few. These words would immediately be followed by the Lord Jesus calling and inviting His twelve disciples to pray the LORD of the harvest that He might send forth laborers into His harvest. How incredibly unique and interesting it is to think about and consider that not only did the Lord Jesus call and invite His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into the harvest but He would then invite them to be those laborers who would go forth into the harvest. The harvest truly was plentiful and the laborers were indeed few, however, the Lord Jesus would raise up twelve additional laborers who would go forth into the midst of the harvest healing the sick, casting out unclean spirits, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and preaching the word and gospel of the kingdom.

 

            What we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in the four New Testament gospels is that the Lord Jesus wouldn’t merely ordain and appoint the twelve disciples as ambassadors who would go forth into the harvest as His laborers. It would be very easy to get caught up with the twelve disciples whom the Lord Jesus ordained and sent forth into the midst of the harvest and completely and utterly miss and lose sight of the fact that there were seventy others whom the Lord Jesus would send forth into the harvest. It is in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we find the Lord Jesus ordaining and appointing seventy others whom He would send forth into the harvest as His ambassadors and partners together in the work of the ministry. These seventy would not only preach the word and gospel of the kingdom but they would also be given power and authority to heal the sick, the cleanse the lepers, to cast out unclean spirits and to exercise the dominion and authority of the kingdom. It is with this being said I invite you to turn and direct your attention to the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. It is what we find here that calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding these seventy others who would be sent forth as laborers into the midst of the harvest:

 

            “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the. Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city” (Luke 10:1-12).

 

            Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible and powerful truth surrounding those whom the Lord Jesus would send out as labourers into the harvest. The Lord Jesus would not only send forth the twelve apostles as laborers into the harvest but He would also send seventy others as laborers who would go forth into the harvest. It is important for us to recognize and understand this when considering the parable of the sower who went forth sowing the seed for the seed was the word of God. During those days the Lord Jesus would indeed go forth throughout Galilee, Judaea and Jerusalem sowing the seed which was the word of the kingdom of heaven. What we must needs recognize and understand is that it wasn’t merely the Lord Jesus alone who would go forth sowing the seed of the word of the kingdom but the twelve disciples and these seventy others would also go forth sowing the seed of the word of the kingdom. The twelve apostles and the seventy others would indeed preach and proclaim the kingdom of heaven and how the kingdom of heaven had come near. Moreover both the twelve apostles as well as the seventy others were given authority and power to heal the sick, to cleanse the lepers, to cast out unclean spirits, to raise the dead and to be ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven. Not only this but these individuals were also invited to be partners together in the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven together with the person of the Lord Jesus.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the seed which is the word of the kingdom. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord Jesus would indeed go forth throughout the land during those days sowing the seed of the word of the kingdom. There is something truly unique and powerful about the original and initial parable that is found in this passage of Scripture for the words we find within this parable calls and draws our attention to the seed of the word of the kingdom being sown as well as the various different types of soil into which the seed would be sown. What’s more is the soils upon which the seed would be sown are incredibly unique and important when you take the time to think about them for they call and draw our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the soil being directly responsible for whether or not fruit would spring forth within and upon the earth. Not only would the soil upon which the seed was sown play a part in whether or not fruit would spring forth but it would also play a direct part in what would happen to that fruit when it would indeed spring forth into the earth. It’s incredibly interesting to think about and consider how the seed which was sown on one of the grounds would bring forth no fruit while the seed which was sown on two other soils and grounds would indeed bring forth fruit which would not last. There would be only one place where the seed would be sown where fruit would not only spring forth but would also remain and abide.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. What we find within this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and incredible truth surrounding the sowing of the seed of the word of the kingdom of heaven. The seed of the word of the kingdom would indeed be sown within and upon the earth and yet just because that seed was sown doesn’t mean it would bring forth fruit in every place it would be sown. What’s more is the seed which was sown would be sown in various different types of soil and that soil would determine if fruit would spring forth and if it would remain and abide. The seed which was sown by the wayside would have absolutely no chance to bring forth fruit for immediately after the seed was sown the fowls of the air would come and devour the seed that was sown. With this being said there would indeed be two places where seed would be sown where there might be some chance of fruit which would bring forth as was represented by the seed sown on the stony ground and the seed which was sown among the thorns. The seed which was sown in both of these places would initially bring forth fruit which would spring up upon the earth and yet the fruit that would spring forth would be short-lived and would not abide or remain. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for I am convinced that it is not enough merely to have fruit spring forth for it is also necessary for fruit to abide and remain.

 

            It was the Lord Jesus who would emphatically declare in the famous Sermon on the Mount that it would be by our fruits we would be known. It would be the Lord Jesus who would also emphatically declare unto His disciples that He was the vine and we are the branches. Because He alone is the vine and we are the branches we cannot do anything outside of and apart from Him. What’s more is that the Lord Jesus would also emphatically declare that he had not only chosen us to bear and bring forth fruit but that our fruit would remain. There is something incredibly unique and powerful when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture for it wasn’t merely enough for fruit to be brought forth into the midst of the earth. In addition to fruit being brought forth there was a great need for that fruit to abide and remain. If we can and will be known by our fruit then it must of nature and necessity be that our fruit abide and remain. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when considering the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely tremendous truth surrounding the seed which is the word of the kingdom and the fruit which must needs be brought forth as a direct result of that seed being sown into our hearts and lives.

 

            The more I read the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the seed which is represented by the word of the kingdom. The word of the kingdom would indeed be sown among men within and upon the earth and yet not every place the word of the kingdom would be sown would have the desired impact and effect that was desired. What’s more is I would even dare say there were countless times when Jesus would indeed sow the seed of the word of the kingdom and yet much like the seed which the sower sowed would fall upon different types of soil so also would the seed of the word of the kingdom be sown upon different types of soil and hearts. There is not a doubt in my mind the words we find in this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His sowing the seed of the word of the kingdom. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the truly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the sowing of the seed of the word of the kingdom in the earth and how these different types of soil represent different types of hearts and different types of men. Oh it is indeed true the seed would be sown within and upon the different types of soil and ground among men and yet not every place the seed was sown would have the same effect. There would be those into whose hearts and minds the seed of the word of the kingdom would be sown and yet that seed would immediately be snatched away by the adversary. What’s more is there would be others who would hear and receive the word of the kingdom and it might very well seem as though they would bring forth fruit that would abide and remain and yet for the one the sun would scorch that fruit which would spring forth while for the other the thorns would choke the life out of the word.

 

            Having said this I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. The words we find here in the thirteenth chapter presents us with the tremendous truth surrounding the seed of the word of the kingdom being sown and what type of fruit would indeed be brought forth within the hearts and lives of those unto whom the seed would be sown. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel and how Jesus would indeed explain the parable and what it meant to His disciples:

 

            “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received the seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself; but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some and hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:18-23).

 

            It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand that which is found in Jesus’ explanation of this parable of the seed and the sower for what we find here not only presents us with the sowing of the seed which is the word of the kingdom but it also brings us face to face with whether or not the seed which was sown would indeed bring forth fruit within the heart and life of that one who had received it. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that the seed which was sown by the wayside represents that one who hears the word of the kingdom and yet does not understand it. Because this one hears the word and does not understand it the enemy and adversary is able to come and snatch away that which was sown thus leaving that one with nothing for and from which fruit could spring forth and abide within their life. We must needs recognize and understand that this wasn’t merely the only soil and ground that was represented within the parable Jesus spoke for there would be another soil and ground which would be represented by the stony ground. The stony ground would represent that one who heard the word of the gospel of the kingdom and would receive it with joy. That one who heard the word of the kingdom and received it with joy would endure for a while, however, when tribulation and persecution rises up for the sake of the word of the kingdom they are offended and undoubtedly turn their backs and no more walk with Jesus. Much like those whom the Lord Jesus spoke of when speaking unto His disciples concerning the Last days and much like those disciples who turned back and walked no more with Him because of His words so also were there those who would become offended because of tribulation and persecution and would turn their backs upon the Lord and His kingdom. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, the words which are found in the fifth and tenth chapters of the same New Testament gospel as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

 

            “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

 

            “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).

 

            “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciples that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:16-33).

 

            “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:1-14).

 

            “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. NO man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets. And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, how can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven:  not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum” (John 6:41-59).

 

            “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:60-71).

 

            The words we find in this passage of Scripture highlight and underscore the tremendous truth surrounding those who are represented by the seed that was sown on the stony ground. Those who are represented by the seed which was sown on stony ground are those who might have initially heard and received the word with joy and they might have even endured for a while. Such individuals might have given the impression of walking with and following Jesus for a period of time within their lives while everything was going good and while they were walking in and experiencing rest. Such an image is nothing more than a façade and smoke and mirrors for the minute persecution, the minute tribulation and affliction arises because of the word they grow offended. Not only are these individuals offended but like many of the disciples who turned back and walked no more with Jesus they turn their backs and walk no more with Jesus. These individuals are able to endure so long as there is rest, peace, calm and convenience within their hearts and lives, however, the minute tension, the minute affliction, the minute opposition and the minute tribulation and persecution arises because of the word they are not only offended but also turn back and walk no more with Jesus. Thus any fruit which might have had the appearance of being present within their hearts and lives is entirely and altogether short-lived as persecution and tribulation causes them to become offended because of the word.

 

            If there is something else we must needs recognize concerning this parable it’s regarding those who are represented by the seed which was sown on the thorny ground and among the thorns. Jesus described these individuals as those who heard the word of the kingdom and might very well received it with joy and yet the word of the kingdom is slowly choked out from within their hearts and lives. What’s more is Jesus would go on to describe and declare how that which choked the life of the word of the kingdom within their hearts and lives was the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for the words which Jesus presented here in this particular passage of Scripture draws and calls our attention to the tremendous amount of burdens which can and more often than not do choke the life of the word out from within our hearts and lives. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for Jesus made it perfectly clear that if we aren’t careful the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world can indeed choke the life out of the word. It is for this very reason I am convinced Jesus—in the Sermon on the Mount—spoke unto His disciples and the multitudes concerning the tremendous dangers surrounding worry, anxiety, stress and burdens surrounding the cares of this world. You cannot read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and incredible truth of that which has the ability to choke the life out of the word within our hearts and lives. What’s more is that if you read the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy you will find him writing concerning no good and faithful soldier who entangles themselves again in the affairs of this world that they might become entrapped and ensnared. The apostle Paul would also go on to describe how the love of money is the root of all evil and is a snare unto those who are not mindful and aren’t prepared.

 

            It is with this being said I invite you to turn your attention to the words which our Lord spoke and delivered within and through His Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord emphatically declared that no man can serve two masters for he would either love the one and hate the other or love the other and hate the one. What’s more is Jesus would also go on to speak unto His disciples and audience concerning the tremendous dangers and snares of allowing ourselves to be consumed and overcome with the burdens and cares of this world—what we shall eat, what we shall drink, what we shall wear. Not only this but Jesus also provided His disciples and the multitudes with a way to deliver themselves from the cares and burdens of this world that they might be able to walk in true and complete freedom before His Father who is in heaven. Within the parable of the sower and the seed Jesus spoke of the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches as choking the life out of the word within the heart and life of individuals and I am absolutely convinced we must needs carefully consider the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the sixth chapter concerning the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches within the heart and life of an individual. I would also like to draw and call your attention to the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke concerning the same truth of those who allow themselves to become consumed with the love of money and even the cares of this world:

 

            “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than. Meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if Good so clothe the grass of the field, which to do day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall be not much more clothe you. O ye of little faith? Therefore take. No thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:19-34).

 

            “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do; I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat and drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).

 

            “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than t he fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do the thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, , where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:22-34).

 

            I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous dangers surrounding the cares of this world—and not only the cares of this world but also the deceitfulness of riches. In all reality I would dare say the words which Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount is a wonderful and powerful invitation—not only to deliver ourselves from the cares of this world but also from the deceitfulness of riches. It was the apostle Paul who would emphatically declare that the love of money is the root of evil. There is a great need for us as the disciples of the Lord Jesus to be those who are not only delivered from the cares of this world but are also delivered from the love of money and the deceitfulness of riches. Jesus made it very clear that not only the cares of this world—what we will eat, what we will drink, what we will wear—but also the deceitfulness of riches can and do in fact choke the life out of the world. Jesus made it perfectly and abundantly clear that the life and fruit of the word of the kingdom can indeed and can in fact be choked by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and it is for this reason the words the apostle Paul spoke concerning no faithful servant and soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ would entangle themselves again in the affairs of this world. There is a great need for us as the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to indeed live our lives completely and utterly set free from both the cares of this world as well as the deceitfulness of riches. Both of these have the tendency and ability to completely and utterly choke the life out of the word of the kingdom within our hearts and lives—and not only choke the life out of the word of the kingdom but also destroy any fruit which we would like to bear and bring forth in this life.

 

            As you continue moving forward in the thirteenth chapter you will find Jesus continuing to teach and reveal mysteries concerning the kingdom of heaven. In verses twenty-four through thirty you will find Jesus describing the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. While this man slept, however, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. When the blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit then the tares did also appear among the wheat. The servants of the householder came and asked him if he did not sow good seed in his field and how there came to be tares among the wheat. The householder would hear their words and would declare how an enemy had come and sown the tares among the wheat that the tares might choke the life out of and destroy the wheat. These servants would proceed to ask the householder if he would that they gather the wheat up from the midst of the field to which the householder would instruct them to abstain and refrain from doing so. The reason for such an instruction was that if they attempted to gather the tares from among the wheat they would root up the wheat and possibly destroy the wheat. The householder would then instruct them to let both the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest and at the time of the harvest he would say unto the reapers to go and gather the tares first and bind them that they might be burned before then gathering the wheat into the barn.

 

            In bringing this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in these verses. The words which we find within these verses bring us face to face with the absolutely awesome and incredible truth surrounding the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and how Jesus would describe it. Jesus would go on to describe the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field which was indeed the least of all seeds but when it is grown would become the greatest among herbs and becomes a tree where the birds of the air could come and lodge. Jesus would also go on to describe the kingdom of heaven as being likened unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole ground was leavened. These parables Jesus would speak unto the multitude that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” What makes this all the more intriguing is when you consider how the disciples would come to Jesus privately while He was in the house with them and asking Him to declare unto them the parable of the tares of the field. Jesus would respond unto the disciples by describing how the one who sowed the good seed was the Son of man while the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom while the tares were the children of the wicked one. The enemy which sowed the wicked ones was the devil and the harvest was the end of the world. The reapers are the angels and as the tares were gathered and burned in the fire so shall it would be in the end of the world when the children of the wicked one would be gathered together and burned in the fire. Not only this but when the Son sends forth his angels they would gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity and cast them into a furnace of fire where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The righteous, however, will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father and will spend eternity with the Father, the Son, the Spirit and the myriad of angels which are in heaven.

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