Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 18: Kingdom Parables – Part 1 of 2

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 18 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with this question, “How is sowing accomplished?”

After finishing the Sermon on the Mount Jesus then embarks on a missionary journey with His disciples preaching and proclaims the kingdom of God. Returning to Capernaum Jesus is again surrounded by the multitudes, where He gets into a boat and teaches eight parables concerning the kingdom of God.

Before proceeding to Jesus’ teaching, two basic concepts must be understood: what a parable is and what the kingdom of God is. First, let’s consider what a parable is. A parable is a narrative or short story to compare truths, concepts and principles concerning another subject that is more difficult to understand.

Now, let’s consider the meaning of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God simply means the rule of God. To be a kingdom, five elements must be present: 1. The king; 2. The method of ruling or reigning; 3. The subjects who are in submission to the rule of the king to do his will; 4. The area over which the king’s authority has extended; 5. The length of time that the king rules.

Therefore it can be said that: (1) God, the king (2) is ruling by His Spirit (3) through Jesus Christ and those who are His (4) in heaven (5) forever.

Kingdoms are extended through either gift or warfare. Most commonly they are extended through warfare, the people of one kingdom must battle those of the opposing kingdom. Conquering the opposing people in warfare is necessary in order to extend territory.

By analogy, Jesus Christ was offered the kingdoms of this world, as a gift by Satan (Matthew 4:8-9, Luke 4:5-7). In order to get them Jesus would have had to switch His allegiance from God to Satan. He did not and warfare ensued. The Kingdom of God is currently engaged in warfare against Satan, the ruler of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus Christ and all those who are His (Christians) are battling for the earth against Satan, his demons, principalities and powers. They are extending the Kingdom of God in the earth.

At this present time the Kingdom of God is persuading opposing people to change sides. In the nearer future, Jesus will return, capture the opposing king and imprison him for a thousand years. Jesus will reign during this thousand-year period and everyone on earth will serve God. At the end of that time, the opposing king will be released from prison and lead those people whose hearts have not changed allegiance, in rebellion against the Kingdom of God again. Death is their destiny.

God could easily defeat His opponent, but His desire is to win the hearts of the people so they will switch their allegiance willingly. He does this through love: displaying acts of loving-kindness through His Son Jesus and those who are His (Christians). The disciples of Jesus are to wage a benevolent warfare. Even allowing themselves to be killed, anything to convince the enemy of the goodness of their King.

One of the reasons God raised Jesus from the dead was to demonstrate that He has the power of life and death. It acts as an encouragement to a disciple in his struggle to extend the kingdom of God. Jesus makes His disciples ambassadors so they can extend amnesty to His enemies. In the amnesty agreement God promises to forgive every sin and atrocity that His enemies have committed against Him and His people. To those who switch their allegiance God promises eternal life with Him.

In part 2 of this lesson, we will conclude Jesus’ first of eight teaching on the kingdom of God, learning how God’s kingdom rule and reign works today and on into eternity, as well as His desire to win the hearts of the people to His kingdom.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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