Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 20: More Kingdom Truths – 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 20 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with this question, “What does wheat and tares, mustard seeds, and leaven all have in common?”

As Jesus sits in a boat by the shore He tells the multitudes more parables concerning the kingdom of God.

Read: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Jesus concludes His interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares by issuing a command to His disciples: “He who has ears, let him hear.” Jesus wants His disciples to firmly grasp what He is saying, because the parable of the wheat and the tares is helpful in confirming the truths gleaned from the parables of the sower and the growing plant. It also provides additional insight and direction to the other kingdom parables.

This lesson will provide additional insight into the meaning of the terms in the wheat and the tares parable:

The parable begins with the statement: Matthew 13:24
  1. The expression “kingdom of heaven” is another way of saying the kingdom of God.
  2. Jesus interprets the word “man” to be the “son of man”, a term used as a title of the messiah (Daniel 7:13-14).
  3. From the parable of the sower we learned that seeds represented words. Jesus interprets the good seed as the children of the kingdom of God. From this we learn that the word of God produces godly offspring. These offspring are created when the word of God is believed in the heart of man. They grow to maturity and produce more seed that can be planted in other hearts.
  4. The field is the world, which contains various soils, belongs to the son of man not the devil.

The next lines of the parable read this way: Matthew 13:25-28a
  1. The term while men were sleeping is just a way of saying men were unaware of what was going on or they weren’t paying attention.
  2. Jesus declares that the enemy of the son of man is the devil, also called Satan, which means opponent.
  3. Sowing tares in an enemy’s wheat fields was common practice in ancient times. The tares Jesus is talking about are “bearded darnel” a poisonous rye grass which remains indistinguishable from wheat until the grain appears in the head at maturity. According to the ancients, tares are not a different kind of seed, but only a degenerate kind of wheat. Sowing tares results in a decreased wheat crop.
  4. From this parable we learn that the devil uses the same method of sowing his seed as the son of man: by speaking. The devil corrupts the earth, from which man is made, by his words. When Satan’s words are believed in the heart of man they produce an offspring of the devil who in turn produces more words to be sown in the hearts of other men. According to Jesus, the devil’s offspring are those who cause others to stumble and those who are a law unto themselves (Matthew 13:40-42).

The final line of the parable reads this way: Matthew 13:30
  1. By allowing the wheat and tares to grow together indicates that good and evil coexist in this world until the harvest.
  2. Jesus said the harvest is the end of the age (world). The age ends when the word of God, which has been planted in the heart of an individual, grows to maturity and is harvested. This results in a new creation and is known in Christian circles as being born again.
  3. In a corporate sense, the age ends when God creates a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1). This event should not be confused with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ occurring a thousand years previously.

In part 2 of this lesson, we will conclude with Jesus’ final five parable teachings on the kingdom of God and learn as a whole the meaning of all five parables.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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