The Kingdom of God isn’t like the United Kingdom, it isn’t a future hope. Instead it is living under, demonstrating and bringing the practical ruling of Jesus Christ in everything we do. When Jesus taught on this subject, he generally spoke in parables, stories which had a deeper meaning to them. By going through these stories, we can see how we can bring about the Kingdom of God.
The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Sower is the story of reactions to the gospel being preached, as even evidenced on Sunday Morning! The first group is the seed who is sown on the path, and the birds came and devoured them. For some, there is no response to the gospel message but this is a form of spiritual warfare because it is the birds that take away the seed and so the enemy is at work here
The second group are the seed landing on the rocky ground, the one with not much soil underneath and so when the sun comes out they have no roots and burn up. I’m sure we’ve all seen these kind of people. They rush to the front to respond to the gospel, the keenest on our Alpha courses yet difficulties arise and they fall away.
The third group was the seed landing among the thorns. We receive the gospel message okay but then we are just so busy, so materialistic or there is just so much happening that the ground is literally preoccupied.
The final group is the one we need to dwell on, the good ground or an understood response. This group see that they need to bring their lives in line with the kingdom and respond to it.
- How have you shared the gospel recently? What category would you put your hearers into?
- Have you helped people to hear the word and understand it? This involves contextualising the message to them.
The Parable of the Weeds
The Parable of the Weeds is the story of how the kingdom is not the only thing being sown in this world. The enemy is also sowing seeds that grow a lot like kingdom fruit. Rather than destroy everything, we are to leave it to the end where everything will be revealed for what it is. This is a principle of doing kingdom work. It is as well to understand it when frustration comes, when the enemy is also producing things. However, at the end all will be made clear and all the fruitfulness of the wheat will be rewarded.
- How have you seen the enemy at work in your lives? How can we fight the enemy together?
The Parable of the Mustard Seed and Leaven
The next two parables have the same meaning, but Jesus tells both of the stories to really emphasise his point. We should be encouraged by our seemingly small contribution. We may think we can hardly do anything which will make a difference. What is helping a few poor people compared with the needs of many nations? Don’t worry about that, you sow it, you put the yeast in, God will ensure that it will grow to be a tree.
- What small thing can you do for the Kingdom this week? If you do a small thing, God will multiply it!
The Parable of the Treasures and Pearl
In a day before banks, people often hid their treasure in a field to protect from invasions but if people died or moved away the treasure belonged to the finder but needed to establish legal right, and so paid a huge price for the field with the treasure in. This is to teach us that the stuff we are doing is of the highest priority, more valuable then any other activity. The kingdom of God is worth giving everything up for.
- What have you given up for the Kingdom? If God was to tell you to leave everything and go, in the same way Abraham did, would you be prepared to?
All of this is to encourage us in the work of the Kingdom but to be realistic about what is going to happen.
- How will this effect how you live your life this week?