This is part 1 of a two-part series on Jesus’ parables of Matthew 13.Jesus said, “To you it has been given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 13.11.) Judging by 2000 years of Church history, one would think He had said, “To you it has been given to be in mystery about the kingdom of heaven.” False ideas about the kingdom abounded in the first century and still today. Ironically, they tend to be the same. Most popular then and now was a vision of a Jewish political hegemony imposed on an unwilling world. The problem with that kind of kingdom is that it isn’t powerful enough. The real kingdom of heaven brings an unwilling world to willingness. That, and nothing less, is total victory. But meanwhile, a harvest had been appointed for Israel. I hope you enjoy the sermon.What is this passage about?What two perspectives does this passage give us?Why is the big picture important?The kingdom of heaven is identified as whose kingdom?Who took to himself the title “Son of Man” in the New Testament?“Son of Man” points us to what Old Testament book?What happens to him in that book?“Son of Man” points us to what OT figure?When did this person live?What is unique about him?How is Jesus like him?Were the Jews expecting the Messiah in Jesus’ day?What else points to this Old Testament book?What is Jesus quoting in Mat 13.32?When does the kingdom enter the world?How does the kingdom begin?How does the kingdom progress?What is the destiny of the kingdom?How does the kingdom prevail?How does all this affect the prevailing views of the kingdom in Jesus’ day and ours?What are some of the ways the kingdom challenges and blesses us?What shall we do?This week’s sermon focused on the big picture aspects of the kingdom and its future as revealed in the parable of the mustard seed (Mat 13.31-32), the parable of the leaven (Mat 13.33), the similar dream of the stone given to Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2. 31-45), the fact that Jesus identifies the kingdom as belonging not only to the Father but to the Son of Man (Mat 13.41), the vision given to Daniel where the Son of Man receives the kingdom (Dan 7.13-14), and the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4.11-12 which Jesus quotes in Mat 13.32. Based on the view of the kingdom presented in those passages and discussed in the sermon, answer and discuss the following questions:1. How does the kingdom tie in with the gospel?2. (a) How should the kingdom affect our sharing of the gospel? (b) How can we incorporate the kingdom into our sharing of the gospel? (c) How can we do that without communicating a false triumphalism or a “name it, claim it” mentality?3. (a) How does the kingdom tie in to our ministering to other Christians within the body? (b) Whether we are dealing with our own walk or helping others, how do we maintain the assurance and optimism of the kingdom and yet avoid triumphalism and its inevitable let down?
Click the play button to listen to 'Jesus and the Future of the Kingdom 1' by Alan Burrow.