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Matthew Chapter Thirteen


Matthew 13

The Lord was no longer seeking fruit in His vine. It had been requisite according to God's relations with Israel that He should seek this fruit; but His true service, He well knew, was to bring that which could produce fruit, and not to find any in men.

It is important to remark here, that the Lord speaks of the visible and outward effect of His work as a Sower. The only occasion here on which He expresses His judgment as to the inward cause is, when He says, "They had no root"; and even here it is a matter of fact. The doctrines respecting the divine operation needed for the production of fruit are not here spoken of. It is the Sower who is displayed, and the result of His sowing, not that which causes the seed to germinate in the earth. In each case, except the first, a certain effect is produced.

The Lord is then here presented as commencing a work which is independent of all former relation between God and men, bearing with Him the seed of the word, which He sows in the heart by His ministry. Where it abides, where it is understood, where it is neither choked nor dried up, it produces fruit to His glory, and to the happiness and profit of the man who bears it.

In verse 11 the Lord shews the reason why He speaks enigmatically to the multitude. A distinction is now definitely made between the remnant and the nation: the latter was under the judgment of blindness pronounced by the prophet Isaiah. Blessed were the eyes of the disciples which saw the Emmanuel, the Messiah, the object of the hopes and desires of so many prophets and righteous men. All this marks judgment, and a called and spared remnant. [1]

I would now make a few remarks on the character of the persons of whom the Lord speaks in the parable.

When the word is sown in a heart that does not understand it, when it produces no relation of intelligence, of feeling, or of conscience between the heart and God, the enemy takes it away: it does not remain in the heart. He who heard it is not the less guilty: that which was sown in his heart was adapted to every need, to the nature and to the condition of man.

The immediate reception of the word with joy, in the next case, tends rather to prove that the heart will not retain it; for it is scarcely probable in such a case that the conscience was reached. A conscience touched by the word makes a man serious; he sees himself in the presence of God, which is always a serious thing whatever may be the attraction of His grace, or the hope inspired by His goodness. If the conscience has not been reached, there is no root. The word was received for the joy it imparted; when it brings tribulation, it is given up. When the conscience has been already exercised, the gospel brings at once joy; but when not, it awakens the conscience where there is a real work. In the first case it is the answer to and meets the wants already there. In the second it creates those wants.

Every day's history is, alas! the sad and best explanation of the third class. There is no ill-will, there is barrenness.

That the word was understood is only affirmed of those who bear fruit. The true understanding of the word brings a soul into connection with God, because the word reveals God-expresses what He is. If I understand it, I know Him; and the true knowledge of God (that is, of the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ) is eternal life. Now, whatever may be the degree of light, it is always God thus revealed who is made known by the word that Jesus sows. Thus, being begotten of the word, we shall produce, in diverse measures, the fruits of the life of God in this world. For the subject here is the effect, in this world, of the reception of the truth brought by Jesus (not heaven, nor that which God does in the heart to make the seed bear fruit).

This parable does not speak, as a similitude, of the kingdom, though the word sown was the word of the kingdom, but of the great elementary principle of the service of Christ in the universality of its application, and as it was realised in His own Person and service while on the earth, and after He was gone, though fuller subjects of grace might then be brought out.

In the six following parables we find similitudes of the kingdom. We must remember that it is the kingdom established during the rejection of the King, [2] and which consequently has a peculiar character. That is to say, it is characterised by the absence of the King, adding to this, in the explanation of the first parable, the effect of His return.

The first three of these six parables present the kingdom in its outward forms in the world. They are addressed to the multitude. The last three present the kingdom according to the estimate of the Holy Ghost, according to the reality of its character as seen by God-the mind and counsel of God in it. They are addressed consequently to the disciples alone. The public establishment of the kingdom in the righteousness and power of God is also announced to the latter, in the explanation of the parables of the tares.

Let us consider first the exterior of the kingdom publicly announced to the multitude-the outward form which the kingdom would assume.

We must remember that the King, that is, the Lord Jesus, was rejected on earth; that the Jews, in rejecting Him, had condemned themselves; that, the word of God being used to accomplish the work of Him whom the Father had sent, the Lord thus made it known that He established the kingdom, not by His power exercised in righteousness and in judgment, but by bearing testimony to the hearts of men; and that the kingdom now assumed a character connected with man's responsibility, and with the result of the word of light being sown in the earth, addressed to the hearts of men, and left as a system of truth to the faithfulness and the care of men (God, however, still holding good His sovereign right for the preservation of His children and of the truth itself). This latter part is not the subject of these parables. I have introduced it here, because it might otherwise have been supposed that everything depended absolutely on man. Had it been so, alas! all would have been lost.

The parable of the tares is the first. It gives us a general idea of the effect of these sowings as to the kingdom; or rather, the result of having for the moment committed the kingdom here below to the hands of men.

The result was that the kingdom here below no longer presented as a whole the appearance of the Lord's own work. He sows not tares. Through the. carelessness and the infirmity of men, the enemy found means to sow these tares. Observe that this does not apply to the heathen or to the Jews, but to the evil done among Christians by Satan through bad doctrines, bad teachers and their adherents. The Lord Jesus sowed. Satan, while men slept, sowed also. There were judaisers, philosophers, heretics who held with both the former on the one hand, or on the other opposed the truth of the Old Testament.

Nevertheless Christ had only sown good seed. Must the tares then be rooted out? Clearly the condition of the kingdom during the absence of Christ depends on the answer to this question; and it throws light also upon that condition. But there was still less power to bring in a remedy than there had been to prevent the evil. All must remain unremedied until the King's interposition at the time of harvest. The kingdom of heaven on earth, such as it is in the hands of men, must remain a mingled system. Heretics, false brethren, will be there, as well as the fruit of the Lord's word, testifying, in this last dealing of God with him, man's inability to maintain that which is good and pure in its pristine state. So it has ever been. [3]

At the time of harvest (a phrase that designates a certain space of time during which the events connected with the harvest will take place)-"at the time of harvest" the Lord will deal first, in His providence, with the tares. I say, "in His providence," because He employs the angels. The tares shall be bound in bundles ready to be burnt.

We must observe that outward things in the world are the subject here-acts which root out corruption-corruption that has grown up in the midst of Christianity.

The servants are not capable of doing this. The intermingling (caused by their weakness and carelessness) is such, that in gathering out the tares they would root up the wheat also. Not only discernment, but the practical power of separation would be wanting to carry out their purpose. When once the tares are there, the servants have nothing to do with them as to their presence in this world, in Christendom. Their service is with the good. The work of purging Christendom from them was not in their province. It is a work of judgment on that which is not of God, belonging to Him who can execute it according to the perfection of a knowledge that embraces everything, and a power that nothing escapes; which, if two men are in one bed, knows how to take the one and leave the other. The execution of judgment on the wicked in this world does not belong to the servants of Christ. [4] He will accomplish it by the angels of His power, to whom He commits the execution of this work.

After the binding of the tares He gathers the wheat into His garner. There is no binding the wheat in bundles; He takes it all to Himself. Such is the end of that which concerns the outward appearance of the kingdom here below. This is not all that the parable can teach us, but it ends the subject of which this part of the chapter speaks. During the absence of Jesus the result of His sowing will be marred, as a whole down here, by the work of the enemy. At the close He will bind all the enemy's work in bundles; that is, He will prepare them in this world for judgment. He will then take away the church. It is evident that this terminates the scene below which goes on during His absence. The judgment is not yet executed. Before speaking of it the Lord gives other pictures of the forms which the kingdom will assume during His absence.

That which had been sown as a grain of mustard-seed becomes a great tree; a symbol that represents a great power in the earth. The Assyrian, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, are set before us in the word as great trees. Such would be the form of the kingdom, which began in littleness through the word sown by the Lord, and afterwards by His disciples. That which this seed produced would gradually assume the form of a great power, making itself prominent on the earth, so that others would shelter themselves under it, as birds under the branches of a tree. This has, indeed, been the case.

We next find that it would not only be a great tree in the earth, but that the kingdom would be characterised as a system of doctrine, which would diffuse itself-a profession, which would enclose all it reached within its sphere of influence. The whole of the three measures would be leavened. I need not dwell here on the fact that the word leaven is always used in a bad sense by the sacred writers; but the Holy Ghost gives us to understand that it is not the regenerative power of the word in the heart of an individual, bringing him back to God; neither is it simply a power acting by outward strength, such as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and the other great trees of scripture. But it is a system of doctrine that should characterise the mass, pervading it throughout. It is not faith properly so called, nor is it life. It is a religion; it is Christendom. A profession of doctrine, in hearts which will bear neither the truth nor God, connects itself always with corruption in the doctrine itself.

This parable of the leaven concludes His instructions to the multitude. All was now addressed to them in parables, for they did not receive Him their King, and He spoke of things that supposed His rejection, and an aspect of the kingdom unknown to the revelations of the Old Testament, which have in view either the kingdom in power, or a little remnant receiving, amid sufferings, the word of the Prophet-King who had been rejected.

After this parable Jesus no longer remains by the seaside with the multitude-a place suited to the position in which He stood towards the people after the testimony borne at the end of chapter 12, and whither He had repaired on quitting the house. He now re-enters the house with His disciples; and there, in secluded intimacy with them, He reveals the true character-the object-of the kingdom of heaven, the result of that which was done in it, and the means which should be taken to cleanse everything on earth, when the outward history of the kingdom during His absence should have terminated. That is to say, we find here that which characterises the kingdom to the spiritual man, that which he understands as the true mind of God with regard to the kingdom, and the judgment which should purge out from it all that was contrary to Him-the exercise of power which should render it outwardly in accordance with the heart of God.

We have seen its outward history ending with this, the wheat hidden in the garner, and the tares left in bundles on the earth ready to be burnt. The explanation of this parable resumes the history of the kingdom at that period; only it gives us to understand and distinguish the different parts of the intermixture, ascribing each part to its true author. The field is the world; [5] there the word was sown for the establishment, in this manner, of the kingdom. The good seed were the children of the kingdom; they belonged to it really according to God; they are its heirs. The Jews were no longer so, and it was no longer the privilege of natural birth. The children of the kingdom were born of the word. But among these, in order to spoil the Lord's work, the enemy introduced all sorts of people, the fruit of the doctrines which he had sown among those who were born of the truth. This is the work of Satan in the place where the doctrine of Christ had been planted. The harvest is the end of the age. [6] The reapers are the angels It will be remarked here that the Lord does not explain historically that which took place, but the terms used to bring in the issue when the harvest is come. The fulfilment of that which is historical in the parable is supposed; and He passes on to give the great result outside that which was the kingdom during His absence on high. The wheat (that is, the church) is in the barn, and the tares in bundles on the earth. But He takes all that constitutes these bundles, all that as evil offends God in the kingdom, and casts it into the furnace of fire, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. After this judgment the righteous shall shine forth like Himself, the true Sun of that day of glory-of the age to come, in the kingdom of their Father. Christ will have received the kingdom from the Father whose children they were; and they shall shine forth in it with Him according to that character.

Thus we find for the multitude, the results on earth of the divine sowing, and the machinations of the enemy-the kingdom presented under this form; afterwards the confederacies of the wicked among themselves apart from their natural order as growing in the field; and the taking away of the church. For His own disciples, the Lord explains all that was necessary to make them fully understand the language of the parable. We then find the judgment executed by the Son of man upon the wicked, who are cast into the fire; and the manifestation of the righteous in glory (these last events taking place after the Lord had risen up and put an end to the outward form of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, the wicked being gathered in companies, and the saints taken up to heaven). [7]

And now, having explained the public history and its results in judgment and in glory for the full instruction of His disciples, the Lord communicates to them the thoughts of God with respect to what was going on upon earth, while the outward and earthly events of the kingdom were being developed-that which the spiritual man should discern in them. To him, to one who understood the purpose of God, the kingdom of heaven was like a treasure hidden in a field. A man finds the treasure, and buys the field in order to possess it. The field was not his object, but the treasure that was in it. Thus Christ has purchased the world. He possesses it by right. His object is the treasure hidden in it, His own people, all the glory of the redemption connected with it; in a word, the church looked at,-not in its moral and in a certain sense divine beauty, but as the special object of the desires and of the sacrifice of the Lord-that which His heart had found in this world according to the counsels and the mind of God.

In this parable it is the powerful attraction of this "new thing," which induces the one who has found it to purchase the whole place, that he may obtain possession of it.

The Jews were nothing new; the world had no attraction; but this new treasure induced the One who had discovered it to sell all He had that He might gain it. In fact Christ forsook everything. He not only emptied Himself to redeem us, but He renounced all that belonged to Him as man, as the Messiah on earth, the promises, His royal rights, His life, to take possession of the world which contained in it this treasure, the people whom He loved.

In the parable of the pearl of great price we have again the same idea, but it is modified by others. A man was seeking goodly pearls. He knew what he was about. He had taste, discernment, knowledge, as to that which he sought. It was the well-known beauty of the thing that caused his research. He knows when he has found one corresponding to his ideas, that it is worth while to sell all that he may acquire it. It is worth this in the eyes of one who can estimate its value. And he buys nothing else along with it. Thus Christ has found in the church by itself a beauty and (because of this beauty) a value, which made Him give up all to obtain it. It is just so with regard to the kingdom. Considering the state of man, of the Jews even, the glory of God required that all should be given up in order to have this new thing; for there was nothing in man that He could take to Himself. Not only He was content to give up all for the possession of this new thing, but that which His heart seeks for, that which He finds nowhere else, He finds in that which God has given Him in the kingdom. He bought no other pearls. Until He found this pearl, He had no inducement to sell all that He had. As soon as He sees it, His mind is made up; He forsakes all for it. Its value decides Him, for He knows how to judge, and He seeks with discernment.

I do not say that the children of the kingdom are not actuated by the same principle. When we have learnt what it is to be a child of the kingdom, we forsake all that we may enjoy it, that we may be of the pearl of great price. But we do not buy that which is not the treasure, in order to obtain it; and we are very far from seeking goodly pearls before we have found the one of great price. In their full force these parables only apply to Christ. The intention in these parables is to bring out that which was then doing, in contrast with all that had taken place before-with the Lord's relations to the Jews.

There remains yet one of the seven-that of the net cast into the sea. In this parable there is no change in the persons employed, that is to say, in the parable itself. The same persons who cast the net draw it to shore, and make the separation by gathering the good fish into vessels, taking no further notice of the bad. Securing the good fish is the work of those who draw the net to shore. It is only when landed that this is done. The sorting is their work, doubtless; but they have only to do with the good fish. They know them. This is their business, the object of their fishing. Others indeed come, and are found in the net together with the good; but these are not good. No other judgment is needed. The fishermen know the good. These are not such. They leave them. This forms a part of the history of the kingdom of heaven. The judgment of the wicked is not found here. The bad are left on the shore, when the fishermen gather the good into vessels. The final destiny of either good or bad is not given here. It does not take place on the shore with respect to the good; nor as to the bad by simply leaving them there. It is subsequent to the action of the parable; and, with respect to the bad, it does not take place merely by their separation from the good with whom they had been intermingled, but by their destruction. Neither in this parable, nor in that of the tares and wheat, does the execution of judgment form part of the parable itself. There the tares are bound and left on the field, here they are cast away out of the netful.

Thus the gospel net has been cast into the sea of the nations, and has enclosed of all kinds. After this general gathering, which has filled the net, the agents of the Lord, having to do with the good, gather them together, separating them from the bad. Remark here that this is a similitude of the kingdom. It is the character which the kingdom assumes when the gospel has assembled together a mass of good and bad. At the end, when the net has been drawn so that all kinds are enclosed in it, the good are set apart because they are precious, the others are left. The good are gathered into divers vessels. The saints are gathered, not by the angels, but by the work of those who have laboured in the name of the Lord. The distinction is not made by judgment, but by the servants occupied with the good.

The execution of the judgment is another matter. The labourers have nothing to do with that. At the end of the age, the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, not the just from among the rest as the fisherman did, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire, where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Here nothing is said of their being occupied about the just. Gathering them into vessels was not the angels' work, but that of the fishermen. The angels are in both parables occupied with the wicked. The public result had been given, whether during the period of the kingdom of heaven, or afterwards, in the parable of the tares. It is not repeated here. The work to be done with regard to the righteous when the net is full is added here. The destiny of the wicked is repeated to distinguish the work done with respect to them from that wrought by means of the fishermen, who gather the good into divers vessels. Still it is presented under another aspect; and the just are left where they were. In the parable of the tares the judgment of the wicked is declared as in this. They are cast out into weeping and gnashing of teeth, but there the general state of the kingdom is revealed, and we have the righteous shining forth as the sun-the higher part of the kingdom. Here it is only what the intelligent understand, what the spiritual mind sees; the just are put into vessels. There is a separation by spiritual power before judgment, which there was not in the general public state of the kingdom, but only what providence did publicly in the field, and the good grain received above. Here the separation is by dealings with the good. This was the main point for spiritual intelligence. Public display is not the point; only judgment will be executed on the wicked, in fact; then the just will be left there. [8]

In the explanation of the second parable, it is absolute judgment in the case of the tares, destroying and consuming that which remains on the field, already collected together and separated providentially from the wheat. The angels are sent at the end, not to separate the tares from the wheat (that was done) but to cast the tares into the fire, thus cleansing the kingdom. In the explanation of the parable of the fish (v. 49) the sorting itself takes place. There will be just ones on the earth, and the wicked will be separated from among them. The practical instruction of this parable is the separation of the good from the wicked, and the gathering together in companies of many of the former; this is done more than once, many others of the same being gathered elsewhere into one also. The servants of the Lord are the instruments employed in what takes place in the parable itself.

These parables contain things new and old. The doctrine of the kingdom, for instance, was a well-known doctrine. That the kingdom should take the forms described by the Lord, that it should embrace the whole world without distinction, the people of God drawing their existence not from Abraham but from the word-all this was quite new. All was of God. The scribe had knowledge of the kingdom, but was entirely ignorant of the character it would assume, as the kingdom of heaven planted in this world by means of the word, on which all here depends.

The Lord resumes His work among the Jews. [9] To them He was only "the carpenter's son." They knew His family after the flesh. The kingdom of heaven was nothing in their eyes. The revelation of this kingdom was carried on elsewhere, and there the knowledge of divine things was communicated. The former saw nothing beyond those things which the natural heart could perceive. The blessing of the Lord was arrested by their unbelief: He was rejected as prophet, as well as king, by Israel.


[1] Compare Mark 4:33, 34. It was adapted to all if they had ears to hear, but was darkness to the wilful.

[2] Remark here, that chapter 12 having brought before us the judgment of the Jewish people, we have now the kingdom as It is in the absence of the king, chapter 13; the assembly as built by Christ, chapter 16; and the kingdom in glory, chapter 17.

[3] It is a solemn thought that the first act of man has been to spoil what God has set up good. So with Adam, so with Noah, so with the law, so with the priesthood of Aaron, so with the son of David, so even Nebuchadnezzar, so the church. In Paul's days all sought their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. All is made good, better, and stable in the Messiah.

[4] I speak here of those who will have been His servants on earth during His absence. For angels are also His servants, as well as the saints of the age to come.

[5] Manifestly it was not in the church that the Lord began to sow: it did not then exist. But He distinguishes Israel here from the world, and speaks of the latter. He looked for fruit in Israel; He sows in the world, because Israel after all His culture brought forth no fruit.

[6] Not merely the instant that terminates it, but the acts that accomplish the purpose of God in terminating it.

[7] Remark too here that the kingdom of heaven is parcelled out into two parts, the kingdom of the Son of man, and the kingdom of our Father: the objects of judgment in what is subjected to Christ, and a place like His before the Father for sons.

[8] In all symbolical prophecies and parables, the explanation goes beyond the parable and adds facts; because the judgment executed publicly testifies of that which in the time of the parable can only be discerned spiritually. This latter may be spiritually understood. The result is, judgment will publicly declare it, so that we are always to go beyond the parable in the explanation. Judgment explains publicly what is only understood spiritually before, and brings in a new order of things (compare Dan. 7).

[9] The chapters which follow are striking in their character. Christ's Person as the Jehovah of Psalm 132 is brought out, but Israel sent away, the disciples left alone, while He prays on high. He returns, rejoins the disciples, and the Gadarene world owns Him. Then we have in chapter 15 the full moral description of the ground on which Israel stood actually, and ought to stand, but carried much farther out into what man's heart is; and then what God is, revealed in grace to faith, even if in a Gentile. Historically He still owns Israel, but in divine perfection, and now in human administrative power; and then (chap. 16) the church is brought in prophetically; and in chapter 17 the kingdom of glory in vision. In chapter 16 they are forbidden to say He is the Christ. This is over.

── John DarbySynopsis of Matthew


Matthew 13

Chapter Contents

The parable of the sower. (1-23) The parable of the tares. (24-30; 36-43) The parables of the mustard-seed and the leaven. (31-35) The parables of the hidden treasure, the pearl of great price, the net cast into the sea, and the householder. (44-52) Jesus is again rejected at Nazareth. (53-58)

Commentary on Matthew 13:1-23

(Read Matthew 13:1-23)

Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Hebrews 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.

Commentary on Matthew 13:24-30,

(Read Matthew 13:24-30,)

36-43 This parable represents the present and future state of the gospel church; Christ's care of it, the devil's enmity against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad in this world, and the separation between them in the other world. So prone is fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sow the tares, he may go his way, they will spring up, and do hurt; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced. The servants complained to their master; Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not from Christ. Though gross transgressors, and such as openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, yet no human skill can make an exact separation. Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and that with meekness. And though good and bad are together in this world, yet at the great day they shall be parted; then the righteous and the wicked shall be plainly known; here sometimes it is hard to distinguish between them. Let us, knowing the terrors of the Lord, not do iniquity. At death, believers shall shine forth to themselves; at the great day they shall shine forth before all the world. They shall shine by reflection, with light borrowed from the Fountain of light. Their sanctification will be made perfect, and their justification published. May we be found of that happy number.

Commentary on Matthew 13:31-35

(Read Matthew 13:31-35)

The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mark 4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Romans 6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?

Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52

(Read Matthew 13:44-52)

Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, John 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.

Commentary on Matthew 13:53-58

(Read Matthew 13:53-58)

Christ repeats his offer to those who have repulsed them. They upbraid him, Is not this the carpenter's son? Yes, it is true he was reputed to be so; and no disgrace to be the son of an honest tradesman; they should have respected him the more because he was one of themselves, but therefore they despised him. He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Unbelief is the great hinderance to Christ's favours. Let us keep faithful to him as the Saviour who has made our peace with God.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Matthew


Matthew 13

Verse 2

[2] And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

He went into the vessel — Which constantly waited upon him, while he was on the sea coast.

Verse 3

[3] And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

In parables — The word is here taken in its proper sense, for apt similes or comparisons. This way of speaking, extremely common in the eastern countries, drew and fixed the attention of many, and occasioned the truths delivered to sink the deeper into humble and serious hearers. At the same time, by an awful mixture of justice and mercy, it hid them from the proud and careless. In this chapter our Lord delivers seven parables; directing the four former (as being of general concern) to all the people; the three latter to his disciples.

Behold the sower — How exquisitely proper is this parable to be an introduction to all the rest! In this our Lord answers a very obvious and a very important question. The same sower, Christ, and the same preachers sent by him, always sow the same seed: why has it not always the same effect? He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!

Verse 4

[4] And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

And while he sowed, some seeds fell by the highway side, and the birds came and devoured them — It is observable, that our Lord points out the grand hinderances of our bearing fruit, in the same order as they occur. The first danger is, that the birds will devour the seed. If it escape this, there is then another danger, namely, lest it be scorched, and wither away. It is long after this that the thorns spring up and choke the good seed. A vast majority of those who hear the word of God, receive the seed as by the highway side. Of those who do not lose it by the birds, yet many receive it as on stony places. Many of them who receive it in a better soil, yet suffer the thorns to grow up, and choke it: so that few even of these endure to the end, and bear fruit unto perfection: yet in all these cases, it is not the will of God that hinders, but their own voluntary perverseness.

Verse 8

[8] But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Good ground — Soft, not like that by the highway side; deep, not like the stony ground; purged, not full of thorns.

Verse 11

[11] He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

To you, who have, it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven - The deep things which flesh and blood cannot reveal, pertaining to the inward, present kingdom of heaven. But to them who have not, it is not given - Therefore speak I in parables, that ye may understand, while they do not understand.

Verse 12

[12] For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Whosoever hath — That is, improves what he hath, uses the grace given according to the design of the giver; to him shall be given - More and more, in proportion to that improvement.

But whosoever hath not — Improves it not, from him shall be taken even what he hath - Here is the grand rule of God's dealing with the children of men: a rule fixed as the pillars of heaven. This is the key to all his providential dispensations; as will appear to men and angels in that day. Matthew 25:29; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18; 19:26.

Verse 13

[13] Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not|-In pursuance of this general rule, I do not give more knowledge to this people, be. cause they use not that which they have already: having all the means of seeing, hearing, and understanding, they use none of them: they do not effectually see, or hear, or understand any thing.

Verse 14

[14] And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Hearing ye will hear, but in nowise understand — That is, Ye will surely hear. All possible means will be given you: yet they will profit you nothing; because your heart is sensual, stupid, and insensible; your spiritual senses are shut up; yea, you have closed your eyes against the light; as being unwilling to understand the things of God, and afraid, not desirous that he should heal you. Isaiah 6:9; John 12:40; Acts 28:26.

Verse 16

[16] But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

But blessed are your eyes — For you both see and understand. You know how to prize the light which is given you. Luke 10:23.

Verse 19

[19] 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 seed by the way side.

When any one heareth the word, and considereth it not — The first and most general cause of unfruitfulness.

The wicked one cometh — Either inwardly; filling the mind with thoughts of other things; or by his agent. Such are all they that introduce other subjects, when men should be considering what they have heard.

Verse 20

[20] But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

The seed sown on stony places, therefore sprang up soon, because it did not sink deep, Matthew 13:5.

He receiveth it with joy — Perhaps with transport, with ecstacy: struck with the beauty of truth, and drawn by the preventing grace of God.

Verse 21

[21] 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.

Yet hath he not root in himself — No deep work of grace: no change in the ground of his heart. Nay, he has no deep conviction; and without this, good desires soon wither away.

He is offended — He finds a thousand plausible pretences for leaving so narrow and rugged a way.

Verse 22

[22] 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.

He that received the seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word and considereth it — In spite of Satan and his agents: yea, hath root in himself is deeply convinced, and in a great measure inwardly changed; so that he will not draw back, even when tribulation or persecution ariseth. And yet even in him, together with the good seed, the thorns spring up, Matthew 13:7. (perhaps unperceived at first) till they gradually choke it, destroy all its life and power, and it becometh unfruitful. Cares are thorns to the poor: wealth to the rich; the desire of other things to all.

The deceitfulness of riches — Deceitful indeed! for they smile, and betray: kiss, and smite into hell. They put out the eyes, harden the heart, steal away all the life of God; fill the soul with pride, anger, love of the world; make men enemies to the whole cross of Christ! And all the while are eagerly desired, and vehemently pursued, even by those who believe there is a God!

Verse 23

[23] 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 an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty — That is, in various proportions; some abundantly more than others.

Verse 24

[24] Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

He proposed another parable — in which he farther explains the case of unfruitful hearers. The kingdom of heaven (as has been observed before) sometimes signifies eternal glory: sometimes the way to it, inward religion; sometimes, as here, the Gospel dispensation: the phrase is likewise used for a person or thing relating to any one of those: so in this place it means, Christ preaching the Gospel, who is like a man sowing good seed - The expression, is like, both here and in several other places, only means, that the thing spoken of may be illustrated by the following similitude.

Who sowed good seed in his field — God sowed nothing but good in his whole creation. Christ sowed only the good seed of truth in his Church.

Verse 25

[25] But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

But while men slept — They ought to have watched: the Lord of the field sleepeth not.

His enemy came and sowed darnel — This is very like wheat, and commonly grows among wheat rather than among other grain: but tares or vetches are of the pulse kind, and bear no resemblance to wheat.

Verse 26

[26] But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

When the blade was sprung up, then appeared the darnel — It was not discerned before: it seldom appears, as soon as the good seed is sown: all at first appears to be peace, and love, and joy.

Verse 27

[27] So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it darnel? — Not from the parent of good. Even the heathen could say, "No evil can from thee proceed: 'Tis only suffer'd, not decreed: As darkness is not from the sun, Nor mount the shades, till he is gone."

Verse 28

[28] He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

He said, An enemy hath done this — A plain answer to the great question concerning the origin of evil. God made men (as he did angels) intelligent creatures, and consequently free either to choose good or evil: but he implanted no evil in the human soul: An enemy (with man's concurrence) hath done this. Darnel, in the Church, is properly outside Christians, such as have the form of godliness, without the power. Open sinners, such as have neither the form nor the power, are not so properly darnel, as thistles and brambles: these ought to be rooted up without delay, and not suffered in the Christian community. Whereas should fallible men attempt to gather up the darnel, they would often root up the wheat with them.

Verse 31

[31] 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:

He proposed to them another parable — The former parables relate chiefly to unfruitful hearers; these that follow, to those who bear good fruit.

The kingdom of heaven — Both the Gospel dispensation, and the inward kingdom. Mark 4:30; Luke 13:18.

Verse 32

[32] 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.

The least — That is, one of the least: a way of speaking extremely common among the Jews.

It becometh a tree — In those countries it grows exceeding large and high. So will the Christian doctrine spread in the world, and the life of Christ in the soul.

Verse 33

[33] 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.

Three measures — This was the quantity which they usually baked at once: till the whole was leavened - Thus will the Gospel leaven the world and grace the Christian. Luke 13:20.

Verse 34

[34] All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

Without a parable spake he not unto them — That is, not at that time; at other times he did.

Verse 35

[35] 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.

Psalms 78:2.

Verse 38

[38] 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 good seed are the children of the kingdom — That is, the children of God, the righteous.

Verse 41

[41] 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;

They shall gather all things that offend — Whatever had hindered or grieved the children of God; whatever things or persons had hindered the good seed which Christ had sown from taking root or bearing fruit. The Greek word is, All scandals.

Verse 44

[44] 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.

The three following parables are proposed, not to the multitude, but peculiarly to the apostles: the two former of them relate to those who receive the Gospel; the third, both to those who receive, and those who preach it.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hid in a field — The kingdom of God within us is a treasure indeed, but a treasure hid from the world, and from the most wise and prudent in it. He that finds this treasure, (perhaps when he thought it far from him,) hides it deep in his heart, and gives up all other happiness for it.

Verse 45

[45] Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

The kingdom of heaven — That is, one who earnestly seeks for it: in verse Matthew 13:47 it means, the Gospel preached, which is like a net gathering of every kind: just so the Gospel, wherever it is preached, gathers at first both good and bad, who are for a season full of approbation and warm with good desires. But Christian discipline, and strong, close exhortation, begin that separation in this world, which shall be accomplished by the angels of God in the world to come.

Verse 52

[52] 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.

Every scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven — That is, every duly prepared preacher of the Gospel has a treasure of Divine knowledge, out of which he is able to bring forth all sorts of instructions. The word treasure signifies any collection of things whatsoever, and the places where such collections are kept.

Verse 53

[53] And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

He departed thence — He crossed the lake from Capernaum: and came once more into his own country - Nazareth: but with no better success than he had had there before.

Verse 54

[54] 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?

Whence hath HE — Many texts are not understood, for want of knowing the proper emphasis; and others are utterly misunderstood, by placing the emphasis wrong. To prevent this in some measure, the emphatical words are here printed in capital letters. Mark 6:1; Luke 4:16,22.

Verse 55

[55] Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

The carpenter's son — The Greek, word means, one that works either in wood, iron, or stone.

His brethren — Our kinsmen. They were the sons of Mary, sister to the virgin, and wife of Cleophas or Alpheus.

James — Styled by St. Paul also, the Lord's brother, Galatians 1:19. Simon - Surnamed the Canaanite.

Verse 57

[57] 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.

They were offended at him — They looked on him as a mean, ignoble man, not worthy to be regarded. John 4:44; Luke 7:23.

Verse 58

[58] And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

He wrought not many mighty works, because of their unbelief — And the reason why many mighty works are not wrought now, is not, that the faith is not every where planted; but, that unbelief every where prevails.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Matthew


Chapter 13. Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven

A Prophet in His Own Country
Without Honor

I. Parable of the Sower

  1. Four Kinds of Heart Soils
  2. Reason of Using Parables
  3. Meaning of the Parable

II. Parable of Weeds

  1. Pretend and Mingle
  2. Suspend Uprooting
  3. Meaning of the Parable

III. The Other Parables

  1. Mustard Seed and Yeast
  2. Hidden Treasure and Pearl
  3. Dragnet Cast into the Sea
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Introduction To The Parables (Mt 13:1-3,10-17)
1. During His earthly ministry, as Jesus went about preaching and
   teaching, He frequently used parables - cf. Mt 13:1-3, 13:34-35
   a. It has been estimated that at least one-third of Jesus' recorded
      teaching is found in the parables (Wiersbe, "Windows On The
      Parables", p. 15)
   b. Certainly many of the most often remembered sayings of Jesus are
      His parables
2. It is therefore proper for disciples today to ask such questions as:
   a. What is a "parable"?
   b. Why did Jesus teach in parables?
   c. What are they about?
   d. How should we interpret them?
3. With this lesson, we begin a study on "The Parables Of Jesus"...
   a. This first lesson will serve as an introduction to the parables
      in general
   b. Succeeding lessons will examine the parables in particular
[Let's begin this "Introduction To The Parables" by noticing...]
      1. Is a transliteration of the Greek "parabole" (para-bow-LAY)
      2. Means "to place beside, to cast alongside"
      3. As defined by Vine's Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words, it 
         "signifies a placing of one thing beside another with a view 
         to comparison"
      4. Wiersbe's description of  a parable...
         a. As "a story that places one thing beside another for the 
            purpose of teaching"
         b. "It puts the known next to the unknown so that we may 
      5. A parable can usually be identified by the use of the word 
         "like" - cf. Mt 13:31,33
      1. Is usually a story or narrative drawn from nature or human 
      2. From which spiritual lessons can be made by comparison
      -- A common definition of a parable is "an earthly story with a 
         heavenly meaning"
[The next question often raised is "Why did Jesus teach in parables?"  
In other words, why did he not simply speak straightforward when He was
teaching?  To understand why, consider...]
      1. Jesus began speaking in parables because of the hardness of 
         many people's hearts - cf. Mt 13:10-17
         a. The disciples' attitude was such that they were blessed to
            learn "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 13:
         b. But because of the hard hearts of many in the multitude,
            Jesus began speaking to them in parables - Mt 13:13-15; 
            cf. Mk 4:10-12
         c. He would then explain the parables in private to His 
            disciples - Mk 4:33-34
      2. By resorting to parables, Jesus effectively separated the 
         truth-seekers from the curiosity-seekers!
         a. Those seeking the truth would say "Explain to us the 
            parable..." - Mt 13:36
         b. Whereas the simply curious could easily be sent away
      3. Indeed, Jesus used parables to carry out Divine judgement... 
         - cf. Mt 13:12
         a. "For whoever has (a good heart, listening ears), to him 
            more will be given, and he will have abundance (by virtue
            of the parable being explained)"
         b. "But whoever does not have (a good heart, listening ears),
            even what he has will be taken away from him (by virtue of
            being sent away with the multitude)"
      1. Even though the primary purpose in telling parables was to 
         conceal the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" from the 
         a. For once the disciples understood the basic meaning of the
         b. ...the comparison of the "known" (earthly) truths with the
            "unknown" (heavenly) truths would shed further light on the
      2. Therefore, with the help of the Lord's explanation of His
         parables we can learn more about "the mysteries of the kingdom
         of heaven" - cf. Mt 13:34-35
[This leads us to the next question, "What are the parables about?" 
Mt 13:11 certainly gives us a clue...]
      1. As suggested by Mt 13:11
      2. As illustrated with several parables, which all start with 
         "The kingdom of heaven is like..." - Mt 13:24,31,33,44,45,47
      3. Indeed, "the kingdom of heaven" was the theme of...
         a. Jesus' itinerant ministry - Mt 4:17,23
         b. His sermon on the mount - Mt 5:3,10,19-20; 6:10,33; 7:21
      1. The character of the KINGDOM - for example...
         a. The Parable of the Mustard Seed
         b. The Parable of the Leaven
         c. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
         d. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
      2. The character of the KING - for example...
         a. The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
         b. The Parable of the Lost Son
      3. The character of the KING'S SUBJECTS - for example...
         a. The Parable of the Good Samaritan
         b. The Parable of the Persistent Widow
[Of course, the sub-themes often overlap in some parables, but they 
clearly demonstrate that the overall theme of the parables was "the 
kingdom of heaven."
Finally, a few thoughts in answer to the question, "How do we interpret
the parables?"]
      1. Seeking to find some spiritual truth in every little detail
      2. Saying that there is only ONE spiritual truth in each parable
      1. Learn from the explanations Jesus gave in those parables He 
         a. Understanding the parable of the sower helps us to 
            understand other parables - Mk 4:13
         b. Jesus therefore went on to explain that parable...
      2. Look for the CENTRAL truth of the parable, making sure that
         any other truths gleaned from the parable are in harmony with
      3. Consider carefully the CONTEXT of Jesus words...
         a. Looking for an introduction or an application which may 
            give insight
         b. As supplied by either the Lord Himself, or His inspired 
      4. Don't use the parables to formulate new doctrine
         a. Remember, parables were originally told to conceal, so they
            are not always that clear in their meaning
         b. Therefore don't try to build a case for a doctrine based 
            solely on a parable
1. Following these sensible guidelines to interpreting the Parables of
   Jesus, we can look forward to the joy of understanding more fully
   "the mysteries" or revealed truths of the kingdom of heaven
2. As we get into the parables themselves, I hope that we will 
   appreciate how blessed we are to live in an age when people who have
   a desire to learn about the kingdom can do so:
   "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they 
   hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous
   men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear 
   what you hear, and did not hear it." - Mt 13:16-17
3. What we are about to study in these parables concern things which 
   Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and many 
   others looked forward to, but did not fully understand in their 
4. Yet these "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 13:11),
   containing "things kept secret from the foundation of the world"
   (Mt 13:35), are now being made known through the preaching of the
   gospel of Christ:
   "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and
   the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the
   mystery kept secret since the world began"
   "but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures
   has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment
   of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith;"
                                                          - Ro 16:25-26
Dear friend, have you yet rendered obedience to the faith by responding
to the call of the gospel of Christ? - cf. Mk 16:15-16
Defining The Kingdom Of Heaven (Mt 13:11)
1. In our introductory lesson, we observed that the general "theme" of
   Jesus' parables was "the kingdom of heaven"
   a. Many of the parables start with "The kingdom of heaven is
      like..." - Mt 13:24,31,33,44,45,47
   b. In explaining why He spoke in parables, Jesus made reference to
      "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 13:11
2. We also noted that "the kingdom of heaven" was the theme of...
   a. Jesus' itinerant ministry - Mt 4:17,23
   b. His sermon on the mount - Mt 5:3,10,19-20; 6:10,33; 7:21
3. Because "the kingdom of heaven" is such a prominent subject in the
   parables of Jesus (as well as His overall preaching)...
   a. I thought it might serve a good purpose to preface our study of
      the parables with a careful look at what "the kingdom of heaven"
   b. With a proper definition of "the kingdom of heaven" fresh in our
      minds, we are more likely to benefit from our Lord's teaching on
      this wonderful subject!
[Let's begin our effort to define "the kingdom of heaven" by comparing
it with "the kingdom of God"...]
      1. Some try to make a distinction (e.g. Scofield Reference Bible)
      2. But a quick comparison of the gospels indicate that the terms
         refer to the same thing
         a. Cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15
         b. Cf. Mt 5:3 with Lk 6:20
         c. Cf. Mt 13:31 with Mk 4:30-31
      1. We find that Matthew used the expression "kingdom of heaven"
         almost exclusively, while the other gospel writers used the
         phrase "kingdom of God"
      2. It may be that since Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews, he
         chose to used the phrase "kingdom of heaven"...
         a. Because of the Jews' reluctance to use the name of God (out
            of reverence)
         b. Because of the Jews' misconception of the coming kingdom
            1) Many anticipated a physical kingdom
            2) The expression "heaven" (literally, "heavens") would
               emphasize a spiritual kingdom
[So our first observation is that any effort to distinguish between the
"kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of God" is really without warrant.
Let's now consider what Jesus meant when He spoke of the "kingdom of
      1. The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the 
         abstract idea of "reign" or "dominion", not some geographical
         area surrounded by physical boundaries
         a. Possibly used this way by Jesus in Lk 17:21
         b. It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 ("Thy kingdom 
            come; thy WILL be done")
      2. Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" (or "kingdom of God") is 
         wherever the REIGN or DOMINION of God (who is in heaven) is 
         a. In one sense, the kingdom of God has always existed - cf.
            Ps 47:2; 103:19
         b. But in a special way was the rule or reign of God to be 
            manifested with the coming of Christ
            1) As foretold in the time of Daniel (ca. 500 B.C.) - Dan 
            1) As proclaimed by John the Baptist - Mt 3:1-3
            2) As preached by Jesus - Mt 4:17; Mk 1:14-15
      3. Indeed, it is in the Person of Jesus Christ that the "reign of
         God" is being expressly manifest today - cf. 1 Co 15:23-26; 
         Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22; Re 1:5
      1. The kingdom (or reign of God) would not be found in the form 
         of a physical kingdom - Jn 18:36
      2. It would manifest itself in spiritual ways - Ro 14:17
      1. What is the Lord's church?
         a. It is a community of souls
         b. In whose hearts God is recognized as Sovereign     
         -- Thus the church can properly be referred to as the kingdom
            of God today
      2. That the terms "church" and "kingdom" can be used 
         interchangeably, consider:
         a. How "church" and "kingdom" were used by Jesus - Mt 16:18
         b. Comments made to those who were in the church - Co 1:13;
            1 Th 2:12
         c. The description of those in the churches of Asia - Re 1:4,
      1. The "kingdom of heaven" has a future element as well as a 
         present one
      2. Its future aspect is spoken of by:
         a. Jesus in Mt 25:34
         b. Paul in 1 Co 15:50; 2 Ti 4:18
         c. Peter in 2 Pe 1:10-11
      3. Peter described the coming of its future state in 2 Pe 3:10-13
      -- Therefore the kingdom of heaven involves the "new heavens and
         new earth"
[These four concepts or elements must be kept in mind whenever we think
of the "kingdom of heaven".  Failure to remember all four can easily 
lead to misconceptions about the nature of the kingdom.
In an effort to clarify this subject even further, consider...]
      1. It is found wherever the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD is accepted in the
         hearts of men
      2. It is a SPIRITUAL KINGDOM, for God rules in the hearts of men
      3. Its outward manifestation today is the LORD'S CHURCH
      4. The kingdom was "INAUGURATED" on the Day of Pentecost as
         recorded in Acts 2 - cf. Ac 2:36
      1. The kingdom will be "CULMINATED" with the coming of the Lord
         a. When Jesus "delivers the kingdom to God the Father" - 1 Co
         b. "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the 
            kingdom of their Father." - Mt 13:43
      2. It will be that "NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH" described by Peter
         and John
         a. "In which righteousness dwells" - 2 Pe 3:13
         b. In which "the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will
            dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God 
            Himself will be with them and be their God." - Re 21:3
      3. It will be experienced only by those in the church who are 
          submitting to God's will
         a. Those who do "the will of My Father in heaven" - Mt 7:21-23
         b. Those who are "diligent to be found by Him in peace" - 2 Pe
1. As we get into the parables of Jesus, we will find many references
   to the "kingdom of heaven"
   a. Sometimes it appears Jesus refers to the "present" aspect of the
   b. But then, at other times He has reference to the "future" aspect
      of the kingdom
2. Hopefully, this effort to define "the kingdom of heaven" will help
   us appreciate more what Jesus has to say concerning "the mysteries
   of the kingdom of heaven"!
One principle concerning entering kingdom that was a mystery to
Nicodemus at first was the need to be born again (Jn 3:3-4).  But then
Jesus explained that the new birth was one of water and the Spirit (Jn
Is that still a mystery to you?  Then consider Acts 2:38 and Titus
The Sower [The Four Soils] (Mt 13:3-9,18-23)
1. As Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven 
   (cf. Mt 4:17,23), He did not always find a receptive audience...
   a. Even where He did mighty works, some did not repent - Mt 11:20-24
   b. Some sought to trick Him, so they might have reason to accuse Him
      - Mt 12:9-14
   -- It was for this very reason that Jesus began teaching publicly in
      "parables" - Mt 13:10-13
2. The problem Jesus faced was that many people, though they had ears 
   to hear, their ears had become "hard of hearing" - Mt 13:14-15
3. To illustrate this problem, Jesus told a parable that has come to be
   known as "The Parable Of The Sower"
   a. It can also be properly called "The Parable Of The Four Soils"
   b. Or "The Parable Of The Seed"
   -- It was told by Jesus to illustrate different reactions to the 
      gospel message
4. The parable itself is recorded in Mt 13:3-9 (also Mk 4:3-9; Lk 8:
   4-8) - PLEASE READ
   a. It is one of the few parables in which we actually have Jesus' 
      own interpretation of the parable
   b. The significance of this particular parable is enhanced by the 
      words of Jesus recorded in Mk 4:13...
      "Do you not understand this parable?  How then will you 
      understand all parables?"
[The value of this parable becomes clearer in the light of Jesus' 
explanation, for by it we can see ourselves as we really are in regards
to how we have received the Word into our lives...]
   A. "THE SOWER"...
      1. Not specifically mentioned, but compare Mt 13:37
         a. This is in explanation of "The Parable Of The Wheat And The
         b. In which Jesus explains "He who sows the good seed is the
            Son of Man"
      2. So it is likely that the "sower" in this parable had immediate
         reference to Jesus
      3. But it is a fair use of the parable to apply it today to 
         anyone who faithfully proclaims the message of the Son of Man
   B. "THE SEED"...
      1. The seed is "the word of the kingdom" - Mt 13:19a
      2. I.e., the gospel of the kingdom, which was the theme of Jesus'
         preaching - Mt 4:23
      3. It was also an important element of apostolic preaching - cf.
         Ac 8:12; 28:30-31
   C. "THE WAYSIDE" (The First Soil)...
      1. This soil represents one who "hears...and does not understand"
         - Mt 13:19a
      2. Most likely, these are those who have hardened their hearts 
         prior to hearing the Word - cf. Mt 13:15
      3. The "birds" represent "the wicked one" (called "the devil" in
         Lk 8:12)
         a. Who snatches away the Word from those whose hearts are
         b. Their condition therefore is one of being "blinded" by 
            Satan to the gospel - cf. 2 Co 4:3-4
      4. While Satan contributes to their blindness, it is precipitated
         by their own hardness of heart!
   D. "THE STONY PLACES" (The Second Soil)...
      1. This soil represents the one who...
         a. "hears the word and immediately receives it with joy" - Mt
         b. "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a 
            while" - Mt 13:21a
         c. "when tribulation or persecution arises because of the 
            word, immediately he stumbles" - Mt 13:21b
      2. Some hear the Word and receive it with great joy...
         a. But with no root, they are not grounded in the Word
         b. So that when troubles arise, there is no endurance and 
            stumbling occurs
      3. Here we learn that an emotional reception without a strong 
         foundation based upon the Word will not enable one to stand
         against tribulation and persecution
   E. "AMONG THE THORNS" (The Third Soil)...
      1. This soil represents the one who...
         a. "hears the word" - Mt 13:22a
         b. But whose ability to bear fruit is choked by:
            1) "the cares of this world" - Mt 13:22b
            2) "the deceitfulness of riches" - Mt 13:22c
            3) "pleasures of life" (added in Lk 8:14)
      2. How these three "thorns" can cause us to be unfruitful is 
         explained in other portions of God's Word...
         a. The cares of this world
            1) Can cause us to be unprepared - cf. Lk 21:34-36
            2) The evil in cares and anxieties is that they can detract
               our minds from what is truly important - cf. Lk 12:29-32
         b. The deceitfulness of riches
            1) The danger is described in 1 Ti 6:9-10
            2) Again, the evil in riches lay in diverting our attention
               away from God, and feeling self-sufficient - 1 Ti 6:17
         c. Pleasures of life
            1) Those involving the flesh in particular divert our minds
               from the things of the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:17
            2) Sowing to the flesh make it impossible to reap of the 
               Spirit! - Ga 6:7-9
   F. "THE GOOD GROUND" (The Fourth Soil)...
      1. This soil represents the one who...
         a. "hears the word and understands it" - Mt 13:23a
         b. "indeed bears fruit and produces" - Mt 13:23b
         b. Luke adds that he hears "the word with a noble and good 
            heart", and then "keeps it and bears fruit with patience" 
            - Lk 8:15
      2. Those with "a noble and good heart", then, are the ones...
         a. Who will understand the Word
         b. Who will keep it, and with patience produce fruit in their
      3. They will be like the Bereans, who were commended for being 
         "fair-minded", as manifested in the way they:
         a. "received the word will all readiness"
         b. "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these 
            things were so" - Ac 17:11
      4. Note the importance of "understanding" in relation to "bearing
         a. Jesus made the connection between the two in this parable 
            - Mt 13:23
         b. Paul connects the two when he writes of the gospel 
            producing fruit among the Colossians "since the day they 
            heard (NASV says "understood") the grace of God in truth" 
            - Co 1:5-6
         -- When one "understands", they will more likely "bear fruit";
            but the key to understanding is having a "good and noble 
            heart" that is willing to listen and learn!
      5. And what kind of "fruit" will one bear?  There are different
         a. The fruit of winning souls to Christ - Ro 1:13
         b. The fruit of practical holiness - Ro 6:22
         c. The fruit of sharing material things - Ro 15:27
         d. The fruit of the Spirit (i.e., a Christ-like character) 
            - Ga 5:22-23
         e. The fruit of good works - Co 1:10
         f. The fruit of praise & thanksgiving - He 13:15
      6. An important observation is that not all will bear the same 
         a. "some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" - Mt 13:23
         b. As illustrated in The Parable of the Talents, some may be
            given more according to their ability to use what God has 
            given them - Mt 25:14-15
         c. Whatever our ability, we should exercise it accordingly
            - cf. 1 Pe 4:10-11
[With the explanation provided by Jesus Himself, we should have little
problem understanding The Parable of The Sower and the spiritual truths
Jesus was teaching.
However, it is one thing to understand it, quite another to make 
application of it.  Seeking to make application in a thought-provoking
way, let me ask "What kind of soil are you?"]
      1. If you have heard the gospel of Christ and His kingdom, but 
         are not yet a Christian...
      2. You may be in the process of hardening your heart the longer
         you wait!
      3. You are susceptible to Satan's deception in some form, to 
         blind you and not allow the Word of God to have its intended
      1. If you responded to the gospel at one time, but are not being
         grounded in the faith...
      2. You will likely fall away when persecution or temptation comes
         your way!
      1. If you responded to the gospel at one time, but are becoming
         too preoccupied with the cares, riches, and pleasures of this
      2. You will not be able to bear much fruit!
      -- And remember what Jesus said about branches that don't bear 
         fruit! - Jn 15:1-6
      1. If you have responded to the gospel, and are bearing fruit...
      2. Then you have demonstrated several important things:
         a. You have a good and noble heart!
         b. You have come to understand the Word!
         c. You have been keeping it with patience!
      3. And so the Word of God has been able to produce its intended
         effect in you!
1. When Jesus finished telling His parable of the Sower, He cried out:
           "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" - Mt 13:9
2. Clearly from the explanation of Jesus Himself, we learn that not all
   those who have ears to hear, really listen!
3. It is important that we listen well when God's Word is being 
   proclaimed, for that is how faith is obtained - Ro 10:17
4. How well have YOU listened to this parable of Jesus and His 
   a. If you are anything other than that like "the good soil", you 
      need to repent today!
   b. For in the next study, we learn what Jesus will do when He
      comes to gather His kingdom! - cf. Mt 13:24-30,36-43
Dear friends and brethren, may you truly have a good and noble heart...
Hear, examine, understand, and accept the gospel of Christ and the
gospel of His kingdom!
The Wheat And Tares (Mt 13:24-30,36-43)
1. In "The Parable Of The Sower", we learned that not all people react
   to the Word of the kingdom in the same way
   a. Some with hard hearts and dull ears would not even allow the Word
      time to germinate in their hearts
   b. Others would receive the Word, but either persecution or things 
      in this life would render them fruitless
   c. Only those with good and noble hearts, who receive the Word with
      patience and keep it, will bear the intended fruit in their lives
   -- Thus the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" will be received 
      only by some, and not all
2. This truth was illustrated further when Jesus taught "The Parable Of
   The Wheat And Tares"...
   a. Recorded only by Matthew, the parable itself is found in Mt 13:
      24-30 (READ)
   b. Jesus' purpose is clearly to teach principles related to "the 
      kingdom of heaven"
      1) For he begins with "The kingdom of heaven is like..."
      2) Therefore Jesus intends to reveal principles related to the 
         "rule of God" as it would soon be manifested in the Person of
         His Son
3. Like "The Parable Of The Sower", this parable is one of the few in 
   which we have Jesus' own explanation...
   a. The explanation was given in response to the disciples' inquiry 
      - Mt 13:36
   b. And the explanation is found in Mt 13:37-43 (READ)
[In this study, we shall focus on Jesus' explanation of the parable, 
and then draw some truths from it...]
      1. THE SOWER - "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man"
         a. I.e., Christ, who in His preaching went about proclaiming
            the gospel of the kingdom - cf. Mt 4:23
         b. Who is identified in Daniel's vision as one who received a
            kingdom - Dan 7:13-14
         c. Who after His ascension claimed to have received such
            authority - Re 2:26-27; 3:21
      2. THE FIELD - "The field is the world"
         a. Into which the Son of Man came to sow the seed
         b. Over which the Son of Man now exercises His authority, 
            i.e., His kingship - cf. Mt 28:18; 1 Pe 3:22; Re 1:5
      3. THE GOOD SEED (WHEAT) - "The good seeds are the sons of the
         a. Those who gladly own Jesus as their Lord and King, 
            submitting to Him freely
         b. I.e., His disciples, who observe all that He commands - cf.
            Mt 28:19-20
         c. When we compare this with "The Parable Of The Sower", we 
            come up with slightly mixed metaphors...
            1) The disciples are those who constitute the "good soil",
               in which the seed has been sown (The Parable Of The 
            2) But in The Parable Of The Wheat And Tares, the disciples
               are the "good seed" themselves
         d. Thus, when one receives the "seed" of the kingdom (the Word
            of God), they become "good seed" (a son of the kingdom)
      4. THE TARES - "The tares are the sons of the wicked one"
         a. Those later defined as they that..
            1) Offend
            2) Practice lawlessness - cf. Mt 13:41
         b. Though within the realm of the Lord's reign (for the Lord
            will later gather them out of His kingdom), they clearly 
            are not submitting to the Lord's authority!
         c. Their actions reveal that they are really "sons of the 
            wicked one"!
      5. THE ENEMY - "The enemy who sowed them is the devil"
         a. Who tried to tempt Christ and failed - cf. Mt 4:1-11
         b. Who now tries to destroy the efforts of Christ to save 
            souls and enlarge the influence of His kingly rule
      6. THE HARVEST - "The harvest is the end of the age"
         a. That "age" in which...
            1) The gospel of the kingdom is being preached
            2) People who receive the gospel can become the "sons of 
               the kingdom"
            -- I.e., the present gospel dispensation - cf. Co 1:13; 
               Re 1:9
         b. An "age" that will end with a great "harvest", identified
            elsewhere as the glorious coming and appearance of our Lord
            - cf. Mt 26:31-32; 1 Ti 6:14-15
      7. THE REAPERS - "The reapers are the angels"
         a. Angels will accompany Christ when He comes again - 2 Th 1:
         b. They will separate the wicked from among the just - cf. Mt
   [Having identified the various elements of the parable...]  
      1. In verse 40...
         a. The problem of the "tares" will not be fully addressed 
            until the "harvest"
         b. This is done out of consideration for the "good seed" (cf. 
            Mt 13:29)
      2. In verse 41...
         a. It is at the end of the age that the Son of Man will 
            finally resolve this problem
         b. With His angels He will "gather out of His kingdom all 
            things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness" 
            (i.e., the sons of the wicked one)
      3. In verse 42...
         a. Those so gathered out of His kingdom will properly dealt 
         b. Cast into "the furnace of fire", where there will be 
            "wailing and gnashing of teeth!"
      4. In verse 43...
         a. The blessedness of the "righteous" (the good seed, the sons
            of the kingdom) is described
         b. After the harvest they will "shine forth as the sun in the
            kingdom of their Father"!
[Jesus ends His explanation of the parable with the same admonition 
that followed the telling of The Parable Of The Sower:
           "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" - Mt 13:9
Do we therefore hear what Jesus is saying?  Or are we dull of hearing 
and hard of heart?  For those willing to listen, there are several 
truths to be gleaned from this parable as it relates to the kingdom of
heaven, the church, and to our personal lives...]
      1. Why does Christ suffer so long with the wicked around us?
      2. Why does He not come in judgment against the "sons of the 
         wicked one?"
      3. Perhaps to give "you" (a son of the kingdom) a time to grow!
         a. In the parable, it was out of concern for the "wheat" that
            the "tares" were allowed to remain - Mt 13:29
         b. As Peter indicated, it is the Lord's longsuffering that 
            prompts any seeming delay in His coming - cf. 2 Pe 3:9
         -- So while Christ is certainly desirous that "all" men come 
            to repentance, He has a special interest in those "sons of
            the kingdom" who are still growing!
      1. Some have sought to use this parable to say that church 
         discipline should not be carried out
      2. Yet that would go contrary to the teachings of Jesus Himself,
         and that of His apostles
         a. Jesus taught there would be times for church discipline 
            - Mt 18:15-17
         b. Paul instructed the churches in Corinth and Thessalonica 
            concerning the need and methodology of church discipline 
            - 1 Co 5:1-13; 2 Th 3:6-15
      3. The point of this parable is that Jesus Himself will not do 
         anything visible until the end of the age when He comes with
         His angels
      4. Those in the church, however, have a personal responsibility
         to withdraw from those brethren who refuse to repent of sin
      1. In verse 41, the Son of Man will "gather out of His kingdom",
         so the kingdom is in existence prior to the end of the age
         when the Son of Man comes with His angels
      2. In verse 43, it is after the harvest that the righteous "will
         shine forth in the kingdom of their Father"
      3. As taught by Paul, Christ rules now and will turn the kingdom
         over to His Father when He comes again - cf. 1 Co 15:23-26
         a. He is not coming to establish a kingdom (contra the
         b. He is coming to deliver a kingdom back to His Father!
      1. Note that the angels will gather certain ones "out of His
         kingdom - Mt 13:41
      2. Those ones who were "in the kingdom" are then "cast into the
         furnace" - Mt 13:42
      3. Who would these be?
         a. Those who "offend" (cause others to stumble)
            1) Against which Jesus warned His disciples - Mt 18:6-7
            2) Against which Paul warned the Christians at Corinth and
               Rome - 1 Co 8:11-13; 10:31-11:1; Ro 16:17-18 (cf. 14:13,
         b. Those who "practice lawlessness" (do things without 
            1) Remember the warnings of Jesus and John - Mt 7:21-23;
               2 Jn 9
            2) The way to avoid lawlessness is given in Co 3:17
      4. Because of the very real danger of not "entering our heavenly 
         rest", we find warnings to persevere - cf. He 3:12-14; 4:1-2,
      1. We saw where those "that offend" and who "practice 
         lawlessness" would...
         a. Be cast into the "furnace of fire"
         b. Experience "wailing and gnashing of teeth"
      2. This punishment of the wicked is a recurring theme in several
         of the parables...
         a. The Parable Of The Dragnet - cf. Mt 13:49-50
         b. The Parable Of The Unforgiving Servant - cf. Mt 18:34-35
      3. And as described in the Judgment Scene, Jesus talks of a place
         prepared for the wicked - cf. Mt 25:41, 45-46
      4. Thus a proper proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom must 
         of necessity include a warning to those who do not receive the
1. Indeed, this very parable is a warning to all not to allow 
   themselves to be influenced by the wicked one!
   a. As Peter wrote, our adversary is very much seeking to destroy us!
      - 1 Pe 5:8
   b. But if we can allow the word of God to abide in us, we can 
      overcome the wicked one - cf. 1 Jn 2:14
2. We learn from this parable, then, that the kingdom of heaven...
   a. Will spread as people become "sons of the kingdom" (by heeding 
      the Son of Man)
   b. Will not preclude the efforts and influence of the devil (so 
      expect to see some "tares")
   c. Though inaugurated with the Son of Man's first coming (especially
      with His ascension to the right hand of God and the outpouring of
      the Spirit on the day of Pentecost - Acts 2), the kingdom of 
      heaven will not be fully culminated until...
      1) The Son of Man returns with His angels
      2) He gathers all things out of His kingdom that offend and 
         practice lawlessness
      3) And delivers the kingdom to God (cf. 1 Co 15:24)
3. At that time...
   a. We will have an abundant entrance "into the everlasting kingdom 
      of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" - cf. 2 Pe 1:11
   b. "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of
      their Father" - Mt 13:43
Dear friend, is not that your desire?  Then remember what Jesus said...
    "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and
    the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." - Jn 3:5
               "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
The Hidden Treasure (Mt 13:44)
1. In our study on "The Parables Of Jesus", we have seen...
   a. Different ways in which the message of the kingdom would be
      received ("The Sower")
   b. The efforts of Satan to corrupt the character of the kingdom, but
      its future consummation in purity and splendor being assured
      ("The Wheat And Tares")
   c. The growth and development of the kingdom ("The Mustard Seed" &
      "The Leaven")
2. Each of these parables are found in Matthew 13, and as we continue
   to examine that chapter we find more to come...
   a. A couplet of parables is found in Mt 13:44-46
      1) "The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure"
      2) "The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price"
   b. Like the couplet of "The Mustard Seed" and "The Leaven", in which
      a similar theme was found, there seems to be a theme common to 
      these two parables
      1) The theme of the earlier couplet was the "growth and 
         development" of the kingdom
      2) The theme of this couplet appears to be the "preciousness and
         value" of the kingdom
[In this study, we shall focus on "The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure",
beginning with...]
      1. A man finds a treasure hidden in a field
      2. He first hides it, then proceeds to buy the field
      3. Though he must sell everything he has in order to buy the 
         field, he does so gladly in anticipation of the treasure that
         will then be rightfully his
      1. Here is the explanation as given by two commentators:
         a. "The kingdom of heaven is worth infinitely more than the
            cost of discipleship, and those who know where the treasure
            lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it." (D. A.
         b. "...the kingdom of heaven, the glad recognition of God's
            rule over heart and life, including salvation for the
            present and for the future, for soul and ultimately also
            for the body, the great privilege of being thereby made a
            blessing to others to the glory of God, all this, is a
            treasure so inestimably precious that one who obtains it is
            willing to surrender for it whatever could interfere with
            having it." (William Hendriksen)
      2. What distinguishes this parable from the one following is that
         it describes the value of the kingdom to one who accidentally
         finds it
         a. Though not purposely looking for it, its value is 
            immediately recognized
         b. So the kingdom of heaven has been, and will be, for many 
      3. As Hendriksen says again:  "...we should grasp its one 
         important lesson:  the incalculable preciousness of salvation
         for those who discover it and obtain possession of it without
         even looking for it!"
      1. He discovered the "treasure" unexpectedly
         a. It was on the road to Damascus, going to persecute 
            Christians - Ac 9:1-2
         b. For he thought it was the right thing to do - Ac 26:9-11
         c. But once he met the Lord, and learned the will of God, he 
            did not hesitate to carry it out even at great cost to him 
            - Ac 26:19-23
      2. His estimation of what he found
         a. Something worth giving up all, if necessary - cf. Ph 3:4-11
         b. Writing of "the gospel of the glory of Christ", Paul refers
            to it as a "treasure" - 2 Co 4:7
         c. He writes of the "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" that 
            are found in Christ - Co 2:1-3
[Clearly Paul considered Christ and His kingdom a "treasure" worth 
giving up all one had if necessary to obtain.  What is there about the
kingdom of Christ that makes it so valuable?]
      1. Outside the kingdom of heaven, one is in the kingdom of Satan
         - Ep 2:1-3
         a. Under his influence
         b. Trapped in various sins
      2. But the kingdom of Christ offers deliverance, refuge
         a. We are set free from the guilt and dominion of sin, so that
            we can serve God - Ro 6:17-18
         b. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to 
            bear - 1 Co 10:13
      1. A righteousness through faith in Christ, in which our sins 
         have been forgiven - Ph 3:8-9
      2. A peace from God, which surpasses all understanding - Ph 4:6-7
      3. An abiding joy in the Lord, no matter the circumstances - Ph
         4:4; cf. 2:17-18
      1. One which shall never be destroyed - cf. Dn 2:44
      2. Therefore, a truly everlasting kingdom - cf. 2 Pe 1:10-11
      1. Presented by Christ to God at His second coming, those who are
         truly "sons of the kingdom" will "shine forth as the sun in 
         the kingdom of their Father" - cf. Mt 13:41-43
      2. From that time forward, those in the kingdom will experience
         the ultimate fellowship in the presence of God - Re 21:1-5,
1. In light of both the present and future blessings found in the 
   kingdom of heaven, perhaps we can appreciate why many consider the 
   kingdom one of exceeding value
   a. Even when not actively looking for it, but stumbling across it...
   b. ...the value is recognized immediately by some, willing to pay 
      whatever price necessary
2. What is the value of the kingdom?  I wish you could ask...
   a. Stephen, the first Christian martyr - cf. Ac 7
   b. The early Christians, who experienced persecution - cf. Ac 8:1-4
   c. The apostle Paul, who suffered so much for the kingdom - cf. 2 Ti
      3:10-11; 4:6-8,16-18
   d. And of course, our Lord Jesus, who gave up all to make it 
      possible - cf. Ph 2:5-8
   -- I am confident that with one voice they would say, "It is worth
      it all!"
3. How about us?  Are we willing to pay the full price to obtain the 
   "treasure" of the kingdom?
   a. The price of repentance?
   b. The price of complete submission to the will of Christ? - Mt 28:
   c. The price of putting the kingdom first in our lives? - Mt 6:33
Our response to the gospel, and how we live our lives as Christians,
demonstrate our true estimation of the "treasure" of the kingdom of 
The Kingdom Of Great Value (13:44-46)
1. During His earthly ministry, the key theme of His preaching and 
   teaching was "the kingdom of heaven"...
   a. He began His ministry proclaiming it was at hand - Mt 4:17,23
   b. He sent His apostles on the limited commission to proclaim the
      same message - Mt 10:7
2. He taught many parables to illustrate great truths about this 
   a. Through which He revealed many things that had previously been
      secret - Mt 13:34-35
   b. Like the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great
      price - Mt 13:44-46
3. In these two parables, Jesus illustrated the kingdom to be one of
   great value...
   a. So great that one who stumbles upon it sells all to obtain it
   b. So great that one searching for it sells all to buy it
4. In this lesson, I wish to address several questions that come to 
   a. What is this "kingdom"?  
   b. Why is it considered to be of such great value?  
   c. Is it really worth it?
   d. What will it cost us?  
[Let's begin, then, with the first question...]
      1. God's kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty
         a. The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the
            abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a geographical area
            surrounded by physical boundaries
         b. It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 - "Your KINGDOM 
            come; Your WILL be done..." (note the connection between 
            kingdom and will)
            -- Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" would involve the rule of
               heaven in the hearts of men
      2. This rule of heaven is spiritual in nature
         a. It is not a physical kingdom - cf. Jn 18:36
         b. But one that is spiritual - cf. Ro 14:17
      3. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the Lord's
         a. For the church is that community of souls in whose hearts
            God is recognized as Sovereign
         b. That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth, 
            1) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used 
               interchangeably - Mt 16:18
            2) Comments made to those who were in the church - Co 1:13;
               1 Th 2:12
            3) The description of those in the churches of Asia - Re 1:
      4  It has a future element as well as a present one
         a. Its future aspect is spoken of by Jesus, Paul, Peter 
            - Mt 25:34; 1 Co 15:50; 2 Ti 4:18; 2 Pe 1:10-11
         b. Peter described the coming of its future state in 2 Pe 3:
      1. In the present sense...
         a. It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted in
            the hearts of men
         b. It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts of
         c. Its outward manifestation today is the Lord's church
         d. This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day of
            Pentecost (Ac 2)
      2. In the future sense...
         a. The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the 
            coming of the Lord
         b. It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in which
            righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John - 2 Pe
            3; Re 21-22
         c. It will be experienced only by those in the church who are
            submitting to God's will today! - cf. Mt 7:21-23; 2 Pe 3:
[Submitting to the rule of God so that we become part of His church is
how one enters the kingdom of heaven, both present and future.  This 
leads to our second question...]
      1. Outside the kingdom, one is in the kingdom of Satan! - Ep 2:
         a. Under his influence
         b. Trapped in various sins
      2. In the kingdom of Christ, we find deliverance and refuge
         a. Set free from sin to serve God - Ro 6:17-18
         b. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to
            bear - 1 Co 10:12-13
      1. Righteousness which comes through faith in Christ - Ph 3:8-9
      2. Peace from God through prayer which surpasses understanding 
         - Ph 4:6-7
      3. Abiding joy in the Lord, no matter the circumstances - Ph 4:4;
      1. It will never be destroyed - Dan 2:44
      2. Of this kingdom there will be no end - Lk 1:33
      3. It is truly an everlasting kingdom - 2 Pe 1:10-11
      1. At that time, those who are now "sons of the kingdom" will
         "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" 
         - Mt 13:41-43
      2. From then on, those in this kingdom will dwell in the presence
         of God - Re 21:1-7
[The value of this kingdom can be seen further as we consider our third
      1. I would ask Stephen to say if he thought it was worth it 
         - cf. Ac 7:54-60
      2. I would ask the early Christians who joyfully accepted the
         plundering of their goods and eventually received the promise
         - Ac 8:1-4; He 10:32-36
      3. I would ask the apostle Paul - 2 Ti 3:10-13; 4:6-8,18
      4. I would ask one of your loved ones, a friend or relative, who
         died in Christ
      -- I am confident that they would all say forcefully, "Yes! It is
         worth giving up all!"
      1. Who gave up all to die on the cross - Ph 2:5-8
      2. Who became "poor" that we might become "rich" - 2 Co 8:9
      -- I am persuaded that as He showed you His pierced hands and
         feet, He would say with love and great urgency, "Yes! My 
         kingdom is worth giving up all!"
[But what exactly must we give up?  To put it another way...]
      1. Of repentance - cf. Mk 1:15
      2. Of being born again - cf. Jn 3:3-5
         a. Involving both outward and inward submission to the will of
         b. A submission that will affect our whole life
      3. Of putting the kingdom first - Mt 6:33
         a. Before our riches - Mk 10:23-25
         b. Before our families - Mk 10:28-31
         c. Before ourselves - Lk 9:23-26
      1. Consider the parable of the dinner - Lk 14:15-24
      2. Are we guilty of the same?
         a. Putting financial concerns first?
         b. Putting family first?
      3. Our actions demonstrate whether we are willing to pay the 
         price; for example:
         a. Our devotion to the Word of God and prayer
         b. Our devotion to others in the church (kingdom) - He 10:
            24-25; Ro 15:1-3
         c. Our devotion to the lost - Co 1:28-29
1. The kingdom is truly one of great value...
   a. It was established through its purchase by the blood of Christ 
      - Ac 20:28
   b. Can we expect the Lord to accept anything less than our utmost
      devotion for the privilege of being in His eternal kingdom?
      1) We are admonished to walk in a manner worthy of the kingdom
         - 1 Th 2:10-12
      2) But it may cost us greatly to be considered worthy - cf. 2 Th
2. Our actions will demonstrate whether we value the greatness of this
   a. By whether or not we obey the gospel!
   b. By whether or not we remain zealous and faithful in our service
      to the God!
3. I hope that in some way I have persuaded you that any price we pay
   is worthy of "The Kingdom Of Great Value"
If you are convinced that it is, and desire assistance in becoming or
remaining a faithful "citizen" of the kingdom, then let us know...


The Pearl Of Great Price (Mt 13:45-46)
1. In "The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure", I suggested...
   a. That Jesus was depicting the "value" of the kingdom to one who 
      accidentally finds it
   b. That Paul's conversion was an example of how one is willing to 
      give up all in order to lay hold of the "treasure" of the kingdom
   c. That the value of the kingdom can be seen when we consider that
      it is:
      1) A refuge from the powers of darkness - Co 1:13
      2) A domain of righteousness, peace, and joy - Ro 14:17
      3) An unshakable kingdom - He 12:25-29
      4) Destined for eternal glory - Mt 13:41-43
2. Jesus followed His parable with another short parable...
   a. Commonly called "The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price" - Mt
   b. Its similarity to the previous parable is obvious, and yet there
      is a difference
[The difference and some related thoughts will serve as the basis for
our study as we take a closer look at "The Parable Of The Pearl Of
Great Price".  We begin with...]
      1. A merchant is seeking beautiful pearls
      2. He finds one pearl of great price
      3. Undeterred by its price, he sells all that he has and buys it!
      1. The use of the word "Again" ties this parable to the preceding
         a. Where the value and preciousness of the kingdom was being
         b. Where we saw the value to one who accidentally finds it
      2. But in this parable, the person is on a mission to find that
         which is of great value
         a. He believes there is something out there worth looking for,
            or he would not be seeking it
         b. When he finds it, he immediately recognizes its value and 
            is willing to sell all to obtain it
      3. Neither this parable (nor the previous one) is suggesting we 
         can "buy" or otherwise "earn" our salvation
         a. For salvation is a gift - cf. Ro 6:23
         b. We can "buy" salvation only in the sense of gaining 
            rightful possession of it
            1) Which we do by grace through faith - cf. Ep 2:8-9
            2) When we submit to the working of God and the renewing 
               the Holy Spirit which takes place as we are baptized 
               into Christ - cf. Co 2:11-13; Ti 3:4-7
      4. This parable, then, describes how some people react to the 
         kingdom of heaven, when they know there must be something out
         there worthy of great value and have been searching for it
      1. The Ethiopian eunuch - Ac 8:26-38
         a. His journey to Jerusalem to worship, his reading of
            Scripture while returning, indicate he was spiritually
         b. His immediate desire to be baptized shows his estimation of
            the value of the salvation offered through Christ
      2. Cornelius - Ac 10:1-8,30-33
         a. His prayers and alms were indicative of his search for
         b. As promised by Jesus (cf. Mt 5:6), God took note of his
            spiritual hunger and thirst, and sent Peter to tell him the
            gospel of Christ
      3. Lydia - Ac 16:11-15
         a. Her meeting with other women to pray illustrates her
            spiritual searching
         b. Upon hearing the things spoken by Paul, she and her 
            household were baptized
[Each of these examples should remind us that there are many people who
know there is some "thing", some "purpose", some "meaning", that is 
worthy of diligent search, and who spend their lives trying to find it.
When by the grace and providence of God they come to learn of Christ 
and His kingdom, they are willing to give up all to obtain it!
These examples, and the parable itself, confirm the truthfulness of 
Jesus' teaching about those "who hunger and thirst for righteousness".
That those who "hunger", those who "search", will indeed find what God
has for them!
It might be that we may "stumble" across the blessings God has in 
Christ and His kingdom (as in "The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure").  
But do we want to risk our salvation on possibly "stumbling" across it?
What can we do to ensure that we will find what God has for us?  Well,
we need to be like that merchant, "searching" for that "pearl of great
price".  How does one do that in regards to spiritual matters...?]
      1. Be a student of the Scriptures
      2. Apply the Scriptures to the best of your understanding
      3. Be open to what others may have to share concerning the 
      1. Again, be open to what others may to share
      2. But apply diligence (i.e., "readiness of mind") to understand
         what others are saying
      3. And in the end, let the Scriptures be your final authority
      4. Demonstrate it by "searching the Scriptures daily"
1. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, the Bereans, Cornelius, Lydia, and many 
   other religious people...
   a. We may be lost in our present state of understanding of God's 
   b. But if we will search like that "merchant" did, and have the 
      desire to understand and please God like these people did...
   c. ...then we can trust in God's Providence to lead us to the truth,
      and to that "pearl of great price"!
2. Is the "pearl of great price" worth it?
   a. Again, I wish I could invite those who have passed on to give us
      their perspective
   b. Who though they may have suffered greatly in this life, have come
      to experience the ultimate blessings of the "kingdom of heaven"
   -- I am confident they would say "It is surely worth it all!"
3. And the blessings of the kingdom are not limited to the life 
   hereafter; as Jesus reassured Peter, there are hundredfold blessings
   even "in this time" - cf. Mk 10:28-30
Dear friend, do you not desire this "pearl of great price"?  Are you 
even searching?  Can we help you in your search?


The Dragnet (Mt 13:47-50)
1. We have seen where Jesus taught two parables concerning the "growth
   and development" of the kingdom:
   a. "The Parable Of The Mustard Seed" - Mt 13:31-32
   b. "The Parable Of The Leaven" - Mt 13:33
2. We also saw where Jesus taught two parables concerning the "value 
   and preciousness" of the kingdom:
   a. "The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure" - Mt 13:44
   b. "The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price" - Mt 13:45-46
3. Jesus also taught two parables depicting the "present mixture and 
   future separation" involving the kingdom of heaven:
   a. The first was "The Parable of The Wheat And The Tares", which we 
      have already studied - Mt 13:24-30,36-43
   b. The second is "The Parable Of The Dragnet", which will be the
      focus of this study - Mt 13:47-50
4. In each case where there are two parables seemingly addressing the 
   same subject, there are subtle differences in which different 
   aspects of the kingdom are being stressed
   a. In the two parables describing the "growth and development" of
      the kingdom...
      1) One depicts the "visible" growth (The Mustard Seed)
      2) The other depicts the "invisible" growth (The Leaven)
   b. In the two parables describing the "value and preciousness" of
      the kingdom...
      1) One illustrates the value of the kingdom to one "accidentally"
         finds it (The Hidden Treasure)
      2) The other illustrates the value of the kingdom to one 
         "seeking" it (The Pearl Of Great Price)
[In a similar way, we will notice a subtle difference between "The 
Parable of The Wheat And The Tares" and "The Parable Of The
      1. A "dragnet" was cast into the sea
      2. As defined by the Holman Bible Dictionary, a "dragnet" is...
         a. "A large fishing net equipped with a weighted bottom edge
            for touching ("dragging") the river or lake bottom and a
            top with wooden floats allowing the net to be spread across
            the water (Isa 19:8)."
         b. "Such nets were normally let down from a boat and then
            drawn to shore by a crew positioned on the beach. In the
            case of a large catch the net was hauled to shore by boat
            (Jn 21:6-8)."
      3. Once the dragnet was drawn to shore, the fish were separated;
         those good for eating were saved in vessels, the inedible were
      1. As with "The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares", Jesus 
         explains what this parable means - Mt 13:49-50
         a. The kingdom of heaven, in its present state, will be a
            mixture of good and bad
            1) Just like a dragnet gathers in both good and bad fish
            2) We saw in "The Parable Of The Wheat And Tares" that this
               will be due to the influence of Satan, such that there
               will be those "that offend, and those who practice
               lawlessness" - cf. Mt 13:41
            3) Paul wrote that in "a great house" (i.e., the church)
               some vessels are "for honor and some for dishonor" -
               2 Ti 2:20-21
         b. But in the future there will be a separation - Mt 13:49
            1) It will occur "at the end of the age" - cf. Mt 13:39-40
            2) The agents of this separation will be the "angels" - cf.
               Mt 13:41
            3) The "wicked" will be separated from the "just" (i.e., 
               the righteous) - cf. Mt 13:41
         c. The punishment of the "wicked" is described - Mt 13:50
            1) "cast...into the furnace of fire." - cf. Mt 13:42a
            2) "There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." - cf. Mt
      2. In giving His explanation, we see the emphasis of Jesus in 
         this parable, and the fundamental difference between it and 
         "The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares"
         a. The emphasis is upon...
            1) The "future" separation of those in the kingdom
            2) The punishment of the wicked
         b. Unlike "The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares"...
            1) There is nothing in the explanation related to the 
               "present" mixture in the kingdom - contrast that with 
               Mt 13:24-30
            2) There is nothing depicting the blessedness of the 
               righteous - contrast that with Mt 13:43
["The Parable Of The Dragnet", then, reinforces the spiritual truths 
taught in "The Parable Of The Wheat And Tares", especially those 
relating to the coming judgment and condemnation of the wicked.
That Jesus would emphasize the judgment and condemnation of the wicked
in this parable ought to impress upon us that the "good news" of the 
kingdom of heaven also contains "bad news" for those who reject it.
Since this parable focuses on the "destiny" of the wicked, this might 
be a good time to review what Jesus Himself taught on the subject...]
      1. We have seen this truth illustrated in the two parables we 
         have been comparing
      2. He warned those cities that rejected Him of the coming 
         judgment - Mt 11:20-24
      3. He spoke of the condemnation that would come upon His 
         generation - Mt 12:41-42
      4. The wicked would be raised unto condemnation, unlike the 
         righteous - Jn 5:24-30
      1. He spoke of this separation in His sermon on the mount - Mt 
      2. Again, when describing the judgment scene - Mt 25:41-46
      1. A term used most often by Jesus to describe the destiny of the
         a. The Greek word is "geenna" {gheh'-en-nah}, which in Hebrew
            is "Ge-Hinnom"
         b. B. W. Johnson comments:  "The term Gehenna arose from the 
            valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the Canaanites
            burned human sacrifices to Moloch.  After the return of the
            Jews from the Captivity they made it a place of defilement,
            where the refuse of the city was thrown and burned. The
            name was applied to the place of future punishment by the
            Jews.  The word is often used in the New Testament, and 
            always denotes a place of future punishment."
         c. Found twelve (12) times in the New Testament, and it is 
            used only by Jesus with one exception (Ja 3:6)
      2. Jesus used the term to describe the final place of 
         a. In His sermon on the mount - Mt 5:21-22,29-30
         b. When sending His apostles on the "limited" commission - Mt 
         c. In warning against personal stumblingblocks - Mt 18:8-9
         d. Perhaps the most vivid use of this term is in Mk 9:43-48
         -- Jesus evidently used this word because it properly spoke to
            His contemporaries the horror and abomination of the 
            eternal destiny awaiting the wicked!
      3. This place called "hell" was originally prepared for the devil
         and his angels (Mt 25:41), but will serve as the place of 
         punishment for the wicked as well
      1. They will experience "the furnace of fire"
         a. As described in "The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares",
            and "The Parable Of The Dragnet" - Mt 13:42,50
         b. This "furnace of fire" is the same as...
            1) The "fire" of Gehenna - Mt 5:22; 18:8-9
            2) The "lake of fire" - Re 20:12-15; 21:8
         c. A fire that is never quenched - Mk 9:43-48
         d. Notice Jesus' description of Hades (the temporary dwelling
            of the wicked dead) - Lk 16:22-24
      2. They will experience "wailing and gnashing of teeth"
         a. As told in the two parables we have considered - Mt 13:42,
         b. Jesus used the similar expression "weeping and gnashing of 
            teeth" on other occasions - Mt 8:12 22:13; 24:51; 25:30
      3. They will experience "outer darkness"
         a. As in the punishment of...
            1) The "sons of the kingdom" (unbelieving Israelites) - Mt
            2) The "unprepared wedding guest" (those who mistakenly 
               believe they are saved?) - Mt 22:13
            3) The "unprofitable servant" (slothful Christians?) - Mt
         b. And the punishment described by Peter and Jude for false 
            teachers - 2 Pe 2:17; Ju 13
      4. They will experience "everlasting punishment"
         a. The punishment for the wicked is as "everlasting" as the 
            life given the righteous - Mt 25:46
         b. The wicked will be "punished" with "everlasting 
            destruction" from the presence of the Lord - cf. 2 Th 1:9
1. As Jesus went about "preaching the gospel of the kingdom" (Mt 4:23),
   He did not hold back...
   a. He called upon the people to repent - cf. Mt 4:17
   b. He warned them of the impending judgment and torment to come
      1) As seen in "The Parable Of Dragnet"
      2) As seen in our survey of Jesus' teaching on the destiny of the
2. If we are to proclaim the "gospel of the kingdom" faithfully...
   a. We must not only preach the "good news" of the kingdom...
   b. We must also tell the "bad news" Christ revealed through His 
      parables and other teachings!
Dear friend, are you living in view of the coming judgment?  When "the
great separation" is made, where will you be?  Why not be "born again 
of the water and the Spirit", so you may enter that wonderful kingdom?
- Jn 3:5; Mk 16:16; Ac 2:36-39


The Householder (Mt 13:51-52)
1. Following His explanation of "The Parable Of The Dragnet" (Mt 13:
   47-50), we find Jesus asking His disciples:
           "Have you understood all these things?" (Mt 13:51)
2. This question likely relates not just to the preceding parable, but
   to all of those recorded in this chapter:
   a. The Parable Of The Sower - Mt 13:3-9,18-23
   b. The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares - Mt 13:24-30,36-43
   c. The Parable Of The Mustard Seed - Mt 13:31-32
   d. The Parable Of The Leaven - Mt 13:33
   e. The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure - Mt 13:44
   f. The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price - Mt 13:45-46
   g. The Parable Of The Dragnet - Mt 13:47-50
   -- All of which reveal truths related to "the mysteries of the 
      kingdom of heaven" - Mt 13:11
3. When His disciples answer in the affirmative, Jesus tells yet 
   another parable...
   a. This one is called "The Parable Of The Householder" - Mt 13:52
   b. This parable, however, is describing not so much the kingdom of
      heaven itself, but those (especially "scribes") who have been 
      instructed concerning the kingdom
[As we take the time to consider what Jesus said, seeking to glean what
truths and principles we can from Him, let's first look closely at...]
      1. "Therefore every scribe instructed about the kingdom of 
      2. From the "Holman Bible Dictionary", a scribe was a "Person
         trained in writing skills and used to record events and
         decisions (Jer. 36:26; 1 Chron. 24:6; Esth. 3:12). During the
         Exile in Babylon educated scribes apparently became the
         experts in God's written word, copying, preserving, and
         teaching it. Ezra was a scribe in this sense of expert in
         teaching God's word (Ezra 7:6). A professional group of such
         scribes developed by New Testament times, most being Pharisees
         (Mark 2:16). They interpreted the law, taught it to disciples,
         and were experts in cases where people were accused of
         breaking the law of Moses. They led in plans to kill Jesus
         (Luke 19:47) and heard His stern rebuke (Matt. 23)."
      3. They were more than simply copyists, but students and
         instructors as well
      4. It would be assumed, therefore, that a scribe would be
         expected to understand the finer points of the Law of Moses
      1. Jesus' point is not about a normal scribe, who would 
         understand only the Law
      2. But a scribe who would be instructed about the kingdom of 
         heaven (via the parables)
      1. A householder with "treasure", something of great value
      2. Treasure that is both "new" and "old"
         a. The "old" treasure would be his understanding of the Law
         b. The "new" treasure would be his understanding of the
            kingdom of heaven
[The parable and its "explanation" appear simple enough to understand.
But there are also "implications" from the parable that are worthy of
careful consideration...]
      1. This implication is a fair one to make
         a. Because the parable was told in response to a question
            asked of His disciples
         b. Because His disciples...
            1) ...had been told that only by understanding the Word can
               one bear good fruit - Mt 13:23
            2) ...had been asked whether they "understood all these 
               things?" - Mt 13:51
         c. Understanding God's Word was a fundamental aspect of being
            a scribe, so it was to being a disciple!
      2. Elsewhere Jesus makes it clear that His disciples must be like
         a. The very word "disciple" means a "learner", which requires
            one to be like a scribe
         b. In the Great Commission...
            1) Jesus told His apostles to "make disciples" (i.e.,
               learners) - Mt 28:19
            2) His disciples would then be "taught" all that Christ
               commanded - Mt 28:20
      1. That treasure is the Word of God, which even with the partial
         revelation of the Old Testament was...
         a. "More to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold"
            - cf. Ps 19:7-11
         b. Better than silver, fine gold, and rubies; and "all the
            things you may desire cannot compare with her." - cf. Pr 3:
      2. The value of that treasure is enhanced with the full and final
         revelation of God's Will through His Son Jesus Christ - cf. Co
      1. Not just the new treasure, but the old as well
      2. Some Christians may downplay the importance of the Old 
         Testament, but we shouldn't!
         a. It was written for our learning, to provide patience, 
            comfort and hope - Ro 15:4
         b. It was written for our admonition - 1 Co 10:11
      3. Dare we throw away old treasure, just because we have been 
         blessed to receive new?
         a. That which is "old" can help us appreciate more fully that
            which is "new"!
         b. It can help make us "wise for salvation through faith which
            is in Christ" - 2 Ti 3:14-15
         c. As "scripture" inspired of God, it is still profitable 
            - 2 Ti 3:16-17
      4. Of course, we must "rightly divide" the word of truth - 2 Ti 
         a. By observing the distinction between the Old and 
            New Covenants - cf. He 8:6-13
         b. By remembering that it is the fuller revelation provided by
            the New that helps to explain the "mystery" of the Old 
            - e.g., Lk 24:25-27,44-47
            1) It was not until Jesus fulfilled and then explained Old
               Testament prophecies that His disciples were able to 
            2) So we should not seek to understand the New in light of
               the Old, but the Old in light of the New!
1. The main point I wish to stress is that as disciples of Jesus we 
   have been richly blessed!
   a. Jesus said it was because we have been blessed to see and hear 
      things others did not - Mt 13:16-17
   b. When we understand the parables and His other teachings 
      concerning the kingdom of heaven, as well as the Old Testament,
      then we have treasure added upon treasure!
2. But we must be like the scribes of old to enjoy these treasures...
   a. Emulating especially the example of Ezra - Ezra 7:10
   b. Preparing our hearts to seek the Word, to do it, and then to 
      teach it
3. Do we appreciate the great treasure we have available to us?
   a. Do we appreciate its greatness because it alone points us...
      1) To Him who is the center and theme of its revelation, Jesus 
      2) And to His kingdom that is everlasting?
   b. Or are we like so many, who forsake this great treasure for that
      which is temporary, and does not really satisfy?
Don't allow the distractions of this world to cause the "treasures" to
slip through your fingers!


--《Executable Outlines