Tag Archives: first

More Than a Story: Kingdom-Focused

[Matthew 13]

Contains EIGHT parables!! All of these parables speak about the kingdom of heaven.

  • Parable of the Sower
    • Readiness to hear and receive the Message of the kingdom of heaven.
  • Three parables about growth: Weeds, Mustard Seed, Yeast/Leaven
    • Parable of the Weeds – weeds among good seed, test between true disciples and others.
    • Parable of the Mustard Seed – seed into large tree
    • Parable of the Yeast – hidden in the flour till all leavened
    • Mustard Seed & Yeast speak about small beginnings. God’s work may appear unimpressive at first but appearances are deceptive. BE PATIENT. Little equals big when God is at work.
  • Three more parables: Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, Net
    • Parable of the Hidden Treasure shows wholehearted response to Kingdom of heaven—no sacrifice is too large and equals joy and fulfillment
    • The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value – when found sold all had and – similar to Hidden Treasure
    • The Parable of the Net – fish of every kind, sorted good in containers and threw out the bad
    • The Net is similar to the Weeds – sorting good & bad. The church will always be mixed until the final judgment.
  • Parable of the Householder / Master of the House – speaks of new treasures (the teaching of Jesus Christ) and old truths

Readiness

  • ready to hear and receive the Message (Parable of the Sower)
  • ready to give Jesus first place (Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Parable of the Pearl of Great Value)
  • ready for testing (Parable of the Weeds, Parable of the Net)

Faithfulness

  • faith to allow God to grow you into who He made you to be for greater things (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to follow God’s leading and to adhere to God’s timing (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to speak the Truth (Parable of the householder)

Bible Study Questions:

1) Looking at the Parable of the Weeds, why did the master want to wait for the harvest time to gather the weeds? What does this mean for us?

2) Let us consider leaven. In the Parable of the Leaven, the passage says that the woman puts a little leaven in the flour and then it all was leavened. She added some leaven and all was impacted. What does this mean for us?

3) The Parable of the Leaven speaks about inner growth, while the Parable of the Mustard Seed focuses on outside growth. Do you think one is more important than the other? Do you think they are related?

4) The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value both talk about selling all that was owned for the field containing the treasure and the pearl. What is the risk in selling all you have? What might slow you down or keep you from doing this? What does this mean for us?

5) The Parable of the Net speaks about gathering fish of every kind. It also speaks about the net being full. What is the takeaway when looking at the gathering of the diverse fish? What are your thoughts on the net being full?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

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Our Ruler

After the battle was won, the Israelites asked Gideon to be their ruler. In Judges 8, they had already moved from the position of the Lord bringing the victory to turning away from the Lord. They wanted Gideon to be their ruler. Gideon quickly told them that the Lord was their ruler.

Even though the victory was clearly given by the Lord, they were quick to take their eyes off of Him. They were quick to attribute the victory to Gideon and his leadership. In the same way, we often are quick to attribute our accomplishments to others. We easily agree to support someone’s decisions, advice, and opinions and forget about our true Ruler, our Lord and Savior.

We have bosses. We have politicians. We have a lot of people in leadership positions in different areas of our lives. But there should never be a moment when anyone is put before God. God is first always.

“Then the Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.’ But Gideon replied, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you! ‘” – Judges 8:22-23 [NLT]

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Humble Not First

In a world where people often do whatever it takes to get somewhere, we always have to be on guard and use good discernment. In 3 John, we learn about Diotrephes, a man who, as John puts it, “loves to be first among them” (v. 9). We all know those people, the ones who have to be in charge and usually have to be found right no matter the topic at hand. In the letter, John wrote that “the one who does good is of God” (v. 11). If we remember that, and use God’s Word as the measuring stick, we will make wise decisions.

A person who is first is not always right. We see this in politics with our governing bodies, with company leadership, and even on the school playground. Having a need to be seen above others, usually has less to do with being right, than it does about being in the spotlight. Note how often Jesus did not want the attention, but He was always right. He could have spent hours trying to show people how He was right, but that wasn’t His purpose. He was humble and focused. It was the people around Him that wanted to make Him king.

We are supposed to obey our leadership and respect their authority. This doesn’t mean that we allow God’s design for our lives to be negatively effected by those who wish to be first. When a person tries to be first, they forget one big detail—God is first. No one else can be first no matter how hard a person tries. As you live along side the Diotrephes of our day, those who have to be first and wish to toss around accusations and do whatever it takes to look like the top dog, remember Who is first. Remember Who you serve. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego showed us, if it goes against what God desires, do not bow down.

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” – 1 Peter 5:5 [ESV]