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The Power and Influence of Christ's Kingdom, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 9, 2021 4:00 am

The Power and Influence of Christ's Kingdom, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 9, 2021 4:00 am

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The first two parables talk about the conflict they talk about the right and the Ronnie fighting one another, but the next to talk about the victory of the right, but in the end, the little tiny mustard seed fills the earth the little piece of leaven leavens the whole of what started very small and so found influencing the loan believer in your family and thought to yourself, what sort of influence for God, can I really be in my corner of the world. Well today as John MacArthur continues his study called the parables of the kingdom he's going to show you the power of the gospel message. Even when it's spoken by just one person.

I think this lesson will encourage you, especially if you're feeling alone in your faith and with that, here's John MacArthur. Open your Bible if you will now to Matthew chapter 13 again we go back to the parables of our Lord on the kingdom of heaven. Matthew chapter 13, I'm going to read verses 31 through 33, as we begin, and that encompasses two parables. It's helpful if we can look at them together at least as a setting, beginning then in Matthew chapter 13 with verse 31 another parable put he forth unto them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds but what is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and become at the tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches of it. Another parable spoke to them saying, the kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened small things can have ultimately very large effects. All music, all symphonies, concertos, oratorio's humans saw all music comes basically from eight notes all the profound words it ever been uttered or written in English language come from 26 letters small beginnings, profound, extensive results, Lord Kelvin provides us with an interesting insight into this fine experiment which you once made, he suspended a large chunk of steel weighing many many many pounds it was hanging there in his lab to prove a point. He then proceeded to wad up little bits of paper about the size of a pea and systematically throw the wad of the steel at first that rather gentle tap had no effect at all, but eventually the steel was swaying back and forth and back and forth because of the relentless tapping of the little piece of paper small things, profound results, that's really the lesson of these parables, and if you understand that you will understand what these parables are teaching now let me give you little bit of background so that you'll be able to feel with the disciples what they felt as Jesus was teaching them the disciples basically believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the King sign means anointed one that implies king that he was the greater son of David, that he was the promised king would set up the kingdom and for them the kingdom had very clear definitions it would come in glory, it would come in power, there would be pomp and circumstance. There would be great. Cataclysmic events there would be the punishment of evildoers, they were looking for the music and the horses the triumph the wonder, the glory to show the publicity they really anticipated a blazing display of power and glory and majesty and might as the Messiah established his kingdom, but it didn't happen that way and that's why they kept asking themselves what was this them. The Messiah, they struggled with that, all the way along and he would tell them again and again that he was and they would still struggle with it and all the way into the book of acts they are still asking you, will you at this time bringing the kingdom mean they never quite understood because their expectations were so different from what they were seeing. Now they thought because they had read, Ezekiel, and they had read the other prophets that when the Lord came all the rebels in all of their ejectors and all of those who turned their back on God would be blasted out of existence, and the fury of God's judgment and the kingdom would come, but their ejectors kept mounting and mounting in getting more flagrant and more violent and more overt and more confrontive and instead of Jesus talking about what he would do to them.

He started talking about what they would do to him and instead of them saying he was going to kill them. He started saying they're going to kill me very very hard for them to handle. And so even when Jesus said to them, I must die. They violently responded as Peter Lord, let not this be so, it can happen in the very day that they were throwing palm branches at his feet and he was coming into the city of Jerusalem and they were crying hosanna to the son of David and it looked like this would be the moment and the disciples blood must've been pumping fast in their heart beating, and the anticipation rising and when it was all P Jesus said, except the corn of wheat falling to the ground and died a bite of the loan and he started to talk about his death. Again she they were looking for a kingdom of glory kingdom of power, a kingdom of majesty, a kingdom of worldwide wonder a kingdom where the unbeliever and the projector was immediately devastated and destroyed. And it didn't happen. And so Jesus teaches them, why in Matthew 13 he says before that comes here is a form of the kingdom, which now exists which you must understand, so you're not confused and he calls it the mystery form. Verse 11 that means it's something that isn't clear in the Old Testament it was not laid out so clearly that you would understand. It was hidden and now I will unfold it to you. This is a form of the kingdom. You never really understood and so he gives them seven parables which explained to them the kingdom in its mystery form prior to the millennial blaze of glory that they were anticipating the first parable he gives them is about four kinds of soil. Three of them do not receive the message of the king that tells them that this form of the kingdom will include rejection.

Now we are living in this form still prior to that blazing millennial kingdom and we can agree with that.

Can't wait. In fact, most of the world rejects most of the world. Is it the hard soil that doesn't even let the message in or the rocky soil that lets it in a little while and then it withers for the weedy soil that finally chokes it out because of the love of the world and the cares of this age. Most of the world is rejecting and so the Lord says in this form of the kingdom. I'll still be the king and I am still the sovereign over the earth and I am still ruling but I am allowing for rejection and of course the immediate question that would come into the mind of the disciple would be what's going to happen to their ejectors.

How should we treat their ejectors. I mean, if this is the kingdom and were the subjects of the King. Aren't we the most important people in the world and should we be upholding the honor and the glory of the King. So how should we handle these projectors and see they were thinking out as in human life like if you if you had a king and you are loyal subject of the king and there were a bunch of revolutionaries and reactionaries and rebels in the society wipe them out when you so they're saying what to do with these blaspheming projectors and so the Lord tells him a second parable. He says the wheat and the tares, the kingdom citizens and their ejectors are going to grow together until the wind, the judgment and what he is saying is it's not your job to be the executioners.

That's for the Angels it in the in the judgment your job is to keep on being the wheat in the midst of the world so that you will influence the tares or the Dardanelles that are all around you not to be the executioners. You're not to pull off the judgment you not to pull them out of the ground because you know what you're doing your level to kill some Christians in the process and let some non-Christians go because you can't see the heart.

So your job is not judgment. Your job is evangelism the grow together until the end know what you think the next question is there and ask. I think I knows what I thought will now this is the kingdom and we got all these people reject and they're all over the place because the parable of the tares said that the stairs were sown throughout the field and evil is so powerful and evil is so strong and evil is so dominating its influence. If these two things are going along together. Isn't that going to choke out the life of the kingdom is not going to strangle the power of Christ in the world so the Lord gives him two more parables. That's natural that they would think that when you're looking at each other soon. It's just us guys fellows where the kingdom of God in the world and man. The odds are unbelievable are we going to get literally wiped out in this and so he teaches them. These two parables that show from very small beginnings very insignificant. The kingdom is going to grow in spite of the opposition to ultimately influence the whole wide world. The first two parables talk about the conflict they talk about the antagonism of evil and good in the kingdom they talk about the right and the wrong fighting one another, but the next to talk about the victory of the right that in the end of the little tiny mustard seed fills the earth the little piece of leaven leavens the whole loaf of bread. What started very small and zipped profoundly influencing everything so we move now watch this carefully from the two parables that describe the nature of the kingdom. It will be with believers and unbelievers side-by-side to the two parables that describe the power of the king. The power of the king in spite of its smallness, it will sweep the world you know there's another way to look at this and I was construct by this is, I thought through so many things regarding these parables. The first parable of the soils talks basically about the breath of the kingdom, the seed is sown in the field and the field is the what the world the breadth of the kingdom.

The second parable talks about the links of the kingdom. It will go on until the harvest. The third parable, the parable of the mustard seed talks about the height of the kingdom we could talk about extent. The fourth parable of the leaven talks about the depth of the kingdom as it is hidden in the dough and influences from within, so you have the kingdom seen in its breath and its length and its height and its depth.

Lord is describing it in every dimension and after he has done all of this the next two parables. He talks about its personal appropriation in the life of an individual. After having describe its general characteristics, marvelous progression of thought. Now the Lord does not explain to us these two parables. But don't feel bit Lord gave us somebody to explain to us was that the Holy Spirit so we are cheated all explain the disciples. The Bible tells us he explained all of these things to them, but for us, we have the resident Holy Spirit and we because we understand God and we understand the mind of God is revealed in the word of God can fit this in with his plan.

Now let's look at the first parable and I believe you be absently fascinated by this one.

The mustard seed, which describes the external power of the kingdom. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Now here's a man who is again a farmer is your plan a crop plants a crop of mustard why what was used for many things used for its oil and its oil. By the way was used for many things, as well, one of which was medicinal use. It was used also for flavoring. Even today, mustard seed is a valuable commodity very valuable and they raise that as a crop as we still do verse 32 goes on to describe the situation it says that the mustard seed is indeed the least of all seeds or the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown, is the greatest among herbs and become as the tree, in fact, so big that the birds of the air come and make their home in the branches of now basically let me just give you little botany so we know where were going this particular mustard seed causes to to grow a bush, shrub, we would call it like a garden plant. Normally it grows to about 7 to 8 feet in height and that's a good size garden plant that's a good sized urban you notice it's put in the herb family like anon in the Greek will discuss in a moment, but very frequently. It'll grow to 12 to 15 feet in height and there are many testimonies that have been written by eyewitnesses in these two seen these fields, both now and in past generations who have testified to the fact that they get to be 15 feet high. One writer talks about them being higher than a horse and rider. Another writer says that the horse and the rider can ride under the branches of the mustard bush.

That's a big bush and what the Lord is saying is you have no real connection apparent between the smallness of the seed, and the largeness of the end result.

You have the very smallest seed issuing in the very largest bush that can grow, you can plan a barley senior goetta barley plant that's fairly good size you can plant a seed of wheat or of corn you get a fairly good size think but you plant the seed and you get a 15 foot high bush big enough to ride a horse under at this point, so the parable is not an exaggeration. It is a statement commonly understood as all of our all the parables there point is not an exaggeration.

The point is that they are commonly understood fact of life that meet take a little deeper into this situation.

Jesus in verse 32 says this is the least of all seeds not right that juncture theological war takes place. The critics who want to attack the Bible counts on that state is what they say their ego is he that proves the Bible is not inerrant because anybody knows that an orchid a wild orchid seed is smaller than a mustard seed. Therefore Jesus one didn't know and if you didn't know, guess who he's not God or he knew they were wrong.

But he accommodated their ignorance and then we have what they call biblical or cultural accommodation were sometimes the Bible writer doesn't say what's true he says what people think is true just to be relevant. Once you open that can of worms. Good luck because who's to say which is which.

The critics say. You see, Jesus is wrong now. Either he's wrong because these ignorant 40s wrong because he's going along with their error. Either way were in trouble right. Say what you say MacArthur ICs right we prove that, I think so.

Notice in verse 32.

The word herbs lacking on that word refers to garden vegetables garden greens that are grown purposely to be. It is used in Romans 14. In that regard. It refers to that which is planted as a crop to be in opposition to wild plants.

These are plants soon purposely so. The sea then is a seed sown agriculturally to produce edible vegetables and greens. Ellis, of all the seeds that were sown in the East to produce edible products, the mustard seed was and still is the smallest Jesus is speaking within a framework in which what he says is exactly correct. This was affirmed by man by the name of Dr. LH shooters was a director of the herbarium at SMU in Dallas have the largest herbarium in the Southwest 318,000 botanical specimens from all over the world. He is a regular lecturer at the Smithsonian Institute and he said, quote the mustard seed would indeed have been the smallest of those two have been noticed by the people at the time of Christ. The principal field crops, barley, wheat, lentils and beans have much larger seeds as do other plants which might have been present as weeds and so forth. There are various weeds and wildflowers belonging to the mustard amaranth pig weed chickweed family was seeds that are small or smaller than mustard, but they would not have been known or noticed by the inhabitants they are wild and they certainly would not have been planted as a crop and that wonderful isn't wonderful and Jesus talks about seeds is right. If I can trust it was seeds I can trust and with eternity shooters went on to say the only modern crop plant. The only modern crop plant in existence with smaller seeds than mustard is tobacco.

In this plant of American origin wasn't grown in the old world until the 16th century or later.

So when Jesus said a man so the smallest seed that's ever so he was dead right.

Further, they say, well look what it says in verse 32.

It becomes a tree and anybody knows and doesn't become a tree look is not talking about a timber tree is talking about shrub so large that it has the properties of a tree and what is the property of a tree, which it has with the rest of verse 32 say birds can live in it. A lot of bushes birds can live and by the way, the word lodge there in verse 32. That's a very intense Greek term means to make their home. There build a nest and stay we had little bushes in our yard. But if a bird try to build a nested bend over drop on the ground all the eggs fall. This one gets big and they tell us to botanist do that in a certain time of the year. The branches become rigid and birds build their nests there very accurate. That's the Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary in the Bible teacher here on Grace to you.

John MacArthur he calls you study the parables of the kingdom that John is what we're seeing these parables of Jesus require some thoughtful and careful study and and of course that gets to the purpose of grace to you. We are here to help people dig into biblical truth and to process it and to apply it to their lives. And so, in keeping with that purpose. We are reintroducing a line of study tools that we use to produce and for decades.

They helped God's people understand the Bible and the deeper way were bringing them back talk about that.

Yeah these were our study guides.

They were extremely popular in the idea was that we would mail out a study guide prior to a radio series so that those who listen would have in their hands.

The outline of what I was saying in some of the illustrations and even questions and stimulating ideas that they could draw from to better understand the passage so it was it was a twofold opportunity they could listen to the radio and they could be looking at the material right in front of them. They were tremendously popular found their way into people's devotional lives personal Bible study small group Sunday school classes, discipleship, and all of that and recently we we decided to launch it again and we began with the first one a few months ago on spiritual boot camp which is kind of the basics of the Christian life. In the second one is now available.

The believers armor and because this is a very exciting opportunity for us in the relaunch want to make sure that all of you get an experience with the study guide.

So they're free to anyone who is never contacted us before. Over the years we produced about 150 of the study guides and they they deal with the subject.

A topic that's in the text of Scripture. So there. Their titles relate to some doctrinal theme tied to the text of the Scriptures. So instead of just looking at a commentary and flowing through a text.

This approach is the study of the word of God on a topical basis. These are softcover books corresponding.

As I said to our sermon series were in the process of sprucing up the study guides and relaunching them for the new generation and this one on the believers armor is taken from Ephesians 6 that familiar passage that identifies how the Christian finds victory in the battle against sin and Satan.

If you've never been in touch with us before will send you a free copy of the study guide on the believers armor were going to be airing the series in a few weeks, so the study guide will give you that added benefit and the rest of you can, of course, if you're part of our family already. You can order one at a very reasonable price. Yes, friend.

This book is a great complement to John's radio series if you're a believer. God has given you everything you need to resist Satan's attacks.

In this study guide shows you how to take full advantage of those divine resources to request your copy of the believers armor study guide free if it's your first time contacting us. Get in touch today call our toll-free number 855 grace or go to GT Y.org the believers armor study guide is a great resource to go through one on one with a new believer or in a small group, and again, if you've never contacted us before the believers armor study guide is our gift to you. Just call us at 855 grace or request your copy that GT Y.org reminder two. We appreciate hearing how Grace to you is helping you grow spiritually. If you've never written or if it's been a while, just a quick note to share your story and be sure to include the call letters of the station when you're right, that's a big help for us. Our email letters@gty.org letters that GT Y.org or you can write to us at Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 and thanks for remembering that grace to you is supported by faithful friends like you now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson invite you back for our next broadcast when John looks at why nothing can stop God's amazing plan for his kingdom be here for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace to you

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