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September 10, 2021 4:00 am
Christ rule. No matter how insignificant, no matter how despised with peers.
At first to be small, but it will grow and its end, and consummation will be amazingly out of portion to its beginning such as a mustard wish to its see is out. It's probably the main characters or maybe the objects in the stories like the hidden treasure of the mustard seed were the pearl or the wheat and the tares is not really a problem with that unless you fail to notice that the parables start by stating the kingdom of God is like, and then those details are explained in John MacArthur's current studies showing you that the purpose of the parables Jesus taught in Matthew 13 is to reveal the nature of God's kingdom and to focus your attention on the King Jesus himself, so stay right here as John turns again to the parables of the kingdom.
Open your Bible if you will now to Matthew chapter 13 it says that the mustard seed is indeed the least of all, see, or the smallest of all seats but when it is grown, is the greatest among herbs and become as the tree now write that juncture theological war takes place.
The critics who want to attack the Bible pounce 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 is 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 back in 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 scene then is a seed sown agriculturally to produce edible vegetables and greens. Allison 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. 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 trailer is not talking about a timber tree is talking about a shrub so large that it has the properties of a tree and what is the property of a tree, which it has its arrest in 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 very intense Greek term that means to make their home. There build a nest and stay. We had a little bushes in our yard. But if a bird try to build a nested bend over and 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. Now Jesus was also speaking proverbially. He wasn't trying to give a lesson on botany and people need to get nitpicky about it but if you want to be nitpicky, go ahead. He's right. But what is basically doing is speaking proverbially and to the Jew because the smallest CD ever dealt with was a mustard seed mustard seed became proverbial for something small and we have Proverbs a person is as wise as an owl, we don't mean the smartest thing in the world and owl laterally and where that comes from the leaves.
Proverbs like that Jesus just picked out one of their Proverbs.
It happened to be that this one was right but it was proverbially used. For example, the Jews talked about a drop of blood as small as a mustard seed. They talked about a tiny breach of the Mosaic law of being a defilement. The size of a mustard seed. They talked about a blemish or spot on an animal. The size of a mustard seed to this day, the Arabs talk about faith and weighing the amount of a mustard seed in our Lord even use the same little proverb in Matthew 1720, where he said if you have faith as a grain of what mustard seed you say to this mountain, be removed and it would be removed so it was proverbial and he was simply using the story with a proverb that they used but it is marvelous in the wisdom he happened to pick up proverb that used it was right now you understand what the parable sets now to you what it means. First the kingdom will start what small start small. Can you imagine how this is important to tell the disciple when they were standing a little group being literally smothered by oppression and rejection and blasphemy and they were saying this is a little handful of us against all Jesus it's okay.
That's the point. Everything starts from something very very small and boy they were small. In fact it was so small they could even recognize the King was there in acts chapter 1 there still saying will will you at this time restore the kingdom where is it was so small and it was buried in the ground.
It was practically imperceptible. I think that's why so many modern theologians don't know where to find it in the Gospel of Matthew either. Luke 1720 says this. Listen to this and when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come. The first is when is the kingdom of God. You say you're the king you go praying around here the king when you got to bring the kingdom. I love his answer. The kingdom of God comes not with observation. You can see, you can see that this form so you're not to say hello. Here is not to say all there is for behold, the kingdom of God is what in your midst within you. It's already here guys, but it's a little seed starting very small.
You can't see. Just like when you plant that must've seen the ground you can't see but it's here and in that seed is the potential for a massive marsh and in that little seed planting of the kingdom is the potential for a kingdom that extends to the ends of the earth starts very small. Think of a manger feed trough.
Think of a stable, smelly animals, people wandering around ankle-deep in the manure of that filthy place in a baby born in obscurity in a country that was nothing but an infant wriggling in the arms of Imperial Rome with two districts of Judea and Galilee that were just dots on the earth, and Samaria, which was less than the other two and think of Nazareth were Jesus spent 30 years, uncouth, uncultured, uneducated, Nazareth and think of the disciples, all of them put together would net up to a mustard seed. They were so small, so inadequate, so inconsequential, so unqualified, so fearful, so faithless, so weak and that was the kingdom that was planted within the breast of that little infant in that feed trough in the manger was eternal life that would burst forth into an eternal kingdom. Seed was planted small beginning. You see, this is a marvelous truth because this is not seen in the Old Testament, Mrs. Mistry revealed start small. Just that little tiny group and when Jesus ascended back into heaven. They were just 120 of them. If you talk to a pastor. There is a church of 120 he feels cheated you have it. Well, our church is so small with only got 120. But when the kingdom started it only had 120 so far it's doing very well before it's done will cover the entire globe takes us to the second lesson became started very small, the kingdom ends very large, pretty simple outline right started very small and very large. The prophet saw great kingdom. And if you go to the Old Testament prophets, and you read about what they look for in the kingdom it's extent is staggering. For example, in Psalm 7872. Rather, verse eight it says he shall have dominion from sea to sea, and the abundance of peace. As long as the moon endures. He's alive dominion from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth that they dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him and his enemy. Select the dust. The kings of Tarsus and of the islands to bring presents the kings of Sheba and SEBO shall I forget all kings shall fall them before and all nations shall serve another. That's the extent of the kingdom. That's how big the Bush gets coming from a very little seed doing massive Bush and that's the thing the Lord wants you to see that you get the largest result from the smallest beginning in the case of the king. Isaiah saw the same end result. Chapter 54 of Isaiah verse to enlarge the place of thy tent, let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations spare not like deny cords and strengthen nice takes you better get this tent bigger and bigger and bigger something is expanding. Thou shalt break forth on the right hand shout break for the on the left thigh seed shall inherit the nations messiahs kingdom shall extend from shore to shore from one end of the globe to the other.
Jeremiah sought Amos sought Micah sought. Zachariah sought and I could review Scripture after Scripture after Scripture that the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God would stretch from sea to sea, from land to land cover the globe. We know this to be true, don't we. Ultimately, the millennial kingdom comes Jesus reigns over the whole earth that's coming. In fact it says in Revelation 1115 the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. So, these parables actually take us into the millennium into the fullness of the ultimate growth of the kingdom of Christ rule.
No matter how insignificant, no matter how despised with peers. At first to be small and I think they probably rub their hands when he died. So that's that with him, but it will grow and its end, and consummation will be amazingly out of proportion to its beginning such as a mustard Bush to its seed of this parable is meant to encourage us people.
Everything is on me not about you, but sometimes I get discouraged I just think that matter how hard we try we always seem to be sort of crushed and crowded out by the evil world around us. If I feel that way. Can you imagine how they felt. I mean, I know there are leaving people in the city and in other cities in other states and other countries around the globe, God's people are there people are coming to Jesus Christ and even then, I sometimes feel like the battle is intense and that were sort of the minority.
Can you imagine how they must've felt when their very leader was being blasphemed in their presence. The sense of hopelessness sense of defeat the bewilderment, the discouragement and especially one boy. Once John the Baptist came in he was such an impressive person and the cities were flocking out to him and it looked like boy everything was going to happen. It was also exciting and John was saying.
I must decrease in this one comes after me must increase in he they were all getting caught up in the sweep of the establishing of the kingdom, and the crowds came in the miracles and the healings of the multiplying of food and all the wonders walking on the water and they could see it all beginning to happen, and then something shifted and in the beginning to be a mounting hate and bitterness and rejection, so the Lord says it's gonna start small but old it's going to and be where and when and in the kingdom is going to stretch across the face of the earth and on into eternity for ever and ever were to be a part of that eternal King is another note that I think is so interesting. He says this think it's so big that the birds of the air come and take up their residents build their nest live in its branches. Now one of these birds to represent. Some people think they represent demons. Some people think they represent evil. The reason they think they represent demons is because of the earlier parable where the birds snatch it away. It talks about the birds are representing Satan takes the word away but birds keep this in your mind could represent anything because there simply an illustration and I think you have two thoughts are. First of all what the birds mean is that the trees very big is so big birds can lodge in and it's Jesus way of telling us how big it is.
But there's another thought to that I think is his profound.
These birds live in the tree you want to live there are two other live there because there's there's seeds and that mustard Bush to eat and they can eat at home that idea out. If I was a bird. I think I go to plays raggedy while I was there. Always read about mother bird going to find a food motherboard in this deal stays home but more than that. They build a nest there's shade there's protection, security and food. There, that's interesting look at me for a moment at what I think is a great explanation of this Daniel chapter 4 Daniel chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the greatest of all world empires has a dream and this is his dream really an interesting dream. Verse 10 of Daniel. For this for the visions of my head in my bed I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth and the height of it was very great and the tree grew and was strong in its height reached unto heaven, that's a tall tree in the sight of it to the end of the earth. I Mia goes up to heaven and its branches cover so that all parts of the earth can see is a big tree sleeves were fair.
Its fruit was much, and in it was food for everybody.
The beast of the field at shadow under the fowls of the heaven dwelt in its bowels, and all flesh was fed from it. What is this what in the world is he looking at Daniel answers that verse 20. Daniel comes in some detail what that was the tree that the sauce which grew and was strong was height reached to heaven in the side of it to all the earth whose leaves were fair and its fruit much, and it was food for all, under which the beasts of the field. Dwelling upon whose branches the files of the heaven had their habitation is you okay you become stronger. Your greatness is grown reaches on your domain into the end of the earth is he saying he sang the Babylonian Empire has become like a tree and all the nations of the world are finding their comfort their security. There food in that tree in a babbling brook culture to the world brought education to the world but architecture to the world brought prosperity to the world brought a sense of peace to the world. There were lots of nations, the birds of the nations latching in the tree of the Babylonian empire. Look at Ezekiel chapter 31 Ezekiel 31 verse three and here we find Assyria described as a cedar with fair branches shadowing shroud high stature, thick bows at the top and it was big because the waters admitted great rivers running around it little rivers and all this, its height verse five exalted above all the trees of the field, its bows multiplied its branches long because of the multitude of waters that shot forth all the fowls of the heaven made their nest in its mouth and all this is saying is what you have one great massive dominant world power.
All a lot of other little ones get sheltered in the branches that we could take that politically into today and we could say that traditionally and historically, for example, the United States has been a great tree in which many many other nations have been sheltered in our branches through foreign aid education.
Many, many ways that's that's the secular illustration is using, but when you bring it now into Matthew, and what our Lord is saying he saying that ultimately the kingdom of Christ grows so extensive that the nations find their shelter and protection in the kingdom of the birds are not the mustard Bush. They're not necessarily part of the kingdom. They just benefit by its presence in the earth as the non-Babylonians benefited by the presence of the Babylonian empire. Now that's what you have to understand that as you teach the kingdom.
Sometimes the kingdom refers specifically to the true saints in the kingdom. Sometimes it's bigger than that.
And in this sense, it's bigger you're looking at the kingdom in terms of God's sovereign rulership over everything and think of it this way wherever Christianity flourishes the people who climbing the branches prosper because of the flourishing of Christianity, even though they don't know Christ. America is what America is today because of its Christian heritage and there are lots of birds in our Bush. They're not Christians, but they benefit nobody the dignity of life in America the jurisprudence system the law the sense of right and wrong that's traditionally been ours education, free enterprise, the dignity of a woman the caring of children. All of these rise out of Christian truth. Every great Reformation. Every reform movement in history has had at its roots biblical truth wherever the kingdom has extended you have an environment of protection for the people who aren't even in the kingdom.
Truly, it's kind of like in in the macrocosm. What first Corinthians 714 is in microcosm where it says if you're married to an unbeliever and the unbeliever wants and wants to stay, let him stay because he is sanctified in the presence of a believer. In other words, an unbeliever married to a believer benefits just by hanging around somebody receiving the blessing of God. I mean if I'm married to you, and you're not a Christian, God is pouring out blessing on me. You're going to get some of it, if only for here and now and so you're sheltered in my tree and I macrocosm level when the kingdom expands around the world.
The people who find a latching within that kingdom.
Listen, you can look at it anyway you want it all comes out the same are the most must be in terms of human life you contrast what it is to be in part of Western culture under the influence of Christianity as opposed, for example, being in India or being an aboriginal part of the world where Christianity is never been where the mustard seed, Bush hasn't grown that's what he say the kingdom will grow so that many will find lodging in its branches and what the parable is trying to tell us is that in spite of the opposition in spite of the three bad soils in spite of the presence of the Dardanelles winner went.
The team is in a grow grow grow grow. That's the promise of the Lord to encourage us so were not this poor little group of people trying to hold the fort.
They were on the winning side in the kingdom is growing.
This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us today. John showed you that even as the culture grows more and more hostile to Christianity. You can be confident that God's eternal kingdom will prevail and encouraging reminder from John's current series from Matthew 13 titled the parables of the kingdom of John as you said today when we look toward the future. There is reason for encouragement the world may be accelerating away from God embracing immorality at a faster and faster pace. But God's purposes are being accomplished in his purposes and his plans cannot be thwarted right well that's what it says in Isaiah 46 nine intend that the Lord purposes.
What he wills, and nothing can change that God is absolutely sovereign and I think what's so important about that is that it is not vague when you think about God's sovereignty and I give you the classic and greatest illustration you have all these plans that God laid out in the Old Testament, and you might say well should we believe them or not believe them. But when you come to the New Testament, you realize that they were all fulfilled and that's that's the end of any question or any doubt Christ comes and fulfills all the hundreds of prophecies are fulfilled by Christ in his first coming so we look at all the second coming promises and prophecies and we have to assume the same thing because purposes will be fulfilled in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and we see a lot of things happening in the world that lineup for the patterns that were going to see. Prior to his return. So we are getting previews of coming attractions name of the second coming out, looking at the second coming is really important. The end of the story matters.
I will tell you if you haven't got a copy of the book I wrote called the second coming.
You need to get a copy of it. You need to know what's going to happen. Everybody's interested in the future. This is the truth about the future is not speculative, and not looking at headlines in the Internet and political leaders in conspiracy theories, but rather looking at the specific things the Lord predicts related to his coming is imminent. What about the coming rapture. What about the great tribulation. What about signs in the sky. Does anybody know what time it is eschatological. He what about millennial, premillennial pre-tribulation will views what should we believe. What does the future hold it's all in the book the second coming, reasonably priced, is always from Grace to you.
You can order a copy today. That's right, you don't have to wonder what the Bible says about this world's final days to help take the confusion out of end times prophecy pick up a copy of John's book, the second coming when you contact us today. The book costs $15 and shipping is free to order, call 855 grace or visit our website TTY.org. Like many of John's books. The second coming is also available in Spanish to order a copy for yourself or perhaps a few to give out at church. Call us at 855 grace or visit TTY.that's our website TTY.org when you visit there. Make sure to download the study Bible app. It's a free app that gives you the full text of Scripture in the English standard King James and new American Standard versions along with instant access to thousands of online resources, including our blog devotionals and John's entire sermon archives.
That's 3500 messages from more than five decades of open ministry. The applicant it's called the study Bible is free to download from TTY.now for John MacArthur and the entire staff.
I'm Phil Johnson. Keep in mind, grace to you.
Television airs this Sunday and I encourage you to watch with your family and then be here Monday when John continues his series on the parables of the kingdom, with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you