Text: Matthew 13:24-52
Event(s): 7 other parables of the kingdom of heaven
Though we may live in geographical areas that are either ruled by kingdoms or democracies, within us – in our hearts and minds – we all belong to one of these two kingdoms: The kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of darkness. These determine not where we live, but how we live. Instead of breaking down verses today, I’d like to share some thoughts about the kingdom.
The kingdom of heaven is the righteous power and authority of God to rule over and protect all that He created. The dominion of this kingdom was originally entrusted to mankind, through Adam and Eve. Our King, God, had set everything in place and then handed it over so that the earth and everything in it would be ruled according to the ways He had pre-established. Starting from within the hearts of man, alive with the righteous ways of God beating on the inside of him/her, Adam and Eve were destined to rule the earth in a way that would be fruitful, productive, full of wisdom, and full of life. (Genesis 1:28)
If we could picture it today, out of the overflow of the principles of the kingdom of heaven alive within them – the way they “did life” was all influenced by the goodness of God. Their families would be led by the principles of the kingdom, their marriages would be a reflection of God’s love, their children would be raised according to those principles, their jobs would be, their relationships with others – everything they touched, everything they built, everything they managed, would all be run according to the righteous ways of God.
There was never any confusion or lack of wisdom like we experience now. There was never any strife or emotional pain. And as for the expansion and growth they were charged with (to multiply and subdue the earth), the way they would do that is that the kingdom of heaven that had started within them would then progress to the entire world around them. Little by little as they expanded they would take over new territory, growing families, growing business, etc. all according to the ways of the kingdom of heaven. We were destined to rule and reign this way, so that the entire world would be a reflection of God’s glory, goodness and greatness.
But through the Fall, that dominion was forfeited, and handed over to satan. Instead of having God’s ways alive within them, instead of being full of wisdom and love and knowing how to handle every life situation, instead of enjoying the free, open relationship with God, sin entered in. Their hearts were immediately tainted, their minds were clouded, and they were poisoned with the shame, pride, pain, confusion and everything else that is of the kingdom of darkness (Ephesians 4:17-19). God’s dominion on the throne of their hearts was overthrown – not because His power is inferior, but by their own choice they replaced Him with the tyranny of evil and over time, we lost our way and forgot how to do life, God’s way.
Jesus came to re-establish that dominion. He came to overthrow the tyranny of the enemy and destroy all the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8). And through our belief in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He is the door (John 10:9-16) that we enter through to be brought back into that kingdom, where we are reconciled with God once again (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19) and alive with all His ways. Through this rebirth, the Holy Spirit of God comes into us, renewing us, transforming us – literally changing us from within (Romans 8:2-3) so that even though we may still be living here on earth, in an environment broken and damaged by the long term effects of sin, we can first experience the life of the kingdom within us and then progress to expanding it in a way that transforms the world around us.
The tyranny of the enemy has been overthrown for those who denounce the old way of living and who instead believe that God’s righteous rule and reign can be experienced through the completed work of Jesus Christ. God is given His rightful place on the throne of our hearts and even though it sometimes takes time to learn how to live according to the new way, through the Holy Spirit, we have been everything we need for living a godly life. (1 Peter 2:3) We will experience this in it’s complete fullness one day. But while were are here, to the degree that the kingdom is operating within us, that will determine the degree to which it can expand beyond us.
So as you read through these parables of the kingdom of heaven, where Jesus is painting a picture of what the kingdom of heaven looks like now – operating here on earth – and what it will look like when it is fully perfected, think of if this way: Sometimes….the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field and you’ll sell everything you have to get it. Sometimes…the kingdom of heaven is like a precious coin, and you’ll search and search until you find it. Sometimes…the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl that is costly, of great price, and you do whatever it takes to get it. Sometimes…the kingdom of heaven is like leaven; it starts out in such small amounts, but before you know it, it permeates, spreading to everything around it.