God’s Kingdom Parables of Matthew 13
July 6 to August 31, 2014
Life in God’s story is an incredible journey of revelation as we learn the nature and character of God and creation. However this story takes an unfortunate turn as this world experienced a devastating separation from the presence of God due to mankind’s sin (Isaiah 59:2). But this tragedy does not end there, there is the joy of a plan of redemption through Jesus the Christ (1 John 4:10). This plan includes an amazing restoration of life in the presence of God for all eternity (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
We are invited into this life-changing, life-giving story of living under the reign of the kingdom of God both now and on into eternity. Jesus encouraged us to seek this Kingdom in Matthew 6:33.
Matthew 6:33 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
“His kingdom” refers to God’s Kingdom where Jesus sits on the throne as Lord, Master, and Sovereign King (Isaiah 9:6-7). Living under Jesus’ rule involved yielding over the controls of our to Jesus. To see Him as our highest affection and seek to live life His way.
To help us in our journey of spiritual growth we are connected to others and thrive together. This relationship is discipleship. Discipleship is an interactive connection between fellow Christians that cause one another to thrive as followers of Jesus. Jesus commanded us to be part of this life-giving relationship in Matthew 28:19-20
Matthew 28:19 -20 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Discipleship is not a program, but a relationship to aid in our growth and understanding of God and to better experience His presence in our life as we journey on in His Kingdom.
As well, a disciple is someone who connects with Jesus (baptized into the name of the Triune God) and obeys Jesus’ teaching. The Disciple Matthew, who wrote the Gospel of Matthew gives us the insights and teaching of Jesus to be quality disciples. In Matthew’s Gospel, he presents five major discourses (chapters 5-7, 10, 13, 18, and 24-25) that offer significant instruction in discipling relationships. This summer we want to focus on Matthew 13, the Kingdom parables.
The parables in Matthew 13 reveal the unexpected aspects of God’s Kingdom. It’s full of surprises – it’s like a sower, a treasure in a field, a mustard seed, leaven, a net. Jesus uses each of these images to reveal power truths about God’s world and His Kingdom. Jesus’ disciple is going to have some inside information on how the world works, particularly when it seems so out of sync with God’s values so often. While things may seem to the contrary at times, God is in control and the story He tells of the world is true. The powerful story of the gospel is the story that has implications for how we connect to God and His Kingdom and for the world as a whole.
We have the opportunity to live and thrive in God’s story; a powerful story of Revelation, Separation, Redemption, and Restoration, a story we were created to grow in and journey on as we seek to mature in faith. To help us on this journey of spiritual growth Jesus set up and challenged us to initiate and get involved in interactive relationships with fellow Christians that cause us all to thrive as followers of Jesus…the name for these relationships is Discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20). It is the sharing of our spiritual journey with others so the power of our faith story, God’s story might be known and experienced. The stories in Matthew 13 reveal powerful truths and wisdom to living God’s story here and now, giving fuel to these disciplining relationship.
This summer (July 6 to August 31, 2014) an expanded teaching team will build upon the “Stories” of our Annual Celebration and find ourselves impacted by the Power of Story revealed through the parables of the Kingdom in Matthew 13. We hope you will join us and learn the power of God’s Kingdom in your own story. Be sure to join us for this greatest story, beginning July 6!