What Did Jesus Mean by the Kingdom of Heaven?

What Did Jesus Mean by the Kingdom of Heaven?

Mt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
basileia – act of ruling, territory ruled by king
King = basileus
Beatitudes – first and last
Lord’s prayer – your kingdom come
Yours is the kingdom
Matthew 13:31-52
Parable of the Sower
Parable of the Tares

Matthew 13:11–13

I. V. 31 Mustard Seed
A. Mt 13:31–32
B. Smallness to greatness
1. Start small
2. Let God create the increase
3. Becomes blessing to others
C. Seen in Jesus Himself
1. No qualities of empire builders
2. Born as helpless baby
3. From despised town
4. No rabbinical training or wealth
5. No political or military fame
6. Initially rejected by his own people
7. Put to death in prime of life
D. Apostles
1. Plain working men, not scholars
2. Kingdom had almost no chance
E. Same thing happens in believer
1. Eph 4:13
2. Man baptized, now a deacon
3. Never despise small beginnings
4. Gospel can overcome all odds

II. V. 33 Leaven
A. Mt 13:33–35
B. 3 pecks – sata – seah – about 13 liters
1. Total of about a bushel
2. 50 lb of rye meal – lot of flour
a. Not much leaven
C. Yeast – fungus feeds off sugar in host
1. Creates gas and acid – changes chemical makeup of host
2. Changes size and texture
3. Changes elasticity and strength
4. Changes flavor
D. Change of fundamental nature
1. Transformation
2. Affects everything
3. What are you becoming?
a. How are you being changed?
4. Go back and listen to music from HS
a. embarrassing
E. Kingdom works through influence on individuals – changes culture
1. 2 Cor 3:18
2. Not force – power of example
F. Horrors before Christ
1. Slavery
2. Infanticide
3. Crucifixion
4. Gladiatorial Games
G. Ideas of today
1. Feed the poor
2. Love thy neighbor
3. Campbell: “More women are named, honored, and applauded in the New Testament than in all other works of the Augustan age”
4. Dignity of labor
5. Equality and brotherhood of men
H. Mt 5:13, 14 You are the salt of the earth; …. You are the light of the world.
1. Good is more powerful than evil
2. Patiently allow gospel to work
3. We are not to withdraw but influence others

III. V. 44 Hidden Treasure
A. Mt 13:44
B. Treasure Trove – still in English and American Law
1. Paulus (Roman jurist, AD 222): an ancient deposit of money, of which no memory exists, so that it has no present owner
2. Sometimes, half to finder, half to owner of land (often emperor)
3. Field – open land,
4. Homes easily burglarized
5. Treasures often hidden in ground
6. Owner dies, no one knows about treasure
7. Owner sold so he didn’t know
C. Put there by someone else
1. Not product of own effort or will
2. Not merit-based
D. Priority of Kingdom
1. Phlp 3:8
2. Path out of poverty – key to future
3. Making more important than everyone else

IV. V45 Pearl
A. Mt 13:45–46
B. Differences:
1. Hidden Treasure was symbol of Kingdom
a. Merchant seeking is symbol
2. Treasure – accident
a. Pearl – intentional
C. Priority of Seeking Kingdom emphasized
1. Many pearls – only one unique
a. Recognition of value
b. Seeing what others miss
2. Many religions, philosophies, spiritual teachers, self-improvement gurus
a. Only one from Creator
3. Recognize value of kingdom
D. Long-term thinking
1. Mt 6:19-21
2. Mt 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
E. Values that many fail to see
1. Forgiveness
2. Peace with God
3. Change of Character
4. Spiritual Family

V. V. 47 Dragnet
A. Mt 13:47–50
B. Not common “throw” net used by individuals
1. Rather a seine – up to ½ mile long
2. A large fishnet that hangs vertically, with floats at the top and weights at the bottom.
3. Requires several men to use it
C. Sometimes the bad are gathered w/ good
1. Respond to gospel w/ less noble motives
2. Parable of Tares teaches same thing
a. Tares grow alongside wheat
b. Removed and burned after harvest
3. Good and bad gathered at marriage feast
a. Mt 22:8-10 slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good;
4. Lots of people come in initially
a. Open to all
D. V. 48 they drew it up on the beach
1. On to beach – out of our element – no control
2. Completely dependent on mercy of God
E. God will toss the bad out
1. Hell for the disobedient
F. Lessons
1. Net does not discriminate – neither should we in preaching gospel
2. Into all the world
3. Must be in net – must be in kingdom
4. Being in net not enough – must be useful
5. God will purge evil from kingdom

VI. Application to Jewish Leaders
A. Mt 13:51–52

VII. Unifying Themes
A. Unnoticed
1. Mustard seed, leaven, treasure, pearl, dragnet
B. Gigantic change and consequences
C. Long-term, big picture thinking
D. Value judgments


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