Monday, September 30, 2013

Three Visions From Which We Need To See

Scripture: Isaiah 6:1

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 

Insights:  Yesterday we started our revival services.  Praise the Lord!  Sunday morning we had Ansley Laurie come to receive Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior!  What a tremendous way to start a revival service.  Each day this week in Thoughts by Scott I will give a brief recap of each of Brother Joe Mobley’s sermons.  On Sunday morning Brother Joe preached out of Isaiah 6:1-10 and he told us about the Three Visions From Which We Need To See. 

1.     We Need an Upward Vision of Holiness 

From this upward vision we are able to see God’s amazing love for us and His omnipotent power which enables us to worship Him.  The Seraphim, who are in God’s presence for all eternity, called out to one another “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” 

2.     We Need an Inward Vision of Hellishness 

Because of our Upward Vision we are capable of examining our true heart condition.  We are born in captivity to our sinful nature and only after seeing God’s holiness are we able to see our sinfulness and repent by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  When Isaiah was confronted with a proper upward vision of God he spoke of himself, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 

3.     We Need an Outward Vision of Hopelessness 

After we have been redeemed we are then capable of seeing those around us and their need for a Savior.  We then are commissioned to go and tell them about Jesus our Lord.  After the Seraphim took the burning coal and cleansed Isaiah’s sinfulness God asked who would go into the world to share His love with the lost.  Isaiah responded, “Here am I; send me.” 

We need to get our vision checked and it all starts with the first point.  If we do not have a proper vision of God, then the next two steps are going to be messed up.  Seek the Lord with all your heart and let Him give you proper vision. 

  1. Have you come to see Jesus properly?
  2. Are you telling others about what you have seen?
Prayer: Father, fix my vision.  How often do I have my eyes on myself and my desires and not on You?  The answer is far too often.  Forgive me of this rebellious attitude and mold me into the image of Your Son, Jesus.  Because only from this proper vantage point will I be able to look around me and see with clarity the lost world.  Give me a burden for their eternal souls just as You have.  Amen.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Concluding Thought on the Kingdom Parables

Scripture: Matthew 13:11

Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
Insights:  We conclude our journey through the kingdom parables found in Matthew thirteen today.  I pray you have been encouraged by these sermons and blogs.  I know that personally I had a great deal of joy plunging the depths of this chapter in my sermon preparation times.  Let’s look at a final thought review of these parables.  The first six parables were spoken in couplet form.  In other words, the first two dealt with the subject of the nature of the kingdom.  The second two dealt with the subject of the power of the kingdom.  The next two dealt with the subject of the personal appropriation of the kingdom.  I am greatly indebted to John MacArthur in regards to these descriptors and outline of the parables.  He was a primary source for my sermon preparation for these messages.  The final parable is what we have examined this week and it was the climactic point Jesus was driving home to the disciples.  That final point was judgment is coming and coming much more quickly than you think.  I am so grateful that the Lord Jesus did not desire for us to go through this mysterious church age form of the kingdom ignorant as to what was going on around us.  You will recall that Jesus called it a mystery because no Old Testament writer had seen or spoken about this time period in which we live.  They thought the first and second coming of Jesus was one event.  Jesus, however, seeing perfectly His Father’s plan, knew there was going to be this time period and desired to enlighten His disciples as to its nature, power, personal appropriation and future judgment.  He did this so that we would not be so taken aback when we saw the evils of this world all around us.  He shared these truths to encourage us to know that we win in the end and that Jesus’ kingdom is powerful and will grow.  He also wanted us to know that we each, individually, needed to express faith in Jesus for our salvation.  In other words, no one else’s faith is going to save us.  We need to personally receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and we must do it before His judgment comes.
  1. Do you better understand the urgency of your task now that you have gone through these kingdom parables?
  2. Is there anything hindering your proclamation of the gospel now that you understand these parables?

Prayer: Father, thank You that You are the God of Truth and You do not wish for Your children to be ignorant of the realities of this present mystery form of the kingdom.  Now that You have dispensed this truth, let me be courageous in telling others of this reality and may Your name be brought glory.  Amen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Proclamation of the Parable of the Net

Scripture: Matthew 13:51-52

"Have you understood all these things?" They said to Him, "Yes." And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old." 

Insights:  These verses tell us the proclamation of the parable of the net.  The verb “understood” literally means to put it together.  In other words, Jesus is telling them to put it all together.  Put it together that this form of the kingdom has good and evil going together.  That the good is going to continue to permeate, continue to grow, continue to influence.  That in order to be a part of the kingdom you have to purchase it by giving all you have for all Christ is.  It is as if Jesus is asking them, “Do you see that it's going to go along like this with good and evil until the end and then comes a final separation? Do you have it?”  And I believe Jesus accepted the correctness of their affirmative answer, otherwise He wouldn't have said what He did in verse 52.  Jesus discipled and trained them, now they were prepared to go out and proclaim this good news.  The imagery of verse 52 portrays a man who is the head of his house. And this man has a storehouse and out of that storehouse he dispensed to people their needs.  They needed a certain kind of food, they needed a certain kind of clothing, they needed a certain kind of care, whatever it was they needed, he dispensed.  He was wise enough to dispense the new and the old.  He did this so that the old would not become useless. That's an interesting verb that's used here to describe the dispensing of goods.  It literally means to fling out, or to scatter abroad. In other words, you've got all these treasures now, fling it out.  In other words, this head of the household is so rich that he is able to give liberally to those in need.  Beloved, now that you've been discipled and now that you are trained biblical scholars and teachers fling it out, give them the Old Testament and the New Testament in perfect balance.  If you can't get your heart motivated about the fact that people are dying and going to hell every second you breathe, then there's something wrong.  That's the epitome of selfishness.  Our Christianity today has lost this urgency and lavishness somehow.  Spread the good news.  Tell the world about the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

  1. Are you telling others about the amazing love of Jesus?
  2. Do you need the Lord to soften your heart to make it more pliable to share the love of Jesus?
Prayer: Father, help me to see the world with Your eyes.  Give me the courage and boldness to share Jesus with those lost and perishing.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Peril of the Parable of the Net

Scripture: Matthew 13:50

and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Insights:  Today’s verse describes the peril of those who are not born again.  It is a horrifying and fearful verse.  In our finite minds we cannot conceive of eternal damnation. It had to be our Lord who said this truth or we never would have been able to accept it.  Jesus spoke more on hell than any other topic.  Here is a sampling of some locations in which we find Jesus speaking on hell:

Matthew 5:22
Matthew 5:29-30
Matthew 7:27
Matthew 8:12
Matthew 11:20
Matthew 12:36
Matthew 18:9
Matthew 21:43
Mathew chapters 23, 24, 25
Mark chapter 9
Luke chapter 6, 12 and 16 

Now if you were to evaluate what should be the emphasis of preaching, based on the example of Christ, it should be preaching on hell. Our generation doesn't do that.  Joel Osteen, for example, has explicitly stated he will not talk about hell because people have enough problems already.  Osteen’s message is a false gospel.  Let me give you four truths about hell wrapped up in one sentence.  Hell is a place of unrelieved torment for body and soul in varying degrees endlessly.  I am using the word hell to describe the lake of fire judgment found at the Great White Throne.  Hell is actually cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.  There is a distinction, but for all practical purposes the torment is the same in both.  Often times the only way of relief for some that go through trials and pain and suffering and disease here on this side of eternity is the knowledge that with their passing this pain will end.  But those in hell will experience no relief, ever.  You can imagine the resultant insanity that will come.  How do you avoid hell?  You avoid hell only by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  If you don't appropriate the kingdom personally, then you will spend eternity in hell. 

  1. Do you understand that if you are not born again this peril is your eternal end?
  2. Will you resist the saving grace of the Lord God even another minute?
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your amazing grace.  I pray You draw all men to the saving relationship found in Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Principle of the Parable of the Net

Scripture: Matthew 13:49

"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 

Insights:  Today’s verse gives us the principle of this parable.  There is a lot one could focus on in regards to this picture, but Jesus zeros in on one specific aspect and that is the separation of the wicked and the righteous.  You will recall from previous parables that during this mysterious church age that both the good and the evil coexist presently under God’s rule and grace.  A time, however, is quickly coming in which this mercy will be turned over to separation and judgment. This verse tells us it will occur at the end of the age.  Now some people have asked, “Why this parable is included if the basic idea of separation is included in the parable of the wheat and the tares?”  There are a couple of reasons: First, it is repeated because the wheat and the tares emphasis was particularly on the co-existence, this emphasizes the separation. Second, it is repeated because the Lord has a compassionate heart and He wants to add one more warning.  The Bible says God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  The Bible says that He is not willing that any should perish.  The Bible says that God our Savior will have all men to be saved.  You see, men live in this world imagining themselves to be free, moving about, fulfilling their own desires, going here and going there as they will, with little knowledge that the net of judgment comes closer and closer and closer.  And each time they are touched by the net, they move a little further away. And they're touched again and they move a little further away.  And finally they've moved one time and they've hit it on the other side because it's moving toward the shore and then wildly the person darts for the sea only to be caught again in the same net.  The person is caught because time has come to its foreseen end.  The person is finally dragged on the shore and the last throws of flailing and flipping announce the eternal death of the individual trapped in his/her sin.  Men may not perceive the kingdom, they may not see God moving in the world, but He is moving.  It is for this reason we, as Christ-followers, need to tell people that the net of judgment is quickly going to ensnare all those without Jesus. 

  1. Have you come to the place where you understand there is a time of separation coming?
  2. Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior with this knowledge in hand?
Prayer: Father, You are full of compassion and love.  You do not desire that anyone should perish and spend eternity in the lake of fire.  Draw on the heart of those who are lost and let them experience Your grace.  Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Picture of the Parable of the Net

Scripture: Matthew 13:47-48

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 

Insights:  The picture of this parable is found in today’s verses.  The imagery used by Jesus was common to everyone who heard the parable.  Basically there were three ways to fish. First, one could use a line and hook which caught fishes one at a time.  Second, one could use a casting net.  Third, one could use a drag net, which is what is being described in this parable.  Lensky, the commentator, says that some of these nets covered one half mile of area.  The following is how this net was used:  One end of this large net was attached to the shoreline. The other end was attached to a boat.  As the boat left the shore, it pulled the net into a form where the net was stretched between the boat out in the lake and the net hooked to the shore. And then the boat would begin to move in a circle. As it moved in a circle, everything in its path would be swept into this massive net. It would complete an entire circle, come all the way back to where it was attached, and would have gathered into that net all the life that was in the sea covered by that net.  The top of the net had floats, therefore, it floated on the surface of the water. The bottom of the net had weights, it sunk to the bottom so that the net moved through the sea like a vertical wall capturing everything.  Now what our Lord wants us to understand about this net is basically two things: One, the immense size of the net.  Two, the net brings in everything.  The central figure of the parable is a group of fishermen.  They're on the shore and lying there at the edge of the water is this recently drawn massive net and it is literally soaking and teeming with life, filled with the conglomerate of creatures taken from the water.  And then begins a very slow, deliberate careful, patient, unhurried, accurate, knowledgeable, skillful process of sorting out the good from the bad.  Now this scene would be very common to the people to whom our Lord spoke, particularly the disciples. They would take the good and put it into some vessels and they would just throw away the bad.  Tomorrow, we are going to examine the principle of this parable. 

  1. Do you recognize and understand that the net is very large?
  2. Do you recognize and understand that the net brings everything in?
Prayer: Father, help prepare me to understand this parable throughout this week because it is the climax of these Kingdom Parables and must be understood by all Christ-followers.  Amen.

Friday, September 13, 2013

You have a Propagating Heart & You have a Comparative Heart

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:5

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.”

Insights:  The ninth evidence of a backslidden heart is you have a propagating heart.  Jeremiah states in verses thirty-three and thirty-four, “"How well you prepare your way To seek love! Therefore even the wicked women You have taught your ways. "Also on your skirts is found The lifeblood of the innocent poor; You did not find them breaking in.” What happens to this backslidden individual is that they are not satisfied to dwell and waller in their sin by themselves.  What these people of Judah are doing is going out and spreading their deceitful lies of sin.  In the process, they are corrupting those around them to also forsake the Lord God.  The final evidence is you have a comparative heart.  Jeremiah states in verses ten and eleven of the third chapter, “"Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception," declares the LORD. And the LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.”  God is the one here speaking for Judah and what you find them doing is playing the comparative game with their faithless sister Israel.  They had attempted to lie to God and had successfully deceived themselves into believing they were the faithful child of God and that Israel was the faithless one.  God is declaring in these two verses that at this point Judah’s sin had become so grievous that Israel looked more faithful than treacherous Judah.  Backslidden believers play this same game.  We act as if our sins are not as bad as so and suches sin.  How pathetic!  Because at the end of the day, the one individual that we ought to compare our lives against is Jesus and He is the only One that can bring us to a correct state of righteousness before God.  In spite of their backsliding, listen to God’s words to them if they would repent of their sinful ways, “'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD; 'I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,' declares the LORD; 'I will not be angry forever. 'Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,' declares the LORD. 'Return, O faithless sons (3:12-14).'” 

  1. Are you in the habit of getting people to join you in your backslidden condition in order to make your sin feel better?
  2. Do you compare your life against other people and say, “I am not as bad as _________”?
Prayer: Father, there is only one person with whom I ought to compare my life and that is Your Son, Jesus.  If He is my standard, then I will not drag others into my sin.  Amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

You have a Filthy Heart & You have a Deceiving Heart

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:5

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.”

Insights:  The seventh evidence of a backslidden heart is you have a filthy heart.  Jeremiah states in verses twenty-two and twenty-three, “"Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord GOD. "How can you say, 'I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals '? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done! You are a swift young camel entangling her ways.”  We have to go back to verse twenty to understand why Jeremiah has written these two verses.  What we find back there is Judah had played the harlot under every green tree with the false god Baal.  Now, however, they are attempting to hide their filthiness from the Lord God with exterior cleaning solutions to no avail.  We are guilty of the same thing.  A backslidden heart pretends and act like he is really spiritual and has this relationship with the Lord, but down deep he is nothing but a sin filled, self-serving, rebel set against God.  The eighth evidence is you have a deceiving heart.  Jeremiah wrote in verses twenty-seven and twenty-eight, “Who say to a tree, 'You are my father,' And to a stone, 'You gave me birth.' For they have turned their back to Me, And not their face; But in the time of their trouble they will say, 'Arise and save us.' "But where are your gods Which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah.”  Their thankless, insensitive and pagan heart led them to the next logical step of creating their own, little “g”, gods.  You may be saying to yourself, “We know that wood and stone statues are not really God and we would never do that.”  Really…, but we are guilty of putting other things and people in the place of the one True God; and therefore, create, little “g”, gods in our lives.  They can be children or grandchildren.  They can be sports.  They can be hobbies.  They can be work.  They can be TV and the Internet.  They can be anything that takes the focus off of Jesus and places it on something else.  If you have deceived yourself into believing you are serving the Lord when these other things are truly in front of Him, then you need to repent. 

  1. Are you attempting to cleanse your sin by your own means and power?
  2. Have you deceived yourself into believing that you truly are following after the Lord, when every decision you make is contrary to His will and ways?
Prayer: Father, let my heart be honest and true.  For I am completely incapable of cleansing myself and am desperate for You.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You have a Parched Heart & You have a Drifting Heart

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:5

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.”

Insights:  The fifth evidence is you have a parched heart.  Jeremiah wrote in verse thirteen, “"For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.”  Israel went from a fountain of living water coming from the Lord God to a stagnant cistern that could not even hold water.  As a result their hearts were just shriveling up from a lack of spiritual water.  Beloved, when we chase after the things of this world that parched feeling is exactly what happens to us.  Stay close to Jesus and let Him give you Himself and quench that spiritual thirst.  The sixth evidence is you have a drifting heart.  Jeremiah wrote in verse nineteen, “"Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the LORD your God, And the dread of Me is not in you," declares the Lord GOD of hosts.”  Notice that before their backslidden condition it was the Lord who corrected them and reproved them.  God was like an anchor in their lives that prevented them from drifting all directions.  But now, their sinful backsliding will be their course of correction and it will lead their drifting hearts to be crashed on the Living Stone, Jesus, who will not budge.  In many ways it is this sixth evidence that I visually see in this world so prevalently.  I especially see it in young people who are trying to “find their way in the world.”  They run from one job to the next thinking they will eventually find the job that will satisfy.  They enter into one relationship after another thinking that will satisfy.  They start one hobby after another thinking that will satisfy.  The problem with each of these scenarios is that because of their desire to have satisfaction now they self-sabotage each of those experiences.  They don’t have a proper moral compass at the job and are soon unemployed.  They want the privileges of marriage, but without the attachment and their hearts are broken.  They spend too much on the hobby and soon the taste is gone.  The entire time they are just drifting and in need of the Rock that will hold fast to them. 

  1. Are you spiritually dry and thirsty and in need of a fresh drink of living water from the Lord?
  2. Is your life characterized as one being set adrift in the pursuits of everything this wicked world has to offer?
Prayer: Father, fill my cup with You and set my heart like an anchor to Your Love, Jesus Christ.  Let me not shrivel up for lack of spiritual drink and thus be easily set adrift for the things of this world.  Rather keep me set on the Rock, Christ Jesus, my Lord.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You have an Insensitive Heart & You have a Pagan Heart

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:5

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.”

Insights:  As we continue looking at the ten evidences of a backslidden heart from Jeremiah chapters two and three, we move on to the third and fourth evidence.  Evidence number three is you have an insensitive heart and the scriptural location for this particular evidence is verse eight.  It states, “"The priests did not say, 'Where is the LORD?' And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me, And the prophets prophesied by Baal And walked after things that did not profit.”  You have a progressively top down rebellion against God taking place in this verse.  It starts with the priests, moves to the leaders, quickly is followed by the prophets and finally the people themselves are transgressing against God.  This iniquity all began when the spiritual leaders engaged in activities totally devoid of spiritual benefit.  As a result they did not even recognize that God’s Spirit had departed from them.  Their hearts had grown so cold toward God that they were unaware that He was no longer listening to them.  Beloved, this is a very sad indictment against the people of Judah.  The fourth evidence is you have a pagan heart and is found in verses eleven and twelve.  They state, “"Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit.  "Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD.”  Even though they had grown insensitive to the things of God, they knew down deep they were designed for worship.  Instead, however, of turning to God, they turned to their own heart’s desire for a, lower case “g”, god to serve. Later in the week we will discuss the types of little “g” gods we place in front of the Lord, but as for now it is sufficient to understand that when we are in a backslidden state when we are worshipping something other than God.  Beloved, it is far better to worship the one true God whom you were designed to worship than chase after the gods of this world.  They will disappoint you every time.  Seek after the Lord while He may be found and give Him your heart. 

  1. Have you lost the sensitivity to know when the Lord is speaking to you?
  2. Have you begun to worship other people and things in place of the Lord God?
Prayer: Father, forgive me for when I have become so consumed with myself that I have lost the sensitivity to hear Your voice.  Spare me from the punishment associated with service to pagan gods because my heart so often leaves You my first love to chase after the gods of this world that do not last.  Transform my heart to be wholly Yours.  Amen.

Monday, September 9, 2013

You have a Vain Heart & You have a Thankless Heart

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:5

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.” 

Insights:  In Jeremiah 8:5 the Lord says of Israel, “Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.”  The New American Standard Bible uses the word apostasy to describe this backsliding condition of Israel.  If we go back to chapters two and three we will find ten evidences of the backslidden heart of Israel.  Each day this week we will look at two of those evidences and give a brief explanation.  The first nine evidences are all found in chapter two.  Then tenth evidence is found in chapter three.  Evidence one is you have a vain heart.  Jeremiah wrote in verse five, “Thus says the LORD, "What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me And walked after emptiness and became empty?”  The King James Version of the Bible renders the word emptiness and empty as vanity and vain.  In other words, these people forgot about the Lord and thought only of themselves and their desires.  They had foolishly come to believe that they had picked themselves up by the bootstraps and made their lives something to behold.  As a result their lives had no real substance, but were rather filled with empty or vain self-promotion.  Evidence two is you have a thankless heart.  Jeremiah wrote in verses six and seven, “"They did not say, 'Where is the LORD Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no man dwelt?'  "I brought you into the fruitful land To eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, And My inheritance you made an abomination.”  The people had forgotten what the Lord had done for them in the past and as a result they no longer had a thankful heart or a heart of gratitude.  This second evidence flows right out of the first.  If you had believed you were the one that accomplished all of your greatness, then why would you show gratitude and thankfulness to God or anyone else for that matter?  If these are true of you, you need to repent. 

  1. Do you have a self-serving and self-seeking heart that promotes your vanity and false greatness?
  2. Do you have a thankless heart that believes you have accomplished all the great things in your life?
Prayer: Father, as we look at these ten evidences of a backslidden heart I pray You convict my heart when they are true of me.  That You stir me to biblical repentance and give me the courage to walk resolutely with You and give You the praise, honor and glory You rightfully deserve.  Amen.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Kingdom May Be Entered by Different Circumstances & The Kingdom is Made Personal by a Transaction

Scripture: Matthew 13:44-46

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Insights:  The fifth principle is the kingdom may be entered by different circumstances.  Notice I said circumstances not ways.  There is only one way to heaven and that is through faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, but the circumstances in which one finds Jesus may be different.  In the first parable the man just comes across the treasure while working the field.  He was not out there intentionally trying to find it.  In the second parable the man knows exactly what he's looking for and is spending his life trying to find it.  The sixth principle is the kingdom is made personal by a transaction.  In both of these cases, the word buying or bought is involved.  You may be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, you're not telling us you buy your salvation or work for it, are you?”  The kingdom of God is bought, but not with money or works.  The transaction price is you give up all you are and have for all Jesus is and has.  I don't think people who are saved at the moment they're saved, understand all the ramifications of that statement, but I believe true salvation is marked by a willingness to do that as that understanding unfolds. That's the transaction, the willingness to abandon everything under Christ's Lordship.  I think the cost factor in the presentation of salvation is not stressed often enough. We are calling for a transaction.  In Luke 14, the Lord says a man builds a tower and he counts the cost to determine whether he has enough funds sufficient to finish it.  If a king makes war, he counts the cost, consults whether he's able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand. Nobody enters the kingdom blind.  One must count the cost first.  Let me interject here, however, that the transaction price of total surrender and abandonment of self is absolutely nothing in comparison to the great joy and satisfaction found in Jesus Christ.  For it was through His work on Calvary with His death that the true price of this transaction was paid.  For He also gave up everything for You! 

  1. Are you actively searching for the kingdom of God or have you stumbled upon it?
  2. Are you willing to give up all that you are and have to receive all that Jesus is and has?
Prayer: Father, Your plan of leading people to You is amazing.  May all of humanity surrender their entire being to You in order to receive Your gift of grace.  Amen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Kingdom is Personally Appropriated & The Kingdom is the Source of Joy

Scripture: Matthew 13:44-46

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Insights:  The third principle is the kingdom is personally appropriated.  This third principle is the crux of the parables.  The previous two parables give us the idea that the kingdom is just influential, or it's just large in nature.  It doesn't say anything about the personal appropriation. And that's why our Lord gives us these two parables.  You have a man in verse 44; you have another man in verse 45.  Now we're dealing with individuals. And each of them finds something specifically for himself and appropriates it unto himself.  This is to show us that you can be sort of in the kingdom, under the dominion of God and not be a citizen of the kingdom.  If you're alive in the earth, you’re under God’s rule, but you're not a subject of the King; you're not a personal citizen of the kingdom.  There are people in the earth who are here but have never appropriated the kingdom.  It is not enough to be under the influence of the kingdom.  It is not enough to just be under the influence of the church, or the influence of Christianity.  It is not enough to just, as it were, lodge in the branches or be touched by its permeating influence.  There must be personal appropriation.  In other words, you must personally receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  The fourth principle is the kingdom is the source of joy.  Now that is a very, very insightful addition to this parable.  It doesn't have to say that in the parable, but it does and it's very, very important.  The world is seeking for happiness.  People want to feel good.  The Lord knows that and offers real joy, which is far better and greater than mere happiness.  Jesus even said in John 15:11 to His disciples, in summing up the best of what He had to offer, “the things I've spoken unto you, I've spoken that My joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.”  True joy comes in the discovery of the kingdom of heaven and in the Lord Jesus Christ.  You must personally receive or appropriate this joy through Jesus.  Another person’s faith cannot save you. 

  1. Have you come to the place where you recognize that another person’s faith cannot save you?
  2. Have you personally experienced the joy of salvation found in Jesus Christ?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the all surpassing joy You give to those born again.  May my life Lord exemplify such a grace gift as You have bestowed on me.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Kingdom is Priceless in Value & The Kingdom is NOT Superficially Visible

Scripture: Matthew 13:44-46

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Insights:  The first principle is the kingdom is priceless in value.  When we talk about the kingdom of the Lord, we're talking about salvation.  We're talking about Christ Himself and the gift of salvation He gives to those who are born again.  The blessedness of the kingdom is so valuable that it is the most valuable commodity that can ever be found and only a fool is not willing to sell everything he has to gain it.  There is a heavenly treasure lying in the field of this poverty stricken, bankrupt, and accursed world.  It is a treasure sufficient to eternally enrich every one of earth's poor, miserable, blind and naked inhabitants.  The second principle is the kingdom is not superficially visible.  The treasure was hidden and the pearl had to be sought.  The treasure is not obvious to men.  The preciousness of salvation is not viewed by men.  They don't see it although it stands there and looks them in the eye. The world looks at Christians and they don't understand why we're all about this business of worshiping God. They don't understand why we want to live and obey a code of ethics and rules that goes against the grain of their deepest lusts and drives.  They don't understand why we price this so highly when it means so little to them. That is why Matthew 7:14 states, "That narrow is the way and few there be that find it." And that is why it says in Matthew 11 that the kingdom is taken by the violent who take it by force.  In other words, it must be pursued.  And John speaking about Jesus wrote, “He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own and His own received Him not.”  You see, just the average run-of-the-mill superficial approach to life, just pumping your way through, trampling across the path of life, day to day, with never a thought for anything that is deep or profound or of true value is not going to render you the truth at all.  There has to come that desire at some point to respond to Jesus’ rich offer of salvation. 

  1. Have you recognized the value of your salvation?
  2. Are you still perplexed as to why Christians are so transfixed on worshipping the Lord?

Prayer: Father, what You offer in salvation is so much greater than anything I could ever possibly pursue that it boggles my mind.  May You draw all people to You.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Parable of the Pearls

Scripture: Matthew 13:44-46

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Insights:  At this juncture the parable introduces an ethical situation that some find difficult to get past, and therefore, miss the point of the parable.  The man uncovers a treasure, and then he hides it without telling the man who owns the field, he goes and buys the field, and thus the treasure, right out from under the original owner’s nose.  There are three responses to this potential dilemma.  Firstly, Jewish Rabbinic law said, "If a man finds scattered fruit or money, it belongs to the finder."   In this parable, the man is within the permission of the Jewish Rabbinic law and the Jews listening to Jesus would not have perceived this man as unethical.  Secondly, that which was hidden in the field did not belong to the man who owned the field.  If it had been his, he wouldn't be selling his field without digging up the treasure first.  Thirdly, this man was very equitable and very fair.  If this man had not been an honest man, when he found the treasure he would he have just taken it.  Another thing the guy might have done was taken the treasure and liquidated a portion of it and with the money he had gained from the treasure, he could have purchased that field.  But he did not do that either.  What this very ethical man did, however, was to bury the treasure and liquidate every single thing he owned in order to purchase the field at a good market rate.  Let's look at the second parable of the pearl for a moment.  This man was an entrepreneur in the pearl-wholesaling business.  He would make a diligent search to find pearls in which there was worth for investment purposes.  Pearls were the most valuable gem available at that time in the world.  The one thing you didn't do if you're a smart investor, and still don't do today, is to put all of your investments into just one type of investment.  Isn't it interesting that in both cases that's exactly what these two men did.  The first man sold everything and bought the one field, the second man sold everything and bought the one pearl.  Tomorrow, we are going to start looking at the six principles we learn from these two parables. 

  1. Are you presently looking for fine pearls?
  2. Do you understand that Jesus is the only fine pearl worth having?
Prayer: Father, again I am overwhelmed by Your grace.  Let the truth of Your Pearl, Jesus be evident in my life and to those around me.  Amen.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Parable of the Treasure

Scripture: Matthew 13:44

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 

Insights:  The first two parables Jesus told dealt with the nature of God’s mysterious church age kingdom.  The parable of the soils told us that in this kingdom there would be those who believed and there will be those who would not.  In the second parable of the wheat and the tares, we found that the believers and the nonbelievers would grow together until the harvest that comes in the end; therefore, the nature of the kingdom is that it encompasses good and evil.  The next two parables spoke of the power of God’s mysterious church age kingdom.  In spite of the fact that good and evil are growing together, the good will triumph in the end.  These four parables spoke of the kingdom in general terms as it affects all people.  At this point the disciples would have asked themselves another question.  And that question would have been: If the kingdom covers the earth and permeates the earth and influences the earth, do we just get naturally born into the kingdom?  Well that question is what led to Jesus telling this 3rd couplet of parables, because these talk about the appropriation of the kingdom.  The first verse describes a very common practice of the people during the Lord’s time on earth.  Today, we put our money in the bank or we put our money in stocks and bonds or securities or real estate; but in those days, they had no banks as such for common people and the banks they did have weren't necessarily a good places to put all of your resources.  It was normal, therefore, for people to take their valuables and bury them in the ground.  Think about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.  The third slave took his talent and buried it in the ground.  So, we have a man who is in the field and he does not own the field.  More than likely he is a hireling working the field for the land owner.  As he is working in that field, maybe he's plowing or maybe he's tilling the ground, or whatever, he comes across a treasure buried in the ground.  Immediately upon finding the treasure he puts it back where he found it and sells every single thing he possesses in the world and buys that field in order that he may gain that treasure. 

  1. In what location are you looking for treasure?
  2. Have you come to the place where you recognize the only true treasure is found in Jesus Christ?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the eminence treasure of Jesus and the gift of salvation He offers all of humanity.  Thank You for becoming my Lord and Savior through the work of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.