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Luke 13: 18-30 - Teachings About the Kingdom
18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
I. The Bible refers to the kingdom of God in at least three ways.
A. The kingdom of God represents God’s sovereign rule over the universe in all times and all places even after we messed things up through sin.
B. The kingdom of God refers to God’s reign in a renewed and perfect creation in the future (Luke 12).
C. The kingdom of God is also representative of all people who follow the Lord.
And it is this third aspect of the kingdom (the people who believe) which Jesus speaks about in our text today.
II. The kingdom of God compared to mustard
A. Although some weeds and wildflowers produce smaller seeds, mustard seeds were the smallest seeds used agriculturally in ancient Israel (as the crowd already knew).
B. Mustard can grow to be a tree or a shrub as high as 10 feet tall – represents tremendous growth!
C. Like the mustard seed the kingdom of God starts out very small, but grew.
1. Only a little over 500 believers saw the resurrected Jesus on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:6).
2. About 3,000 are saved in one day (Acts 2:41).
3. Later in Acts 2:47 “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
4. There are literally thousands of years’ worth of believers who are a part of the kingdom of God who will one day experience the kingdom of God in all of its fullness.
III. The kingdom of God compared to leaven or yeast.
A. Matthew 13 and Luke 13 are the only places in the Bible where leaven is spoken of positively.
B. Just as a little yeast can permeate as much as 50 pounds of flour in order to make soft-risen bread, even the small presence of God’s kingdom can influence an evil world for the better.
IV. Tim Keller (Presbyterian minister NYC)
recently spoke to Parliament in Great Britain about what Christianity offers society in the 21st Century.
A. UK = 3% are evangelical Christians; church growth ninth lowest in the world at almost
B. Mainstream British society looks at evangelicals as intolerant = Christians are increasingly
C. Tim Keller said that according to Jesus, what Christians have to offer are salt and light.
1. noted that the Anglo-Saxon culture of honor and shame was transformed for the better by Christianity to promote loving your neighbor as yourself instead.
2. also pointed out that the Bible alone provides the foundation for universal human rights.
3. no accident that calls to end slavery and give voting rights to women first came from people who had a Biblical worldview.
4. Keller urged the British Parliament to continue to allow Christians to be salt and light instead of forcing us to conform with the rest of society.
5. May our government do the same thing. But no matter what the government does may God help us to be salt and light for Him.
V. Few saved?
A. Luke 13:23 - "Lord, are there few who are saved?
1. Jesus has been ministering for 3 years - thousands upon thousands of people in all the places Jesus has taught and preached in.
2. A little over 500 will see Him on a mountain in Galilee after His resurrection.
3. relative few who decide to follow Christ
a. rejected by His hometown of Nazareth (Luke 4)
b Jewish religious leaders (with rare exception) were
pretty much united in deep hatred of Jesus.
c. common people, for the most part, sought after Christ’s miracles (some even wanted to make Him a King) but few seemed interested in the spiritual kingdom Jesus was preaching about.
4. narrow gate - only one way to God the Father and that’s through His Son Jesus Christ. That fact alone makes the door narrow and implies that few will be saved.
13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
5. Never was a time when most of the people in the world followed the Lord, so comparatively speaking, few are saved.
Vi. Luke 13:24-27
A. During Christ’s earthly ministry, people who heard Jesus preach in their streets thought they were good to go.
B. Maybe you only go through the motions and have never truly repented of your sins, never truly trusted in who Jesus Christ is or what He has
done and therefore you cannot say that you’ve had your life transformed by Him. Maybe you don’t strive every day to live as Christ would have you live. And if that’s you then you know deep down inside that you are not part of the kingdom of God.
C. Jesus will expose and exclude all pretenders for who they really are: workers of iniquity.
VII. Luke 13: 28-30
A. verse 28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth;
” there will be great anguish in hell when false converts are exposed.
B. Jews who thought they were right with God, but weren’t, will
see their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, as well as all the Jewish prophets in the kingdom of God, but they themselves will be thrust out.
C. Instead, he Gentiles or non-Jews (which many of these non-believing Jews despised) will get into the kingdom instead of them.
D. Membership among the people in God’s kingdom as well as entrance into God’s perfect future kingdom isn’t based on who you are or where you’re from; it’s based on what you believe.
VIII. Salvation - Do you really believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God who died to take away the sins of the world and rose again to give the hope of eternal life?
A. If you haven’t believed yet, there’s still time.
- Luke 13:30,
1. Parable in Matthew 20:1-16
2. Landowner agreed to pay people hired first a full day's pay and others hired later during the day a fair price.
3. Landowner had last hired line up first and was generous and gave everyone a full day's pay.
4. Jesus then ends this parable by saying, “So the last will be first, and the first
5. God the Father is the landowner and His Son Jesus Christ is the manager and the reward they pay to all who come in repentance and faith is the same and that reward is eternal life.
B. Parable compared to life
1. Matthew Chapter 20 and Luke Chapter 13 - those who were called to God first were the Jews.
2. While the Jews were witnesses to non-Jews like Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, the Ninevites, etc. the salvation God offered to all of them was the same.
3. Then 2,000 years ago the Jews largely rejected God’s Son Jesus, so the kingdom of God began to grow primarily among the Gentiles instead. But even then the salvation was the same.
4. The Jews who were saved first didn’t get a better salvation than the Gentiles who were saved later. God’s salvation is the same whether you’re first or last.
5. Today, some are saved when young, some as teenagers, some as adults, some as senior adults. All receive the same reward.
At the last minute, the criminal crucified next to Jesus turned away from His sins
and trusted in Jesus. Jesus told him "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
" Luke 23:43
Waiting to get saved at the last minute is not recommended because in most cases we don’t know when that will be. But the good news is that the salvation offered even to those in the last hour of life is just as effective as those who first received it long ago. The last will be first and the first last. The reward of God’s kingdom is the same for all. So don’t ever think that you’ve waited too long to trust in Christ. As long as you’re alive it’s not too late. Trust in Him today.
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Do you feel an emptiness in your life? Are you seeking answers but don't know where to look? Have you ever wondered if you are good enough? Please read the summary of the gospel message, "Four Things You Need to Know About God"