We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/
Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 13:24-43; Acts 19:1-22; Psalm 31, Exodus 21-23.
I love the 7 parables Jesus gives in Matthew 13. Nowhere else in all of Scripture is there as clear and comprehensive a primer for Believers to understand what it means to be in Christ’s Kingdom, and what that looks like over time.
It is a handbook of the “mysteries of the Kingdom” for the Church in every generation.
1 – MYSTERY OF PROPAGATION / THE SOWER & THE SOILS / 3-9, 18-23. This is how the church grows, through preaching the Gospel. Let no one get us off that track for any reason.
2 – MYSTERY OF PROXIMITY / THE WHEAT & THE TARES / 24-30, 36-43. There never will be any fully Christian society. There will always be “takes” in the World until Jesus returns. Don’t try to create what cannot be.
3 – MYSTERY OF TRANSITION / THE MUSTARD SEED / 31, 32. The Kingdom will have but the smallest of beginnings in the earth. But one day it will reach its full bloom. It will weather its storms, survive its droughts, not be withered by blistering sun, nor be uprooted by violent winds. Christ’s Kingdom will reach maturity. Do not despise the day of small things.
4 – MYSTERY OF TRANSFORMATION / THE LEAVEN / 33. The Believer is gradually transformed into the image of Christ, it is not an instantaneous act. And this, through permeation. The Spirit inwardly makes His way into the deepest recesses of the heart and mind – bringing his Holy influences to every particle of our being. God does not fear time. He utilizes it to His highest glory and our best good. He that began the good work in us, WILL complete it until the day of Christ. He is patient with us, and we ought to be with one another.
5 – MYSTERY OF SUPREMACY / HIDDEN TREASURE / 44. What Christ offers in Himself is so supremely valuable as to make losing everything else to obtain Him – Worth it. No sin is worth clinging to if is hinders you from having Him in His fullness. “ That word above all earthly pow’rs,No thanks to them, abideth;The Spirit and the gifts are ours Thro’Him who with us sideth:Let goods and kindred go,This mortal life also;The body they may kill:God’s truth abideth still,His kingdom is forever.
6 – MYSTERY OF SUPERIORITY / PEARL / 45, 46. It is the explanation of Paul counting all things but dung in comparison to Christ. It is seeing the One Pearl that is infinitely higher than all other good things. There is truth all around us. And all sorts of good things given to us by God’s hand. But we have come to know there is one Gift that is transcendently superior to them all – Christ Jesus the Son. He is not “a” truth, He is THE Truth. He is not “a” gift, He is THE Gift of God. He is the highest of all God’s goodness. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. Every other “pearl” granted to us by the hand of God pales in comparison. They are but types and shadows of Him, samples of what finds its fullness in the King of Kings. And as real as all the other good things God has given to us -are, not one of those things – or all of them considered together – is to be compared to the Jewel of Heaven. The outshining of God’s own glory. Christ the Lord.
7 – MYSTERY OF THE CONSUMMATION / THE DRAG-NET / 47-50. The net of the Gospel is cast into the sea of humanity, and all sorts are gathered in indiscriminately. However, we need not fear. The day of sorting will come. There will be a separating of the goats and the sheep. The call of the Gospel is to go out to everyone, everywhere. Providence will certainly dictate some parameters. But that is God’s busines, not ours. Our ambassadorship is not to a few, but to the world. We are His representatives pleading as if the very voice of God were pleading through us “be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthains 5:20).
A – Have confidence & comfort in the simple plan and program of God in evangelism – God’s Word is sufficient!
B – There is no need to fret of fear if the world seems to grow and progress along with us – the harvest will come!
C – Though the Kingdom may seem small and insignificant now –wait. The half has not been told!
D – Though you seem to make little progress in sanctification, you WILL be transformed into His likeness as the Kingdom grows within you and affects every part.
E – Though others have not seen what you have – you are not a fool to forsake that which you cannot keep to obtain that which you cannot lose!
F – Let no one dissuade you from the singular excellencies of Christ. Truth is all about us – But He is THE Truth, THE Life, and THE way!
G – Give the Gospel to all and draw them in, but give men no comfort in the MERE fact that they dwell among the saints simply because they found a drawing attraction in the Gospel – if they have not been changed, if they are spoiled or dead or unprofitable, they WILL be cast away!