The Presence of the Kingdom of God

The Lord often used parables to teach kingdom truths. They are illustrative stories that Jesus drew from nature and human life. When asked why He spoke in parables. “He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them’” (Matt. 13:11). Recall from Paul’s teaching that the natural person cannot comprehend the word of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). In the parable of the sower, the message about the kingdom is received by some but not by others. The devil snatches the message away from some, others hear the good news but it doesn’t take root. Still others are carried away “by the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” (vs. 22). The good soil is the person who hears the word and understands it. Only the latter bears fruit, which is the evidence that they have new life in Christ.

The parable of the weeds (vss. 36-40) reveals another truth about the kingdom of Heaven. Whenever and wherever God sows good seed in the field, the devil comes along and sows a bad seed. The field is the world and Jesus is the one who sows the good seeds who are the sons of the kingdom. The devil sows the bad seeds who are the sons of the evil one. The bad seed is darnel or quack grass. It is very hard to distinguish from the other grain when it is young, but when it matures it is very easy. The good seed produces fruit that can be seen, the darnel doesn’t. The good seed propagates by spreading seed; the darnel sends out roots under ground. They will co-exist until the final harvest when Jesus sends His angels to weed out His kingdom. They will throw those who do evil into the fiery furnace.

The kingdom of God is not an action taken by mankind or a realm that we set up. The kingdom is a divine administration, not a human accomplishment. The word kingdom also means the realm set up by God and the benefits that are associated with it. Mankind may enter the kingdom (Luke 16:16) or receive it as a gift (Luke 12:32). Consequently, the message of the kingdom is good news. The present world is under the rule of Satan, but the action of God in Jesus means that Satan is disarmed, his rule brought to an end, and his captives are being set free. The coming of the kingdom means the hour of judgment upon wicked people (Matthew 3:10), it is also the hour of deliverance from demonic powers (Matthew 12:28). The work of Jesus is a sign of the coming and the presence of the kingdom. He rules in the hearts of those who are the sons and daughters of the kingdom. The kingdom of God is characterized by grace (Matthew 20:1-16) and a compassion that binds up the broken hearted. Notice how the kingdom is associated with preaching, and spiritual authority over demons, and healing (Lu. 9:1,2,6,11; 10:9; Mk 1:39; 3:14,15).

Dr. Neil

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