From Matthew 13:42-44, the tone of this blog is "encouragement" for believer. To encourage believers to live for the Kingdom of God now.
Soviet Spy Finds a New Country
The podcast, “The Agent,” tells the story of Jack Barsky, a Soviet-era KGB secret agent embedded in the US, beginning in the 1970s. Gradually, his loyalties shifted and in a remarkable turn of events, the FBI actually eventually helped him to secure US citizenship.
Near the end of the podcast he says,
I had a home again, an official home. … I’d put East Germany out of my mind. I stopped thinking about the folks back there. ... I put it away and put it in a part of my brain that I didn’t want to access anymore. You always want to belong to something. This is one of the basic things that make us human. … Now I had a country again. That felt really good.
The Mystery of the Kingdom: This is the mystery of the Kingdom, the truth which God now discloses for the first time in redemptive history. God’s kingdom is to work among men in two different stages. The Kingdom is yet to come in the form prophesied by Daniel when every human sovereignty will be displaced by God’s sovereign rule. The world will yet behold the coming of God’s kingdom with power. But the mystery, the new revelation, is that this very kingdom of God has now come to work among men but in an utterly unexpected way. It is not now destroying human rule; it is not now abolishing sin from the earth; it is now bringing the baptism of the Holy Spirit John spoke about.
The mystery of kingdom is this: The kingdom of God is here but not in fullness, not in irresistible power. The Kingdom of God has come, it is like a stone grinding away at evil until it becomes powder.
When the Kingdom comes, it will come with power. Who can resist it? Who can withstand God? But precisely this is the mystery of the kingdom now. God is not forcing people to bow before Him. Now they are to receive Him. The Kingdom of God is indeed here but in a different way as it will be at the return of Christ.
This is the mystery of the kingdom. It is an act of God. It is supernatural. Men cannot build the Kingdom, they cannot erect it. The Kingdom of God; it is God’s reign. God’s rule. But God has entrusted the church with the gospel of the kingdom to men.
The good news is that the Kingdom which one day will change the entire eternal order of things as we know them. This Age to come will bring the full blessings of the kingdom to men and women transforming into glorification. The Kingdom of Satan still stands, but the Kingdom of God has invaded the kingdom of Satan. Men and women may now be delivered from the power, delivered from this bondage, delivered from the mastery of sin and death. This is true because the future power of the Kingdom is present among us now. The power and blessings of the Kingdom are now.
Now we come to this particular parable. What is the purpose of this parable? Why did Jesus teach it? From this we will learn as a church what the Lord expects from us.
I. To announce the Kingdom.
As Jesus traveled across the land, he spoke of a new kingdom that was coming. He shared with the people a message of hope and freedom. He announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Jesus spoke of a kingdom that was not of this world. It was a kingdom of love, peace, and joy. He spoke of a king who was not like any other king. This king was a servant who came to serve and not to be served.
Jesus told the people that the Kingdom of God was not about power or wealth. It was about love and compassion. He taught them that the first would be last, and the last would be first. Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom of God through his actions. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and forgave the sinners. He showed them what it meant to love one another and to serve others. Many people were amazed by Jesus' teachings and the miracles he performed. They began to follow him and believe in his message. They wanted to be a part of the Kingdom of God that he spoke of.
II. To elicit the appropriate response.
- Joy is the outworking of spiritual union with Christ.
- joy flows from the taste of the sweetness of grace. The answer to misery is to remind ourselves of where we would be apart from the grace of God.
- Joy springs from knowing the value of what God has given us
- Joy is commanded so we must learn to control emotions.
- Joy can expressed despite circumstances.
III. To highlight the radical call of discipleship.
As Jesus traveled across the land, he encountered many people who were eager to follow him. They were drawn to his teachings of love and compassion, and they wanted to be a part of the Kingdom of God that he spoke of. However, Jesus warned his followers that being a disciple would come at a radical cost. He said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Jesus was not referring to a physical cross, but rather to the hardships and sacrifices that his followers would have to endure.
He knew that following him would not be easy, but he also knew that it would be worth it. Jesus' call to discipleship was a call to surrender everything to him. It was a call to put him first in our lives and to trust him completely. It was a call to give up our own desires and ambitions and to follow him wherever he leads. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the story of a man who wanted to follow him but was not willing to pay the cost. The man said, "I will follow you wherever you go," but Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Jesus was not trying to discourage the man from following him, but he wanted him to count the cost. He wanted him to understand that following him would require sacrifice and hardship. Jesus' call to discipleship is just as radical today as it was when he first spoke it. It requires us to surrender everything to him and to trust him completely. It requires us to be willing to endure hardship and to follow him wherever he leads. But the cost of discipleship is worth it. For in following Jesus, we find true life and freedom. We find the love and joy that we have been searching for. And we become a part of the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of, a kingdom of love, peace, and joy.
Radical Discipleship is about practicing Private (personal) and Public (political) faith, and never one without the other. This means welcoming the stranger and being on the side of the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. It means striving for justice and reconciliation, and standing against dispassionate wealth and idolatrous materialism.
In the company of the church, Radical Discipleship also involves us in lives of prayer and praise and fostering a strong devotional life based on Scripture. What we can’t do alone we can do together in the community of faithful believers.
TAKE-AWAY: Involvement with Jesus means involvement with His mission. The church is nothing less than the missionary people of the Kingdom.
1. We too must announce the Kingdom.
2. WE too must seek the appropriate response.
3. WE too must highlight the radical call of discipleship.
TIE-UP: Nothing can have higher priority for the eschatological community caught in tension between proclaiming that the Kingdom of God has come and simultaneously looking for the Kingdom that is yet to come. WE have been brought into the midst of a cosmic struggle between good and evil. Whenever, it contends for truth committed to its keeping, whenever it performs Christlike deeds among people, whenever it performs Christlike deed among people, whenever it witnesses to the gospel etc…..