Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Comment on Jesus’ Teaching on the nature of the Kingdom of God, with particular reference to Matthew 13:1-52 and Matthew 5-7. A Study by Blair Humphreys.


 




1) Introduction

Throughout the New Testament, especially the Synoptic Gospels * The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, there are numerous references to the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven, which *1 “ is generally considered to be the central theme of Jesus’ Teaching.

“ Although spoken to mainly Jewish Audience, some 2,000 years ago, in a province of the Roman Empire, it is still the same Life Changing and Revolutionary message today as it was then. *2 “ Jesus preached the Kingdom of God. We preach Jesus. In Him and through the power of His Message the Kingdom  *1 is available to us, but can we preach Jesus or even understand Him, without understanding God’s Kingly Rule, the central note in all His Teaching.”


*1 Encyclopaedia Britannica Article The Kingdom of God.
*2 Understanding the Kingdom of God, by Georgina Harkness, Chapter 1, Where We
Stand



It is my objective, through my own personal study of the above Scriptures and with

reading through the New Testament, especially the Synoptic Gospels, prayer

and reading through relevant articles, books such as Matthew Henry’s commentary ,

and using various translations of the Bible, to gain an understanding of the Lord’s

teaching of the Kingdom of God, and applying that teaching to myself and it’s

relevance for us today in the early part of the 21st Century.


The Kingdom of God/Heaven is the central theme and the essence of Jesus’ message

, when we read through the Gospels, we see how important this message is, there are

so many references to the Kingdom of God throughout the Gospels, (although there

several references to the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament, for example

in Psalm 145:13 Nlt “For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule

throughout all generations, “ although the Old Testament saints, only saw a

glimmer of what was to come, Matt.13:17), we can only come to the conclusion

that if the Kingdom of God is mentioned so many times it must be important.


Indeed in Matthew 6:33, The Lord’s commends us to seek, the Kingdom above all

else, or in some versions “,make the Kingdom of God, your primary concern. “ If

the Kingdom of God was central to our Lord’s Teaching, it must be central to

our Christian Walk, Witness and Lifestyle.


Indeed the Kingdom of God is the Life force of Jesus’ Message, in Matthew Henry’s

Commentary on Matthew 13, it states that “ the word of the Gospel is the word of the

Kingdom. “ Our Message must be the same as Jesus’ Message. In Matt. 13:1-23

, it describes how a farmer when to sow some seed, (the word of God) and the

responses to that word, although Jesus spoke a message that everyone could

relate to, and hopefully understand, he used phrases, terms and illustrations that

people would know, I believe that the four times of soil, can relate to 4 times of

people that hear the Gospel, a) some seed fell on the path, some people hear the

message of the Kingdom, but don’t understand it, b) other seed fell on shallow

ground, some people hear the message gladly, but because of various problems

etc, turn away, c) other seed fell among thorns, some people hear the word, but

their lives become full of other things, turn away and don’t produce a crop, 

and finally d) some seed fell on good soil, and produced a huge harvest, speaks of

those who truly accept God’s message, and see other lives transformed by the

Gospel.


In Matt. 13:9 Jesus says “ Anyone who is willing to hear, should listen and

understand! “ I believe that although, the message of the Kingdom of God

can be easy to understand, not everything who hears it, will accept it .


The Lord only reveals a greater understanding of the Kingdom to those

, who truly accept the message ( I’m not speaking of a type of

special knowledge or revelation that is only available to some sort of

initiate of a secret society or an elite band of people, because that would be

a form of Gnosticism) , in Matthew 13:11f. Jesus tells the Disciples, “That you have

been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, to those who are

open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an

abundance of knowledge. “ although Jesus was speaking to the 12 here, he also

speaks to us, we can’t understand the Kingdom, unless we have a relationship

with the King, I believe because of our relationship with the King, we will have a

fuller understanding of Kingdom, the more time we spend with Him, and as we show

others the truth that we have learned from Him. See Matt 13:52. “, He can bring out

old treasures as well as new treasures from his storehouse.”



I believe that as Jesus was sent by God, to reveal the message of the Kingdom of God

, today we’re sent by Him, to reveal to others the Gospel of the Kingdom, see

Romans 10:14, Mark 3:14 & Matt 9:37-38


The Kingdom of God is not of this world, see John 18:36, although it can be

, seen in the lives of His followers who express every day both the fullness and

revelation of His Kingdom. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like knowing the King and

being part of His Kingdom, see Matt 13:44-46.


In Matthew 5-7, we see practical and everyday Kingdom Teaching, that reaches

, through the pages of our Bibles into our lives, situations and personalities.


IVP Commentary, Matthew 5-7 Introduction “ The Ethics of God’s Kingdom”

“Jesus summons those who would be his followers to radical devotion and radical

dependence on God. His followers must be meek, must not retaliate, must go beyond

the letter's law to its spirit, must do what is right when only God is looking, must

depend on God for their needs and pursue his interests rather than their own, and must

leave spiritual measurements of others' hearts to God. In short, true people of the

kingdom live for God, not for themselves, “


This Kingdom teaching, starts with what’s commonly referred to as the Beatitudes in

Matt 5:3 Nlt. “ God blesses those who realise their need for Him, for the

Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them, “ we also see the types of people

, that God will bless in Matt 5:4f and basically it includes everyone. Amen


We’re called to be both salt and light in Society, salt purifies and light shows people

, the way to go, see Matt 5:13- 16


In Matthew 6:9f, we see the Lord’s Prayer,
“9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need, 12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13 And don’t let us yield to
temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.”

There are so many examples of the nature of Kingdom Living, found in
, these Chapters, Matt 5-7, but what summarises this teaching for me, can be found in
Matt 7:24-27” 24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them
into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came
down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not
fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these
words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his
house on sand.”


James 1:22 “ But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says, “
Matt 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Blair Humphreys
July 13th 2013
Bibliography
1) Encyclopaedia Britannica Article The Kingdom of God
2) Understanding the Kingdom of God, by Georgina Harkness
3) Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew 13

4) IVP Commentary on Matthew 5-7
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