The Secrets Of The Kingdom – Mike Patterson
The Secrets of the Kingdom
“The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” Matthew 13:11
The New England Revolution has begun here in the Boston church! It is our prayer that God’s kingdom will forcefully come not only here in Boston but all of New England. Jesus taught in Matthew 13 his disciples the “secrets of the kingdom of God” for the church to forcefully advance here on earth. In these parables there are key principles we must learn to practice in order for God to use us to spread this revolution around New England and the world.
Read: Matthew 13:11-15. Secrets in the time period of Jesus were for the elite class only, and it was a huge deal to be let in on them. Gnosticism was a false teaching of the time that was very popular. It taught that those who were really spiritual and high up in rank had a secret knowledge in regards to life and spirituality. Jesus takes a play off this idea showing us that disciples are the elite, chosen, people of God, let in on the secrets of the kingdom revealed in these parables. Verses 12-13, show that those who accept Jesus as king will have more! For the Jews who already had the law, they will now even have more since they understand the mystery the law points to…Christ! Those who reject Jesus will not understand the kingdom, and in fact even what they do understand (the law) becomes meaningless now, or in a sense is taken away. It now becomes a man-made religion. Their hearts are hard and ears are dull. Let’s look at a couple secrets of the kingdom revealed in Matthew 13:
SECRET ONE: Whoever, Whenever, Everywhere (Matthew 13:1-9)
A lot of times we read this parable and focus on the different hearts, but forget to look at the main character of the parable: the farmer who is sowing the seed! The seed is the word of God. What farmer in their right mind just throws seed all over these different type of terrain? This is exactly the point! In Israel many farmers would clear a table of soil of rocks and use those rocks to make a fence around the table. Thorns would naturally grow where the rocks were. The farmer would scatter his seed on the table of soil and some of the seed was bound to be thrown on the rocks and even some beyond the fence of rocks to the path. With this in view, we see clearly Jesus is the farmer who removes the rocks and thorns from the soil (our hearts). The farmer wasn’t meticulous about putting the seed exactly in the good soil, he just threw it everywhere! You get a picture that the farmer isn’t even really focused on where the seed lands. This is the “secret” Jesus shows us to growing the kingdom: preaching the word to whomever you see! Share your faith with everyone! Share your faith whenever as there is no “convenient time” to share, share always! Scatter the seed of God’s word everywhere (at work, school, shopping, etc.). Everywhere, anywhere, and all the time the farmer is sharing his faith. Mark 16:16-20 and Acts 8:4 shows the first century disciples imitated this farmer preaching the word everywhere they went, and God added to their number. Do you only share with people you are comfortable with or with everyone? Do you only share in certain places or is it a lifestyle of evangelism? The first “secret” is imitating Jesus, the farmer who throws the seed everywhere!
SECRET TWO: Open & Closed Hearts: Reading Men and Women (Matthew 13:18-23)
Jesus now breaks down the parable showing us that all men and women fall in one of four places. Three of the four soils become disciples, while the seed on the path is outside the wall of rocks (outside the kingdom) and the birds of the air (Satan) snatch away the word since their heart is hard, preventing them from ever becoming disciples of Jesus in the first place. The seed along the rocky places has no root and is in a dangerous place. They are at the edge of the kingdom right by the path! This disciple is not rooted in the word and allows emotions, persecutions, and trouble to take him out. The seed among the thorns allows the worries of life, and the deceitfulness of wealth to choke it out. Like the rocky soil, they are still at the outer edge of the kingdom. The process of falling away is more deceitful since choking takes some time. The good soil understands the seed/message and multiplies by producing fruit. Which heart do you lean more towards? A secret of the kingdom is reading the hearts of men and women. Do you know where the people you study with and the disciples in your ministry fall so as to help them? Christians are all about relationships and helping the hearts of men and women. If disciples aren’t being fruitful, it may be wealth, worries or persecution that is taking them out. Understanding this secret will help us water each other’s hearts with the word of God to produce good soil and multiply. It is simply identifying the rocks and thorns and removing them to the wayside so our disciples will be fruitful!
SECRET THREE: Ready, Alert, and Awake! (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43)
Many get confused when reading this parable and even shocked that there can be bad seed in God’s kingdom, the church. Yet, we know from the word of God that Jesus calls all people to be sold out with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength as we build a church of only disciples (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:42). So how could weeds planted by the devil grow up in the church? The key is in verse 25, “But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” As disciples, we must be ready, alert, and awake so the enemy doesn’t enter our fellowship to weaken the church. We are to keep preaching the standard and calling others to repent and allow God to deal with the weeds. There needs to be a readiness about us! We need to be ready to study the Bible with anyone! An alertness to us in the fellowship to perceived needs. We need to be awake; disciples should be the highest energy people on the planet! Just because you attend the church doesn’t mean you are right with God. It is easy to get comfortable being part of the movement of God, yet we can’t forget although the church is the plan of God, He judges individuals, not churches on that Final Day. What about the bad seed then; who are these “disciples”? John 8:31-32 is interesting because the audience is the Jews “who had believed in him” … meaning Jews that believed intellectually in Jesus. They weren’t disciples because they didn’t hold on to His word. In verses 42-47, Jesus talking to the same audience says they don’t really believe in Him. Is there a contradiction? Of course not, the issue is they only believed some parts about Jesus, but refused to accept all of His teachings, thus were sons of the devil (v.44) and not real believers. As a church, let’s pay heed to the secret Jesus lends us to stay awake, so that we never allow the standard to be lowered causing weeds, instead let’s build a church glorifying to God. Do you know why you are a member of this congregation biblically? Can you defend your faith and identify the seeds Satan plants? Are you ready, alert, and awake?
SECRET FOUR: Know Fine Pearls (Matthew 13:44-46)
There are two types of people in the kingdom: those who stumble upon it and find it, and those who seek for it and find it. Interestingly in both cases, the man and the merchant sold all they had in order to have the treasure that is the kingdom. The kingdom is such a special place. How much do you love God’s church? Will you give up everything to be a part of it? Some interpret the merchant as Jesus seeking fine pearls and when He finds a soul, he was willing to give up his life to save it. Both interpretations have the same secret; Jesus is looking for fine pearls! Are you looking for treasure and fine pearls? Jesus built his kingdom from hard-working fishermen, business men, and tax collectors. These were men of character. Even Paul was an educated man, well-versed in the law. A survey of the noted conversions in the book of Acts were of people of influence that propelled the movement of God. Jesus showed no favoritism and a soul is a soul, yet he knew a secret to building the kingdom is searching for fine pearls and being grateful for your salvation. Challenge yourself to share with someone of influence this week. Get to know people of impact, who will in turn impact God’s kingdom.
Many more secrets of the kingdom are revealed through His parables, which were intended only for disciples to understand. Ultimately, if you take the first letter of all our four secrets, you get the ultimate secret: WORK. It takes hard work to move God’s church. Jesus calls us workers in Matthew 9:37. Will you decide this week to work hard to scatter the seed of God’s word, reading hearts, being alert against the devil, while searching for fine pearls? Now you know the secrets!