2007-05-13_Things Hidden - Part 1_Matthew 13.24f_SL
Things Hidden, Part 1
Matthew 13:1-43 | Shaun LePage | May 13, 2007
A. Early 1980’s a police officer locked away some evidence. Evidence used to convict 21-year-old Alan Crotzer of the 1981 kidnapping and rape of a mother and daughter in Tampa, FL. Crotzer was sentenced to 130 years in prison for these crimes. For 24 years, Crotzer maintained his innocence—just like ever other kidnapper and rapist in prison. Then, in 2006, someone took out that box of evidence and submitted it for DNA testing. The tests proved that Crotzer was an innocent man. Before 1989, DNA was a complete mystery—“hidden” information as far as prosecutors and judges were concerned. But since that time, at least 172 people have been freed because of “hidden” information contained in DNA.
B. In Matthew 13, Jesus gave us what the Bible calls “things hidden”—information the OT Jew never had.
C. OT Jew would picture history in two simple categories: present age and age to come—divided by Messiah’s coming. NT Christians have been shown what was once unknown—a mystery. Everything promised in OT was not fulfilled when Jesus—Messiah—came the first time and Jesus said that He would be back to do the rest. In the meantime there is something going on that no one in the OT knew about—theologians call it the “inter-advent age”—what is going on now—between the 1st and 2nd “advents” (comings) of Jesus. Rev 10:7 (future) the “mystery” of God will be finished. What “mystery”? Col 1:26 says the mystery is the church.
D. Matthew 1-11—Jesus presented as King, proclaiming “the kingdom is at hand.”
E. Matt 12 the religious leaders commit “unpardonable sin”—and Jesus rejected Israel.
F. Matt 13 is the hinge in the literary structure of the book; Jesus begins talking about the mystery form of the kingdom by telling parables. 8 parables—4 for crowd, 4 for disciples
II. Body—Matthew 13:1-43: Parables for the crowds
A. Parable of Sower and Soils (1-23)
1. (1-23) Refer to last week’s sermon
2. Reminder of 3 things: 1) Reception of truth rewarded with greater understanding; 2) Rejection of truth judged with less understanding; 3) Four responses—best is “good soil”—bears fruit! Picture of receiving God’s Word—responding correctly: “He who has ears, let him hear.” (v.9)
3. Mystery revealed (nature of kingdom in this “inter-advent” age): The kingdom of heaven will see a mixture of right and wrong responses. Have ears to hear? Believe and bear fruit. Don’t be satisfied with shallow/unfruitful-ness.
B. Parable of Wheat and Tares (24-30; 36-43)
1. (24-30) “Tares”—darnel, a poisonous grass, almost indistinguishable from wheat at first; roots of grain and darnel intertwined—impossible to pull up on without the other
2. Go to vs.36—Jesus’ interpretation:
a) (36) Crowds heard parable but not interpretation
b) (37) Sower=Jesus
c) (38) field=world (important—not the church; God’s rule, the “kingdom of heaven”=world); good seed=sons of kingdom (different than first parable); tares=sons of evil one (not Satan’s creation—followers; counterfeits who look, talk and act like Christians—“mixture” is one of Satan’s greatest tools; Remember v.30—God will sort it out later, not our job to judge the “field…world”, but this is not an excuse for tolerating sin in the church—1 Cor 5:9-13)
d) (39) enemy=devil; harvest=end of age; reapers=angels.
e) (40-42) “Sons”—followers of Satan (non-wheat; non-sons of kingdom) will suffer real judgment at “end of the age.” This is the focus!
f) (43) “Sons of kingdom” will shine “then,” separated from the counterfeits.
3. Mystery: The kingdom of heaven will have a mixture of real and counterfeit sons. Have ears? Become a son of the kingdom (For now, tares can become wheat! John 1:12; At “end of the age” it will be too late. Religious isn’t good enough. Believe and be transformed), then keep growing. Church—keep being wheat, keep growing, keep bearing fruit—someday you’ll “shine”.
C. Parable of Man and Mustard Seed (31-32)
1. (31-32) Back to vs.31-32. “Mustard seed” not the smallest seed in the world, but in that culture it was; not a “tree” but a bush—“tree” pictures abnormal growth
2. No interpretation—many different ideas; Must read in context! Mixture in previous parables (and next)! “Birds” represented Satan in first parable; Seed probably represents humble beginnings of “Christendom”—now a large umbrella of all kinds of unbiblical, Christless religious systems (e.g., LDS, Christian Science).
3. Mystery: The kingdom of heaven will hear a mixture of true and false teaching. Have ears? Guard what is true. 2 Tim 1:13-14; Love truth.
4. By the way: Don’t assume big equals good. Don’t be deceived by numbers—visible growth does not equal success. By the way—small doesn’t equal good either. Nothing spiritual about numbers—Acts 1 (120), Acts 2 (3,000+); some reports Mormonism is fastest growing, some reports witchcraft, others Islam; Good growth is “God growth” 1 Cor 3:6-8—God help us if we try to manufacture growth by watering down the Gospel or straying from the truth (doctrine of demons—1 Tim 4:1)
D. Parable of Woman and Leaven (33)
1. Some teach that “leaven” in this parable represents the spread of the gospel, but it would be the only time in the Bible leaven used as positive metaphor (Ex 12—sin, Feast of Unleavened Bread); in context of Matthew—only other time Ch16 “beware of leaven of Pharisees and Sadducees”.
2. Better: Context of Ch 13—“mixture”—Permeating power of evil working in the “kingdom”; evil working from within (like leaven)
3. Mystery: The kingdom of heaven will see a mixture of evil and righteous powers. Leaven here pictures permeating power or influence. Ch16 warning about evil leaders/teachers and what they teach (cf. Rev 2:18-20); 1 Cor 5:1,6-7—immoral influence corrupting church; Have ears? Clean out corrupting influences. What influences you? Who influences you? Teacher—are you sure they’re faithful to Scripture (lots of bad ones under the Christian umbrella)? Relationship (1 Cor 5)—intentionally or unintentionally dragging you down with actions/words/influence? TV program, movies, internet, video games influencing your thoughts/behavior? Clean it out! (My guess is you already know what to do—do it!)
E. Parables Fulfilled Prophecy (34-35) “Things Hidden”—come back to this. Hinge.
III. Closing—These “hidden things”—like DNA testing in the physical realm—should give us much greater insight to what is true and real in the spiritual realm. As always, insight into the truth should result in action—changes in the way we live; should set us free from “mixture”!