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Tag: parable

Matt. 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

In one sentence, the Lord Jesus provided one of the most powerful, relevant, contemporary metaphors of the kingdom of heaven.  What is leaven?  Today, we call it yeast.  But whether you call it leaven or yeast, it is a bacteria. How do we define bacteria?  The definition of bacteria from vocabulary.com is:
Bacteria are microscopic living organisms, usually one-celled, that can be found everywhere. They can be dangerous, such as when they cause infection, or beneficial, as in the process of fermentation (such as in wine) and that of decomposition.” What is interesting about bacteria is that you don’t see it working, you see the EFFECTS of it working.  In other words, you don’t see the leaven working in the meal, or dough, you see the EFFECTS of the leaven in the meal.  And this is what happens with the kingdom of God in a person’s life.  You don’t see the kingdom at work in a person, you see the EFFECTS of the kingdom in a person.
But leaven has another quality that makes it like the kingdom of God.  Like all bacteria, leaven is a contagion, meaning it spreads by contact.  Here are two definitions from vocabulary.com for contagion:
“Any disease easily transmitted by contact.”
“The communication of an attitude or emotional state among a number of people.”
Vocabulary.com uses this example to describe the phenomenon of contagion:
“Have you ever noticed how when one person yawns, the people around him tend to do so as well? This phenomenon can be described as a contagion, the spreading of an emotional or mental state (in this case, fatigue).”
So contagions spread by contact.  Even in the example, the people affected by the yawning person were the ones around him, the ones who were close enough to see him.  Others, not close in proximity, may have seen or even heard him from a distance, but were not affected.  What then, does this mean for us today?  It means the gospel is still spread through close contact.  It isn’t spread by being seated in a large gathering or assembly once a week; it is spread in your day to day contact with your co-workers, with your classmates, with your neighbors, and with your friends.  The kingdom within you is supposed to be contagious; those around you don’t see the kingdom in you, they see the EFFECTS of the kingdom in you.  They see the change in you; they see the patience you are exhibiting; they see how you esteem others higher than yourselves.  These are all effects of the kingdom working its way through your life.  Are you contagious?

Yesterday, we had a powerful time of fellowship discussing kingdom economics.  While studying the true purpose of our work here on this earth, we took some time to examine the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16.  The rich man had it all, and lived lavishly on this earth all his days, seeing Lazarus as nothing more than a poor, unfortunate soul; perhaps nothing more than a meager servant.  In the story, both Lazarus and the rich man die; but Lazarus is received into Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man is buried in the ground.  It was in the next part of the story that a powerful revelation was made:
Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
Notice, the rich man doesn’t ask Abraham to dip his finger in water to cool the rich man’s tongue, he asks Abraham to send Lazarus, as if Lazarus is nothing more than a meager servant.  In other words, the rich man’s perception of Lazarus did not change!  It was here that a powerful truth was revealed – whatever mindset you have in this life, is the mindset you will have in the life to come.  If you don’t serve Jesus as Lord in this life, you won’t serve Jesus as Lord in the life to come.  If you can’t see the kingdom of God in this life, you won’t see it in the life to come.  This is why the Lord Jesus told us that being born again in this life is a requirement to even seeing the kingdom of God.  This is also why Paul instructed us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds while we exist in this life.  It is that renewed mind that will facilitate our admission into God’s eternal kingdom.
What is your mindset today?  Is it one of obedience, mercy and compassion, or is it merely seeking to satisfy yourself?  The royal law is to love our neighbors as ourselves.  The instruction is to treat others the way we want to be treated; we are to put others ahead of ourselves.  This is how the world will know the kingdom of God exists, and how God will be glorified in the earth.

Luke 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Notice the characters the Lord Jesus used in His parable.  He used a priest, whose job it was to minister to the people, a Levite, who as a people were set apart to care for the tabernacle and the temple, in addition to aiding the priests, and a Samaritan, a people who were despised by the Jews.  How ironic that the two men, whose responsibility it was to care for others, not only passed by the wounded man, but intentionally avoided him by crossing over to the other side of the road.  The Samaritan, however, a man who the Jews would have no part of, purposed in his heart to exhibit compassion toward the man.  The Samaritan didn’t simply “feel sorry” for the man; the Samaritan didn’t say “I will pray for you;” the Samaritan bandaged the man’s wounds, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  In other words, the Samaritan truly ministered to a man he did not know.  The Samaritan purposed in his heart to treat the wounded man as the Samaritan would want to be treated.  In short, the Lord Jesus showed the lawyer how the definition of neighbor had nothing to do with physical proximity, tribal origin or even nationality.  Being neighborly is now a matter of the heart; it is a matter of spirit.  Your neighbor is not the person who lives next door, or down the street, or even in the same city.  Your neighbor now becomes any human being.  We must now renew our minds to the truth that our neighbor is anyone we meet, and we must be prepared at all times to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

towerLuke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

“You can’t move forward until you finish that book.”  These were the words my wife spoke to me this past summer.  They aggravated me, because I knew what she was speaking was the truth.  I began writing the book, but I hadn’t finished it.  I had all kinds of excuses why I had not finished what I started.  But, when I pondered my wife’s words on a deeper level, something even more hurtful was revealed to me.  I wasn’t just holding myself back, I was holding others back as well.  I had important information in me that was not being shared with others.  In short, I was being selfish with the information I had pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Rom. 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
There are people, eager to learn about the kingdom of God, and they are waiting for the sons of God to reveal the good news of this kingdom.  In other words, they were waiting for my obedience in order that they may live.
Then, one day at our fellowship, the Lord spoke to the fellowship very clearly.  He said we were moving in a new direction.  I didn’t know the fullness of what that meant (indeed, I am still seeking that today), but I knew part of that new direction involved this book A Glimpse of the Kingdom.  Once I finished the book, then the Lord would direct my path in showing me how I, and our fellowship, would need to proceed.  What I learned from that experience is that this walk of faith was foretold by the children of Israel when they were in the desert.  The journey must be taken one step at a time, and one day at a time.  His direction is for us the manna from heaven.
Why am I sharing this with you today?  Because you have a tower to build as well.  This is not a tower of  personal achievement; rather, it is an instruction from the Lord himself that will facilitate the gospel of the kingdom being shared with those around you.  What strategy has God given you?  What tower is he expecting you to build?  How will the good news of the kingdom of heaven be revealed through you?  What obstacles are prohibiting you completing your assignment?  These are the questions that need to be answered in order that you may finish the tower God has assigned you to build.  Make no mistake – you have a tower to build!  Remember, there are people in the earth eagerly waiting for you to manifest the kingdom of God in their lives.