The Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 1)

The Parables of Matthew 13 I. There are eight parables in Matthew 13 that speak of the kingdom of heaven. A. There is the parable of the sower. vs. 3-8. B. There is the parable of the wheat and tares. vs. 24-30. C. There is the parable of mustard seed. vs. 31-32. D. There is the parable of the leavened meal. v. 33. E. There is the parable of the treasure hid in a field. v. 44. F. There is the parable of the pearl of great price. vs. 45-46. G. There is the parable of the net. vs. 47-50. H. There is the parable of the householder. v. 52. I. The themes in these parables are of sowing, growth, harvest, corruption, mingling of good and bad, great cost, sorting out and judgment. These are various aspects of the kingdom of heaven. II. MAT 13:3 is the first occurrence in the New Testament of the word “parable(s).” A. Heretofore, the indications are that Jesus had scarcely used parables. MAR 3:23-27 c/w MAT 12:25-29; LUK 5:36. B. But now to the multitudes He only taught in parables that were unexplained. MAT 13:34 c/w MAR 4:33-34. C. Christ did this to fulfill prophecy (MAT 13:35) and prevent the conversion of the multitudes. MAR 4:11-12. 1. Lest: Used as a negative particle of intention or purpose, introducing a clause expressive of something to be prevented or guarded against. 2. His miracles and plain preaching had heretofore been witnessed by multitudes but had produced proportionately little conversion in them. 3. Jesus turned now to parables to suit their hardness of heart while reserving the explanation of the parables to His disciples. D. Parables are to be understood according to the way Christ explains them and/or by applying the rules of Bible study. III. The parable of the sower and its explanation is recorded in MAT 13:3-23. A. The parallel renderings are found in MAR 4:2-20; LUK 8:4-15. B. In overview, this parable teaches us: 1. the word of God is spread indiscriminately. 2. recipitur ad modum recipientis – The reception depends upon the receiver. The fruitfulness of the word of God depends on the condition of the hearer. 3. of the four types of people described here who hear the word, only one brings forth fruit unto perfection. 4. that the dedicated followers of gospel truth will be proportionately few. 5. full evidence of grace is only found in hearing, doing and faithfully persevering in the word of God. 6. the need for self-examination in light of what we have been taught. MAT 7:19-20; 2JO 1:8; JUDE 1:12-13. C. The following are some general observations from Scripture about sowing. 1. “...and sow not among thorns” (JER 4:3). Wisdom recognizes that there are unprofitable venues for one's labors. c/w MAT 7:6. 2. Sowing requires discretion (ISA 28:24-26). There are appropriate places for The Parables of Matthew 13 12-19-10 Page 1 various seed. ISA 61:1-3 c/w PRO 25:11. Sowing/planting is seasonal and requires capitalizing on that season. ECC 3:2 c/w PRO 15:23; 2TI 4:2 c/w HEB 3:12-13. 4. Imperfect conditions or outcome projections should not hinder sowing. ECC 11:4, 6; PSA 126:5-6; GAL 6:9. 5. The Law forbade sowing a field with mingled seed. LEV 19:19. a. Mingle: To mix (things together or one thing with another) so that they become physically united or form a new combination; to combine in a mixture, to blend. b. Consider the error of sowing the gospel seed with unscriptural footnotes or commentaries, false science, man's traditions, etc., or of teaching a hybridized gospel of grace and Law. GAL 5:3-4. 6. “...He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly...” (2CO 9:6). c/w ACT 20:20, 27. 7. Seed reproduces itself. GEN 1:12 c/w GAL 6:7-8. 8. The sower may not be the one who reaps. LUK 19:21-22 c/w JOH 4:35-38. 9. Planting is only one factor. 1CO 3:6-7. Consider the parable's symbolism. 1. The seed is the word of God/word of the kingdom. MAT 13:19; LUK 8:11. a. The word of God is the gospel of the kingdom. MAT 24:14; ACT 28:23. b. Scripture declares the God-man Jesus Christ as King over a durable kingdom by virtue of His resurrection from the dead. ACT 2:29-36; HEB 12:28-29. c. Without the bodily resurrection of Christ, there is no good news (gospel) and obviously no kingdom. 1CO 15:17-24. d. The word of the kingdom brought forth much fruit in the brethren at Colosse. COL 1:3-18. 2. The sower is obviously one who is spreading the word. a. This may refer to Christ Who was anointed to preach the gospel and Who is elsewhere depicted as a sower. LUK 4:18-19; MAT 13:37. b. This may also refer to Christ's ministers who sow spiritual things and who are laborers together with him. 1CO 9:11; 3:5-9; 2CO 5:20. c. This could even refer to believers in general who witness to others about the gospel of Jesus Christ. d. Mind that there is no indication that the sower is frustrated by the lack of profit in the majority of cases. This is to be expected. 1CO 9:22. e. That the sower casts seed in unproductive areas is no slight on the sower. (1) His fundamental duty is sowing, not reaping. 1CO 1:14-17. (2) God will be glorified in fruitless rejection as well as in fruitful reception. 2CO 2:14-16. 3. The diverse types of ground are diverse types of individuals who hear the word of God. a. There are some who don't understand it and so no good comes of it at all. b. There are some who immediately receive the word with joy but fall away when tribulation or persecution arise for the word's sake. c. There are some who hear the word but are geared towards carnal and material interests which choke the word out. d. There are some who hear the word, understand it and persevere in it so as to 3. D. The Parables of Matthew 13 12-19-10 Page 2 bring forth much fruit. (1) These are the only ones that are said to understand the word. (2) The rest just don't “get it.” e. The diverse types of hearers may be in the world or they may be in the church. 1JO 2:19; JUDE 1:4. f. That some of the hearers do not produce lasting fruit may not necessarily mean that they could not be partakers of Christ. (1) Sometimes those in Christ do not bring forth fruit. JOH 15:2. (2) Where there is consistently no fruit though all the elements for production are there, judgment is inevitable. LUK 13:6-9. LUK 8:5 says, “A sower went out to sow HIS seed...” 1. Christ ministered His gospel, not the philosophies or traditions of men. 2. Christ's ministers should do likewise: minister the seed of the word (1PE 4:11; 2TI 4:2). Man's wisdom and fables are not the seed to be sown. 1CO 2:4-5; 2PE 1:16. 3. Christ's ministers are further to attend to the ministry which God has given them. ROM 15:20; 2CO 10:13-16; COL 4:17. 4. “For every man shall bear HIS OWN burden” (GAL 6:5). MAT 25:14-15; JOH 21:18-22. 5. Mind also that the sower is active; the seed is not left in storage. MAT 5:14-16. a. Ministers are to, as required, do the work of an evangelist. 2TI 4:5. b. Paul could say that he had “...fully preached the gospel of Christ” (ROM 15:19). c. Paul taught “...publickly, and from house to house,” (ACT 20:20). d. The word of the Lord SOUNDED OUT from the church at Thessalonica. 1TH 1:8. e. Brethren are admonished to inspire questions in those that are without and to be ready with answers. COL 4:5-6. f. Let us not be ashamed of Christ's gospel for any reason. ROM 1:16; MAR 8:38. Consider the seed sown by the wayside. MAT 13:4, 19. 1. These are they which receive not the word with understanding. 2. Satan is the wicked one who snatches the words away. MAR 4:15. a. Satan has always had a great enmity to the words of God and their effects in the hearts of men. GEN 3:1-6. b. Mind that Satan is figured here as fowls (plural). (1) They are birds of the air even as he is the prince of the power of the air. EPH 2:2. (2) Satan does not work alone. REV 12:9. (3) He has multiple darts to use. EPH 6:16. (4) Where the gospel has an open door, many adversaries may be expected. 1CO 16:9. c. LUK 8:12 says that the devil takes the word out of their hearts “...lest they should believe and be saved.” (1) There is no profit in the preached word to the unbelieving. HEB 4:2. (2) This also shows a connection between understanding and faith. c/w JOH 8:43-46. E. F.

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