The Parable of the division of the fish - specifically the idea that some are rejected by God and thrown into an eternal fire, is very counter-cultural to people in our time. Liberal culture values ‘inclusiveness’ very highly:
- It is against the law to be discriminating – Jesus as the only Way
- It is a ‘hate crime’ to warn people about sin and the ‘fires of hell’
- Christians have to chose between going along to get along – and directly challenging the culture and facing opposition (like Jesus)
- Encourage and support those who are seeking to grow in their spiritual lives by teaching the spiritual disciplines of holiness and self-sacrificial love that lead to a personal relationship with Jesus and joy
- Stand with and support in works of love those in need of motional healing or practical help – particularly the sick and broken hearted
- Tell other people our own story of seeking and finding the treasures of love, joy, peace and forgiveness.
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast are about invisible growth. The Mustard seed does not remain a tiny seed. It changes, grows and is transformed into a very large bush.
· Something very tiny grows into something huge
· Seeds of the Word of God, planted in us, seem small but can grow into something huge
· Warning to not judge by size - what you see
· Warning to listen to the Holy Spirit, speaking through the Bible
The Parable of the Yeast explains how our heart and soul can be changed and transformed us as we grow spiritually. Like yeast, the Holy Spirit can work its way through our whole being and change us from being empty and fearful into being filled with love for God and our neighbor. Like yeast the Holy Spirit needs the right environment:
· Holy lifestyle free of violence, anger, guilt, lust and deceit
· Lifestyle nurtured by daily Bible Study, prayer and works of love
3. The Treasure of being included in the Kingdom
· We are challenged to give up all the things that may prevent us from being part of the Heavenly Kingdom
· Our daily relationship of love and obedience must be our priority
· Our job is to find out what the king wants us to do and then do it..
· God is seen at the centre of the Kingdom as a great light. This light spreads outward and brings joy to the millions and millions of people all standing in the presence of God. In comparison all our worldly wealth and power has no value.