Luke13: 18-30

Written by kathleen on Feb 16, 2014 in - No Comments

Luke 13:18

Corruption in the kingdom.

3 Questions

18 Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”  20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

Because mustard seeds don’t grow into trees large enough to support birds, and because flocks of birds in Scripture are often symbols of evil (e.g., Genesis 40:19; Matthew 13:4), in this parable, through this analogy, Jesus is saying that the kingdom of God will grow in an unnatural way that will allow strange people to hide out therein.

All you have to do is watch religious TV to see that this is so, for there are indeed some strange birds roosting in the name of the kingdom of God.

What is the kingdom of God like? The “standard” interpretation of these parables is that they describe the growth and spreading influence of the church.  But it is more likely, in light of the language used and the course of church history, that these parables describe the corruption of the church by false religion.

It grew and became a large tree: With this parable of the mustard seed, Jesus describes an abnormal – even monstrous growth. Mustard seed plants simply do not become large, tall trees.

Additionally, trees are sometimes used in the Bible to describe human governments, and evil governments.  In fact, this tree reminds us of the one Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision (Daniel 4:10-16).

And the birds of the air nested in its branches: Additionally, birds are consistently emissaries of evil in Jesus’ parables Matt 13:9 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up

Matt 13:18-19 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Matt 13:24-28 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

Apparently, this parable is describing the kingdom community – the church – that has become so large and established that it is a roosting place for evil.

It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened: With the parable of the leaven in the three measures of meal, Jesus is again describing corruption. Leaven in the Bible is always representative of sin, and three measures of meal was the standard grain offering to God. Leaven appears ninety-eight times in the Scriptures—and in every instance it speaks of evil.

So when people point to evil even within church history, you don’t have to rationalize or defend it just agree with it; because Jesus said this would happen.

Essentially, Jesus gives a picture of corrupt worship. Hiding sin within corrupted an offering to God. (Get right before service)

History proves the dangerous influence that false religion has had on the church. It has been shown in political intrigue, lust for power, intolerance, vain superstition, immorality, and greed.

Jesus responds to a question about salvation.

22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them,

24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.                                                                                                                   

 Remember He is journeying to Jerusalem, He is going to Jerusalem to be crucified. He’s on His way coming through Samaria and the area of Galilee and Samaria, as He is slowly making His way to Jerusalem that He might be in Jerusalem for the feast of the passover where He will be offered as the passover lamb, the sacrifice of God for man’s sin

As Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem, a man asked Him, “Lord, are just a few going to be saved?”— The rabbis of that day used to love to debate a controversial question even to this day of whether many or few would be saved. But Jesus won’t be drawn into this debate. His only question is, “are you saved?”

Many people question the exclusivity of God wondering how He could exclude people from living eternally.

How could a loving God send someone to Hell?  He doesn’t they choose where they are going!

We often wonder about the salvation of others; but in His reply (Strive to enter through the narrow gate), Jesus did what He so often did by passing the hypothetical, He got right to the practical or the one who asked it personally; because His concern was not theoretical; it was personal.  Jesus then points back to the only person’s salvation we can really know and asks,   “Are you yourself saved?” And in that context between the warning of the straight gate and the narrow way, He says there will be false prophets and beware of these false prophets.

False prophets who will seek to broaden the way who will declare that we got to learn to respect this gift of human sexuality that God has given to us.

And they will seek to broaden the way. They’ll seek to make men feel comfortable in their sin

The Bible warns us over and over against the works of the flesh (Living after the flesh.) warning us that they which do these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Jesus said For “many will seek to enter in and shall not be able,”

 So it isn’t that I just kick back and say, Well, it really doesn’t matter. I believe in Jesus and everything is alright.

Doesn’t matter that I follow my own wrong inclinations, that produce evil results like: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, making a constant effort to get the best for myself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in my own little group, along with envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Really doesn’t matter because Jesus, I’m trusting in You!

And you think you’re going to just cruise on in?

That’s very much like, “Not all who say, Lord, Lord, are going to enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of the Father.” For I will say unto you, “there will be many who come in that day saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. Have we not prophesied in Thy name? Have we not cast out devils in Thy name? Have we not done great works in Thy name? And He will say, Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23).

We are told that the Lord elected us, chose us, and predestined us before the foundation of the world

Eph 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-

That is why Jesus told His disciples that it was He who chose them—not vice versa John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. So why do so many people not want to live for Christ?

V.24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate: Strive=                             

1.   To exert oneself vigorously; try hard

  1. To make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to strive for success.
  2. To contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete.
  3. To struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance:

The Greek word translated “strive” is agonizomai, from which we get our word “agonize.” (Over temptations)

It is the word used to describe what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He agonized about the Father’s will with such intensity that He actually sweat blood (Luke 22:44).

Striving to enter through the narrow gate isn’t a call to save your-self by good works.

Good works aren’t the right gate. You can strive to enter all your life, but if it isn’t at the right gate, it makes no difference. Jesus Himself is the gate; He is the door.

Then why must we strive to enter? Because there are many obstacles in the way. The world is an obstacle. The devil is an obstacle. But probably the worst obstacle is our own flesh (lust of the flesh –lust of the eye – pride of life)

Although Scripture tells us over and over again not to strive there is one question over which we should strive: Am I saved? Whether He comes for us tomorrow, or whether we live thirty more years, how can we know we’re going to spend eternity with the Lord?

There are three ways to know found in god’s word

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

The Greek word translated “believe” is pisteuo. Used in reference to the way one places his weight on a crutch, pisteuo doesn’t mean to merely agree with intellectually, but to lean on, or trust in.

Yet even though we believe the Word, the fact remains that people can challenge us concerning it.

So there is a second place where we can find assurance of our salvation it is the believers that are around us…

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:14-15

You know you’re born again when you start loving Christians as well as people you couldn’t stand before you got saved.

You know you’re saved when you find yourself feeling comfortable with the Christian community.

But even if we still doubt our salvation when we don’t love the saints as consistently as we should, there is a third assurance.…The Spirit within us…Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

The work of the Holy Spirit is to give you a witness in your heart in order that you might know that you know that you know you’re saved.

Martin Luther and John Calvin called this verse the Testimonium Spiritus Internus Sanctium—or the Internal Testimony of the Spirit.

If you have received the witness of the Spirit in your heart you know with absolute certainty that you truly are born again, that you can go to the Father freely and say, “Abba, I come to You not because of my spirituality, but because You have cleansed me by the blood of Calvary.”

The way is narrow; we can’t bring in our self-centeredness pride, lusts, hate or especially our own righteousness. The reason why it is important to strive in entering.

25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

Here they are saying, Lord, we have eaten and we have drank in Your presence. That is, we’ve received the holy communion. And Lord, You have taught in our streets. We know Your word.

But James says, “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Jesus said this is what I will compare

a man who hears and doesn’t do. He’s like a man who built a house upon the sand. And when the storm came, the house fell. Great was the fall thereof.

That’s the man who hears the word but doesn’t do anything. Doesn’t live by it and Isn’t affected by it.

You may be able to quote it. You may be able to give me the Hebrew and the Greek. But if you don’t do it, if you don’t live by it, if you don’t follow it, you’re only deceiving yourself.

And here they are saying, But Lord, You’ve taught in the streets. We know Your word. And again He says, Depart from Me. I don’t know you. I don’t know who you are. And He calls them workers of iniquity.

That is, they are living after the flesh and the things of the flesh which are listed for us in Romans chapter one and Ephesians chapter five and Galatians chapter five, First Corinthians chapter six.

There will come a time when it is too late to enter – that is why one must have an urgency to enter now.

To those who don’t want to open their lives to Jesus now, He will not open His kingdom then.                        

I can’t help but think of Noah. For one hundred years he told the people they had better turn around and change directions because a flood was coming. But they thought he was crazy until the rain began to fall.

Then they wanted in. But because it was the Lord who shut the door, Noah couldn’t open it to let a few more people inside. And in this, the Lord shows us that there comes a day when the door is shut and one’s decision is sealed eternally.

The same is true regarding our soul’s salvation. You can know something about Jesus and not be saved & you can be in the presence of Jesus and not be saved                  its likewise true of so many areas where God challenges our lives. We must be urgent to do what God tells us NOW!

For example, many men are terrible husbands, until the day when their wife just gives up – then they wake up, but then it may be too late.

You begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us”: Many will seek to enter (in the sense of wishing to enter), but they will not be able to. When the door is open, it is open; when it is shut, it is shut there is a real difference between a mere seeking and striving to enter.

The destiny of those who don’t strive to enter.

28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth: They will be in hell (the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth), and they will see that others that have entered into the kingdom instead of them. And if you don’t have teeth “teeth will be provided!”

Matt 22:11-13 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12’Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’    There are those who seem to be last in this life who will be first, and there are those you might think to be first who will be last.

Those in (or out) of the kingdom may be different than what some might have expected.

 “But, Lord,” people will protest, “we ate with You. We listened to You. We were at church regularly. We went to the potluck dinners every Sunday And the Lord will say, “I don’t know you,” because the issue is not association with JesusIt’s regeneration by Jesus!

That is why Jesus says, “Strive to enter in,” The apostle Paul told us be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him.  For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.

Phil 2:12-13 TLB