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- Good morning (evening); everyone.

o And thank you for joining us in order to worship our God! Once again.

I hope that the Lord will indeed; be with us in this place.

And that God will minister to each of our hearts and minds; Today.

- Over past couple of weeks; weve been spending some time

o In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 13:

Where Jesus gives us: a long series of parables

About the Kingdom of Heaven.

ORThe Kingdom of God.

o The Gospels tell us that Jesus went around preaching & teaching

About: the Kingdom.

And he often did itthrough the means; of stories.

Like the ones found in Matthew 13.

- Weve already looked at the story; of the sower:

o Who goes out to sow some seed

That famous parable tells us about the Lord God;

Who plants his word into us;

o And the Lords word is trustworthy & sure

To find the good soil

That is hiding inside; of every person.

- Weve also looked at the story; of the farmer whose field begins to grow:

o Both wheat and weeds.

o And I reminded us: that our job is not


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To weed the Lords field; on Gods behalf.

o But in fact; our job is to learn how to become patient instead.

Our job is to extend grace rather than judgement.

To hope for best; rather than assuming the worst

About other people.

- Today (tonight); were going to move on

o Towards several more; of Jesuss parables.

Strangely enough

The further we move into Matthew 13;

The shorter the stories become.

- Today, well be reading verses 31-35, 44-46, & 51-52;

o Giving us a broad selection of stories..

o Well also look at the book of Philippians; Chapter 3.

And read a portion from there as well.

The Bible tells us (in Matthew 13)

- (That) Jesus told them another parable!

o The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.

Which a man took; and planted into his field.

Though it is the smallest of all seeds;

Yet when it grows it become the largest of garden plants;

And becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch upon its branches.

- He told them still another parable:

o The kingdom of heaven is like yeast


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That a woman took and mixedinto about sixty pounds of flour;

Until it worked its way all through the dough

- Jesus spoke all these things to the crowdin parables.

o He did not say anything to them; without using a parable.

So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables.

And I will utter things hiddensince the creation of the world.

- (Jesus went on)

o The kingdom of heaven is like treasurehidden; in a field.

When a man found it, he hid it again;

And then in his joywent and sold all he had!

In order to buy that field.

- Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.

o When he found one of great value!

He went away and sold everything he had;

In order to buy that pearl.

- Have you understood all these things? Jesus asked.

o Yes, they replied.

o And so he said to them:

Therefore every teacher of the lawwho has become a disciple;

In the kingdom of heaven.

Is like the owner of a house; who brings out of his storeroom

Both new treasures as well as the old


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- (Turning now) to the book of Philippians; Chapter 3.

o Starting in the second half of verse 4

The Apostle Paul writes to us.

- If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh;

o Then I have more!

Circumcised on the eighth day; of the people of Israel

Of the tribe of Benjamin. A Hebrew among Hebrews!

In regards to the Law; I was a Pharisee!

As for zealI persecuted the church.

And as for righteousness based on the law I was faultless.

- But whatever were gains to me (then).

o I now consider lossfor the sake of gaining Christ.

What is more, I consider everything a loss!

Because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesusmy Lord

For whose sake I have lost all things.

o I consider them garbage!

So I might instead gain Christ.

And be found in him;

Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law;

But that which is through faithin Christ.

The righteousness that comes from God; on the basis of faith.

- I want to know Christyes

o To know the power of his resurrection!


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And to participate in his sufferings;

Becoming like him even in his death.

- And so, somehow, I might attain: the resurrection of the dead.

o Not that I have already obtained all this;

o Nor have I already arrived at my goal.

But I press on to take hold of that

For which Christ Jesus took hold of me

- Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet

o To have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do:

Forgetting what is behind and looking forward

To what lies ahead.

o I press on towards the goal to win the prize!

For which God has called meheavenward(s);

In Christ Jesus [my Lord].

- Thanks be to Godfor these Scriptures.

o Given to us, this morning (evening).

In the name of Christ we pray;

Amen.

- My friends:

o I think that its actually quite astounding!

o When you get right down to it.

(To think) that the God of all creation!


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Of Heaven & Earth; and all the cosmos.

And everything beyond

o The God who can answer the questionbehind every mystery.

That we humans encounter

And many more besides.

o The God of all truth and knowledge;

OF wisdom & understanding

- (That God) came to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

o And he told usstories.

Stories about things that have been hidden

Since the creation of the world!

According to Matthew;

- And those stories that Jesus told us:

o Are stories about farming

o And making bread!

Theyre about birds; and seeds; and tees.

Stories about fields and pearls.

And old treasuresas well as the new.

- I wonder if these stories; are about such simple and mundane things:

o Because Jesus intentionally choseto tell us about divine truth.

Through the use of ordinary imagery

- Or if divine truth is so rich and so deep.

o That it can only be truly described;


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o Through the useof stories

- I actually doubt that the images used in Matthew 13

o Are themselvesespecially holy or spiritual:

o At least; as opposed to any other!

Everyday imagesthat Jesus might have chosen to use.

But something about their character;

About the way that Jesus uses them revealsthe divine.

- Im reminded of a story shared by the author: Madeleine L'Engle.

o Who once told of a young woman who came to one of her lectures;

Madeleine wrote the famous childrens novel;

A Wrinkle in Timepublished in 1963.

Which contains many Christian themes and spiritual insights.

o The young lady in question came to one of Madeleines lectures and said:

I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was about 8 or 9

And I didnt understand it!

But I knew what it was about.

- The young woman at Madeleines lecture described the kind spiritual impact;

o A story can have.

That gut levelsort of understanding.

That expands our spirituality.

Even if we dont know exactly; whats going.

- I think that stories in Matthew 13 work much the same way;

o Especiallythe short ones!


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We can describe whats happening in the story:

But its up to you and the Holy Spiritto grasp; the Lord has to say.

- (Jesus tells us; in Matthew 13) That the Kingdom of God is likea seed;

o Planted into the ground

Although it might seem small and inconsequential today.

The Kingdom of God has potential! To becomeextraordinary.

And when the Kingdom of Heaven flourishes on this Earth;

All peoplelike birds; will flock and find rest upon its branches.

- The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeastmixed into some dough;

o We dont always see it

o And we dont even always knowthat its there!

But as the Kingdom of God works its way; into us

Pushing & pullinglike kneading some dough;

It has the power to completely change the substance; of who we are.

o Its like a chemical reaction; that creates something new.

- The stories of Jesus tell us that the Kingdom of God is not like an Earthly nation.

o It has no boundaries or political parties.

The Kingdom has no single language or single human culture.

The Kingdom of God does not expand;

Through the conquering power of emperors or kings.

o But instead; the Kingdom of God grows

Through the ordinary actsof holiness.

Through Gods people.


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- The Kingdom of God is not some distant or weird and far offplace.

o But its actually something intimately normal!

Something woven into the fabric of who we are.

Something that gives us purpose and meaning;

If we have the eyes and the earsto see it.

- I think thats what Jesus means when says that the Kingdom is like treasure;

o Hiddenin a field.

o Or a pearl; of great value!

Whenever we catch a glimpse; of what the Holy Spirit is doing

Or we feel the presence of Christmoving us:

In new directions.

The Kingdomdemands our attention.

- The Apostle Paul described it like a heavenward call upon his life.

o The presence of Jesus gave him focus.

o And it moved him forward.

Without Christ; nothing had value for Paul.

He went so far as to say (that) everything else is garbage

In comparisonto knowing Christ.

- Pauls words might sound extreme; to our modern ears.

o And even to his original audience

o He would have sounded shocking!

- He might have sounded like a zealot

o An extremist! That no one; reasonablecould imitate.


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Except that Paul himself said:

That he didnt consider himself; to have obtained anything

Thats beyond the rest of you.

o He said: I havent taken hold of the prize; yet!

NOR do I consider myselfespecially holy.

In fact; Ive given up on the entire idea of earning righteousness

Through the flesh

God has completely turned the scales!

Of what has value and worth for meupside-down;

- Instead; Paul argued that onlythrough the presence of Christ.

o Did he actually gain; the strength & the fire tokeep running!

Jesus himself became the source that gave Paul his fuel:

His energy; his passion

- The Kingdom of God created a miracle in Paul.

o Whereas he was once trapped; within the realm of his own self-confidence.

A Pharisee and a zealot persecuting the church.

A leader; earning respectthrough his actions.

- NeverthelessPaul found; that the worth earned by his work;

o Was worthless!

o In comparison to value; of knowing Christhimself.

- Every human is born with a certain spiritual hunger

o A desire to be fed by God; instead of ourselves.

o A desire to be held by the hands of Christ.


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We might understand itas a longing.

A desire that were born with; that seems to have no satisfaction.

- Our careers and our families

o Our homes; and our hobbies.

They might offer some taste of it.

But something is missing

- Many of ushave often overlooked the treasure in our own field.

o The pearl of great price seems too costly [or] too strange.

- We might think:

o (That) becoming a disciple of God ismore of a hobby;

o Its not really my profession

This religious stuff happens at church!

And thats it likes to stay

It doesnt follow me home.

- But God would rather that we find out that The Kingdom of God lives everywhere.

o That Gods purpose is woven into us

From very young to the very old.

From the beginning; to the end.

- He said to them:

o A disciple in the kingdom of heavenis like the owner of a house!

Who brings out of their storeroom

Both new treasuresas well as the old.

- The kingdom of God is wonderfully diverse;


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o The promises of Christ; have no beginning and no end.

o (Because) they are forever!

But at the center of everything is Christ; our king.

The rule and reign of God draws our entire world; together.

And the Kingdom exists in the ordinary and the everyday;

As much is it exists in the heavenly direction;

That God has called us towards.

- God has set out a goal for each of us to know Christ; and to be changed.

o Forgetting what is behind and moving straight ahead!

The Apostle Paul says;

I am striving to obtain that prize!

o I pray that you will all join mein this journey; to the Kingdom.

That Christ will satisfy our every need;

And change the ordinary into the holy.

- May God reveal the Kingdom to us today.


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- If you would join me in prayer this morning (evening).

o O Gracious & Mighty God!

We believe that we are made

To become your Kingdom people.

o O Christ; we pray that you will give to us:

Both eyes to see and ears to hearwhat your Kingdom is doing.

I pray that we will follow your lead.

And press on towards the goal that you!

Have called us towards.

- Create in us a clean heart

o O God, we pray:

o In the name of Jesus Christ;

Amen.