Season 1, Episode 79
For Thursday, April 30, 2015
“The Influence of the Kingdom”
Welcome to The New You, where we focus on maintaining and accentuating the new that Christ has created in you. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s scripture:
Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened” (Mat. 13:33).
We return our attention to the kingdom parables, as we have done all this week. Today, we come to the parable of the leaven.
In Jesus’ story, a woman is making bread. She has three measures of meal allocated and adds the leaven to each measure for the intended rising effect.
This parable’s lesson about the kingdom is about the influence of the kingdom. Like leaven, the influence of the kingdom may be silent, unassuming, but powerfully influential. No one comes in contact with someone who is truly living for Jesus without being affected in a good way. It may be a small impact or it may be a large impact, but all are impacted when they encounter a Christian.
Christianity spreads by the factual truth of the gospel. It’s not by military force or by some type of outlandish method. The power is in God’s Word (Rom. 1:16). That’s why Paul, arguably one of the greatest evangelists that Christianity has ever known, said that he did not “come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring … the testimony of God” (1 Cor. 2:1). He was determined to know only Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). That’s the message that Paul would herald because that is the message that will save souls. That is the message that, like the domino effect, can be spread from one person to another person to another (2 Tim. 2:2; Mat. 5:16).
Back to the parable of the leaven, it is interesting to note that this is the only time the New Testament uses leaven in a good sense. Jesus warned of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Mat. 16), and Paul warned of the leaven of false teachers. He said, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9).
The kingdom, by contrast, can spread in a good way. Love, kindness, mercy, and grace are concepts that are central to the gospel message, and those characteristics can spread just as quickly as hate, meanness, cruelty, and sin.
Let’s wrap it up: Today, members of Christ’s kingdom must meditate on the kingdom’s ability to grow and influence our world. We can’t give up just because our culture is shifting! The first century church shows us that the kingdom can actually thrive in that type of environment!
We must remember that we don’t want to covert people to baptism, to a cappella music, or to attending all three services throughout the week. I’m not disparaging any of these things, but they’re not that to which we have been called. We have been called into Christ. People need to be converted to Christ. When they are converted to the Lord, then they will be willing to submit to what He says regarding baptism, a cappella music and regular assembly with likeminded Christians.
Preach – and live – “Christ crucified.” Let’s convert people to Jesus by showing them Jesus in our lives.
Memory Verse: This week’s verse is Colossians 1:13:
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13).
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Join us next time when we’ll discuss the VALUE of the kingdom. What makes the church intrinsically valuable? Just how valuable is it? That’s tomorrow on The New You.