Harmony of the Gospels

 Harmony of the Gospels

-AD 28-
By Sea of Galilee
(27) Famous Parables of Sower, Seed, Tares, Mustard Seed, Leaven, Treasure, Pearl, Net, Lamp
(Joel 3:13) Matthew 13:1-52, Mark 4:1-34, Luke 8: 4-18

 

Introduction

The parables of Jesus are given in three of the Gospels; John is the only Gospel that doesn’t record any of His parables.  Jesus used things that people were familiar with as the subject for the parables.  In the first three, He used farming as the theme, and He talked about sowing seed, the types of soil and the weeds which choke the grain.  You need to understand what the seed, soil and weeds, and so forth, are symbols of, before you can understand the message.  And by the way, the message is also for us today.  In the Old Testament, Joel used the symbolism of the harvest to illustrate God’s judgment of the wicked.

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.--Joel 3:13 (KJV)

This verse is talking about God’s judgment of the wicked; His wrath.  When their wickedness has fully matured, He will encourage them to destroy one another.  God doesn’t cut off the wicked at once, but waits until their wickedness is at its worst.  In that way, we can see that He is long-suffering with those who have abused His justice for so long.  In Genesis 15:16, we are told that God waited for the iniquity of the Amorites to come to its full ripeness, But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.  God waited until, in His opinion, they had been given enough opportunities to repent and turn from their evil practices to faith in Him, and then He dealt with them.  Have you ever met or heard of an Amorite?  I don’t think so, because God removed them from the earth.  In Revelations, we are told of God’s final judgment upon the earth, and He uses the symbolism of the harvest here also.

15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Rev 14:15-19 (KJV)


Here in these verses, through the symbolism that John used, we get a picture of the wrath of God, applied to unrepentant men.  Notice that it is a harvest, and what is being reaped-mankind.  There will be an end to God’s patience.  I’m thankful that I will not have to stand against the wrath of God, because I have placed my faith in the Son of God.

 
The Parable of the Sower

The first parable that we will look at is the “Parable of the Sower”; it is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

 

-Matthew-

1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
(Matthew 13:1-23)

The Gospel of Matthew is probably the key Gospel to the Bible, and chapter 13 is the key to this Gospel; therefore this chapter is very important.  It provides us with a better understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven than any other passage.  Here, Jesus for the first time speaks in parables; called the Mystery Parables.  His teaching reveals the condition of the Kingdom of Heaven in our present time. 

Remember, Jesus followed John the Baptist in preaching “,….. Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)  And Jesus talked about the laws that would be applied to that Kingdom, when He gave the Sermon on the Mount.  Then He demonstrated, through miracles, that He had the power to rule the kingdom; after which He sent His disciples out with the message.  The message was met with rejection-Israel rejected its King.  Therefore, Our Lord handed down a judgment against the cities where His mighty works had been done, and He also pronounced judgment against the religious rulers.  When they asked Him for a sign, He said that no sign would be given them, except that of Jonah.  He was speaking of His resurrection, and they were to have that fulfilled in Christ shortly after this.  Finally, He gave a very personal invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) 

Now the question arises: What will happen to the Kingdom of Heaven?  It is apparent that He did not establish it on the earth at His first coming.  So what will happen to the Kingdom of Heaven during the interval between His suffering on the cross and His glory that will be revealed at His second coming?  Well in the Mystery Parables, and there are eight of them, He sets forth the Kingdom of Heaven conditions on earth during this interval; the time in which we are currently living.

They are called Mystery Parables because in the Word of God a mystery is something hidden or secret up to a certain time and then revealed.  According to this definition, the church is a mystery, since it was not revealed in the Old Testament.  It was revealed after the death and resurrection of Christ.  Actually, there could be no church until Christ died and rose again.  Ephesians 5:25 says that “…..Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Other mysteries are Christ’s incarnation, His intersession for us, our justification and sanctification, and indeed the whole work of redemption.  These things are difficult to understand, but are made clearer by the action of the Holy Spirit.  Those lacking the Holy Spirit, are numb to spiritual things, so they think they are tall tales or just entertainment.

It is important to note that the Kingdom of Heaven is not the same as the church.  The Kingdom of Heaven today is all Christendom (the portion of the world in which Christianity is predominant can be considered Christendom).  Obviously, the church is in Christendom, but is not all of it by any means.

The Mystery Parables show the course of the kingdom after it had been offered, and then rejected by Israel.  They reveal what is going to take place between the time of Christ’s rejection, and the time when He returns to earth as King.  With these parables, Our Lord covers the entire period between his rejection by Israel and His return to the earth to establish his Kingdom; therefore these parables are very important.
 
As we begin reading chapter 13, notice that Jesus’ actions are extremely interesting, for it says, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.  And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.” (v. 1,2)  He did not have a house of His own, and He did not have a chapel of His own to preach in.  By this He teaches us not to desire the external surroundings of worship, such as a large building, and beautiful grounds, but to make the best of the facilities that God gives us.  That’s what we are doing here at the Inn, and I am grateful that God has given us comfortable chairs, a podium, a piano and clean walls and floors.  But to God, we are the church, and it is our worship, obedience, faithfulness and love that matters.

But note the symbolism here, “The same day went Jesus out of the house,” which speaks of the house of Israel.  “And sat by the sea side,”–the sea represents the gentile nations (a symbolism used elsewhere in scripture).  Our Lord is leaving the nation of Israel and turning to the world.  He is now speaking of what will take place in the world until He returns as king.  This act denotes a tremendous change that has taken place in His ministry. 

Great multitudes were gathered together to hear him, and He went into a ship and began to talk to them as they stood on the shore.  “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” (v. 3)   In this parable our Lord answers a very obvious and a very important question.  The same sower, Christ, and the same preachers sent by Him, always sow the same seed: so why doesn’t it always have the same effect?  Why doesn’t this seed do as well in one as in another?  Christ said publicly through this parable that the reason for this is that men for the most part, either do not receive it, or do not permit it to ripen.  Let’s go ahead and look at Christ’s interpretation of sower.  He will tell us later that the sower is the Son of man, the name that Jesus applied to himself, and that the seed represents the Word of God.  When He continued His teaching, He said, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (v. 4-8)

Sowing seed is a familiar sight in Palestine.  They would sort of scratch the surface of the ground with a very crude plow.  Sometimes they didn’t even do that much.  Then the sower would go out and fling the seed upon the earth.  Even today in our land in the springtime, all the way from California to South Carolina, and from Minnesota to Florida, you will see farmers sowing wheat, corn and cotton.  It is a very familiar sight-of course; we use machines to sow the seed, while in that day it was sown by hand.

As I have mentioned, the sower represents the Lord Jesus, and all whom He sends forth to preach are sowers under Him.  He is the one sowing the seed, and I believe that defines his work in the world today.  He is the King, but He laid aside his regal robes and today He is doing the work of a farmer, sowing seed-but he is still the King.

The seed represents the Word of God.  The field symbolizes the world.  Notice that it is the world, not the church.  We are talking about the state of affairs of our world.  I think the picture is something like this: Here is the church in the world, and outside there are multitudes of people who have not received Christ.  The Word of God is given to this one, and the word is given to that one, and the word is given to another.  One accepts, another does not accept.  Our business is to sow the seed, although not everyone will receive it.

The Lord Jesus has charge of this program of sowing seed.  He has given me a little corned to work in, and my business is to sow seed here at the Inn.  I want to be specific here.  This is the day for sowing seed.  I don’t want to split hairs, but the “harvest” is not the picture for today.  But someone says, “Didn’t Christ say, ‘Pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest’?”  Yes, and let’s look at it again: “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.  Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38) 

This passage occurs just before the Lord sent out His apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  The age of the law was coming to an end.  Harvest time comes after seed has been sown.  For fifteen hundred years, approximately, under Law, the seed had been sown.  Then the harvest came, and a new age, a new dispensation, came in.  At the close of one age there is a harvest, at the beginning of another age there is the sowing of seed.  But I want to emphasize that the harvest at the end of an age is judgment.  The final judgment of God, where He will separate His sheep from the goats is still in the future; He will at that time, harvest the souls of all men and women and deliver them into a heavenly home, or to everlasting torment.

However, in our age we are sowing the seed of the Word of God.  Some people, when they hear the Word of God are immediately changed, and others will listen every week for years before they receive it into their hearts, and some never will.  It is my business to sow the seed into the world, and if you are a child of God that is your business too.

Now notice where the seed falls.  It falls on four types of soil, and three fourths of the seeds do not grow-they die.  There is nothing wrong with the seed, but the soil is the problem.  You can argue election all you want to, but in this parable there is a lot of free will exhibited.  The condition of the soil is all important as far as the seed is concerned.

Now let’s look at how Jesus interpreted the types of soil on which the seed fell.  He said that some of it fell by the wayside, and the birds came and ate it up.  This is how He explained it to His disciples. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (v.19)  The birds represent the evil one-the Devil takes away the seed sown by the wayside.  This is something that ought to cause every church member to examine his own heart.  Friends, don’t apply this to the other fellow, apply it to yourself.  Someone has written a clever little poem which says:

When you get to heaven
You will likely view,
Many folk there
Who’ll be a shock to you.

But don’t be surprised
Or even show a care,
For they might be a little shocked
To see you there.

The wayside soil apparently represents church members, professing Christians.  They heard the word of God, but it was not the hearing of faith.  The word was not mixed with faith-or if it was, it was a formal, intellectual faith which simply nodded the head.  In other words, to folk like this, Christianity is a sideline.  Belonging to the church is like belonging to a lodge or club.  These folk are in deep freeze.  Not only do we find them in our churches, but some of them have fallen away from the church and are in cults and “isms.”

The second group is represented by rocky soil.  “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (v. 20, 21)  These rocky ground folk are the opposite of the first group.  It was the Devil who took the word away from the wayside hearers, but the flesh is the culprit with this group.  Instead of being in deep freeze, they are in the oven-warm, emotional, shedding tears, greatly moved.  They might be called Alka-Seltzer Christians.  There is a lot of fizz in them.  They make as much fuss during a service as a rocket on a launching pad, but they never get into orbit.  They have a great deal of energy during special services, but they are like burned out Roman candles after the service is over.

Have you ever watched a piece of paper being blown about by a breeze?  As soon as the breeze stops, it lays dead still.  That is just like a lot of so-called Christians.  When there is a sensational service going on they get all enthusiastic, but they have no relationship with Christ.  It is just an emotional high.  They are the rocky-ground folk. 

The third group of hearers is like thorny ground-“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (v. 22)  With these folk the world crowds out the Word of God.  The Devil got the wayside folk, and the flesh took care of the rocky-ground folk, but the world chokes out the Word for this class of hearers.  The cares of the world move in.  Sometimes it is poverty, and other times it is the deceitfulness of riches.  It is quite interesting to note that folk at each end of the social spectrum-extreme poverty and extreme prosperity-are folk who are most difficult to reach for Christ.  A great many people have let the cares of the world crowd out the Word of God.  Those three types of soil do not represent three types of believers-they are not believers at all.  They have heard the Word and have only professed to receive it.  My friends, it is well for all of us to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are really in the faith.

Thank God some seed falls on good ground, and our Lord interprets this for us-“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (v. 23)  These are hearers who receive the Word (the Gospel) and understand it.  Some of them don’t bring forth much fruit-only thirtyfold, but some bring forth an hundredfold.

There must be an understanding of the Word.  The Ethiopian eunuch, you remember, was reading the Word, but he didn’t understand it.  So the Spirit of God put Philip there as a hitchhiker.  He took a ride with the Ethiopian and gave him a ticket to heaven.  He explained the Word to him-that the one who was lead as a sheep to the slaughter was the Lord Jesus Christ, that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.  The Ethiopian believed and received Him.

Philip was sowing the seed of the Word of God.  This is a Kingdom-of-Heaven situation as it reveals the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is sowing the seed of the Word of God in the world and that the Holy Spirit applies it to the hearts of those who want to believe.

After giving the parable of the sower, Jesus had some quite interesting things to say, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  Well, if we have these things on the side of our heads called ears, can’t we hear Him?  Yes, but notice the question and his answer-“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (v. 10)  The disciples knew how to get the parables explained to them, but they also wanted the people to understand them.  Someone has said that a parable is an earthly story, with a heavenly meaning.  This is a good definition.  But why did He do it; why did He speak in parables?  “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” (v. 11)  If a man wants to know the Word of God, he can know it.  He who wants to know the truth, can know it.  But you can shut your ears to it.  There are multitudes of so-called broadminded people who shut their ears to the Word of God.  If you don’t want to hear it, you won’t hear it.  Not only would you fail to hear it, but you wouldn’t understand it if you did hear it.  You must have the kind of ear that wants to hear the Word of God.  “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (v. 12)  God uses the same rule in dispensing understanding as he does with all of His other gifts; He bestows them on those who improve them, but takes them away from those who bury them.  If you know a little truth, and you want to know more, the Lord will add to it.  If you don’t want to know the truth, the Lord will see to it that you won’t get it.  You see, the Lord will never shut the door to one who wants to hear.  He makes it very clear that this is His reason for speaking in parables.  Those who don’t want to hear them will not understand them.

The Lord drew His parables from commonplace things, things that were at the fingertips of the people in that day.  He gave them great spiritual truths illustrated by things that they knew and could see.  Someone has put this concept in verse-

He talked of grass and wind and rain
And fig trees and fair weather,
And made it His delight to bring
Heaven and earth together.

He spoke of lilies, vines and corn,
The sparrow and the raven.
And words so natural, yet so wise
Were on men’s hearts engraven.

In the parable of the sower, we see what could be called a Kingdom-of-Heaven condition; that is, it exhibits God’s present ruler ship over the entire earth as He calls out a people to His name.  And God is carrying out His program today through the church, the called-out body, composed of every true believer.  Therefore, we have a Kingdom-of-Heaven condition today as God is carrying on His program of bringing folks to a saving knowledge of Christ.

I hope that you are good soil; that you have a good and honest heart, one that will receive and retain the truth, for in such a heart the Word of God will grow, and there will be new life.  Jesus told Nicodemus about this new life, when he told him, “…..Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  You have heard the Gospel; you know that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  If you have not done so, I would invite you to ask him to forgive your sins and to come into your heart. 

 

-Mark-

1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
14 The sower soweth the word.
15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
(Mark 4:1-29)

Jesus spoke this parable from a ship, which was launched into the sea, and there was a great crowd on shore, listening to His lecture.  He said that there was a sower, who went out to sow.  The same Gospel is preached everywhere, but it does not have the same success.  It is the fault of man.  Some receive the Gospel with faith and by the grace of God are saved; others reject the same Gospel, and they will get justice; the judgment of God is never unjust.  Romans 6:23 states, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  A wage is something you deserve and earn.  Salvation is by the grace of God.

Jesus gave the parable of the sower to the crowd, but when He left the ship to go to a place, where He could be alone, the disciples followed at His heals.  They wanted Him to explain the parable, and even asked why He was speaking this way, for this was a new method of teaching for Him.  He said that the mysteries of the kingdom of God, was for them to know, but not for those who were not of the kingdom.

When He explained the parable, He declared what things would choke out the word of God so that it would not become fruitful.  He declared those things to be: first, the cares of life that we encounter in this world; second, the deceitfulness of riches; third, the lust for other things. 
 
And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick. (Mark 4:21)  Even though the light of the Gospel is rejected by the world, it should be lit, so that the wickedness of the world can be revealed.
 
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.  (Mark 4:24)  We should be very liberal with the gifts that God gives to us.  We need to share them with others, especially with our brothers and sisters of faith.  The promise that we have here is that the more generous that we are, the more bountiful that God’s blessings will be toward us.

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; (Mark 4:26)  I plant seeds, but I don’t understand what happens when a seed germinates and begins to grow.  The Lord sows and reaps, but we don’t understand how.  His ways are not our ways, but are far above our understanding.

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. (Mark 4:27)  When we sow the word, we need to be patient and wait for results, and never doubt that there will be an effect.  “God’s word will not return void.”  The minister has a duty to diligently work the ground, and then to give God all the credit for the success that it bears.  The mighty work that God does to change the seed to a blade and the blade to an ear is mysterious.  It is also a mystery how the Holy Spirit can use the word of God and change the heart of a sinner.  It is only by the fruit that develops from the seed, that we know we have a successful crop.  We are also known by our fruit.

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. (Mark 4:28)  It is by the power of God that the new birth takes place in the heart of a believer; and it is His power that creates and maintains all life.

-Luke-

4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
  Luke 8:4-18 (KJV)

After Jesus had revealed this Parable, His disciples were inquisitive about the meaning of it.  In verse 9, they asked Him, What might this parable be?  Jesus wanted them to understand that they had a great advantage in both hearing and understanding the word of God over others who were not so privileged, and that’s why He said in verse 10, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.  It is a great privilege to be led into the light, when others are left in darkness.

Now, when we think about the meaning of the parable, and the explanation that Jesus gives for it, it is clear that the heart of men is the soil into which the seed of God’s word is sown.  The heart is capable of receiving it, and of bringing forth fruit from it, but unless that seed is sown into it, it will produce nothing of value.  We must, therefore work to bring the seed and soil together.  The success of the seeding is very dependent upon the condition of the soil.

The devil is a subtle and spiteful enemy, who makes it his business to hinder the word of God.  Verse 12  states, then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts.  He takes it from those who are careless hearers, so they will not believe and be saved.  We cannot be saved, unless we believe.  The Gospel will not save us unless it is mixed with faith; therefore the devil does all he can to keep us from believing.  Sometimes, he works to make us forget or as it says in Hebrews to let it slip, Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (Hebrews 2:1 (KJV)  Note that the seed that fell by the wayside was trodden down.  The devil will lead the careless hearers to shut their ears against the word; they will in effect, trample it under their feet.

There are some people on whom the word of God makes an impression, but when they encounter trials, like the seed that falls on the rock, they lack depth and durability; they will show their hypocrisy in times of trial. They surrender easily to temptations, and fall away despite their good beginnings.

The pleasures of this life are like the dangerous thorns, which choke the good seed of the word.  Be careful not to love the ease and pleasure of this life, because Jesus warned that we can be kept from heaven, if we are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life.  Those things that delight the senses can ruin the soul.

Thank God, there is good ground, which brings forth good fruit; it is an honest and good heart, which is well-disposed to receive the instructions and commandments of God.  This is the heart that is free from sinful pollutions, it looks to God for help, it is tender, and when it hears the word it understands it, and it keeps it; just like the good soil not only receives the seed, but keeps it.  And the result is that where the word is well kept there will be fruit in abundance.  But we must have patience, and wait upon God to bring us growth and maturity, for it says in verse 15, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Now in verse 16, Jesus changes the subject from sowing seed to the function of a candle, No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.  Christians are to be lights in the world.  Their light must shine before men; they must not only be good, but do good. 

In the next verse He says, For nothing is secret.  God knows our thoughts as well as our intentions.  And those things that God has given us are not to be kept secret.  Gifts which are not used for the glorification of God or the edification of the brethren, will be taken away, for whosoever hath, to him shall be given.  Those who have gifts, and do good with them, will receive more, but the person who buries his talent, will lose it.  Many leave the family of God and go back into the world, however in I John 2:10, we are told, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.  It may appear to us that they lost their faith, but the truth is that they only seem to believe, and they were never truly converted.  Those who are faithful hearers of the word will continue to be doers of the work.

 


The Parable of the Tares

-Matthew-

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
(Matthew13:24-43)

We don’t need to wonder about the meaning of this parable, because the Lord interprets it for us.  

In this parable, the “good seed” is not the “word”, as in the first parable; instead it is that which the word has produced.  The “good seed” is the children of the kingdom of God.  The process is described in I Peter 1:23, Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  God’s people are “sown”, that is, scattered here and there in the “field” of the world.  But then Satan comes on the scene, because he is active where the children of the kingdom gather.  He “sows”, “children of the wicked one”, who profess to be “children of the kingdom”, and outwardly, they are so much like the true children, that in the end only the angels can separate them.  Satan has such great powers of deception, that his children actually believe that they are children of the kingdom.  This parable is not a description of the world, but instead it is about those who profess to be in the kingdom; the subject is not mere unbelievers, it is religious unbelievers.  He conversed with such religious unbelievers on many occasions.  Listen to what He had to say in John 8:38-44.  

38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

In verse 30 He said, Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  Gathering tares into bundles, to be burnt, doesn’t imply immediate judgment.  It is at the end of the age, when all who reject Christ will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment.  But first the wheat is gathered into the barns.  At the Rapture God will remove the church from the world, and at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb we will be presented to Christ as His bride.  The Rapture is the subject of 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 (KJV).

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

 

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

-Matthew-

31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
(Matthew 13:31-32)

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying-The parables of the Sower and the Tares describes the condition of the world, that is, how it will be until Christ returns and establishes His kingdom.  This parable is different, because it expresses the small beginnings of it and the large increase and growth of it.  The kingdom grows believer by believer.

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field-The phrase “the kingdom of heaven” has been given several meanings, but the reference is to God’s rule over the earth during the Gospel dispensation through the ministry of His word and the administration of its ordinances.  The “grain of mustard seed” can be either, the Gospel, the people of God, or the grace of God that is in them.  The man that sowed it is the Lord Jesus Christ; and the field in which He sowed it is the world, or His church throughout the world.

Which indeed is the least of all seeds-A mustard seed is very small.  It is often used in proverbs to indicate the least thing, and so did Christ in two other parables:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
  Matt 17:20 (KJV)

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
  Luke 17:6 (KJV)

There are smaller seeds, but the meaning is, that this is one of the least, or smallest, of all seeds, which were commonly known in Judea.  The illustration is meant to express the small beginnings of the Gospel dispensation, through the word of God and by the grace of God in the hearts of His people, and how small their number was at first.  In the beginning, the Gospel and the preaching of it, were like a grain of mustard seed; little, insignificant and even looked down on.  And the circumstances surrounding the Gospel were very discouraging, because it was considered a novelty, lacking common sense and reason, and leading to depravity.  Also, violent opposition and persecution came close on the heels of Gospel preaching and believing.

When a person first believes the word of God, faith in Christ is very weak and small, like a grain of mustard seed.  And spiritual strength is small, experience in the love of God is small, and the light and knowledge of God’s word is small.  The church of God, which sprung up by the ministry of the word, and through the work of grace, was like a small mustard seed.  God’s people were small in number in Christ’s time, and for a long time after His ascension; the early church made a very scandalous figure, because of the outward poverty of the people, and on account of the persecutions that they lived through.  Then to compound their problems, errors and heresies were sown among them by evil men, who crept in among them.

 But when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree.-Luke says, “it’s a great tree”.  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
  Luke 13:19 (KJV)

At that time the mustard tree grew to a great size in the land of Judea.  I have read that one of the branches of this tree was used to cover a potter’s booth, and in another place it was said to be as tall as a fig tree.  Although the mustard tree grew to this size, it was considered to be an herb, by Christ.  So, the illustration given by Christ refers to the very large growth and increase of the Gospel, of the increase in the number who receive it, and the growth of the church of Christ.  The ministry of the Gospel, which was at first for the Jews only, but afterwards was given to the Gentiles, and then carried through the whole world.  It has made a great deal of progress through the ages, particularly during the reformation, and it will increase much more toward the end of time. 

Now this parable is also a picture of how the grace of God works in the heart.  There, there is a gradual increase of assurance and understanding, and of hope and of faith.

In the end, during the kingdom age, when Christ reins over the whole earth, the church will fill the whole earth, and the kingdoms of the world will become the church, and all nations of the earth will flock to it.  At that time, we will be favored with the presence of God and the Lamb, and the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit will bring glory and happiness to God’s people, and there will be the glorious appearance of Christ.

So that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.-The people of God are some places in scripture compared to particular birds; such as the eagle, dove and sparrow.  There is good reason for making the comparison, because at times we are fearful, weak and defenseless.  We are exposed to danger, and wonderfully delivered.  We are likely to wander and go astray.  There is safety and security in those branches.  Like birds, we are to soar aloft toward the high calling of God, in Christ.  Jesus said, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt 6:33 (KJV)

 

-Mark-

30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
  Mark 4:30-34 (KJV)

When the first Christian church met, it was very small; it was all contained in one room, and the number of the names was one hundred and twenty.  We are told how many were there in Acts 1:15, And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)  Never before and never since, were such great things undertaken by such a paltry handful.  When the apostles undertook the discipling of the nations, could they know that it was to end in such great glory, when it had such a weak and unlikely beginning?  The preaching of the Gospel in the world, increased and spread to the remotest nations on the earth, and it continues to grow, and will go on until the end of the age. 

Mark tells us, And with many such parables spake he the word unto them.  He made comparisons to those things that they were familiar with, and they easily understood because He used plain expressions.  And yet, He did not let them in on the meaning of the mysteries of the parables.  But everything He spoke to them at this time was in the form of a parable.    The disciples couldn’t understand these parables at first, but after He explained them in private, they did. 

The parable of the mustard seed is an illustration of the rapid growth of Christianity, from insignificant beginnings, to a great place on earth.

The illustration of the fouls of the air finding shelter in the branches of the mustard tree may have been drawn from Daniel 4:20-22.

20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:
22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.
  Dan 4:20-22 (KJV)

From the context of these verses, we know that this proved to be a very insecure refuge.  This was Daniel’s interpretation of a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had.  The king lost his mind and lived in the fields like an animal.

 

The Parable of the Leaven
-Matthew-

33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
(Matthew 13:33)

Another parable spake he unto them.-This parable is also concerning the spread of the Gospel and how it grew so rapidly.  So, in that respect, it continues the theme of the preceding parables.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven.-Every where else, where the word “leaven” is used, it is in a bad sense; standing for immorality, hatred, wickedness, false doctrine and such.  But here it is used in a good sense, and the Gospel is compared to it, on account of its small quantity.  It is only a little leaven that leavens the whole lump.  As the grain of mustard does, leaven expresses the small beginnings of the Gospel, and its insignificance in the eyes of men.  The characteristic of leaven, which is most particular to it alone, is that it causes the dough to rise or swell; it gets bigger and it grows because the leaven spreads through the whole lump.  In a similar fashion, the Gospel, reaches the conscience, penetrates the heart, and sets the affections on the right objects, and brings people to obedience to Christ.  And under God’s influence, the Gospel spreads by individuals through towns, cities, kingdoms, and nations. The swelling, assimilating the nature of the Gospel fills churches with those who will be saved, and makes them like one another, through a common faith in Christ.

Which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal-By the phrase “three measures of meal” is meant the born again children of God.  The comparison can be made, because meal is sifted, or separated; and the saints of God are to be separated from the rest of the world by their purity and goodness, being pure and good only through the righteousness of Christ.  Three measures is a small amount and may be meant to indicate the small number of God’s people, which at various times was said in scripture to be a remnant.  The placing of the leaven in the meal may be significant, because by the power of Christ the heart is opened to receive the Gospel.  It is the Gospel, which the Holy Spirit uses to work a miracle in the heart of a person, which results in “saving faith”.

Till the whole was leavened.-To be “leavened” by the Gospel, means to be evangelized by it.  The Gospel, just like the leaven, continues to operate until the whole person, soul and body, are influenced by it.  And in the world, the Gospel will go on and on until all the world is evangelized or until we reach the end of the age, when Christ reins over His kingdom.

 

The Parable of Treasure

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
(Matthew 13:44)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure.-The treasure is the Gospel, which is a treasure consisting of rich truths, great and precious promises; and it reveals the riches of God and Christ, and of heaven. 

Hid in a field.-The Gospel was in some respects hid from the Old Testament saints, who were under the Law.  And for a long time it was hid from the Gentile world; and it is entirely hid from those who are lost, because they are blinded by the god of this world.

The “field” means the Scriptures, where the Gospel is hid.  Therefore, we are to search the scriptures for it, like men who dig for silver and gold.

The which when a man hath found.-Reading, hearing, prayer and meditation are the means for searching for the Gospel.  Some men search diligently for it, and they find it; for others, who have no desire for it and never search for it, it is found accidentally, or so it appears to them, but God has brought it to them, through the action of the Holy Spirit.

He hideth.-He hides it in his heart, so he won’t lose it and so that it can’t be taken away from him.

And for joy thereof.-The Gospel, when understood and believed brings good tidings of great joy.  It is the “good news” for sinners.

Goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.-This is not to be interpreted literally, for I don’t know of anyone who ever sold all he had to get the purchase price of a Bible.  But the intention here is to show the great worth of the Gospel and the word of God.  Those who are led to faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s word, will hold the word very dear to them.


 

The Parable of the Pearl

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
(Matthew 13:45-46)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man.-This parable may point out the work of the Holy Spirit in seeking, finding and miraculously changing the heart of those that Christ purchased with His suffering and death.  The emphasis is on the great love of Christ for those who are His and the value He places on them.  They are to Him, a pearl of great price; so highly esteemed by Him because they are His inheritance, and His precious jewels.  He gave all that He had for them, for He gave His life for their sake.  He gave up His glory, became poor, and even gave himself as a ransom for them, and so purchased them with the price of His own blood.  And so Christ is the merchant man in this parable, and He is said to be:

Seeking goodly pearls.-It is not by chance that Christ finds and calls men to have faith in Him, and it is not because some have value because they have more excellent qualities; it is only by God’s grace that we are saved.  However, the depiction here is of a sinner, who is sensible, and he is seeking the true way of salvation, and upon finding Christ gives all that he has for him.  This seeker seeks after a variety of things on the trail of Christ, in order to obtain salvation by civility, morality, legalism, fasting, prayer, a profession of religion, and submission to external ordnances; but at length he finds Christ, not through his own efforts, but by the grace and mercy of God.

The pearl of great price.-He is the One who is of an unspeakable brightness and glory, of inherent value and worth, who enriches those whom possess Him, and precious to those who believe.  He is more valuable than anything that we could give for Him, so we give our sinful self, our righteous self; for money, honors and riches of this world will not buy Him.

Who, when he had found one pearl of great price.-The one who seeks is under divine direction, for it says, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14 (KJV)  It is the Holy Spirit who calls and applies the word of God to bring “saving faith” into the heart of a sinner.  Those who are divinely led to study the scriptures, and who by prayer and study finds the truths of the Gospel, have found a treasure that transcends the value of the pearl of the highest price.  Those who have Jesus, would never give Him up, or sell Him for any price, and they reckon all other things as loss compared to Him.   Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price.

 


The Parable of the Net

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
  Matt 13:47-52 (KJV)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net.-It is the Gospel and the preaching of it that is compared to a net.  God has constructed the Gospel for the specific purpose of gathering in sinners to Christ, and to His church.  Just like a net, the Gospel can do nothing by itself; It is only when it is placed in the hands of the Holy Spirit that it draws the corruptions out of men.

That was cast into the sea.-The term “the sea” means the world.  It is a proper relationship, because of the storms and tempests of afflictions and persecutions that the saints meet with, and due to the continuous troubles that are in the world.  And then there is the restlessness and instability of the things in the world, and the dangers that abound.  Casting the net into the sea indicates the preaching of the Gospel in the world; particularly by New Testament ministers.

And gathered of every kind.-Those that are gathered into the church are of every kind, of all nations in the world, Jews and Gentiles: of all social ranks, rich and poor; of all sorts of sinners, of good men and bad.  Some are truly saved by grace, and others are only hypocrites, who make a profession of faith, but their works deny their faith.  They have nothing but a form of godliness, and are still dead in their sins.

Which, when it was full.-God will set the time for the Gospel to cease, and after that no more men and women will be saved.  Some believe that there is a certain number, which must be reached; others believe that it will be when those who are predestined to be saved have been brought into the church.  I believe that God will withdraw the Holy Spirit, when the immorality of the world is so great that He will decide to no longer put up with mankind; He did that once before, when He destroyed the world by flood.

They drew to shore,-The preaching of the Gospel will cease, when there is no more use for it; that time will be determined by God.

And sat down.-The ministers of Christ, having completed their work, will enter into the joy of the Lord and rest from their labors.

And gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.-Fishermen throw back those fish that are not good to eat.  Those who will sort the good men from the bad appear to be angels.  The good, who have received Christ as Savior, will be gathered into Christ’s barn-the mansions in Christ’s Father’s house.  As for the bad, who have not received the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ, they shall be rejected, as good for nothing, and will be cast into the lake of fire.

So shall it be at the end of the world.-Just like fishermen, when they have drawn their net to shore, will pick out the good fish and put them in a safe place; but the dead, rotting and useless fish will be thrown away, so will it be with men at the last days.

The angels shall come forth.-God will order the angels out of heaven and they will follow His orders.

And sever the wicked from among the just.-The ungodly will not stand in judgment with them; sinners will not be included with the righteous.  One will pass to Christ’s right hand, the other to His left; one will go to life eternal, and the other to everlasting punishment.  They will be separated from one another for eternity.

Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things?-Christ asked His disciples if they understood all the parables-the mustard seed, and leaven, of the treasure hid in the field, the pearl of great price, and the net cast into the sea.  He knew that they were having some difficulty, but it was important that they understand, and He was willing to explain the parables to them.

They say unto him, Yea, Lord.-I believe that Jesus illuminated the understanding of His disciples and that their quick understanding of these parables, shows that.

Then said he unto them.-Christ believed that His disciples were ready to preach the Gospel, and to use their gifts, therefore He gave them the following parable to energize them.

He said, Therefore every scribe.-He is not referring here to the Scribes who were employed in copying the Law, but instead of evangelical scribes; those spoken of in Matthew 23:34 (KJV), Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.  He is referring to all those who are preachers of the Gospel.

This is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven.-Men who understand things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven, such as grace, justification, sanctification, the doctrines of the Gospel, and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Is like unto a man that is an householder.-Someone who has a household or family that he is caring for; such as a minister of the Gospel, who has a church under his care.

Which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.-“His treasure” means either Christ, who is the great storehouse of grace and truth, and from whom ministers receive their gifts; or the Gospel, which is put into men’s hearts, after being given out by His ministers. 
 
“Things old and new”
does not refer to the new Gospel and the old Law.  The Gospel is actually older than the law, because it was hid by God, and ordained before the world was created.  And it does not refer to the Old and New Testament, because the New Testament was not yet in existence, although it was close.  But the phrase appears to mean the abundance and variety of the Gospel provisions, which the ministers of it are to present to the various cases under their care. 

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