10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; 15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should[a] heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
We all know the parable of the sower. A man went to sow seed and some fell on the hard road and didn’t sprout; some fell where there were thorns and the seed was choked; some fell on shallow ground, sprang up quickly but then withered when the sun grew hot and some of the seed fell in fertile ground. A bit later, the Lord Jesus explained the parable that the sower was the Son of God, the seed is the word of God and the soil is the heart of man. The thorns represent temptations and difficulties. In many people’s lives, the word of God is choked by difficulties. The shallow ground is what some people’s hearts are like. They accept the word with joy but the seed dies when the sun is hot or when difficulties come. The road is like some people who listen to the word but the birds of the air take the seed before it can grow. Some people are like the soil with thorns. They are thinking of future plans and many other things and the word of God can not grow.
Today, however, I would like to talk about the scripture between the parable and the its explanation and that is Matthew 13 v 10 – 17. You can walk out of a service poorer than when you came in and the little that you have can be taken from you. We make up our own mind about how God’s kingdom works. I think I have so much and criticize and even the little you have is taken from you. So when you listen, you should do so in fear and trembling so that you do not listen a curse upon you.
The Lord Jesus spoke about the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. In the gospel of Mark the word secret is singular but in Matthew, it is plural. The first secret is the Kingdom of heaven. Often, people experiencing difficulties, can’t see the Kingdom of heaven. Joseph knew this secret. He saw the Kingdom of heaven in the worst circumstances. Rejection is a big word in psychology these days. Joseph was rejected by his brothers; he was sold into slavery and his father thought that he was dead. After that he landed in prison but he didn’t see the evil his brothers did. Some are so full of bitterness and that pours out of their hearts in what they say. They see the wrongs because they take their eyes off the Kingdom of heaven. Joseph was then lifted up to second in charge after Pharaoh and even then he still saw the Kingdom of heaven. When David took food to his brothers, no-one had the courage to fight Goliath. Fear overwhelmed them to such an extent that they didn’t see the Kingdom of heaven. Some people are so afraid and then do not see the Kingdom of heaven any more. While Israel trembled, David was bold because he saw the Kingdom of heaven. If you fear people, then your mind is clouded and you cannot see clearly.
When a person is tempted, then he can also lose sight of the Kingdom of heaven. When the seed fell on shallow ground, it grew but failed to expand. The seed in the thorns is when the word of God is choked by trials and temptations. For example, when you are furious and give in to anger or when lust is so strong and you are attracted to a girl. Sometimes, when everything goes well, pride comes in and you lose sight of the Kingdom of God. David lifted his eyes to the mountains and received help but for others the more mountains you see, the less faith you have. The secret is not only to see the Kingdom of God but to stay in it.
Some people see the Kingdom of God but can’t see the borders and don’t know when they have crossed over into Satan’s kingdom. They want to get married according to God’s will and don’t sleep together but fellowship around God’s word and cross over into Satan’s kingdom. A person can say things that cut and hurt and they can selfish. These deeds are of the kingdom of darkness. We need to understand the secret to live and remain in God’s kingdom.
A rich man had a heart attack due to overwork. His doctor advised him to take a holiday. He then started bird watching but did it to the extent with which he did his work and it became strenuous. Eventually, he wanted to see a rare cuckoo. He wrote to the five people who had seen it and received an unsatisfactory answer. God often doesn’t answer us as we would like Him to. Eventually he visited the one man and received the same answer: you must look for the bird until you forget that you are looking for it. He went to the island and soon he was bored. Many visitors come to the mission and don’t get the answer they are looking for and they don’t see that the answer is not where they think. If anything is wrong in your life, it will blur the border between God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom. Some people won’t speak about a sin. They say they don’t do it anymore and it was long ago. Eventually, the man started appreciating other sights in nature and when his wife came looking for him, she saw, as if by accident, an entry in his diary about the cuckoo bird that he had been so anxious to see. God expects us to give up everything to be in His kingdom.
Hudson Taylor wrote something in 1874. He was very sick and not a sensation anymore. If God calls you to really be like Jesus, it is a life of crucifixion and humility. People do things that you cannot do. Others are religious and useful and pushed to the front but you cannot do things as they do. If you do, you are rebuked to such an extent that your soul aches. The Holy Spirit will not allow you to do so. Others succeed in money but you are poor. You have something better than gold and that is to be dependent on Him and that He supplies your needs day by day out of an unseen treasure. Others are honoured but you are kept hidden. Others get credit but you work and they don’t know how much you do. The Holy Spirit watches you with a jealous love and rebukes you for little words and feelings. God can do as He pleases in your life and does not have to explain. If you become His slave, this is the difference between being a Christian and revival. When you are so possessed by the Holy Spirit, you will find a part of heaven. The Lord Jesus said that He spoke in parables lest some see and are saved. Doesn’t God want all to be saved? Only those, however, who serve Him with all their hearts, can know the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven.