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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 13

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-23

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: Landscaped with His Word
      1. James 1:21b (msg) In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
      2. Let’s not think of the ever popular drought tolerant Xeriscape (Zi-ra-scape) because of our water situation. Let’s picture lush Garden-of-Eden-Scape.
    2. 3rd major section of Mt. 8 parables.
    3. Western Texts calls it the Parable of the Sower. Eastern, Parable of the Seed. But its actually the Parable of the Soils (4 diff soils. 4 diff results)
    4. What soil type currently represents your response to God & His Word?
    5. What can you do for your heart to become the kind of soil Jesus is looking for?
    1. THE SETTING (1,2)
    2. Jesus leaves the house He was in, in Capernaum, & walks down the block to lake Galilee.
      1. Crowds were at epic proportions (& superficial followers multiplied).
      2. So they place him in a small boat, & push him out a little ways. The Galilean shoreline became His parish & the boat His pulpit.
    4. Sowing seed in bible times:
      1. The farmer carried a large bag of seed on his donkey. Then he would fill his leather bag that he would carry under his arm.
      2. * Unlike many countries today where the soil is prepared before the planting takes place, the seed would be scattered widely & then plowed in.
        1. This is not the parable of the Careless Gardner. (person just throwing seed everywhere haphazardly) No, it’s intentionally throwing the seed all over, then tilling.
      3. A footpath often times cut across his field which the public would use. As the farmer would scatter his seed some would always land on this.
        1. The birds would be quick to score a free meal. Often times large flocks would often follow the farmer. [Like the seagulls if you’ve ever been Deep Sea fishing]
      4. Rocks were under the soil & couldn’t be seen, thus no depth of earth.
      5. Many thorn bushes were present. The native farmer would use these in the summer for outdoor fires for cooking meals.
        1. So, he wouldn’t have gotten rid of all of these weed/bushes.
      6. So, this is not wastefulness or inefficiency on behalf of the sower, but it is an illustration of the grace of God.
        1. God’s message, God’s seed is for all, but not everyone will receive it.
        2. Remember, It is not the sower or the seed that is the problem...but the soil.
  3. ​​​​​​​A PARABLES PURPOSE (10-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​Because of the superficial followers & antagonists…he hides the meaning.
      1. They can not get it with only their own understanding.
    2. SPECIAL PARABLE Mk4:13 Do you not understand this parable? How then will u understand all the parables?
      1. ​​​​​​​This parable holds the key to all others.
    3. IN GENERAL (3)
    4. Παραβολή - Para/alongside; ballA/to throw or cast.
      1. So, a parable is a story that comes alongside a teaching to help us understand its meaning. Parables are truth in picture form.
    5. The kingdom of God is like a seed...a wedding feast…a treasure, etc.
      1. Each clue unveiling the once mysterious kingdom [mystery=previously unknown, now revealed]
    6. A parable gets the listener deeply involved & compels them to make a personal decision about God’s truth & his/her life.
      1. On the surface, a parable seems like harmless story, but in time it explodes w/ powerful meaning.
    7. It acts as a mirror & a window:
      1. It’s a mirror that forces us to look at ourselves.
      2. It’s a window through which we see God & His truth.
    8. Jesus explained the kingdom, not by giving a lecture on theology, but by painting pictures that captured the attention of the people & forced them to use their imaginations & think.
    9. Now He’ll show them how to interpret a parable.
  4. SOILS EXPLAINED (18-23)
    1. ​​​​​​​3 DEFINITIONS [sower - word - soil]
    2. The Sower (18) - Here Christ, but any believer who shares the Word of God w/ others.
      1. Sow Plentifully: 2 Cor.9:6 Whoever sows generously will also reap generously
      2. Sow Passionately: Ps.126:5 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.
      3. Sow Patiently: Gal.6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
    3. The Word=The Seed. The gospel is always a fruitful seed as to its power, but not as to its produce.
      1. Like seed the Word of God is alive & is able to produce spiritual fruit.
      2. But the seed must be planted & cultivated before that harvest can come.
      3. Seed is fruitful…there is an orchard in an apple; there’s a forest in an acorn.
    4. The Soil = is the human heart. Let’s look at the 4 hearts described…
    5. [1] SUPERFICIAL HEART (19)
    6. The Superficial Heart has a Lack of Understanding.
      1. It may not be some gross sin in their life but simply no interest in God whatsoever.
      2. Or they’re busy...no time for contemplation.
      3. Or they might not be hostile to the gospel...just simply disinterested.
    7. Soil becomes hard when too many feet, hooves, wheels tread upon it.
      1. Don’t recklessly open your heart to all kinds of people & influences.
      2. Prov.4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
    8. Hard hearts must be plowed up…which can be pretty painful.
      1. ​​​​​​​Hosea 10:12 NLT Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.
      2. Did the Lord have to plow up some things in your life to get your attention right before you got saved?
      3. Pray for your friends who have hard hearts; And for your own hearts when you go through calloused times.
    9. The Superficial Heart has a Lack of Understanding.
    10. [2] SHALLOW HEART (20,21)
    11. The Shallow Heart has a Lack of Depth.
      1. In much of the land there is a 2-3” thin covering of soil over a limestone bedrock.
      2. This is an emotional hearer - Easily swayed by a tender appeal, a good sermon, or a sweet melody.
      3. This person lives on impulses, impressions, intuitions, instincts, & largely on their circumstances.
      4. They joyfully accept God’s Word, but do not really understand the price that must be paid to become a genuine Christian.
      5. They are like the fish that leaps out of the water with great energy,…but it would be foolish to conclude that he has left the water forever.
        1. In a moment the fish is swimming again as if it had never left the stream. The water is still his home, sweet home.
        2. They’ve only been brushed by Christianity.
      6. You might see great enthusiasm for days, weeks, months; but when the sun of persecution or difficulty comes out, enthusiasm wanes & the joy disappears.
        1. A dazzling profession of faith, but then when something unexpected comes into their life they abruptly fall away.
          1. I believe this is where so many of the enemies of the faith come from.
      7. Man is pretty good at counterfeiting religious feelings.
    12. The Shallow Heart has a Lack of Depth.
    13. [3] SHARED HEART (22)
    14. The Shared Heart has a Lack of Weed Killer.
      1. They need a good dose of Round Up.
    15. The Lord desires our whole heart. Ps.119:2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart.
      1. Not a divided heart like the girl to which a young man proposed to. He said, “Darling, I want you to know that I love you more than anything else in the world. I want you to marry me. I’m not rich. I don’t have a yacht or a Rolls Royce like Johnny Brown, but I do love you w/all my heart.” She thought for a minute & then replied, “I love you w/all my heart, too, but tell me more about Johnny Brown.” (that’s a shared heart)
    16. This heart receives the Word, but does not truly repent & remove the Weeds out of his or her heart.
      1. See a gardener must not only love flowers & fruit, but also...Hate Weeds.
    17. (22) Unfruitful? - Fruitless Christians is an oxymoron.
      1. Lk.8:14 adds …and bring no fruit to maturity. (it never ripens)
      2. Maybe you’ve had this on a fruit tree at home? [little, stunted, sour fruit]
      3. The 1st 3 hearts produced no fruit.
    18. 3’s A CROWD
      1. Cares of this world – worries of this present age.
      2. Deceitfulness of riches – deceptive lure of wealth.
      3. The desire for other things(Mk4:19) whatever takes place of the Word in your life
        1. Miscellaneous things can become the cause of spiritual strangulation.
      4. The lust for stuff is a stealthy thing that enters your house a guest, then becomes a host, & then a master.
    19. The Shared Heart has a Lack of Weed Killer.
    21. So far the 3 fruitless hearts were influenced by 3 different enemies:
      1. Superficial Heart – The devil himself snatches the seed.
      2. Shallow Heart – The flesh counterfeits religious feelings.
      3. Shared Heart – The things of this world smothers the growth/prevents a harvest.
        1. 3 ugly enemies we still face today :(
    22. [4] SUCCESSFUL HEART (23)
    23. The Successful Heart doesn't Lack...Understanding, Depth, or Weed Killer.
    24. These are true believers…evidence a changed life; they evidence fruit in their lives.​​​​​​​
      1. Gal.5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is (1st group of 3 are the inner attitudes, sourced in God) love, joy, peace; (2nd the relational qualities, expressed to others) longsuffering, kindness, goodness; (3rdly, personal qualities, that guides indiv. conduct) faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
    25. Not all true believers are equally as productive.
      1. Experts say, that tenfold is an average harvest, thirtyfold is good, sixtyfold is excellent, one hundredfold is amazing.
      2. But every genuine Christian will evidence some fruit.
    26. The Successful Heart doesn't Lack...Understanding, Depth, or Weed Killer.
    27. Example in Jn.4 of the women at the well w/Jesus had a progression of all 4 hearts.
      1. Superficial (vs.9) How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?
      2. Shallow (15) Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.
      3. Shared (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.
      4. Successful(29) Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?
    28. What soil type currently represents your response to God & His Word?
    29. What can you do for your heart to become the kind of soil Jesus is looking for?
    30. Saints, by grace, liberally sow the Word of God to all who you meet.
      1. Let God take their Core Samples. He’ll sort out the alluvium/colluvium of their hearts. You just keep sowing/sharing His precious Word.
    31. James 1:21b Msg In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Verses 24-43

  1. Intro:
    1. I would like to start with something pretty funny. 2 weeks ago when I shared about the parable of the Soil, I made an emphatic statement, some called this the parable of the Seed, some the parable of the Sower but I liked best the parable of the soil...because it’s about the 4 diff soils of the heart.
      1. It was brought to my attention by my friend Mike, that he heard me read in the parable itself that Jesus called it the parable of the Sower in 13:18. So in conclusion...I believe Jesus was right...and I was less right :)
    2. These parables now outline...Gods Program & Satan’s opposition to it.
      1. The kingdom (the realm ruled by God) begins in the OT & is designated by 2 things: the people of Israel & the land in which they lived.
      2. The kingdom in the NT begins with the sowing of the Word in Christ’s day and continues to the end of this age.
      3. The kingdom of God/Heaven in Mt.13 is in mystery form. It does not refer to the earthly kingdom of Messiah but rather to the kingdom here on earth during the King’s absence.
        1. The kingdom of heaven is a mixture of good/evil, true/false [wheat/tares; dragnet good/bad fish].
        2. It is not the church. The church is in the kingdom of heaven, but distinct from it.
        3. The kingdom of heaven is equivalent to our term Christendom. It is made up of all who profess allegiance to the King, whether in truth or pretense. WEONT
      4. The kingdom is the rule of God; the church is a society of men. The church is the custodian of the kingdom (we’ve been given the keys to the Kingdom).
        1. So the church proclaims the good news of the kingdom, and those who come into the church begin to experience the blessings of God’s rule in their lives.
        2. The future reign of God breaks into the present (it is already here) and yet, it is not here fully.
        3. Therefore those who believe in Christ will begin to experience something of what God’s final kingdom reign will be like: we will know some measure of victory over sin, over demonic opposition, and over disease.
        4. Eventually, Jesus will return and His kingdom reign will extend over all creation.
    3. So each parable given by Jesus exposes a little bit more of His kingdom.
      1. Picture coming into this sanct this morning, & sitting in the pitch black. Slowly the lighting person takes 1 slider at a time & slides it up, exposing what has always been on the stage, but previously had been hidden...now revealed.
    4. Today we are going to look at 3 oppositions to the Kingdom.
      1. 3 parables: The Tares, Mustard Seed, Leaven. False Christians. False Growth. False Doctrine.
      2. 1st Satan tried to oppose the kingdom by trying to snatch the Word from Heart’s (parable/Sower). If that doesn’t work he goes to plan B...Can’t beat em join em.
        1. Satan is the great counterfeit, the great imitator, the great imitation. [read 13:24-43]
  2. MUSTARD SEED & LEAVEN - False Growth. False Doctrine (31-34)
    1. We have here 2 parables of growth of the Kingdom.
      1. I wish in vs.36 they would have ask for these 2 to be interpreted also.
      2. Some interpret these as positive growths of the kingdom (saying, both have small beginnings but spread until its dimensions were astonishing). Many others as interpret it as abnormal growth.
    2. The Mustard plant in Palestine produces a large plant, but not nec a Tree. If birds normally represent evil then again both good & evil are represented in the kingdom.
    3. Leaven is found 98 x’s in scripture & every time it is a symbol or linked w/evil.
      1. It had to be removed from the Jewish homes during Passover.
      2. It was excluded from almost all Sacrifices.
      3. Jesus used it to picture hypocrisy, false teaching, & worldly compromise.
      4. Paul used Leaven to picture carnality in the church, also as false doctrine.
      5. Sin is like leaven - it quietly grows, it corrupts, & it puffs up.
    4. ​​​​​​​Maybe the Mustard Seed - warns, watch out for the outward expansion of the Kingdom. [When the kingdom starts to go to the birds]
    5. Maybe the Leaven - warns, watch out for inward development of False Doctrine & False Living.
    6. Maybe the point of both parables is that the mighty kingdom everyone was looking for could issue from apparently obscure beginnings...like Jesus and his few disciples.
      1. ​​​​​​​The kingdom might begin in obscurity, but it would culminate in glory.
  3. WHEAT & WEEDS - False Christians (24-30; 36-43)
    1. ​​​​​​​Again Jesus uses the same figure of a sower but it has a diff twist.
    2. We have 2 planters,2 plants, 2 plans, & 2 prospects (as Dr. Jeremiah said, in his study bible).
    3. The main point to the parable of the wheat & the weeds: God permits the righteous and wicked to coexist in this age, and tells what we should do about it, and then eventually what He will do about it. He will separate the wicked from the righteous. Judging & destroying the wicked, while harvesting & protecting the righteous.
      1. And both sides will realize as Toby Mac sings, This is not a test, its the real thing.
    5. Since Satan can’t uproot plants(true Christians), he plants counterfeit Christians in their midst.
    6. (24) We have the right Man, sowing the right seed, in the right field, then leaving the field to the care of His servants.
    7. Good Seed - (24,38) Sons of the kingdom. Believers (not the Word like last parable).
      1. Christ is sowing true believers in various places that they might bear fruit.
    8. (25) Sleepy Servants - Note the evil one came in...when the believers were sleeping.
      1. Know this for sure, Satan sleeps not when men are slumbering.
    9. Tares (ziZania) the bearded darnel (typically known as darnel, poison darnel, darnel ryegrass, cockle)
      1. Mentioned only here in Mt. It is the Lolium temulentum. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria & Palestine. Easton’s Bible Dict.
    10. ​​​​​​​Tares/bad seed - These are Satan’s counterfeit, to the true Christians. They are professing Christianity but are not true Christians.
      1. ​​​​​​​Historically the 1st 300 yrs Satan tried persecution to destroy the church.
        1. 10 Roman Emperors killed thousands of saints, but like the children of Israel down in Egypt, the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied & grew.
      2. In 313 AD Satan changed his plan w/an edict from Constantine, Christianity was adopted as the National Religion. [Satan joined the church]
    11. Satan seems to try to counterfeit everything.
      1. Counterfeit Christians - 2 Cor.11:26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
      2. Counterfeit Gospel - Gal.1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
      3. Counterfeit Righteousness - Rom.10:1-3 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's rt.
      4. Counterfeit Church - Rev.2:9 I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich. I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
      5. Counterfeit Christ - Anti-Christ. 2 Thes.2:1-12
    12. (25) He went his way - Many declare Satan doesn’t exist - he’s a mere myth.
      1. Satan is not omnipresent, but this he cunningly turns into an advantage, for he can do more by his absence than by his presence.
    13. (27) How then does it have Tares? - The question is a confession that they had been asleep. Notice the Owner had not slept, He knew who did it. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Ps 121:4
    14. (28) An enemy has done this - We can name a number of people, but the worker behind the scene is the Devil himself.
      1. We can blame Charles Darwin for his undermining creation. Or, Friedrich Nietzsche(a) in his promoting his God is dead slogan.Or, David Hume who gave 1 of the most fundamental attacks on Natural Theology.Or, Immanuel Kant who believed A knowledge of God is impossible.But ultimately, the Devil is the one behind the scene.
    15. Do you want us to go & gather? - NO! Here this church. Our task is not to pull up the False, but to plant the True. [how about: you love em, let God judge em]
      1. Hasty disciplinarians have often cast out the best & retained the worst.
    16. Now is the time of Growing. Grow on! Are you? Is your fruit showing white grain or no grain?
    17. (30) Time of the Harvest - End of the age.
      1. We don’t know when the end of the age is, but we do know it is drawing nearer.
    18. The Reapers - The Angel Executioners will one day be employed & do the work correctly, efficiently, universally, & finally.
    19. (40-42) Burn them - No words can be more suggestive of certain destruction.
      1. Not only the outwardly wicked, but the false pretenders, the mock wheat shall be removed.
      2. There fate is fire, the most terrible of punishments, Yet this won’t annihilate them, for there will be wailing & gnashing of teeth.
      3. Furnace of Fire - whose smoke goes up forever & ever, Rev.14:9-11.
        1. Yes there is a hell & some are going there. Sorry Universalists all will not be saved.
    20. (30) Gather the wheat into my barn - What a peaceful tone after that last statement.
      1. All gathered, all recognized as the Lord’s grain, all housed in His storehouse.
      2. He who does not believe that God will cast unbelievers into Hell will not be sure that he will take believers into Heaven. (Spurg)
    21. (43) Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
      1. Dan.12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
    22. Recap:
      1. The hindrance - Satan opposes the work of God in several ways:
        1. He snatches the Word of God from hearts, or smothers the seed with worldliness, or scorches the shoots with persecution. [parable of the sower]
        2. If he cannot overcome the Word, he plants false Christians (children of the devil) wherever the Lord plants true believers. [parable of wheat/weeds]
          1. Many people are going to hell, not because of gross overt sins, but because they have a false righteousness apart from faith in Jesus Christ.
        3. He sits in the branches of Christendom & influences what goes on. [prbl mustard]
        4. He plants false doctrine that deceives people. [parable of the leaven]
      2. The method - Satan’s chief method of opposing God is through imitation. He preaches an imitation gospel, establishes imitation churches, plants imitation Christians, etc.
      3. The task - True and false will grow together until the end, and God will separate them. Our job is not to try to clean up the world, although we should do all we can to better society. Our job is to plant the Word in hearts and let God plant us in places where we can bear fruit for His glory.
      4. Stay awake - While we sleep, Satan works. A sleeping church is an opportunity for Satan to plant false Christians (Prv.24:30-34). It is important that we stay spiritually awake (Rom.13:11-14).
    23. (43) He who has ears to hear, let him hear - are you listening?
    24. How to watch the Olympics: Remember the ancient Games were common knowledge in the 1st century, just as the modern Olympics are today. Everyone knew about the Olympics. Paul writes, Everyone who competes in the games, exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1Cor.9:25NASB
      1. ​​​​​​​Paul basically says, I want you to transpose the temporary struggles and triumphs of the Olympic Games onto a different level of reality - the level of spiritual life and eternity and God. When you see the athletes run, see another kind of running. When you see them boxing, see another kind of boxing. When you see them training and denying themselves, see another kind of training and self-denial. When you see them smiling with a medal around their neck, see another kind of prize.
      2. Do the same as you watch the games in RIO, see what God will show you & share with you...if you have ears to hear. [98’ Christ the Redeemer, in every picture]

Verses 44-46

  1. Slide9 Intro: The Treasure Hunter & The Merchant

A. These next 2 Parables are Similar:

      1. They are very Short. Jesus paints them w/only a few strokes of His verbal brush.
      1. He was speaking to men of sight, but now moves (indoors) to the men of faith.
        1. Now to encourage & assure the men of faith so they will be strengthened, heartened, confident & equipped for all their service. (partially, G.Campbell Morgan)
      1. These twin parables teach the same general lesson, namely, the incomparable worth & the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God.
        1. Yet, as with even identical twins, each is noticeably individual.
        1. The twin truths: the costliness of the Treasure/Pearl & the delight of the Purchaser.
      1. Slide10 Hendrik Van Loon wrote of this world, “Ours is a 5th-rate planet, revolving around a 10th-rate sun, in the forgotten corner of the universe.”
        1. But, Jesus assures us that this world is the object of His concern, and one which He purchased for the manifestation of His glory. Herbert Lockyer

A. Definitions: [since Jesus didn’t interpret, we have come up w/many interpretations]

      1. Field = World, this habitable globe, His kingdom reign.
        1. Slide12 The kingdom of God is the reign of God. It is the saving reign of God. It is the saving reign of God that is partly present and partly future.

And it is the present and future saving reign of God and of Christ. Piper

      1. Treasure = redeemed/church/you & I. A man/the Purchaser = Jesus.


    1. Purpose of buying the field was to own the treasure.
    1. Slide13 The Field, the world. For God so loved the world, but not for the

planets sake. And not just for 1 nation. And not just for the elite, rich, & powerful. But He reached out to: the unlovables (Lepers). To the people who detested him (Manasseh). To the ones that had been too busy for Him (like Matthew the tax collector). To those who were too rich for God (Zacchaeus). Even to those who were working directly against God (Saul).

    1. Slide14 For God so loved a sinful world. Every race. Rich & poor. Powerful & powerless. Male & female. Democracy’s & Dictators. Israel & Istanbul. Abusers & defenders. Those trafficked & their traffickers. And yes both Democrats & Republicans (ok I’ll say it...even Trump & Hilary supporters).
    1. For God so loved a sinful world. For...the treasure out of that world.
      1. Slide15 Charles Wesley Hymn: Amazing love. How can it be That thou, my God, shouldest die for me.
      1. The gospel is not what we can do for God, but what He did for us!
  1. R.C.Trench, Archbishop of Dublin said, The Oriental custom of the day was that Rich men would divide their goods into 3 parts:
    1. Slide16 One they would put into Commerce for their support.
    1. One they would put into Jewels which might be easily carried.
    1. The 3rd they’d Bury.
      1. Interesting, these next 3 parables speak of burying a Treasure, finding a Jewel, & next week Commerce by fishing.
  1. Slide17 This man plowing/digging in a field (not his) seemed to turn up a treasure chest.
    1. Maybe the picture of a peasant who, while working the field of a wealthy landowner, found the treasure but covered it again lest the landowner claim it for himself.
    1. Ever find a treasure? (out somewhere? in an old attic? at a garage sale? on Pinterest?)
      1. Collecting coins as a kid.
      1. I once bought boxes of books from an old pastor retiring...all because I wanted the 10 vol. set of Kittels (just give me $100 for all. TDNT, worth $200)
  1. Treasures are still found:
    1. Slide18a A Shepherd boy throwing rocks in Nov/1946. (Finding the Dead Sea Scrolls)


  1. Slide18b/c This May a Treasure trove was found in ancient sunken cargo ship off Israel. A couple of divers in the ancient Israeli port of Caesarea brought up some items from the seabed, leading to the discovery of bronze statues, coins & other artifacts that went down with a cargo ship 1,600 yrs ago.
      1. Also 44 pounds of coins bearing the images of the emperor Constantine.
    1. Slide18d Just 3 months ago a Priceless treasure found off Florida coast in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Global Marine Exploration Inc. found 3 ornate bronze cannons & a marble monument w/the Coat of Arms of France on it from 1548
  1. Slide18e He sold all He had - He parted w/all He had. [we didn’t buy our lives into the kingdom?]
    1. Phil.2:7 Emptied Himself (divested Himself of His visible Glory).
      1. Only of the outward & visible manifestations of the Godhead. God may change form, but He cannot cease to be God.
    1. When He was to return to the Father what did He ask for back? His Glory, He once had, Jn17:1-5.
      1. He became a beggar, even though, of himself, & up to this point, He was Rich.
  1. Slide19 When the Lord purchased the world, was he looking to own another Planet? No, He wanted the treasure which was buried in the world. He Wanted You.

IV. Slide20 THE MERCHANT & HIS EXPENSIVE PEARL (45,46) valuable, priceless

  1. The former parable, the man discovered by accident the treasure in the field. But in this parable the merchantman was seriously & deliberately searching for flawless pearls. It was the business of his life. [the treasure was found...the pearl was sought]
  1. Slide21 Def: Merchant = Jesus. Pearl = redeemed/church/you. Purchased = by Jesus on Calvary.
  1. The Merchant - 1st note, the kingdom of heaven was like (not a pearl) but a merchant.
    1. The term used here, merchant, had the primary meaning of one who travels abroad (by ship) to acquire his wares. Bible Sense Lexicon, Logos
      1. He specifically was a wholesaler as distinguished from a retail dealer.1
      1. It portrays Jesus then as one who was a connoisseur & knew all about pearls.


Strong’s #1713 ἔμπορος [em·por·os/] a merchant as opposed to a retailer or petty tradesman.


        1. Inferior Pearls came from the Red Sea. The better ones came from the Persian Gulf & off India’s coast.
        1. He had discernment & knowledge, as to their real worth, and could not be deceived by any sham production. Lockyer
    1. The Merchant was a superior person who knew the value of Jewels.
      1. He is thoughtful, earnest, & anxious after the best things.
    1. Know this also, pearls in so far as their value was known then, were specifically and particularly for the adornment of kings.
      1. Jesus purchased us that He might eternally possessed us.
    1. The Merchant found me/us/His church/the redeemed out of His kingdom, & gave His All for us, & bought us w/a costly price.
  1. Slide22 The Purchase - none of the ransomed will ever know all that was involved in the price He paid to have the redeemed people as His Pearl. Though He was rich, yet to purchase us, He became poor.
    1. This heavenly Merchantman had no money or possessions to barter for the pearl. He gave one’s most precious possession - His own blood/life.
    2. Assessing our value, He paid the price & never regretted His purchase.
      1. Did you hear that? Never regretted His purchase...for you!
  1. Slide23 Pearl Myths:
    1. Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought.
    1. Ancient legend says that pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods and the Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying.
    1. The oldest known pearl jewelry fragment was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who died in 520 BC.
    1. The shell of the mollusk is what determines the coloring of a pearl. Colors range from white to gold to purple to black. And, No two pearls are alike.
  1. Slide24 The Pearl is valuable & beautiful. Ps.45:11 says, So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.


    1. Though Pearls were not counted precious by the Jews & are never mentioned in the OT, but in the 1st cent of the Christian era it had become a status

symbol of wealthy people. [some see the treasure speaking to the Jews & pearl to the Gentile believers]

      1. However, Jesus knew all about the history of a pearl, where it came from, how it was formed, and its real value.
  1. A Pearl is a product of a living organism, which is not true of any other precious stone.
    1. It is produced as the result of an injury suffered by a living organism (an oyster/mollusk or Christ)
    1. It begins as nothing more than a foreign substance stuck in the shell of an

Oyster. [not usually sand, usually a biological intruder, a parasite organism like a drilling worm]

    1. The foreign substance is pretty useless in itself, worthless by itself, & an Irritant of itself. So are we outside of a relationship to Christ.
    2. The Oyster continually surrounds that irritant w/a crystalline substance called nacre which hardens over the years, slowly & gradually, in the dark.
      1. Out of much suffering, an object of beauty is produced. Jesus’ blood continually covers us, over & over with a special nacre of glory, continuously secreting the nacre of His love all over us, all the way to heaven.
      1. It causes us to be transformed, giving us a beautiful white luster, turning us into a glistening jewel of delight! And...the old dirty grain is no longer recognizable. [did you know...you can’t even find it if you cut the pearl in half]
  1. Slide25a When Christ returns His church will be ready as His pearl. In its purity as well as its beauty as a fit gem for His Imperial Diadem.
    1. Once, its home was in the depths of the sea, in the muck and mire & trying to avoid the scavengers of the depths. Now brought up. Valued. Priceless. Flawless.
    2. I wonder then if that’s why every entrance into heaven, all 12 gates, are made of a giant pearl. Rev.21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (where we get the phrase “pearly gates”)
      1. Maybe to remind us every-time we see or pass thru them, what Jesus suffered for us, the time of our preparation, & His whole process of making beauty out of ashes.


    1. Christ is the only door to heaven...but its capital city has 12 gates so the redeemed may come from all points of the compass, from all tribes & nations.
  1. Slide25b We desire a revolution, a public revival but maybe, thinking of the pearl, our Christian life is about a slow long obedience in the same direction. A layer by layer of Christ’s love, wrapping around our lives. Thus we plod on with the same Scriptures, same truths, same worship, listening to the same bible teacher. But maybe we can Sing like we mean it. Worship in Spirit & truth. Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully preached. Bear w/those who hurt you. Give people the benefit of doubt. Say hi to the teenager no one notices. Take the new couple out for coffee. And not despise the day of small things.2



Adapted from Kevin DeYoung, Why we Love the Church.

Verses 47-58

  1. Intro: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and everything in between
    1. A politician woke up after an operation & found the curtains in his hospital room drawn. “Why are the curtains closed?” he asked the nurse. “Is it night time already?” “No,” the nurse replied, “But there’s a fire across the street, and we didn’t want you to wake and think the operation was unsuccessful.”
    2. This parable is similar w/Wheat & Tares. Both show goodnbad side by side, then divided.
      1. Both were explained by Jesus in the words, so it will be at the end of the age.
    3. Also similar to:
      1. The parable of the marriage feast (those w/ & w/o wedding garment).
      2. The parable of the household (separation of good & evil servants).
      3. The parable of the 10 virgins (separation of wise & foolish).
      4. The parable of the talents (sep of profitable & unprofitable servants).
      5. The parable of the sheep/goats (sep of them).
    4. The parable of the dragnet is the 7th in a series of parables on the kingdom of heaven
      1. Jesus is giving us a course heading of the age in which we live. He is trying to show us what is going on behind the scenes so we will have an understanding of what He is doing in our world. Regardless of how things may appear the Lord Jesus makes it clear to us that God is in control, that God knows what he is doing. Jerry Vines, adapted from.
    5. James Montgomery Boice, A day of reckoning will come in which God will separate the true believers from mere pretenders, and those found to be false will be cast into hell.
  2. DRAGNET - Good Fish, Bad Fish (47-50)
    1. Dr Seuss in his 1960 children’s book: One fish Two fish Red fish Blue fish. Black fish Blue fish Old fish New fish… Yes. Some are red. And some are blue. Some are old. And some are new. Some are sad. And some are glad. And some are very, very bad.Why are they Sad and glad and bad? I do not know. Go ask your dad.
      1. Let’s pray & ask our Dad:
    2. This parable describes the ingathering of the righteous & wicked and their subsequent fates
      1. ​​​​​​​The fishermen sorted the fish like the reapers sorted the wheat and the weeds.
    3. The Fish - In the North end of Galilee, where the Jordan river’s inlet is, is one of the best fishing area’s of Israel. 18-24 diff-species of fish.
    4. The bad fish/wicked - i.e. inedible by Jewish Law. Are those people who outwardly adhere to the church, but inwardly have no connection w/Jesus & the true church.
      1. They can fool some of us some of the time, & others all the time, but Jesus…none of the time.
      2. Trench, The Lord never contemplated His visible church as a perfect communion. As there was a Ham on the ark, & a Judas among the 12, so there would be a Babylon within the bosom of the church.
    5. The Dragnet - (only here in scripture) Approx. 6’ tall x 300’ long. One end held up by corks, the other held down by weights. Also called Long-draw net, sweep net, seine net (Sane)
      1. Saw this in Ensenada (helped), when kids were young.
      2. This was a popular analogy. Habakkuk used it in 1:14,15 Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? 15 They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet.
      3. Eccl.9:12 For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net.
      4. Lockyer said, The net represents the proclamation and presentation of the gospel of redeeming Grace. The wide sweeping, all embracing net illustrates the wide reach and the effectual operation of the gospel whereby men are drawn into the profession of Christianity and into the fellowship of the visible church of Christ.
    6. The Shore - As long as the net is in the water, it contains bad & good fish. It cannot be otherwise. On the shore will be the place for separation.
    7. The Vessel - what vessel is this here? It was Barns in vs.30. Mansions in Jn.14.
    8. The End: gathered the good...threw the bad away.
      1. ​​​​​​​2 in the field 1 taken vs. 1 left. Gather the wheat vs. bind them in bundles & burn them. Enter My kingdom vs. being cast into the furnace of fire. Sheep vs. Goat. Wheat vs. Tares. Good fish vs. Bad fish.
      2. Heb.9:27,28 And just as each person is destined to die once and after​​​​​​​ that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
    9. Chrysostom spoke of the Dragnet as a terrible parable. Gregory the Great said of it that it was rather to be trembled at than expounded.
      1. How can you justify this kind of punishment? this everlasting punishment (Mt 25:46). Eternal condemnation (Mk.3:29). Eternal judgment (Heb.6:2). Everlasting destruction (2Thes.1:9). Eternal fire/Gehenna (Mt.18:8,9). Unquenchable fire (Mk.9:43-38). Eternal torment (Rev.19:20).
        1. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ must have been so awesome, so priceless, so perfect and so valuable that such a punishment would be proper.
        2. Hell is not some extreme act by a holy righteous God. It is the exact, accurate and just reward for refusing God.
    10. Let’s also remember saints, it is the Lord alone who pronounces doom. As fishermen, our offices are not judicial but declarative. We are to proclaim Christ and His salvation & invite every kind to His cross.
      1. This is the day of grace when the lost can still be found.
    11. May you & I spread the net of salvation, inviting all men to repent and believe, and leave Him as the judge of all the earth, to separate the good from the bad, at the time determined.
  3. HOUSEHOLDER (51,52)
    1. ​​​​​​​(51) He wasn’t interested in academics or theory, but the importance if they had understood His teaching.
    2. NLT Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old
    3. We have a final parable to remind us of our responsibilities.
    4. We must be a Scribe (Lawyer/Teacher of the law) who discovers the truth.
      1. The Scribes began as a noble group under the leadership of Ezra.
      2. Their purpose was to preserve the Law, study it, & apply its truth to daily life.
        1. Neh.8:7,8 then instructed the people in the Law while everyone remained in their places. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.
      3. Over the years they degenerated into a routine task of preserving traditions & man-made interpretations & adding burdens to the lives of the people. Lk.11:46-52
        1. They merchandized dead doctrines & embalmed traditions that could not help the people. Warren Wiersbe
      4. We don’t search after truth because we have it in God’s Son (Jn.14:6) & in God’s Word (Jn.17:17).
      5. We search into truth that we might discover more truth.
      6. We should never stop at just learning though.
    5. We must be disciples that do the truth.
      1. Instructed = discipled.
      2. The Scribe emphasizes Learning & the Disciple emphasizes Living.
        1. We must keep our lives balanced. Don’t emphasize learning at the expense of living.
          1. ​​​​​​​CCBC has done a great job at emphasizing this. learning/living
        2. Every Scribe must be a Disciple, every Disciple must be a Scribe.
    6. We must be Stewards who dispense the truth.
      1. Dispense the Old & the New. New principles & insights are based upon old Truths.
      2. Also, some things have been set aside to ripen & those the steward is to go get in due season. Others are the better for being fresh from the garden, these he serves up at once.
        1. We are each one responsible for using our knowledge as food for all in our house.
      3. Caution! The new without the old is merely novelty & will not last. But the old does no good unless it is given new applications in life today.
        1. In answering affirmatively yes, Lord, they become responsible for making the truth known to others.
        2. New things and old things - The disciples were beginning to understand the new things Jesus was teaching in conjunction with the traditions from the Scriptures they already knew.
  4. REJECTION (53-58)
    1. ​​​​​​​I’ll never pass this way again. Never to return!
    2. Early in His ministry He was rejected here (Naz cliff experience).
      1. Now He was rejected again.
    3. 2 things amazed them: His Words & His Works.
    4. Their problem: They were too familiar w/Him in a human way.
      1. It was a case of knowing Him after the flesh. 2 Cor.5:16
    5. His pedigree seemed to them to be the lowest.
    6. (54) Where did this man get this wisdom - The people know that, unlike their rabbis, Jesus has no formal training; He was raised as a craftsman.
      1. They express astonishment at the apparently educated things He says and the attesting signs He performs. Then they flip & get angry (57).
    7. (57) This saying is found in Jewish, Gk, & Roman writings.
    8. (58) Unbelief - is the only thing that will drive Jesus away from you.
    9. Slide22 One fish Two fish Red fish Blue fish. Black fish Blue fish Old fish New fish. This one has a little star. This one has a little car. Say! What a lot Of fish there are.
      1. What fish are you? Kept fish or thrown away fish?
    10. Question: How is eternity in hell a fair punishment for sin?
    11. Answer: Some people have an incomplete understanding of 3 things: the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of sin.
      1. ​​​​​​​We tend to see God as a kind, merciful Being whose love for us overrides and overshadows all His other attributes. Of course God is loving, kind, and merciful, but He is first and foremost a holy and righteous God.
      2. So holy is He that He cannot tolerate sin. He is a God whose anger burns against the wicked and disobedient. He hates all manner of sin. And while He is merciful, there are limits to His mercy.
    12. Humanity is corrupted by sin, and that sin is always directly against God.
      1. When David sinned by committing adultery w/Bathsheba and having Uriah murdered, he responded with an interesting prayer: Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight Ps.41:4. David understood that all sin is ultimately against God.
      2. Since God is an eternal and infinite Being, as a result, all sin requires an eternal punishment. God’s holy, perfect, and infinite character has been offended by our sin. Although to our finite minds our sin is limited in time, to God - who is outside of time - the sin He hates goes on and on. Our sin is eternally before Him and must be eternally punished in order to satisfy His holy justice.
        1. No one understands this better than someone in hell. Like, the rich man & Lazarus. Both died, and the rich man went to hell while Lazarus went to paradise (Lk.16). Interestingly, he never says, “How did I end up here?” That question is never asked in hell. He does not say, “Did I really deserve this? Don't you think this is a little extreme? A little over the top?” He only asks that someone go to his brothers who are still alive and warn them against his fate.
        2. Like the rich man, every sinner in hell has a full realization that he deserves to be there. Each sinner has a fully informed, acutely aware, and sensitive conscience which, in hell, becomes his own tormenter. This is the experience of torture in hell - a person fully aware of his or her sin with a relentlessly accusing conscience, without relief for even one moment.
    13. The realities of eternal damnation, eternal hell, and eternal punishment are frightening and disturbing. While this may sound grim, there is good news. God loves us and wants us to be saved from hell. But because God is also just and righteous, He cannot allow our sin to go unpunished. Someone has to pay for it.
      1. In His great mercy and love, God provided His own payment, His own Son to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross for us.
      2. Jesus’ death was an infinite death because He is the infinite God/man, paying our infinite sin debt, so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity (2 Cor.5:21).
      3. If we confess our sin and place our faith in Christ, asking for God’s forgiveness based on Christ’s sacrifice, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. God loved us so much that He provided the means for our salvation, but if we reject His gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 13". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/matthew-13.html. 2017.
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