Lessons From The Parables Of The Kingdom Of Heaven

Lance Haverkamp – February 28th, 2016

The Parable of the Sower:

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

The Parable of the sower teaches us the importance of the condition of our hearts for the word of God to bear fruit in our lives. If our hearts do not understand the word of God , the devil will take away the word of God from our hearts . We must pay close attention when we hear the word of the God so that we can understand clearly what the Lord is saying to us . Otherwise the word of God will not have any effect in our lives. If our hearts are like stony ground , we may receive the word of God with joy , but we will not endure long because we cannot endure trials and tribulations and we will fall away. If our hearts are like thorny ground , the word of God that we receive will be choked by the thorns such as the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth and the word of God sown in our hearts will not bear fruit. But if our hearts are like good ground, we will receive the word of God in truth and honesty and we will keep the word in our hearts and bear fruit with patience . We must examine the condition of our hearts if we are not experiencing the power of the word of God . Instead of doubting the faithfulness of the promises of God , we must prepare our hearts to become good soil for the word of God to bear fruit in our lives.

The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Weeds

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

The Parable of the weeds teaches us that the enemy may plant weeds in the field of the Lord . We should not be surprised to find evil doers in the midst of the people of God . This is the work of the devil . However the Lord will allow these weeds to remain in the field till the end of the age when he will send his angels to separate these weeds from the wheat and throw all the weeds into the furnace. We must be patient when evil doers and the wicked are not destroyed immediately.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Explanation:

The parable of the mustard seed teaches us that in the Kingdom of God , the beginning may be small but the end will be abundant . We should not despise small beginnings . The Lord begins his work in a small way but will cause it to grow abundantly . When we are faithful in the little responsibilities , the Lord will give us great tasks to fulfill.

The Parable of the Yeast

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Explanation:

The Parable of the Yeast teaches us the danger of allowing corrupting influences in our lives . A little yeast can leaven the whole lump. The Lord warns us of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees which is their false doctrines and their hypocrisy. The Lord warns us not to take sin lightly as it will soon destroy us completely.

Other theologians say the yeast represents sin, stating that a little sin will soon destroy us completely.

Treasure & Pearls

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Explanation:

The Parable of the Treasure hidden in the field teaches us the work of Christ the Messiah for His chosen people , the children of Israel . The Jews are His chosen people and the Lord has paid a great price for their redemption. His great plan for his chosen people will soon be fulfilled. We can also learn from this parable that the treasures of the Kingdom of God are attainable only by those who are willing to pay the price and are willing to sacrifice everything to attain them. The treasures of the Kingdom of God are not for those who live a superficial life reaching out only for those things which are free and easy . The treasures can be obtained only by digging deep . Only when we reach the depths of intimacy in our walk with God , we will obtain the treasures of the Kingdom of God.

The Parable of the pearl of great value teaches us the great price that Christ paid for His Church . Christ loved the church and gave everything that he had and purchased the church with His own blood. We can also learn from this parable the great value of knowing Christ intimately and that we can sacrifice everything for this great privilege. The Apostle Paul realized the great treasure that he gained in knowing Christ intimately that he considered everything he sacrificed for the sake of knowing Christ as loss and rubbish.

The Parable of the Net:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Explanation:

The Parable of the Net teaches us of the day of Judgment at the end of the age when the angels will separate the wicked from the righteous . Surely there is a reward for the righteous. We need not be disheartened when we see the wicked prosper in this world . The Lord is faithful to reward those who walked before Him uprightly and He will surely punish those who walked in wickedness and iniquity.


We didn’t talk about the Parable of the Wedding Feast, so here’s an article that presents an unusual take on that parable.  This is an interpretation based on the idea that the “End of the Age” was about the end of the Old Covenant–rather than then end of creation.  This is something I agree with, but gets me labeled as a heretic by many:   http://revelationrevolution.org/matthew-22-1-14-a-preterist-commentary/

Christ’s Blessings,

Lance

Footprints Newsletter

Good Morning Everyone!
And there we go again, blink, and yet another month has come and almost gone!  That only means one really great thing.  Spring is in our reach!  I am so very excited, even though we've had some very nice warm days lately, it almost feels like spring.  
In this week's Footprints you will either need a refrigerator magnet to hang your Footprints newsletter, or pen and paper to keep track of all the upcoming seminars and events, both for our church and for the Rocky Mountain Conference UCC.  
Also, not listed in your newsletter, but a quick reminder that we have the opportunity to volunteer at Care and Share on Saturday, March 5th, from 9-11:30.  Everyone is welcome, all ages! Volunteers age 16+ can work in the cooler, and all volunteers can work in the warehouse.  Go to http://vhub.at/bfcc to register your profile and then sign up for the event(s) on March 5th.  If you have any questions, please talk to Cindy Halsey at halsey49@q.com or 719-210-7268.

Have a wonderful weekend and we will see you on Sunday at worship!

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

pdf icon 2-26-2016.pdf

What is the Good News that Jesus came to preach?

Ask a hundred people

Ask a hundred people “What is the Good News that Jesus came to preach?” What answer will you get? Love? Ask Like “Agape” in the Greek? If you don’t know, there are three “Loves” in Greek, Agape is the kind of infinite, unconditional love we think of in Scripture. Eros is erotic love. And Philos means brotherly love—the city of Philadelphia literally means Brotherly Love.

In the Synoptic Gospels, that’s Matthew, Mark & Luke… “Synoptic” is one of those $50 seminary words, which means; presenting or taking the same or common view; relating to or displaying conditions as they exist simultaneously over a broad area. Matthew, Mark & Luke are Synoptic because they are more tightly related to one-another, than the Gospel of John, or any of the non-Biblical stories of Christ’s ministry.

In the Synoptic Gospels, we only see Agape love mentioned once in Matthew, and once in Luke! That’s it! Agape is never mentioned in Mark. John is a little different, both because John was a little different, and because he was writing to a very different audience; John mentions agape a handful of times. But it’s clear that, while Christ was demonstrating how much he cared for those around Him; he certainly wasn’t constantly talking about loving one-another!

Matthew 24:12 “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.”

Luke 11:42 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

If not Love, then what?

The early parts of Christ’s ministry was around the water, the Jordan River, like John the Baptist; but after John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus moved into the synagogues.

Mark 1:14-15: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Did you see all three parts there?

  1. The time is fulfilled,
  2. the kingdom of God has come near
  3. repent, and believe in the good news

Now, if you were hear for Ash Wednesday, you heard “repent, and believe in the good news” as that’s the modern saying the the minister quotes, when applying ashes. There’s a similar message in Matthew & Luke, at the beginning of Christ’s ministry. Here are some more:

Luke 8:1: Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,

Luke 9:1 Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Acts 1:3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 28:31 Paul lived in Rome two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

So, while some denominations stress conversion, as though the ministry of Christ was all about the minimum entry requirements for Heaven; it’s not! It’s all about the Kingdom of God.

It’s all about the Kingdom of God.

Let’s look at Kingdom. What is Kingdom? It’s a contraction—of the King’s Domain; King-Dom, the king’s domain. Any king’s domain is what? It’s the area in which that king can enforce his will. If you’re far-enough away from the king to break the rules, and avoid the wrath of the king; then you’re outside of the king’s domain, since he can’t enforce his will.

Now we’ve all got a kingdom, you’ve got a kingdom, you’ve got a kingdom, you’ve got a kingdom, and I’ve got a kingdom: My desk appears cluttered to others, but I know what’s there, and where to find things I’m looking for, because that area’s within my domain. When you’ve got a couple of kids in the back-seat of the car, that back-seat becomes their domain. Sometimes they paint an invisible line down the middle of the seat—right? You stay on your side, and I’ll stay on my side. Then they start getting too loud, and Dad speaks-up. Now, Dad thinks the entire car is in who’s domain?

Every week here, we rattle-off the Lords Prayer form our long-term memory, without giving it much thought: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…”

There it is, again, hidden in plain sight. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…So, we are praying for God to be able to enforce His will on Earth, just as easily as He can in Heaven.

In other words, bringing the up there, to the down here.

But why

But why is is all about the Kingdom of God? What are we to learn about God’s plan, from studying this Kingdom of God?

King David represented the Jew’s idea of what the Messiah-Kingdom would be like: A military & cultural powerhouse in the know world. Christ had to completely reeducate their understanding of what the real Kingdom of God was like. The whole notion that “the first will be last, and the last will be first” was an offense to everything they believed, and everything they hoped for. Christ was very clear in stating that He came for the “lost sheep of Israel.” So He needed a message to explain to them, to those lost sheep, that their expectation of a David-like Kingdom was in error.

Likewise when we read Scripture, we must remember that while the Bible, was written for us, most of it was not written to us. Only the books of history can be argued to have been written to unknown future generations. Everything else had a specific audience: Matthew was written to the Jews, and stresses Jesus as being the promised messiah. Mark was a short, fast paced, action story; written for the Roman everyman. Luke was a Greek physician writing to the Greek scientific community; he wanted to convince his audience that Jesus was the perfect man. John was writing to basically everyone else who was educated at that time—and in those days that meant followers for the Stoic philosophers; so John frames his discussion in language that those Stoics would have appreciated.

So when we look at the Scriptures we must keep in mind to whom they were written, and when in the scheme of history, they were written. That’s in addition to things we’ve talked about before, like recognizing metaphors when we see them. Otherwise we start getting some pretty crazy interpretations like:

  • The JW’s, who think the Kingdom of God will be on Earth, after the second coming.
  • The Adventists, who think the Kingdom of God is somehow related to education.
  • The followers of Herbert W. Armstrong, who think the Kingdom of God descends through the British Empire, because, somehow, the decedents of the British Empire, including America, Canada, etc, are the spiritual decedents of the list tribes or Israel.
  • Dispensational Fundamentalists, including most Southern Baptists, and most “Bible churches” draw a difference between the phrase “, ‘Kingdom of God’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and try to create some wild future prophecy based on a semantic misunderstanding.

Next week, we’ll look at a whole bunch of Parables, including many that start with the phrase “The Kingdom of God is like…” So, we’re going to pick-up our Kingdom of God discussion next week.

Footprints Newsletter

Good Morning!
Is everyone still standing from all that wind from yesterday?  I heard the IKEA sign in Denver on 1-25 nearly blew over onto the highway because they followed their own assembly instructions!  Ok, bad joke.  Thankfully, nobody got hurt or crushed by falling signs while driving.  
In this week's newsletter, you will be able to see your responses to the Welcoming Committee's hopes and fears survey about becoming an all inclusive church.  Also as a reminder, this Wednesday, February 24th is the "Mythbusting:  Religion vs. Politics" discussion here at church. During this time, the Youth will also have their meeting and practicing for Youth Sunday in April. So please come make an interesting  and fun evening of both on Wednesday evening.  Details are inside.  Additionally, a VBS meeting will be held this Sunday after worship for those who will be volunteering this year.
Have yourselves a wonderful weekend and we will see you at 10:00 on Sunday for worship!

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

pdf icon 2-19-2016.pdf

Footprints Newsletter

Good Morning Everyone!
How is everyone enjoying this fabulous weather?  The east coast can not say the same right about now!  I like when we send them our cold and snowy weather.  But the 50's and 60's?  No way am I sharing!  That's mean, I know.  
We have lots in store for you this Sunday.  First, as you know, it is Valentine's Day, as well as the first Sunday in Lent and Communion Sunday. We would also like to welcome our Guest Pastor, Rev. Faye Gallegos who will be leading our service.  She was kind enough to step in for the day, so please be sure to introduce yourselves to her after worship. And if you love your heart, than why not consider bringing a healthy dish to share for our Annual Heart-Healthy Potluck!  Right after worship, please join us downstairs to treat yourself to tasty dishes that are good for your heart too!  
In this week's Footprints we continue a mini-autobiography from last week of Bessie Radspinner, a long-time member of this church.  And if you missed the chance to read about some upcoming seminars and workshops, you will have a second chance this week.  Please remember, the Board meeting will be held this coming Wednesday, February 17th at 7:00 p.m..  All are welcome!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  See you at worship on Sunday!

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

pdf icon 2-12-2016.pdf

Come to Ash Wednesday service 7pm!

BFCC will hold a fairly traditional Ash Wednesday service this week.  It will be short, the entire service will only run about 20 minutes, and will start at 7pm.  Receiving ashes is optional.  

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Its official name is “Day of Ashes,” so called because of the practice of rubbing ashes on one’s forehead in the sign of a cross. Since it is exactly 40 days (excluding Sundays) before Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, it will always fall on a Wednesday—there cannot be an “Ash Thursday” or “Ash Monday.” The Bible never mentions Ash Wednesday—for that matter, it never mentions Lent.

Lent is intended to be a time of self-denial, moderation, fasting, and the forsaking of sinful activities and habits. Ash Wednesday commences this period of spiritual discipline. Ash Wednesday and Lent are observed by most Catholics and some Protestant denominations. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not observe Ash Wednesday; instead, they start Lent on “Clean Monday.”

While the Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday, it does record accounts of people in the Old Testament using dust and ashes as symbols of repentance and/or mourning (2 Samuel 13:19Esther 4:1Job 2:8Daniel 9:3). The modern tradition of rubbing a cross on a person’s forehead supposedly identifies that person with Jesus Christ. 

Should a Christian observe Ash Wednesday? Since the Bible nowhere explicitly commands or condemns such a practice, Christians are at liberty to prayerfully decide whether or not to observe Ash Wednesday.

If a Christian decides to observe Ash Wednesday and/or Lent, it is important to have a biblical perspective. Jesus warned us against making a show of our fasting: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). We must not allow spiritual discipline to become spiritual pride.

It is a good thing to repent of sinful activities, but that’s something Christians should do every day, not just during Lent. It’s a good thing to clearly identify oneself as a Christian, but, again, this should be an everyday identification. And it is good to remember that no ritual can make one’s heart right with God.

Footprints Newsletter

Good Morning!
What a week!  What a storm!  I couldn't report to work until yesterday.  Well I sure hope most of you have been able to dig yourselves out, or at least had a good Samaritan help you out.  Now we have to be prepared for all the melting in the next week with our temperatures on the rise.  If anyone is available to provide transportation to church for one of our elderly members, please call Mona at 203-8233.
Inside this week's Footprints are some interesting topics.  The first you will see is a discussion we will be having here on the 24th called "Mythbusting:  Religion vs. Politics."  There are also a couple upcoming seminars that might spark your interest as well.  Also, you will see a mini autobiography of a long-time member of this church!  So find yourself a comfy spot to read!   
We will be having an Ash Wednesday service here on the 10th at 7:00 p.m. so please feel free to join us then.  Also, because Ash Wednesday falls on the normal date of the Board meeting, please note that the Board meeting will be pushed out to the 17th and Youth Group is being pushed out to the 24th, during the "Mythbusting" discussion.  So be sure to write those dates down!
Please come worship this Sunday to enjoy the choir and youth perform during the service.  And not to worry, you will still have plenty of time to go home and get ready for Super Bowl 50!
GO BRONCOS!  Unless you are like my son, who is rooting for the Panthers! (I can't believe it!)
Have a wonderful weekend!

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

pdf icon 2-5-2016.pdf

Family Night Cancelled

Hello all, 

As the parents of the Youth already know, youth group/family night has been cancelled. All other activities this evening are cancelled as well.  Thanks and please stay safe and warm!  
-Theresa

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207