Jason Helopoulos / Nov 24, 2019 / Matthew 13:10-17
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
From this point in Matthew’s gospel (not quite half way through) Jesus teaches almost exclusively in parables. And it is here that his disciples ask him the same question we might be thinking: Why parables?
Jason began his sermon over this passage (Matthew 13:10-17) by first answering the question What is a parable? Answer: a parable is a teaching expressed in concrete examples and aimed at conveying a spiritual truth.
Why teach in parables requires a longer answer.
Some would say that parables are a way of connecting to an audience. This is true, and Jesus certainly used concrete elements that his audience would have been very familiar with, but his primary purpose was to connect God’s truth to those who believe and to hide it from those who don’t. Why hide the truth? Because Jesus’ parables are Kingdom teachings, not moral lessons, and knowing him is a prerequisite for understanding their meaning.
Jesus’ words, that “to the one who has, more will be given” might sound unfair, but it is not. It simply follows that if you don’t know the first thing – that Jesus is King – how can you know the second and third? This speaks to the next question: Who is sovereign in salvation? And to the answer: God is.
Faith is a gift from God, not a work from man that he should boast. Two doctrines teach this truth:
1 God’s unconditional election. God’s electing, sovereign love is the only cause of our salvation. Understanding God’s Kingdom truths is impossible in and of ourselves. We CANNOT arrive at a knowledge of God without his work in our hearts and minds. This is not something to be afraid of, but a wonderful comfort, because if there was some reason other than God’s electing love that could effect our salvation, then that would be sovereign over God. Moreover, we would never come to God apart from his work because we’re unable. The pharisees proved this. They had every evidence before them that Jesus was who he said he was, and yet their hearts only grew harder the more they saw.
2 Reprobation. God gave faith to the blind man but left the pharisees (though they could see clearly what had happened) in their unbelief. This is the doctrine of reprobation, that some are predestined to not be among the elect. Here we see three truths:
- Graciously, God is the cause of belief, but he is never the cause of unbelief. Our unbelief is our own, and the power of sin is not a result of God’s denying us election but of the Fall. And in that we are justly condemned.
- There is no symmetry between election and reprobation. He chooses to elect some and works on their behalf. His work is monergistic, entirely his own. For the non-elect he withholds it and passes them by, but they already have the unbelief that condemns them. And God is not the cause of their unbelief.
iii. If you want Jesus, he is yours, freely offered to you. You do not need to discern whether or not you are elect. There is nothing in God’s word to suggest that. Will you believe and place your faith in Christ? That is the only thing to consider.
In hearing these truths we might be tempted to think they will lead us to pride and steal glory from God, but in reality they do just the opposite. Nothing is more humbling to know that we merit no part of our salvation, and because it is entirely God’s work, ALL glory goes to Christ.