THE KINGDOM: LIKE YEAST IN DOUGH
1. This is the parable that can be smelled and tasted.
2. It may be the shortest parable; it is almost certainly one of the most underrated.
3. In these days when there is anxiety about keeping separate from the world, and when there is agitation over whether the kingdom can survive and thrive in such a world, we need an awareness of what this little parable means.
1. What the kingdom means
a. “The kingdom of heaven” in Matthew (13:33) is the same as “the kingdom of God” in Luke (13:20).
i. Each writer tends to highlight an important aspect of the kingdom.
ii. Matthew gives emphasis to the rule of God (cf. Matt. 6:10; 7:21).
iii. Luke puts the accent on the good news of its nearness and its spiritual nature (Lk. 8:1; 10:9; 17:21).
b. What the kingdom is must fit with what the other kingdom parables in the same chapter teach.
i. The kingdom involves the sowing of the word upon all kinds of heard, some of whom understand it, hold it fast, and bear much fruit (13:3-8, 18-23).
ii. The kingdom is wheat growing in the world: it has to contend with weeds sown by the enemy which will not be gathered out until the harvest (13:24-30, 37-43).
iii. The kingdom is a small seed that has such life in it that it grows great enough to be a blessing (13:31-32).
iv. The kingdom is a treasure which has such value that a man would joyfully sell everything he has in order to own (13:44–46).
v. The kingdom is a net that has gathered every kind and will finally have the bad separated out of it (13:47-50).
c. The kingdom, then, must exist in this world, and it takes the form of the church.
i. Acts 8:5, 12
ii. Colossians 1:13, 14
iii. Revelation 1:5, 6
2. What the kingdom is like
a. Like leaven, the kingdom has a certain life and influence about it because of what it is and not merely because of what it does.
b. Like leaven, the kingdom works from within that which it seeks to transform, whether the individual life or the community at large.
c. Like leaven, the kingdom gives of itself to bless everyone with whom it comes in contact.
d. Like leaven, the kingdom may seem to start small and move quietly and slowly, but over time it will be found to have made an obvious and positive difference.
e. Like leaven, the kingdom is aggressively and persistently contagious until it has permeated the whole lump.
1. Because of its nature, the kingdom of heaven is the most reassuring and motivating concept our minds can grasp.
a. 2 Timothy 4:18
b. 2 Peter 1:11
2. The kingdom of heaven that now exists will never end, but the end of this present order will come, and when it does the present ruler of the kingdom, our Lord Jesus Christ, having destroyed every other rule and authority and power, will deliver the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:24).
3. At that time, the only thing that will matter is citizenship in the kingdom.