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Surprising Lessons on the God-Life (1 of 11)
Series: Parables Series: Surprising Lessons on the God-Life
Matthew 13:31-34, 44-51
Introduction: I start with two assumptions today. Every one of you in this room wants to know God better. You want to understand more of his will. You want to enjoy his blessings. You want to spend eternity in his heaven. That's assumption number one. Secondly, you are here today because you believe that what takes place during this hour will help make that happen. Am I right?
Today I am beginning a series of messages designed to do just that--help you know God better. I am going to do this by exploring with you over the next several weeks a collection of Scriptures that were intended exactly for that purpose. We will be looking at a sampling of the parables of Jesus. We can't look at all of the parables. The teachings of Jesus contain forty or fifty of these special stories, depending on what you count. Each was intended to show us something about God. Some are classics. Characters like the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan are familiar to people that don't even know where the stories come from. Others are less familiar.
The term "parable" literally means a comparison; something laid along aside something else. In Sunday school we learned to define a parable as "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." That's fair enough. Jesus tells us a story with characters and plots that we would all recognize, especially if we had lived in that world and culture. But he does so with a specific purpose. He isn't trying to entertain, to teach something about agriculture or social etiquette or to confuse his opponents as some suggest. Rather he is seeking to illumine, to shine a light on something, to illustrate, to open a window on heaven and give us a sneak preview of what the God of heaven is up to and what he wants. This is especially true of the set of parables I want to read for you now.
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