Step Seven – The Parables of Jesus

When Jesus was asked by the disciples why he taught in parables He essentially told them because not everyone was ready to hear what he was teaching.  We can therefore surmise that the parables of Jesus were some of his most important lessons for believers to hear.  If our goal is to serve God we most certainly need to read and understand the parables of Jesus.  To that end, I suggest reading “The Parables of Jesus: Lessons from the Master Teacher” by J. Dwight Pentecost.  Reading this masterful work, will bring you to a full understanding of each and every one of the parables of Jesus.

Matthew 13:15-17

“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;

You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;

For the heart of this people has become dull,

With their ears they scarcely hear,

And they have closed their eyes,

Otherwise they would see with their eyes,

Hear with their ears,

And understand with their heart and return,

And I would heal them.”

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

What follows is a summarized version of what I learned studying the parables of Jesus with Dwight Pentecost.  This abbreviated version will give you a quick overview of the parables of Jesus; however, don’t let it take the place of your own personal study.

Teaching in the Parables of Jesus

Jesus lived a sinless life.  He was perfect.  This is only possible because He was not simply another human; He was and is the one and only human manifestation of God Himself.

Religious leaders at the time of Jesus wanted Him to follow rules and regulations established by God for previous generations, but Jesus made it clear He had come to establish a new path to the kingdom of God.

Those religious leaders were too consumed with maintaining their own religious authority to see the obvious demonstration of God’s power in Jesus, and therefore became useless in their ability to lead others to God.

Salvation from death as a result of sin can only be achieved by following the teachings of Jesus, not by following the teachings of misguided religious leaders.

Religious leaders who go their own way rather than following Jesus are lost.

Salvation from death as a result of sin is given as a gift from God to those who believe and put their faith in Jesus; there is no requirement to follow any rules or regulations; therefore, those who are the most sinful are the most grateful for their salvation.

Jesus demonstrated the ability to drive out demons proving His power was stronger than Satan.

You can come to know and understand the teachings of Jesus by opening your heart.  If you open your mind in an attempt to comprehend His teachings, you run the risk of misguided religious teachers filling your head with lies that will ultimately keep you from truly knowing God.

The kingdom of God is comprised of all those who believe in Jesus Christ and all those who will one day put their faith in Him as well.

Jesus came to plant seeds of understanding and the knowledge of God in the hearts of all humanity.  In order for those seeds to take root, one must seek help from other believers in order to grow in the faith; one must avoid Satan’s distractions; one must avoid the distractions of this material world.

Good deeds are not a requirement of salvation, but a result of salvation made possible through the Holy Spirit that resides in your heart once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.

While Jesus is here to plant good seed, Satan is here planting bad seed at the same time.  It is not up to us to separate the good from the bad; that will be taken care of by Jesus when He returns.

Christianity started as the seed of just a few men and rapidly grew; now there are over 2 billion followers of Jesus Christ in the world.

By believing in Jesus Christ and placing your faith in His death and resurrection as salvation for your sin, you have placed yourself in the kingdom of God; that eternal destination is irreversible.

Everyone who comes to Jesus will be granted eternal life and He considers all those who come to be precious.

There will come a time when the wicked will be separated from the kingdom and only believers will remain.

Even though the rules and regulations from the Old Testament of the Bible are no longer applicable now that Jesus has come, it is still important to know and understand that teaching.

If you are a true believer, you will forgive others as God has forgiven you.

Jesus wants to lead you to the eternal kingdom of God.  There are others who want to lead you in the opposite direction.

Your neighbor is anyone who is in need and whose need you are able to meet.

Persistence in your faith demonstrated through prayer will be rewarded.

Wealth comes from God and should not be spent on your pleasure but His.

Believers who remain faithful will be rewarded when Christ returns.

When you place your faith in Jesus Christ that faith will manifest itself in good deeds fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit living inside your heart.

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

There are some who are so caught up in the pleasures of this material world they will never be able to know Jesus.

Placing your faith in Jesus means you are willing to completely submit to His will in your life.

God loves sinners.  God searches for sinners.  God restores sinners.  Everyone who wants a relationship with Jesus must confess their sinful nature.

By serving God rather than money you store up rewards in heaven worth far more than anything you have in this world.

If wealth is used selfishly it is ultimately of no value; if it is used as a means of showing mercy it can gain eternal reward.

To serve God you must go beyond obligation.

Persistent prayer will bring justice from God.  Persistent faith will bring the ultimate reward.

Sinful people cannot approach God by accomplishing good deeds; but only through the benefit of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross as payment for those sins; therefore, when we seek God in prayer we do so in the name of Jesus.

The Lord is just, gracious, and generous; and He will do what is right.

The faithful will be received into the kingdom that the King establishes, and the unfaithful will be rejected.

Your actions, not your words, will identify your faithfulness.

Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ will escape judgment and be received into the kingdom of God.

Only those who hear God’s call and accept the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ will be part of the kingdom of God.

God has a specific path to the kingdom of God for all believers.

Even though Jesus is no longer with us on earth, He expects us to act as though He is watching our every move – which of course He is.

Those who are unfaithful and ignore the teachings of Jesus will be kept from the kingdom of God.

The prepared will be received into the kingdom of God but the unprepared will be excluded.

Rewards for faithfulness and judgment for unfaithfulness will be administered when Jesus returns.

Jesus wants us to follow this example:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Matthew 25:35-36

 

More Steps

 

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