RIGHTLY RESPONDING TO OUR APOSTATE ERA
Part V: Responding Rightly To Our Apostate Era's Great Negative Pressures On Bible Teachers
A. The great rise in spiritual corruption in today's world can leave an uninformed believer confused and unsettled.
B. Christ gave the Matthew 13:1-52 parables to inform the godly on how they are to think and to act so that they can be settled and productive in this apostate era between Christ's Matthew 12 withdrawal of His offer of the Messianic Kingdom and His institution of it after the Great Tribulation, so we view it for our edification:
II. Responding Rightly To Our Era's Great Negative Pressures On Bible Teachers, Matthew 13:51-52:
A. We before learned that Christ's first four parables predicted a rise of negative pressures on Bible teachers:
1. Jesus taught (Par. of Sower) that there will be mostly negative responses to the teaching of the Word, that even those who received it would do so with varying degrees of fruitfulness due to varying degrees of believing Scripture (hard soil), trusting God in trials (rocky soil) and overcoming worldliness (weedy soil).
2. Christ added (Par. of Tares) that Satan would plant lost men amid believers to the alarm of God's servants.
3. Jesus furthermore noted (Par. of Mustard Seed) that Satan would then push for great growth in the groups.
4. Finally, Jesus taught (Par. of Leaven) that Satan would secretly insert permeating error into these groups.
5. Thus, the pressures of ungodliness against God's Bible teaching servants in our era can lure them to fail to trust Scripture, to fail to face trials by faith and to fail to avoid worldliness so that they fail in their tasks!
B. Jesus thus gave three more parables (treasure, pearl, dragnet) to motivate Bible teachers to keep at their tasks:
1. We before learned that the Matthew 13:44-46 parables of the hid treasure and pearl counter the lure for Bible teachers to be discouraged by focusing on those hearers who will respond greatly to the Word, and that such responses will be very heartening to Bible teachers now and bring them rich rewards in eternity!
2. Christ then taught the parable of the dragnet (sagene, U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966, p. 51; John MacArthur, Matthew 8-15 (NTC), 1987, p. 394), a net that moves through the water like a wall stretching from the top to the bottom of the sea (Ibid.; Matt. 13:47-50), capturing all the fish in the sea. He thus taught that no one will escape accountability to God so that Bible teachers must not focus on what temporal sufferings they face, but recall what the lost will suffer eternally, and so stay at their work in concern to see the lost saved!
3. This also has application to ministry to carnal believers: the Bible teacher must recall that the carnal will face sorrowful loss of Christ's reward, so he must not get dismayed over the pain that the carnal cause him, but keep on ministering for the benefit of the hearers who will respond and focus on God's future reward!
C. Jesus then gave a final word to our era's pressured Bible teachers in the Parable of the Householder, v. 51-52:
1. This parable is based on uniting the lessons in all of the previous Matthew 13 parables on the kingdom, for the verb "understood" in Matthew 13:15 KJV is from the Greek word suniemi, meaning to "bring together, understand" (Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the N. T., 1968, p. 429).
2. So, in view of the great negative pressures in discipling (first four parables), the great reward in ministry in those who will respond well and the sure judgment of all who do not heed the Word (next three parables), God's discipled Bible teachers have a huge, pressing duty to perform for Him (as follows), Matthew 13:52:
a. In light of the huge stakes for all involved, God's scribes who are "trained, discipled" (matheteuo, Wm. D. Mounce, The Analyt. Lex. to the Grk. N. T., 1993, p. 306) in kingdom truths will keep on bringing out (ekballei, pres. tense; Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N.T., p. 52) valuables that are both newly unused (kainos, Ibid., Abbott-Smith, p. 225-226) as well as those that are worn by use (palaios, Ibid., p. 334) to their hearers.
b. Namely, in view of the great stakes for all involved, discipled Bible teachers will faithfully expound Old Testament and new truths Jesus had taught that, in application, would later involve all the New Testament!
3. Thus, in the face of great negative pressures that tempt a Bible teacher to stop trusting Scripture, to stop relying on God in trials and to turn worldly, he must recall the huge stakes for all involved in terms of each one's potential for a great loss of or for a great gain of God's reward due to their response to the Word, that in great motivation, the Bible teacher keep on expounding all of Scripture against all odds to the contrary!
Lesson: To handle this era's great negative pressures to get them to cease doing their duty, God's Bible teachers must recall the huge stakes for all involved that they keep on heeding God's Word and keep on expounding it all!
Application: To handle the great pressures to the contrary that we face, we who teach Scripture must recall the huge stakes for all involved in the discipling process, and so keep on faithfully expounding all of God's Word!