Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
Preached on February 7, 2010
About seven years ago, I was asked to serve on the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. The responsibility of the Board is to work with folks who are candidates for ordained ministry, hopefully helping them navigate their way all the way through the process… from hearing, understanding and responding to their call to ministry, all the way to ordination.
Broadly speaking, the areas that we focus on are their calls to ministry, their pastoral and leadership skills, their psychological and spiritual well-being, their preaching and teaching abilities, and the soundness of their theology. It’s been a real honor to serve on the Board and see so many of the candidates who are serving the Lord so well in local churches all over our state.
My particular position is to serve on the theology team. The theology team is responsible for reading the portion of the candidates’ paperwork that deals with their answers to the theological questions we ask of them.
Well, our Scripture today deals in a round about way with one of the questions each candidate is asked. The question is this: What is the Kingdom of God?
Would you be able to answer that question? Correctly? It’s actually a very hard question and I regret that this is a “Communion Sermon” because it probably needs a lot more time than we have today. Like I said, it’s a tough question. The candidates struggle with it as well.
Maybe you’re wondering why, if it’s such a hard question to answer, we ask the candidates about the Kingdom of God. The answer is this: Because it was the central theme of Jesus’ ministry. Everything he preached on, did, and taught somehow related to the Kingdom of God.
Let me give you some examples of where the Kingdom of God comes up in Matthew’s Gospel alone…
Matthew 13:24 – Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:31 – He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
Matthew 13:33 – He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Matthew 13:44 – “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Matthew 13:47 – “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
You get the point? And I could go on and on and on. Jesus refers to the Kingdom over thirty times in Matthew’s Gospel alone. So this is important stuff.
Next time we’ll take a look at the context of these words from our Lord.
Grace and Truth,