Heaven on Earth

Jesus taught a lot about the Kingdom of Heaven (or the Kingdom of God), and his conversation helped us to understand that some measures of the Kingdom are present among us right now. Jesus never defined the Kingdom of Heaven; rather, he used parables to help us engage with the Kingdom.

1. The Party

The Party is a parable that describes a banquet or celebration in which the invited guests come up with excuses to not attend. Upset, the host of the celebration tells his servants to go out and bring in anyone they can find. This message includes a modernized depiction of the story. While you are listening, remember that a party is never about the invitation ... it is about who will be there.

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   February 20, 2022   |   Luke 14:15-24

2. The Long Wait

Let's say that you are one of those who are at The Party described in Luke 14:15-24. Now what? There are several parables Jesus told that seem to indicate that the party could last a long time. And, though we might be tempted to fall asleep, or go off and do our own thing, that isn't what God has in mind. As Uncle Ben in Spiderman famously says, "With great power comes great responsibility."

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   February 27, 2022   |   Luke 12:35-48

3. The Treasure

Two of the shortest parables about the Kingdom of God describe a man searching and finding a treasure of such value that he sells everything to acquire it. Jesus described the elements of these parables elsewhere in places like Matthew 6:21, Matthew 19:21, and Luke 12:33. Three simple questions arise from these parables: Are you looking for the treasure? Do you really expect to find something of such immense value? Are you making the exchange?

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   March 6, 2022   |   Matthew 13:44-45

4. The Responses

The parable of the sower describes a farmer distributing seeds on four types of soil: hard, rocky, weedy, and good. Only one of the soils is successful. We could tend to use this parable to judge others and their response to the Gospel, but do you really think Jesus intends this parable to help us feel spiritually superior to others? No. It is a parable intended to help us realize unsuccessful responses to Jesus that we might be mired in. If anyone of us is not producing tremendous fruit for the Kingdom of God, then here is some truth: our soil may be bad and our soil may need to be changed.

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   March 13, 2022   |   Matthew 13:18-23

5. The Unfair Life

Most every person realizes that they are born into life situations that are different than others. A wealthy American typically will have an easier life with more opportunity, as a person born in Yemen in poverty. Life's not fair. We get that. But, the circumstances of life also mean that the path we must travel to enter the Kingdom of God may be more challenging and lengthy than what another person might experience. And, for the person burdened with the love of money, pride and status, or a powerless religion, their path toward the Kingdom is particularly difficult - but with God it is possible!

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   March 20, 2022   |   Matthew 20:1-16

6. The Growth

The theme of "growth" is present in several of the Parables of the Kingdom, including the Mustard Seed and the Yeast, the Soils, and the Talents. Given the blessings and curses we see at the end of the Parable of the Talents, we must conclude that growth is a key indicator as to whether or not we are actually in relationship with God. This growth is noticeable.

But what growth should we be looking for? Is it the size of churches or offerings? A count of baptisms, or a count of miracles? Our knowledge of Scripture? Interestingly, different groups give different answers, but when Jesus explains parables in Scripture, he gives one answer ... he wouldn't say, "it could be lots of things". So, what could be that answer. Let's explore.

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   March 27, 2022   |   Matthew 25:14-30

7. The Reflection

This last message about the Kingdom focuses on the easy-to-understand parable of the Unmerciful Servant - it is a specific example of the more general message from the Parable of the Talents. That is, as God's character has impacted us, it is intended to shape our character so that we reflect God out to others.

This message also goes over an infographic (see the Message Notes) we created to help visualize how the parables compliment one another and provide a guide for all who seek to be part of the Kingdom

Doug Ellis  Doug Ellis    |   April 3, 2022   |   Matthew 18:21-35

m. Orange Line, Dunn Loring - Merrifield Station
a. 2500 Gallows Road (lower level), Dunn Loring VA 22027
p. 703.204.9549
g. Google Map

Copyright © 2024
The Orchard Church
of Dunn Loring Virginia