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Parables – Intro to Kingdom

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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking
for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:44-46

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his
son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Luke 15:20

Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my
house will be full.’
Luke 14:23

These past few weeks we’ve explored several themes based on 5 parables (Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great
Price, Prodigal Son, Great Physician, Dinner Guests, Householder). For the most part, they introduce us to
the heart of God and what it takes to enter into the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached. Note: sentences
in bold were the “big ideas” from each Wednesday talk.

The Hidden Treasure and Pearl of Great Price charged us to // Exchange your nothing for God’s
everything. // Our most valuable things in life are usually those that put us in danger of idolization, whether
they be actual things or passions. List some of them together, regardless of whether you are in control now
or not. (Examples: laptop, music, cars, working out, facebook, school, books, acceptance, money, reputation)
Check out Proverbs 23:23 on what really matters: “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and
understanding.” How might “truth, wisdom, discipline, and understanding” enrich our lives? What might our
lives look like without these things? Jesus said “I am the truth.” Our lives should be centered on building
intimacy with him; remember, discipleship is about developing intimacy and character!

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we learn about God’s heart and what matters in life. Again, Jesus is
challenging our understanding of what is really valuable. We were all at one point like the Prodigal Son, who
consciously chose to live away from the Father. But God, like the Jewish father who ran towards his son,
reversed what was “shameful” and “honorable.” Jewish men were not supposed to run like that in biblical
times, but he did anyway because he had regained his son. According to today’s ideology, does it make
much sense for God to have died? Should we be surprised when our friends struggle understanding
Christianity? Check out 1 Corinthians 1:18. People usually find it hard to understand abstract ideas. This is
where our lifestyles take an abstract idea like the Gospel and turn it into a real-life, concrete example! Are
we up for the challenge? In the cross, // Jesus’ SHAME became our HONOR. //

Finally, the parables of the Great Physician, Dinner Guests, Householder reveal that // Everyone who wants
to follow Jesus must consciously choose to do so. // This means that growing up in the church can be
risky business—we can think we grow into being saved. Really, we have to “be born again.” (John 3:7) How
does this match up with what our church believes about water baptism? When should we do it? (When we
understand the Gospel! Which for most high-schoolers, is right now!) Christians living in America are in
danger of pursuing the American dream above the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). Ask group: “What do you
want to be when you grow up?” What kind of answers were given? Why do we associate “being” so closely
with our career? Who “are” we really, in the biblical understanding? “But you are a chosen people, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you
out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 These parables also teach that salvation is for
everyone. See Luke 14:23. How much of our church activity revolves around ourselves? What can we do
as a youth ministry to the world to love the lost as much as God does? (REACH)

Relfection: The message Jesus preached and the life Jesus lived was extremely counter-cultural. This
means his lifestyle worked against the grain of many of his culture’s ideas. The kingdom of God is about
God’s self-sacrificing love in the person of Jesus. He didn’t have to die for the world, but he did. How might
our lives reflect his character?

Prayer: God, help me to grow in Christ by your Spirit’s power. Help me to further understand your parables.