What is the Kingdom of God Like? (Luke 13:18-21)

This morning we shall discuss two parables about the kingdom of God found in Luke 13:18-21:

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”  And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?  It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

What is the Kingdom of God like?  According to Jesus, it is like a grain of mustard seed and leaven (yeast).  Let’s find out why that is and how it should impact our lives.

The Parables

Jesus asks, “What is the kingdom of God like?  And to what shall I compare it?” (18).  Jesus asks this question because He wants us to understand and enter the kingdom of God.  He answers this question with two parables.  As we saw a few weeks ago, parables are practical illustrations that communicate great spiritual truth. In the first parable, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a grain of mustard seed.  The mustard seed is a very small seed that can grow into a tree large enough for birds to nest in.

In the second parable, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to leaven that is hid (mixed) into three measures of flour (enough for 100 people).  Once the small amount of leaven is hid in the flour, it grows to fill the entire flour.

Both parables communicate the same truth: the kingdom of God is like mustard seed and leaven because it begins small, grows substantially and provides tremendous benefit to others.  This is the point of the parables: the kingdom of God has 1) small beginning, 2) powerful growth, and 3) beneficial result.

The Kingdom of God

We have seen what the kingdom of God is like, but what is the kingdom of God?  It may help to consider what the kingdom of God is not.  While God is the rightful owner of all things, all things are not considered the kingdom of God.  While every person is held accountable to God, not every person is in the kingdom of God.

So how does one enter the kingdom of God and why isn’t everyone already in it?  The reason is because the kingdom of God refers to those who have surrendered to God and received peace with God through Jesus Christ.  Everyone who has peace with God is in the kingdom and everyone who has not received peace is out of the kingdom.

This helps us understand the parable better.  There are two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.  Because of Adam’s rebellion against God, man is by nature a slave to sin (Rom 6:20), a “child of wrath” (Eph 2:3), and a follower of “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2).

The good news of the gospel is that servants in the kingdom of Satan are being freed from their bondage and entering into the kingdom of God.  When Jesus began His public ministry, He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).  We who are servants of the kingdom of God rejoice because even though the kingdom begins small, it is powerful and beneficial.  As Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).

Implications

Now that we have seen what the kingdom of God is like and what the kingdom of God actually is, what are the implications?  Let’s look at the implications through the three aspects of the two parables: 1) small beginning, 2) powerful growth, and 3) beneficial result.

Small Beginning

The kingdom of God may have started small, but that does not mean it is insignificant.  The kingdom of God started small because God wanted to showcase humility as the path to holiness.  Jesus was not born in a palace and pampered like a prince; Jesus was born in a manager and overlooked as a peasant.  Jesus showed us true humility and calls us to model His humility to others.

Powerful Growth

The kingdom of God is powerful and it is growing.  If we are not seeing the power of God among us and not seeing lives changed by the power of God, then we must repent of our lack of faith and trust in our great God.  Christianity, the kingdom of God, and the Church are powerful entities because they operate with the power of the Creator, Ruler God.

Beneficial Result

The kingdom of God is a blessing to the world because it provides its greatest need: peace.  The peace of God that comes through the grace of God is the greatest gift God can ever bestow.  The peace of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ and removes our sin from us.  Our sin is judged and placed upon Jesus and His righteousness is given to us.  We have peace with God.