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The Royal - Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 1)
Miles McPherson - October 17, 2010

Message Recap

If you are not already married, imagine you are, and that your spouse asks you, “How many times can I cheat on you before our marriage is over?” What would you say? A marriage is a reflection of our relationship with the Lord and if we wouldn’t ask our spouse how many times we would cheat why would we ask that of our Lord?

Today Pastor Miles continued his message series, The Royal: Lessons on How to Understand the Various Types of Biblical Writings. Today we begin the fifth biblical genre of parables, which read as riddles.

Pastor Miles gave us six observations from the parables:

1. A parable uses everyday experiences to draw comparisons with kingdom truths.

Miles dove right into Matthew 18:21, where Peter is asking Jesus how often should he forgive someone who sins against him. “Up to seven times?” he asks. And Jesus replies, “…up to seventy times seven.” (That would be 490 times – enough to lose track). The kingdom truth embedded here is that we are to love our neighbor, which includes forgiving the wrongs that s/he does to us.

In verse 23, Jesus continues with the story of a servant who owes his king the equivalent of $1.2 million dollars (in today’s standards). Can you imagine owing the IRS this amount of money? The servant begs the king for compassion, and the king forgives the servant’s debt. (If you had a hard time imagining owing the IRS such a large debt, try imagining the IRS wiping it away!) This is some forgiveness! With this story, Jesus exemplifies how large the forgiveness of our sin is on God’s part. It is something we would never be able to repay on our own, and yet God extends His forgiveness to us.

2. Parables were spoken to three groups:

  1. Crowds
  2. Scribes and Pharisees (critics whom Jesus’ stories often upset)
  3. Disciples

3. Parables communicate kingdom of God principles and require kingdom of God responses.

Further in Matthew 18: 28, Jesus reveals that this same servant who was forgiven a huge debt by the king demands payment from someone who owed him only 100 denarii (about $2), having the debtor thrown in jail when he is unable to pay. When the king finds out about this, withdraws his forgiveness and has this wicked servant thrown in jail himself.

As Miles pointed out, there are plenty of good churches that teach their congregations kingdom principles, but members of these churches need to respond to what they hear and learn. Jesus didn’t teach “love thy neighbor” so that we can think about it in church and then yell out the guy next door because his dog is barking. God expects us to act on kingdom teachings in our everyday lives and circumstances. When He forgives us, He expects us to forgive others in return.

4. Parables twist your mind with the intent to turn your heart/actions.

Twist – Jesus’ spin, or twist, on the meaning of an everyday experience.

Turn – The change, or turn, in behavior the twist is designed to bring about in the audience.

  • Parables demand the reader make a decision and do something differently.
  • Parables aren’t as difficult to understand as they are to obey.
  • Pharisees understood these parables, but their hard hearts prevented them from obeying.

The story Jesus told was to remind us that we have been forgiven of something we could never have repaid (the twist), but He expects us to do the same and forgive others as we have been forgiven (the turn).

5. The effect of the parable was determined by the heart of the hearer.

  • The hardhearted were twisted but not turned, thus were offended.
  • The spiritually hungry were twisted and turned, thus they grew closer to God.
  • Parables ‘called out’ the proud and ‘called up’ the humble.

6. Only acceptance of the kingdom of God and Jesus’ authority can unlock the power of the parables.

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