Why the Lord Used Parables (And Why So Many Christians Still Don’t Get It). Part 3

         And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE.”

         With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples. [Mark 4:30-34]

         Here we have the mysterious but distinct contrast to the real teaching method used by the Lord Jesus and that of imposters.

         As mentioned in Part 2, religious indoctrination must be used when no relationship with God is present.

         There is no doubt this is a “hard saying,” and certainly causes the inevitable stumbling when related to one’s Christian experience. But try to see it this way: Fathers do not put their small children in a school desk or pew in the living room and attempt to ram home all the teaching they must impart through a contrived institutional format.

         Instead, they spend as much time as possible with their small children and allow them to ask questions. They are gentle and open, and allow each child to feel secure while also putting forth a mature stature which the child naturally respects.

         The father spends time with his children, engages in activities with them, attempts to bless them with opportunities, and teaches by example. Love comes first, and as life’s opportunities for learning present themselves, fathers are ready with the same kind of instruction used by the Lord.

         I don’t know why this is so hard to see, but it certainly is. Traditional, institutional Christianity has robbed the children of God from having that particular close learning relationship with the Lord He so wants to share with them. He loves His many children and He must feel very bad at being shut out by those who insist on regimenting and overly structuring Christian teaching, and turning spiritual revelation into classroom indoctrination.

         Why can’t we see that the Lord Jesus never did this? Why do we justify it? Why do so few “Christian” men lack the spiritual backbone, intestinal fortitude, and outright nuticles to do something about it?

         Though God, the Lord Jesus is also the greatest MAN who ever lived. He is manly to the core. When He walked this earth He presented the manliness and strength of God in a way that had never been done before. The real seekers of truth noted this, honored and respected it, and listened to the Man to the point of receiving His truth, His Spirit, and all that entailed.

         Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?”

         The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” [John 7:44-46]

         Rather than respect Him and the gospel, His detractors and enemies took the opposite path. Whether intimidated or angered by Him, they simply could not possibly coexist with Him. They were the ones who insisted on cold, unfeeling, formalized religion that never touched the deep heart of people in great need.

         The Lord, though, never used their false methods. He got down on the level of His disciples and taught with love and sincerity.

         He had no church building.

         He had no pulpit.

         He had no narcissistic clergy distinctions whatsoever.

         He did not need to prop Himself up or surround himself with or within some grand faux religious apparatus to appear genuine.

         He was genuine by His love and manner. His disciples felt His love. They knew they were loved, the same way a little boy or little girl knows he or she is loved when daddy takes them fishing, or to the park, or plays a game with them, or shows them how to do stuff.

         Is not this the very essence of mature servanthood and of the strong taking care of the weak? Instead of the strong becoming more strong and more enchriched and ruling over the weak?

         For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. [2Corinthians 13:9]

         This is the heart of God. At best, some of the overly formalized regimented methods of clergyites might lead to a better understanding of God on possibly an elementary level, but can in no way reveal the Lord for who He really is. This is why all the patriarchs spent so much time alone with God out in the desert. It is why the apostle Paul did the same. They learned from God directly, and they brought home teachings and understandings no one else possessed.

         Please consider the following:

         For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

         Paul had no New Testament. He had no formalized church to attend. How did he learn so much? Though he had no New Testament, he ending up writing much of it! How?

         He says he did not receive the gospel from man.

         He says the gospel he taught was not according to man.

         He says He received the gospel he taught through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

         Think about it. No church. No Bible school. No seminary. No New Testament to memorize and learn from. No brothers or sisters around him all the time instructing him.

         Paul received the gospel he preached through a direct revelation from God while he was out in the desert alone with God.

         How do we know he got it right? And how do we know most “Christian” ministers get it wrong? Here’s how:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

         I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom,

         BUT IN DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER,

         so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

         Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom

         IN A MYSTERY, THE HIDDEN WISDOM WHICH GOD PREDESTINED BEFORE THE AGES TO OUR GLORY;

         the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

         “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

         For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

         For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?

         Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

         [1 Corinthians 2:1-11] [1]

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on September 1, 2014, in Real Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Bob, Thanks for your penetrating article. When I read it I realized how much I must have missed by not reading the 2 earlier posts. In deed, the more we seek God’s power through His Spirit the more he reveals and the better we can serve to HIS HONOR AND GLORY.

    I’m cutting this reply short…..going back to read the earlier posts.

    Be Blessed My Friend.

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  2. The truth is: Jesus answered,verily,verily, I say unto thee,except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Jn3:5 kjb. Except a man is filled with the Holy Ghost/God’s Spirit of truth, he cannot understand parables,nor interpret scripture,or receive revelation. Jesus spoke in parables, to teach spiritual principles of God kingdom,to those who would hear the Word of God, and be converted.

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  3. I love the spirit and the heart of this post. We have indeed formalized religion, even in our strong attempt to avoid catechismic instruction. I was blessed, as a small girl in Sunday school, to have teachers who spoke to us on our level; who illustrated the great Bible stories with wonderful flannelgraph figures; who encouraged us to memorize verses, sometimes whole passages, with nothing as a prize except a gold star on a chart. Those were the good old days. I loved it. I especially loved that as I matured, so did the nature of the teaching. That is what comes through here. As newborn babes desire the sincere milk. . .later we need the meat.

    Jesus told stories because stories paint vivid word pictures that we remember. He did not require His disciples to memorize lists, although all of them were well-versed in the Law. He did occasionally teach in the formal setting of the synagogue, but He certainly wasn’t restricted to it. Paul’s post-graduate work was done under the instruction of Professor Ananias, and later with Professors Priscilla and Aquilla. He was already highly educated before he met Jesus on the Damascus Road. It is amazing how much we can learn as we simply walk with God, putting one foot in front of the other.

    All right. Time for me to hush up 🙂 Thanks for this series. One of my favorite topics.

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  4. Great article, R.J.! 🙂

    You said, “They learned from God directly, and they brought home teachings and understandings no one else possessed.” AMEN – that’s IT! Actually, only He can give us eyes to see and ears to hear…

    Love,
    Susanne

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