The Young Adults Society in Loveland, Colorado is studying the parables of our Lord and using as a guide the book by Prof. Hanko, The Mysteries of the Kingdom. We have been studying it for one season and have made it through chapter 12 of the book. It has created much variety in our discussions. Our first few meetings we discussed why Jesus used parables and if they still apply to our lives today. Then we began the work of going through each parable and applying them to our lives among our brethren in the church and our relationships to those in the world around us.
We began with the parable of the sower and seed sown in his field in different types of soil (Matthew 13:3-9 and 18-23). We discussed how different groups of people reacted to the preaching of the word. Jesus is the sower, the field is the world, and the seed is the Word. Only those whose hearts are prepared by the Spirit will hear the word and bring forth fruit. In connection with this parable we also studied the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 about the enemy sowing tares in the field along with the good seed. We discussed whether or not the tares represented the people of the world or whether the tares were those enemies of Christ brought up in the church. This created some good questions on how we treat those in the church who are not bringing forth visible fruit in their lives. We know it is the will of God to bring up those who are “not of Israel” together with those who are his chosen elect. In doing so, he strengthens the faith of those in the church. We must be careful as Christians to make friends of those who not only claim to be Christ followers but who also live their lives in accordance with God’s will.
We continued studying more parables that Prof. Hanko had put in this particular group all dealing with a warning to the elect to be aware of false doctrine and the enemies of the church, which can often be found in the church itself. In the final judgment God’s perfect plan will be revealed to us and we will see the gathering of the elect to life eternal and the casting of the “tares” and the enemies of God’s church into the lake of fire.
We then moved on to studying the parables that talk about how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ and also how the love of Christ in our hearts should be reflected to those in the world around us who are not God’s elect. We started with the parable in Matthew 18:23-35 that speaks of forgiving our brother. When we see our debt that was forgiven by Christ how much more do our brethren in the church deserve our forgiveness, which is often for sins that we ourselves have committed. One interesting topic that created a lot of discussion was “who is our neighbor” and what is our obligation to that person. In connection with this we discussed our obligations to help the “homeless” person on the side of the street. After much disagreement on the subject it was decided that the most important part of helping the neighbor is bringing them the Word of Christ. All the financial help in the world will not help a person if he does not turn his heart to following Christ.
Studying the Parables of our Lord has proved very beneficial in the spiritual growth of our Young Adults Society. We have grown in our understanding of how we are to treat each other despite our sins that we commit daily against one another and have learned how the love and forgiveness that Christ has shown us must be reflected in our lives not only to our brethren but also shining forth to the world around us.