#IYKYK - Week 6
This week we are not meeting in small groups due to Spring Break. We have provided some additional insight for deeper study into this weeks message.
EXPLORE AND DISCUSS
Understand the Passage
The Fishermen who cast the net are those who have been appointed by Christ to gather men into his kingdom. The Net represents the Gospel as it is properly preached and taught in the world. The Sea represents the world made up of The Fish, both good and bad, as those who are among those who will receive the gospel and inherit eternal life and those who will reject the gospel and receive eternal hell. The Separation is the judgment that will occur at the end of the age.
Compare the parable of the net to the parable of the weeds found in Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43.
What similarities do you notice between the two parables?
What differences do you notice?
The parable of the weeds shows the work of the evil one against the work of God. Notice in the parable of the net that the separation of the good and the bad is not the result of the evil one but is the distinction given by God, the one who separates.
Why do you think this difference exists between these two parables? Why is it important?
Those whom God foreknew according to his will (Romans 8:29) have been chosen to be conformed to the image of his Son and will inherit eternal life in glory. The good fish separated from the bad fish in the parable of the dragnet represent the elect people of God who will be set apart for eternal salvation. Matthew Barrett, in his book, Whomever He Wills, states, “We do not know who will believe and who will not. We do not know who the elect are. We are to preach the gospel to all, desiring to see all come to repentance and faith (123)” The gospel call is extended to all but only a few will receive the effectual call of God to faith and repentance. The election of God is ‘unconditional’, meaning that it is based on no human merit and cannot be earned.
Some may say, ‘the doctrine of election, that God chooses some and not others to receive eternal life, seems unfair.’ How would you respond?
How is God’s righteousness and justice shown in his unconditional election?
The Final Judgment
The doctrine of the final judgment is an essential belief for all Christians. The Bible makes it clear that all people, believers and unbelievers, will stand before Christ for judgment. Paul writes, “Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works:, eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and anger to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness” (Romans 2:5-8). Those who have been redeemed by God will not be judged to spend eternity in hell; rather, they will inherit eternal life as Jesus states in John 5:24, “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.
Why is the belief in the final judgment essential to the Christian faith?
How is God’s righteousness and justice shown in the final judgment?
How does knowing a final justice is coming impact the way you live your life and minister to others?
Discover the Meaning
“You have had the gospel preached to you. The net has been let down, and many of you have been gathered in it and brought in among the people of Christ, into the kingdom of Christ. But remember, they that be gathered in the net are not all good: the net gathers of every kind, both bad and good, and so ’tis to be feared that you that are called Christians are not all good.
Men can’t certainly know how many of you are good and how many are bad, but God knows. You may deceive men with a good outside when your hearts are rotten, but you can’t deceive God. And remember that although good and bad are mixed together in this world—they live together in the same houses, they come to meeting together and may sit down at the sacrament together—but they won’t be mixed together always.
The time will soon come when God will show the great difference by opening the hearts of men so that all the world may see what they be. When Christ comes at the end of the world, and the wicked shall be separated from among the just, then many of them that used to come to meeting together and used to eat and drink together, and used to go hunting together, shall be separated one from another, never to be together any more.” - Jonathan Edwards, “Heaven’s Dragnet,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758.
Edwards excellently explains the meaning of this passage which summarizes the entirety of the parables that Jesus is teaching in Matthew 13: not everyone will inherit the kingdom of heaven. The point that we must understand in these parables is that the kingdom of heaven is made up of only those whom God redeems from sin and hell. It will be very difficult for us to know who is among this group and who is not; it is God that truly knows the hearts of man and who has been redeemed by his free gift of grace.
We take comfort in knowing that we are among this group by the fruit that we see in our lives and we can recognize the fruit in others as those who have been redeemed. Edwards points out that external actions alone do not demonstrate the true regeneration that takes place by the power of the Holy Spirit. As Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 11, there will be those who may appear to have authentic fruit in their life, but are not truly living a regenerate life. The true regenerate life is marked by the fruit of the Spirit, conviction and repentance of sin, and missional living to expand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are many people who attend churches across the world and claim to be Christians. Matthew 7:21 shows that many of these people will point to their external actions and their nominal Christianity as proof of their salvation. Yet, Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you” because their lives were never truly transformed by the power of the gospel. The word ‘know’ in Matthew 7:21 comes from the same root as the word for foreknowledge in Romans 8:29 and implies a salvific knowledge of those who are among God’s people. What Jesus is saying in this passage is, “many of you will claim to be Christians and will say, Lord, didn’t I do all the Christian things I was supposed to do?” And Jesus will reply, “You never had an intimate relationship with me; you never surrendered your life to me as Lord; you never lived out true repentance.” The parable of the net shows that there will be many fish gathered together in the same net, yet only a few will be among the ‘good’ fish. Those who are among the redeemed people of God are few.
We do not know who these few are or who God’s elect people are. Therefore, we must be diligent in our proclamation of the gospel and our commitment to fish for people. We cast the net of the Word of God knowing that not all who hear the message will come to know Christ as Savior and Lord.
In what ways can you be intentional about sharing the gospel to those around you?
Who in your life needs to hear the good news of Jesus Christ?
How does knowing that many will call themselves Christians and may do ‘Christian’ things, yet never know Christ as Savior and Lord change the way that you minister to those around you?
Use the RANSOM method to study and compare the parable of the weeds and the parable of the dragnet.
Try to identify what the collection of parables tells us about the kingdom of heaven and the coming judgment.
For further guidance on the RANSOM Bible study method see:
For free Bible study resources use:
Blueletterbible.org or Blue Letter Bible app