Archives For Zach Malott

Hello and welcome back!

My wife, Rhonda, asked me to say hello to you so here it is:

Rhonda: “Hello everyone!  Enjoy your study!”

Thank you, dear.  Ok, let’s get started!

I pray that all is well in your life as we begin this next look into the parables of Jesus.

Today, we are going to take a look at the overall, Big Picture of the parable.  In other words, each parable that Jesus tells reveals the Big Picture and that picture was, is, and always will be The Kingdom of Heaven!

You may be thinking, “What?  Every parable that Jesus tells that is recorded in God’s holy word, the Bible, is talking about the kingdom of heaven?”

Yes it is — the kingdom and what it consists of.

“This study reveals to the children of God the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven that the great prophets longed to see and understand but were not allowed to see during their earthly lives.”

Sometimes the kingdom of heaven is referred to as the kingdom of God.  They are both the same thing.  There is only one kingdom; it is God’s kingdom in heaven.  Matthew makes this quite plain:

He answered them, ‘Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them’” [emphasis mine].

~ Matthew 13:11 (HCSB)

The reason that we are also studying the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount along with Jesus’ parables is because the kingdom of heaven is also the big picture there also; in fact, Jesus’ whole 3 ½ year ministry was about the kingdom of God!

Within the big picture of the kingdom of God we also find three close-up snap shots.  These three snapshots are as follows:

The Character of the Kingdom of God

The main parables that reflect this character of the kingdom are:

  •  The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32).
  • The Leaven (Matthew 13:33).
  • The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44).
  • The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46).

The King’s Character presents a snapshot within the big picture of the kingdom of Jesus Himself:

  •  The Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16).
  • The Prodigal (Lost) Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Character of the Subjects of God’s kingdom is referring to the individuals that make up the body of Christ in the church:

  • The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
  • The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8).

In this study, we are not eliminating the other parables.  What we are doing is showing the parables that point out these three snap shots and the obvious parables that represent them; all within the main big picture of the kingdom of God.

The other parables of Jesus also represent one or more of these three, close up snapshots of The kingdom’s character, the king’s character, and the subjects of the kingdom’s character.  All of the parables will be covered in this study!

This study reveals to the children of God the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven that the great prophets longed to see and understand but were not allowed to see during their earthly lives.

You have that privilege because you are resting in Jesus because you have been saved and adopted into the kingdom ( if not, please consider accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior).

Take a look at Matthew 13:11 and Matthew 13:35 below:

He answered them, ‘Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them’” (emphasis mine; those who are not true followers).

~ Matthew 13:11 (HCSB)

Now look at Matthew 13:35 below:

“…so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: I will open My mouth in parables; I will declare things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

~ Matthew 13:35 (HCSB)

This scripturally proves that until this time in the history of God’s creation these truths have never been revealed even to God’s chosen people.  They were not even revealed even to Abraham, Moses, David, all the way up until the ministry of Christ Jesus began that gave birth to the Church Age.

Before you begin this study of the parables of Jesus Christ, please consider the following Scripture verses:

“Then He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

~ Mark 16:15-16 (HCSB)

Are you saved?  Have you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?  He is the only way to the Father and eternal life.  There are two paths; one leads to God and forgiveness for sin while the other leads to eternal damnation in the lake of eternal fire.

Please consider, “If you were to die today, do you know where you will spend eternity?”

That’s it for this post!  I have enjoyed sharing this time with you.

Next post, we will begin our study by painting a Word Picture of the kingdom of heaven!

I pray blessings on you and look forward to seeing you soon next post!

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  Do You Know Jesus As Your Personal Lord And Savior?  Do You Know That You Are Going To Heaven?

Hello and welcome back!

I am so pleased that you dropped in!  I pray that my time and effort in writing these posts are benefiting you to grasp the great truths of God as Jesus taught through the beatitudes and now — the parables of Jesus!

We will be alternating from the beatitudes and the parables for the next few weeks.  This will provide you with a more three-dimensional connection between the beatitudes and the parables—which will be eye-opening!

Please let me know by commenting on these posts if they are being of benefit to you!  It’s lonely behind this screen and I would love some feedback from you followers of Christ!

If you do not know Jesus, I would appreciate your comments also!

“We can learn what Jesus taught the original disciples about the mysteries of God’s Kingdom…!”

I so enjoy taking the subject matter and allowing the Holy Spirit to present me with insightful ways in which to express it.  I am a storyteller.  I am enamored by a good story.  I’m sure that you are yourself.

Throughout this study, I will attempt to write this study in a conversational tone and to keep it lively and interesting.

This first post will be an introduction into the parables of Jesus.

You know, Jesus was an excellent storyteller!  I’m not sure if you are aware of this but about 2/3’s of everything Jesus spoke in the New Testament was in the form of a parable (story)!

Jesus used parables because they helped those with seeking eyes and ears to comprehend and form more concrete mental pictures and concepts so much better than mere abstract expressions.

So just what is a good definition of a parable?

The actual Koine (common) Greek word is parabole pronounced [pair-a-bowl-ley’].  It simply means a story placed beside of what you wish to compare it to in order to aid the listener to comprehend.

Example: “A newborn baby is like a delicate flower that has just blossomed and lightly covered with the warm dew of a fresh, new summer’s day.”

Notice the word like in the above example?  Most parables start out by saying, “Something is like something else.”  Jesus knew what he was doing!  He compared something that the disciples understood and could visualize with something that they had no comprehension about.

The comparative stories allowed them to hear and see the spiritual through the comparison to the physical!

The disciples came up to Jesus and outright asked Him why he told these stories.

He told them in Matthew 13:10-17 (All Scripture is from the HCSB), and I paraphrase:

 “Hey guys, I handpicked all of you and the secrets of the kingdom of heaven is for you to know, not for them.  The ones who “get it” will get even more but those who “don’t get it” — even the little they do get will be removed from them.”

Then He let them see that this wasn’t His idea but what God gave Him to say from the prophet Isaiah:

You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive.  For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn back— and I would cure them.”

Then Jesus continues:

“Your eyes are blessed (happy and totally contented in Jesus) because your eyes can see and you can hear and understand these stories.  Let me tell you for sure, the prophets of old would have given their eye teeth to hear and see what you see now and understand.”

After reading the above dialog, I pray that you go to your Bible and read Matthew 13:10-17 and not just rely on my paraphrase.  This paraphrase is for presenting the blog in a conversational tone.

The Bible is the inspired word of God and that is where your study needs to concentrate and derive from.

 You can readily see that Jesus had two purposes in using His parables:    

  • Because the people’s hearts were hardened and the parables were used to conceal.  This kept those seeking for truth separated from the fair-weather fan
  • He also wanted to reveal in order for His disciples to be able to understand what the kingdom of heaven was and then they could begin to grow towards Christ-likeness as they followed Him.

This will allow us to see what the Word of God can teach us from the parables of Jesus — through the ministry of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.   We can learn what Jesus taught the original disciples about the mysteries of God’s Kingdom and utilize it in our own walk with Him!

Next post, we will delve into what the parables consist of.  In other words, we will take the parables, break them down into categories, and discover—perhaps for some it will be the first time—the simplicity and the complexity of God’s holy word.

Until then, I will be praying for your Christian walk and also thanking God for allowing me the opportunity to minister, teach, and be of service to you!

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION: Has this introduction been helpful to you?  Why?

Hello and welcome back!

I’m so happy to see you here once again.  I’m beginning a series on the beatitudes for those interested.

 It’s amazing just how fast time passes, isn’t it?  It just seems like yesterday that I posted my Easter piece on the 1st of April and here it is — already the 6th!  Life is so very, very short, isn’t it?  It is so short that we need to consider the importance of our Christian walk.  Each and every day that passes brings us closer to that day when we shall leave this earth behind and look Jesus in the eyes.

What shall we say then?

This post series is about the Sermon on the Mount that begins in Matthew 5. You can look upon this sermon of Jesus as a key that unlocks the Bible while providing you with the secrets of the Christian walk.   We will take each of the beatitudes and delve into the spiritual meaning of each one to discover the essence of what it is to walk behind Jesus from the cross to the grave.

Jesus presented the beatitudes in order to present you with a blueprint or treasure map to guide your steps in following Him.  When you glean the meaning of the beatitudes, you will understand how each one builds upon the other — leading you closer to Christ as you follow in his footsteps.  The beatitudes paint an accurate objective truth about holiness.

When looking spiritually at the beatitudes, we can compare the teachings of the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ day with His teachings of the Law of God the way He wants us to follow them.  In other words — unlike Jesus — the Pharisees were claiming the law must be perfected in us before we are worthy of God. Jesus taught that if we follow Him we are already children of God.   Then we follow the law in love, not to obtain salvation from the law.  Salvation comes because of how Jesus lived the law.

We obey the law of God out of love for Jesus who died for us because we could not be perfect in God’s law. Only Jesus could and did keep the whole law.

“The sum of all of this is you are to mature as you grow — a process, not an event.”

The Sermon on the Mount presents and stresses the elements of this truth.  If you understand and live out the Sermon on the Mount, you will understand the kingdom of God, you will walk a new life that attracts others to Christ, and you will grow in Christ and be able to carry out God’s plan for your life.

Knowing the full meaning of the beatitudes will provide the foundation to the Christian walk.  This full, Christian walk will allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in and from you for the kingdom work.  Not only will we talk about Christ to others, but present His walk to them.  Which of the two do you think will best allow them to see Christ?

As we look the Sermon on the Mount, keep in mind that the beatitudes build upon the others.  Once the entire picture is understood we will then understand what it is Christ is telling us.  Each part or beatitude is just part of the whole.

Please understand that a person must be a follower of Jesus to understand the truth of the beatitudes and how to live them.  No one can ever live the beatitudes without the Holy Spirit living inside of him/her.  If we truly belong to Jesus Christ, we will not only understand God’s requirement for us to live holy but we will understand the power within us that can help us to live it daily.

 We read what the Christian’s hope is concerning temptations:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity.  God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.”

We will discover in this study that you as a Christian have to keep God’s law.  Now, this does not mean that you are under the law but that you must keep the law.  The Sermon on the Mount was given to you by Jesus for the express purpose for knowing how to follow Him and what will give you the power to do so.

 It does not mean that we never sin.  It means that you must repent all sin, not live in it.  It means that we follow Jesus by learning the Sermon on the Mount and living by it.  The sum of all of this — you are to mature as you grow — a process, not an event.

I hope that this overview of the new post series on the Sermon on the Mount has excited you.  I pray that you will comment on the question always provided at the end of a post.  This will help to initiate dialog on each post which will help us all to grow in Christ!

Next post we will discover the full meaning of the first beatitude at Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN WE SAY, “I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS — NO TURNING BACK, NO TURNING BACK.”

What Made Easter Sad

April 1, 2013

Hello and welcome back!

Here’s hoping that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday weekend!

I pray that you found a gem to take home with you from the Easter sermon your pastor delivered.

After Easter services, Rhonda and I drove to another town close by to visit one of my congregation members in the hospital.  As we were driving by small parks in that town, we noticed all of the people who were celebrating Easter Sunday in the park.  We could smell the scent of burgers and hotdogs sizzling on the grill, hear the children running, shouting, and playing games, hunting Easter eggs, and watch happy faces having fun.

“Throughout those conversations, I never once heard the name Jesus mentioned during the whole meal.”

I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these families had been to church for Easter and then went to these parks to celebrate family and how many bypassed an Easter service entirely.  There was no way of knowing but many of the most favored spots can indicate early arrivals.  People usually need to arrive early in the morning to obtain places like those.

The person we went to see had already left the hospital earlier that morning so we stopped at a Golden Corral restaurant and had our Easter meal.  The place was so full and people seemed to be enjoying themselves.  It was packed.  It was elbow to elbow in there.  The smells of so many different and wondrous edible delights combined with the laughter all around us as we slowly made our way around to all of the food stations.

We made our way back through the happy throng to the table we had been assigned and began to say blessing over our food.   As we began to enjoy our meal, I also began to listen to the happy chatter around us.  Many conversations were happening at once.  I could make out the voices of elderly couples having lunch with their families, middle age parents with their children’s laughter, young adults trying to get their young ones to eat, etc.

 It was a normal holiday lunch meal taking place in that Golden Corral.  It was probably similar to many other holiday meals in thousands of restaurants around the world that day.  It was probably similar to the 100,000’s of meals being enjoyed by families in homes around the globe.

I suddenly felt very sad.

You are probably wondering how I could feel sad sitting in such a jovial and expressive environment with my loving wife as we enjoyed such a lovely meal.  Yes, the atmosphere was jovial.  And yes, the food was delicious.  What struck me as so sad is this:

1. Throughout those conversations, I never once heard the name Jesus mentioned during the whole meal.

2. What I heard was me, myself, and I conversations of accomplishments taking place, conversations about things that were owned, one-upmanship revolving around careers, etc.

3. In almost every conversation, I heard words that would have had television shows banned in a past generation. 

I may sound intolerant to many.

Perhaps I sound old-fashioned to others.

For some, perhaps I just sound old and prejudiced.

To me, it just made me feel…sad.

I left Golden Corral feeling a deep concern, not for myself, but for everyone involved in those conversations and everyone listening with joviality to them.  Is it just me?

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  HOW DO I SOUND TO YOU?