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PART ONE

The Problem of Religion
The Light That Has Lighted...
The Revelation
The Living Word
The Father
The Good Shepherd
Food for the Soul

PART TWO
The Kingdom of Heaven
The Royal Commandment

PART THREE
The New Doctrine
The Blessings
The Power of Prayer
The Treasures in Heaven
Faith that Moves Mountains
Patience, Mercy, Forgiveness
On a Fruitful Life
Health and Healing

PART FOUR
The Call
Born a Second Time
Disciples and Servants
The Great Commission
Christ's Prayer

PART FIVE
This Generation
A Place for You
The Promise of the Spirit
An Invitation to Life
The End Times
The Return

PART SIX
The Betrayal
The Trial and the Cross
Following the Resurrection
Always

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part two
The New Kingdom
  
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The Kingdom of Heaven part two        

Another example is found in the story of a landowner. Early one morning he went out to hire workers for his vineyard. Finding the skilled laborers he needed, he agreed with them on a wage of one silver coin per day. The contract accepted, he sent them into his vineyard to work.

Later that same morning, the landowner returned to the town. Seeing a group of unemployed standing idle in the marketplace, he said to them: “Come work in my vineyard. I will pay you a fair daily wage.”

Likewise, at noon the landowner went back into town, and then again, much later in the afternoon. On each occasion he hired the unemployed to work in his vineyard. Finally, towards evening, he met a few stragglers that remained without work, and asked: “Why did you stand here idle?”

They responded: “Because no one came to hire us.”

He said: “Go now, I still have work for you to do in my vineyard.”

Night fell, and the landowner instructed the vineyard manager to call the workers in from the vineyard where they were working, and to give to each of them their wages, beginning with the last, through to the first that had been hired that day.

Those hired last stepped forward, and each received a silver coin as their wage. Seeing this, those hired early that morning imagined that they would receive more. When their turn came, however, they too received one silver coin each.

At this they began to complain to the landowner: “Unfair! Those stragglers that you hired barely worked one hour, and you have paid them on the same scale! We are the ones who have done most of the work, toiling during the hottest hours of the day!”

But the landowner answered: “Friends, I have done you no insult. Did not you happily agree on a day’s wage of one silver coin? So take what is yours and be on your way. I have, from the goodness of my heart, paid those hired at the end of the day the same wage. Have I not the right to do with my money as I wish? Are your eyes so full of envy because you see me being generous and kind?”

This too, is a parable of the kingdom of heaven; understand it, for the last will be first and the first last. Many are called, but sadly, few are chosen.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field. One day, a poor man discovered it. Immediately he covered it over, and then joyfully sold everything he possessed, considering this a small sacrifice, in order to purchase the field where the treasure lay hidden.

Those who enter the kingdom of heaven do not allow any of their former, earthly concerns to deter them. Like the merchant who searched his entire life for a pearl of great price, they joyfully sacrifice all in order to possess such a priceless treasure – new life, a new way of thinking and being, hope in this world, and in the world to come.

The kingdom of God moves forward by divine command. The farmer sows seed in his field, and when his day’s work is done he goes to his bed. Each new day he rises again and works until night falls. All the while, the natural order of the earth is at work. The seeds sprout and begin their growth, a synthesis so complex that it is beyond the farmer’s ability to understand it. Tender blades appear, then ears of corn, until what was planted is a mature crop, and the farmer takes up his sickle, for the harvest time has come.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, the smallest of nature’s kernels, from which grows a great plant, as tall as a tree, a place for the birds to perch and find shelter.

The workings of the kingdom can be compared to a pinch of yeast used to make bread. Even mixed into a great quantity of flour, it leavens throughout.

Like a fisherman’s net lowered into the sea, the kingdom of heaven gathers up every variety of fish. When it is full, the net is pulled back onto the shore. There the good catch is collected into baskets, and the imperfect is discarded. So it will be at the end of this age. Angels will separate the wicked from among the children of God, exiling them to a place of great sorrow.

Without material goods, money, or support, I have sent you out as witnesses. Equipped with the message of new life, you have blessed others. Did you once lack for anything?

Do not allow your worries to consume tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Surely, there is enough to concern you each day, without fretting about the future. Which of you by mental effort can add one inch to your height?

Consider the birds of the air. They are not consumed with worry. At night they sleep soundly, knowing that their heavenly Father cares for them. Do you not matter more than the birds?

Are not two sparrows sold in the marketplace for a few pennies? Still, one of them cannot fall to the ground without your heavenly Father’s knowledge. Cease being afraid. You are of greater value than many flocks of sparrows. Even the very hairs of your head are numbered.

Why then worry about what you will wear? Consider the lilies growing wild in the fields, blooming without effort. Even King Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed as beautifully as one of these. If God has so cared for that which grows wild in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will he not care for you much more? How can you have such little faith?

Therefore, stop saying: “What will I eat? What will I drink? Will I ever have enough to clothe myself?” This is how the faithless think, anxious for everything. Be at peace! Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all of these things, and more.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of your needs will be provided. .

turn the page to read the next section: The Royal Commandment

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