Every Christian church teaches the Gospel, or Good News of Jesus Christ. This good news has been called the Gospel of Peace, or of Grace, or Salvation. But these are only various descriptions of the Gospel, not its proper title. Jesus called His message “The Gospel of the kingdom of God.” So why do we hear so much about the Gospel and so little about the kingdom? What is this kingdom and how do we get into it? Is it a city paved with golden streets at the end of the age? Or is it an inner reality that we are called to live in every day? More importantly, since every nation or kingdom has its own set of laws that govern its citizens, what are the rules or principles of God’s kingdom and how do we live by them?
The answers to these questions and more are found in the parables that Jesus told about the kingdom of God. There are nearly fifty of them recorded in the four Gospels. As some of them are a retelling of earlier parables and a few simply offer different examples of the same principle, they have been condensed to forty in this book. Each parable tells a story to illustrate a different kingdom rule or principle that we are called to live by as citizens of the kingdom of God.
Some of these principles are easily recognizable: “Repent and believe,” and, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Yet Jesus taught many others with which we may not be quite so familiar, such as: “Always pray and never lose heart.” For those who know only a watered down version of the Gospel, some are not quite so easily accepted: “God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight,” and, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Yet every principle Jesus taught in the parables is true, because He always spoke the truth in love, even when it was difficult to hear.
Those who turn away from pursuing the things of this world to follow Christ and live according to the principles of the kingdom of God will receive an inheritance of eternal life when Jesus returns. And those who sow to the kingdom will receive a rich reward for devoting themselves to serve the Master, regardless of their calling in life. Let us therefore “make every effort to enter through the narrow door,” for the time of His return draws near.