All posts by Peter Ditzel

Sorting Out the Two Kingdoms

by Peter Ditzel

Depending on what authority you ask, our planet contains from 190 to 206 sovereign states. But there are really only two kingdoms: the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God (also called the kingdom of heaven in the Gospel of Matthew; the Kingdom of Christ and God in Ephesians 5:5; the Kingdom of the Son of his love in Colossians 1:13; and the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ in 2 Peter 1:11). At the end of this article, I have a chart showing the differences between the two kingdoms. You will see that they are so different that they should never be confused.

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Repentance Part 2

by Peter Ditzel

This is the final part of an article adapted and revised from The Word of His Grace radio program, "Repentance" that originally aired in 2005. (Click here to read part 1.)

We Have Brought Our Sufferings on Ourselves

A U-Turn sign saying, Godly repentance is an about face from unbelief to belief.
Repentance is translated from the Greek word metanoeō. It literally means “a change of mind.” We turn from trying to establish our own righteousness to trusting in the completed work of Jesus Christ as our Savior.

So we see that we as a race are the direct cause of many of our own miseries. Ever since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we are sinful by nature, and this causes us to be greedy,
covetous, murderous, adulterous, warlike, and generally lawless. I am not saying that we all have all of these tendencies to the fullest degree possible. But we all naturally have them to one degree or another, and, of course, we affect each other. I may never have stolen anything, but if someone steals my car, I am affected by someone else’s sin. And other people are affected by my sins.

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Repentance Part 1

by Peter Ditzel

This article is adapted and revised from The Word of His Grace radio program, "Repentance" that originally aired in 2005.
St. Paul Preaching in Athens by Raphael (1515).
St. Paul Preaching in Athens by Raphael (1515). Paul boldly told the Athenians that God now commands all people everywhere to repent.

There is Paul, facing the great minds of his day—the pagan philosophers of Greece. He is standing in one of the very centers of pagan thought, Athens. He is speaking to people who have never heard of Jesus Christ and know nothing of the true God. Greater skeptics one could hardly imagine. Does Paul weaken his message in order to reach these people? Does he say that we really all worship the same god, just with different names? Does he debate with them over their points of philosophy? Does he hire temple prostitutes to dance and sing (with Christian words, of course) to bring in the crowds? No. Emphatically, no! Oh, he uses an anecdote and a stunning opening statement to get their attention. But he never gets down on their level. He held the banner of Jesus Christ high.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Unjust Steward

by Peter Ditzel

Many people find the Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16 the most difficult of all parables to understand. Why would the steward’s master commend him for stealing money from him? Why would Jesus use the dishonest manager as a positive example? Is the parable saying that we can use unrighteous mammon to do good works so that we can be received into heaven? In this article, I’m going to try to shed some light on this story so that we can see the lesson that Jesus was teaching.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Dragnet

by Peter Ditzel

Jesus spoke the Parable of the Dragnet immediately after the parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price for a reason. These three parables are a triplet. One follows naturally upon the other. The Parable of the Treasure shows us Christ’s love for us in His buying the world in order to get us so that we could be called out of the world. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price shows us Christ’s love toward us in redeeming us from our sins. The Parable of the Dragnet shows the separation between those who are redeemed and those who are not. It is a pretty straightforward parable, and, yet, perhaps not quite so simple as some think.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

by Peter Ditzel

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price is the second of the hidden parables—so-called because Jesus tells them only to His disciples. They are found only in Matthew 13. There are certainly direct similarities between this parable and the Parable of the Hidden Treasure that precedes it. But there are also differences. (For more information, see the previous article in this series, “The Parable of the Hidden Treasure“).

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

by Peter Ditzel

The parable I am going to cover in this article starts what I call the hidden parables. They are the last four parables in Matthew 13. These parables are related to each other, not only because they build off each other, but also because Jesus did not give these parables to the multitudes. Jesus spoke them only to His disciples. We learn this several verses before Jesus actually spoke these parables. Matthew 13:36 says, “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.” Jesus then explained that parable, and we have covered that in, “The Parable of the Tares of the Field.” But then, staying in the house with His disciples, Jesus gave four more parables that were meant only for them. Let’s look at the first of these.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Leaven

by Peter Ditzel

This parable and the Parable of the Mustard Seed are a pair. They tell much the same story, but with somewhat different emphases. Understanding the Parable of the Leaven is very straightforward. In fact, it is so straightforward that it is amazing that most commentators give a wrong interpretation for it. In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus taught that the small, powerful, and simple faith that He planted would grow into a large and corrupt institution. The Parable of the Leaven focuses on the corruption.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Mustard Seed

by Peter Ditzel

The previous parables we have examined in this series centered on the planting of grain. The next two parables we will look at are different. The first one is about a mustard seed that grows into a large tree. The second (which will be discussed in our next installment) is about leaven that leavens the entire three measures of meal. As we study into these parables, we will find that the Bible reveals that their meanings are far different from what most commentators and preachers assume. This means that what you have heard about these parables is probably not what the Bible teaches.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Seed Growing by Itself

by Peter Ditzel

In his children’s book, Frog and Toad Together, Arnold Lobel depicts a toad planting a garden and becoming impatient for the seeds to grow. He is convinced he has to help the seeds along. First, he tells them to start growing. Then, he commands them to grow. Next, he goes out at night and reads them a story. He then sings them songs, reads poetry to them, and then plays them music on his fiddle. Finally, being very tired, he falls asleep. While he is asleep and doing nothing, the seeds sprout from the ground. Unfortunately, the toad doesn’t learn the lesson and concludes that the seeds came up because of all his hard work. I wonder if Arnold Lobel had the Parable of the Seed Growing by Itself in mind when he wrote that story?

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