Sermon #31                                                 Series: Matthew


            Title:            THE DRAGNET AND THE HOUSEHOLDER      
            Text:             Matthew 13:47-52

            Subject:        The Parables of The Dragnet and The Householder

            Date:            Sunday Evening – February 12, 1995
            Tape:           Q – 99




            Matthew 13 contains the parables of the kingdom. Each parable is intended to convey a single specific spiritual truth. They are earthly illustrations of spiritual things, of things relating to the kingdom of heaven, that kingdom into which sinners are born when they are born again by God the Holy Spirit.


1.       The Parable of The Sower illustrates the various effects the preaching of the gospel has upon those who hear it.

2.        The Parable of The Wheat and The Tares illustrates the fact that God’s visible church is a mixed multitude in this world, true believers and carnal professors.

3.        The Parable of The Mustard Seed is a picture of faith, beginning as a very small thing, but growing into a strong and fruitful grace.

4.        The Parable of The Leaven Hidden in Meal portrays the gradual spread and influence of the gospel both in the hearts and lives of God’s elect and in the world.

5.        The Parable of The Treasure Hidden in a Field illustrates the love of Christ for his church, his elect bride.

6.        The Parable of The Pearl of Great Price displays the love of every believer for the Lord Jesus Christ – “Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious!”


The last two of the eight parables of the kingdom given in this chapter illustrate the separation and judgment of unbelievers from the saints of God and the responsibility of God’s servants in the work of the gospel ministry.


·        Read verses 47-52 with me.


7.       The Parable of The Dragnet is a warning of judgment, illustrating the separation of the wicked from God’s elect and their everlasting destruction in the day of judgment.

8.       The Parable of The Householder shows us what God’s servants are responsible to do as the ministers of Christ and stewards of the gospel.


I.  First, in verses 47-50, our Lord declares The Parable of The Dragnet.


            In this parable, our Savior warns us that things we not always continue as they now are. Soon the kingdom of heaven will be full, the church of God will be complete, and there will be a day of judgment in which God will forever separate the righteous from the wicked. This parable is intended to be a warning to all men of the certainty of God’s wrath and of the day of judgment.


            To illustrate God’s judgment our Lord used an activity which all who heard him would surely understand – Fishing! It was a common, everyday activity around the Sea of Galilee. There were three basic methods of fishing employed in that day, just as there are today.


1.       A line and a hook was used to catch one fish at a time. That is the kind of fishing the Lord sent Peter to do when money was needed to pay taxes (Matt. 17:24-27).

2.       One man fishing by himself might use a one-man casting net – Peter and his brother Andrew were taking turns casting this kind of net when the Lord Jesus called them to be “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:18-19). These small nets were used in shallow water. A man would wade out in the water. When a school of fish came near, he would cast the net upon the water. As the net’s weights carried it down over the fish, he would draw it together and hall his catch to shore.

3.       The third type of fishing was done by the use of a huge dragnet. A dragnet might be stretched out to cover as much as one half square mile. It required the labor of a team of fishermen. The dragnet was pulled in a giant circle by two boats, or by one boat if one end could be anchored to the shore. Floats were attached to the top of the net and weight to the sides, so that when it was cast, the dragnet formed a huge wall around everything it encompassed. Because the net permitted nothing to escape, it swept everything in its path to shore, fish of every kind, both good and bad. When the net was full, it would be drug to shore by a huge team of men. At the end of the day, they gathered the good fish into containers to carry home or to the market. And the bad fish, they simply discarded with all the useless trash that had been caught in their net. When our Lord said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net,” the word that he used specifically means dragnet.


The fishermen in the parable are gospel preachers. The sea is the world. The net is the gospel we preach. The ship into which the fish are gathered is the church of God. The good fish are true believers. The bad fish are the false professors. The time of separation is the end of the world.


            “The preaching of the gospel is the means of gathering souls to Christ, and into his churches. Those that are gathered into a visible gospel church are of every kind, of all nations in the world, Jews and Gentiles, all ranks and degrees of men, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, all sorts of sinners, men good and bad. Some have the truth of grace in them. Others, that are only hypocrites,…have nothing but a form of godliness, and a name to live, and are dead.” John Gill.


A.  We are to preach the gospel freely and indiscriminately to all men, as God gives us opportunity.


·        Mt. 28:18-20

·        Rom. 1:15-16

·        II Cor. 5:18-21


B.  As long as we are in this world the visible church of God will be like the ark that Noah built – containing all kinds of creatures, both clean and unclean.


NOTE: Three times, in the parable of the sower, in the parable of the wheat and the tares, and again in this parable, our Lord tells us that his church in this world is a mixed congregation – He wants us to learn it!


C.  There is a day of separation coming! (v. 49-50).


            When the fullness of the Gentiles has been brought in, when the last chosen, redeemed sinner has been saved, the Lord Jesus Christ will come again in judgment – Then he will separate the bad fish from the good.


·        Romans 11:25-26

·        Revelation 20:11-15

·        John 5:28-29

·        Acts 17:31


Nothing in the Bible is more difficult to accept than the fact of hell. Nothing more difficult to talk about! But we cannot ignore it. We must not ignore it. It is clearly and constantly set before us in the Word of God. It was more often spoken of by the Lord Jesus than any other subject. He talked much more about hell and Divine judgment than he did about the love of God.


·        Matthew 5:22, 29, 30 “fire of hell” – “body cast into hell”

·        Matthew 8:12 “Weeping and gnashing of teeth!”

·        Matthew 11:23 “brought down to hell.”

·        Matthew 18:8-9 “everlasting fire – hell fire.”

·        Matthew 23:33 “damnation of hell.”

·        Mark 3:29 “eternal damnation”

·        Mark 9:43 “fire that never shall be quenched.”

·        Luke 10:15 “thrust down to hell”

·        Luke 12:9, 10, 46

·        Luke 16:23 “In hell, lifted up his eyes being in torment.”

·        John 5:29

·        John 15:6 “cast into the fire!”


Hell is not merely the gate of forever being separated from all that is good. It is not merely going out into nothingness. I do not pretend to know what hell is. The human mind simply cannot conceive the horrors of hell. Even the biblical representations of hell are only suggestive. Men argue about literal fire in hell. But the fire of God’s wrath is infinitely more horrible than any inferno you ever imagined! No words can describe and no mind can imagine the pain, the agony, the torment of that “furnace of fire’ where there is both “weeping and gnashing of teeth forever.” This much I do know…


1.   Hell is a place of constant torment, misery, and pain.


·        Matthew 22:13

·        Mark 9:43


2.  The torments of hell will involve both body and soul – “Where the worm dieth not” (Mk. 9:44).


·        Matthew 11:22-23

·        Hebrews 10:28-29

·        Luke 12:47-48


“Hell will have such severe degrees that a sinner, were he able, would give the whole world if his sins could be but one less!” John Gerstner.


4.  Hell is forever!


·        Matthew 25:46 – Total Hopelessness!


“In hell thou shalt have none but a company of damned souls with an innumerable company of devils to keep company with thee. While thou art in this world the very thought of the devil’s appearing to thee makes thy flesh to tremble and thine hair ready to stand upright on thy head… Oh, what wilt thou do when all the devils of hell be with thee – howling, roaring, and screeching in such a hideous manner that thou wilt be even at thy wit’s end and ready to run stark mad again for anguish and torment? If after ten thousand years an end should come, there would be comfort. But here is thy misery: here thou must be forever!”


NOTE: ”Forever!” Will be the most tormenting word known in hell! John Bunyan.


II.  The Parable of The Householder Pictures The Word and Importance of The Gospel Ministry – (vv. 51-52).


            The question of verse 52 was put directly to our Lord’s disciples – “Have ye understood all these things? While the reference may include all that he had spoken in parables, I think it is best to see this question as referring to what he had spoken immediately before in verses 47-50 – regarding the preaching of the gospel, the gathering of sinners to Christ, and the judgment to come.


NOTE: Understanding these things a great weight of responsibility is upon the shoulders of every believer and particularly upon the shoulders of all who are “scribes” – in the kingdom – Men who are gifted and trained by God as preachers of the gospel – (II Cor. 5:1-11).


Persuasive Arguments For Reconciliation –


  1. The Certainty of Death.
  2. The Judgment Seat.
  3. Eternity.
  4. The Love of Christ.
  5. The Blessed needs of Reconciliation.
  6. The Accomplishments of Christ.


A.  They are men who have been instructed into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven!


·        The Purpose of God!

·        The Trinity!

·        The Incarnation!

·        Righteousness!

·        Redemption!

·        Regeneration!

·        Preservation!

·        Grace!


B.  God’s Servants, Gospel Pastors are Householders Under Christ – They are responsible for….


·        The Feeding of the Family (Acts 20:28; Jer. 3:15).

·        The Rule of the Family (Heb. 13:7, 17).

·        The Care and Protection of the Family (II Tim. 4:12-16).


C.  The Treasury From Which We Bring Forth Things Old And New As They Are Needed is The Word of God.


·        The Types, Shadows, and Prophecies of The Old Covenant.

·        The Fulness, Glory, and Blessings of The New Covenant.


  1. Like Elihu, he is full of the matter (Job 32:19).
  2. Like Jeremiah, he cannot forbear (Jer. 20:9).
  3. Like David, his tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Ps. 45:1).


Application:  II Corinthians 5:18 – 6:2