Summary: The effects of the Gospel, when proclaimed and obeyed, can spread like wild fire!
A LESSON FROM STRAWBERRIES
Sermon Objective: The effects of the Gospel, when proclaimed and obeyed, can spread like wild fire!
We are concluding a series from Matthew chapter 9 called Lessons From the Garden. You are aware that there are characteristics of many fruits & vegetables which we can learn from and transfer in different ways to life.
Past sermons included:
• “A Lesson from the Onion” - Christ’s love infiltrates our environment and spreads in surprising ways, just like the smell and taste of onions.
• “A Lesson from Asparagus.,” – Like the “detestable vegetable”, real ministry and a sense of brokenness may not look good or be easy to swallow but it is sure good for our spiritual health.
• “A Lesson from the Potato.” - joy and celebration for Christ’s grace and presence have as many expressions as the ways we eat potatoes.
• “A Lesson from the Garlic.” – Just as garlic can ward off certain ailments, diseases, and close personal encounters, so the presence of Jesus Christ repels the fear of death and despair.
One of my favorite fruits is the strawberry. For me, they are “nature’s candy.” For as long as I can remember my mother has grown them in her garden. I remember as a kid that what we didn’t eat fresh, were frozen or made into preserves. This assured that they were readily available all year ‘round.
A few summers back, while at my parent’s house, I looked at one of her flower beds and recognized a unique ground covering. It seemed very out of place. Mom had taken strawberry plants and put them in the bed. They had spread so much that they had covered the ground of the entire area. They were very dense. I have since learned that strawberries are used by many people as a ground cover and as an ornamental plant.
Strawberries are good for that; unless they are purged they will take over an area. They spread and spread.
There is an application here for our Christian life. Just as the strawberry plant will spread over an area, so our Christian influence is capable of spreading everywhere we go. It’s sort of the “bloom where you are planted” idea; but it happens naturally when we are fertilized by the Holy Spirit’s presence. Matthew 9:35-38 alludes to this.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
OUR INFLUENCE SURPASSES OUR AWARENESS (V. 35)
The strawberries in my mother’s flower bed far surpassed my expectations. They actually were in danger of surpassing the boundaries of the flower bed itself at one point. They had to be cut back.
As a follower of Christ your influence can far surpass your expectations. It is in the daily routine of life that your faith can really make an impact. As you live for Jesus in “all the towns and villages” (v. 35) you reveal Christ in a way which is remarkable and markable. You become salt and light in your community – but you will probably never be fully aware of the effect you have had.
Most of you are probably very familiar with the movie “Its a Wonderful Life”; it is about a common average Joe who thinks he has wasted his life and decides to end it. He cannot see how he has been a positive force in the world at all.
To counter this God sends an angel. The angel shows him what his community would have been like had he not existed. And the man in question is given a unique opportunity to see his far reaching influence for good.
You can learn a lesson from that movie. As a disciple of Jesus you have influence which surpasses your expectations too. That is why it is critical that we stay close to the Savior.
Last week’s Sportsman’s Evangelism Workshop is a good illustration of this too. There were 130 hunters setting in our sanctuary; most of which did not know Jesus and would not otherwise have been in a church’s building. But they were here and they heard the Gospel. And God’s Word will not return void. We have had a few emails since the workshop too. I cannot disclose the details, of course, but two hunters have emailed us sharing their pain and thanking us for the Gospel message. Both of these live too far away for us to be of ongoing assistance … AND THAT’S THE POINT … in a real since we went into the “towns and villages” and our influence of Jesus has been spread!