Summary: The incredible power of the Gospel ought to make a radical difference in your life and the lives of those around you.
A Messiah Who Makes a Difference
Text: Matt. 13:31-33
1. Illustration: Charles Spurgeon, known as "The Prince of Preachers," said, "The faith which saves is not one single act done and ended on a certain day: it is an act continued and persevered in throughout the entire life of man."
2. It is the most incredible event in a person's life when the give their hearts to Christ, but is that where the story ends? No, that is where the story begins!
3. As we live out a life of faith we need to answer two questions:
a. Is it making a difference in you?
b. Is it making a difference in others?
4. Read Matt. 13:31-33
Proposition: The incredible power of the Gospel ought to make a radical difference in your life and the lives of those around you.
Transition: The first question we need to answer is...
I. Is It Making a Difference in You (31-32)?
A. Becomes the Largest
1. Most of us have probably heard the phrase, "Big things come in small packages." Well Jesus powerfully illustrates the truth of this phrase with His parable of the mustard seed.
2. He says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field."
a. Our family loves mustard. If you come to our home and look in our refrigerator you will find an entire shelf dedicated to mustard...the Biblical condiment!
b. Mustard has long been a widely-used herb throughout much of the world, and in modern times it has found additional commercial value in the manufacture of film.
c. Amazingly, years ago it was discovered that cows whose feed was supplemented with mustard seed developed bones that had a superior quality for use in making the silver compounds used in photographic film (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).
d. But it is not the seed itself, but rather its size that is important to this parable.
e. The mustard seed that Jesus was referring to was about the size of the head of a pin, and was one of the smallest seeds known in Jesus' day (Horton, 277).
3. Jesus emphasizes this point when he says, "It is the smallest of all seeds...”
a. Scholars still dispute what plant is meant by the “mustard seed.”
b. Nevertheless, by no way is it the smallest of all seeds that Jesus’ listeners could have known (the orchid seed is smaller); the point is that it was recognized as very small and yet yielded a large shrub.
c. Around the Sea of Galilee, it can reach a height of ten feet and has sometimes reached fifteen feet (Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
d. When sperma (seed) is used in the New Testament in reference to plants, it is always used of agricultural plants, those intentionally grown for food.
e. And of those plants, the mustard had seeds that were smaller than all other seeds.
f. Because of its tiny size, the mustard seed was commonly used in the ancient Near East to represent things that were extremely small (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).
g. Another thing that is interesting here is that the word seed is singular. it's not "seeds," but "seed."
h. This shows the incredible potential that one singular mustard seed has in what it produces.
4. Jesus goes on to say, "but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
a. The proverbial smallness of the mustard seed as a metaphor that describes the kingdom of God would have shocked the crowd.
b. Israel always believed that when God’s kingdom was established on the earth, it would be great; they were not prepared for an insignificant beginning.
c. But through this parable Jesus declares that the kingdom is already present, although only as a tiny representation.
d. Such a beginning may cause some among Jesus’ opponents and the crowd to despise this manifestation of the kingdom.
e. But the crowd should not let that contradict the kingdom’s ultimate greatness.
f. "What may not look like much to the world will in fact fulfill all God’s promises (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 483).
5. What they do not understand is the power of God!
a. In the Bible as well as in ancient Eastern thought, growth is not considered merely from a biological process alone, but requires God's miraculous power.
b. God alone is able to take something that is dead and make it live. From beginning to end God is the driving force of all life (Horton, 277).
c. When we truly give God control of our lives great things are going to happen.
d. Just as the mustard seed starts out as only the size of the head of a pin, it becomes huge in comparison.