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Summary: Principles of the kingdom of God.

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BIG LESSONS IN SMALL PACKAGES

Part 2—Biscuits and Mustard

Luke 13:18-21

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Lk 13:18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?

Lk 13:19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”

Lk 13:20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?

Lk 13:21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

There’s nothing very noble about Jesus’ description here. But Jesus was trying to make the people understand and relate truth to their everyday life in a way they could apply it!

It will help us understand the point Jesus is really making if we understand some background.

• Jesus is teaching these principles in light of what has taken place in just a few verses earlier.

• We have the same kind of problem here that we saw last week in the story of Zacchaeus—religious establishment raising a fuss about the actions of Jesus.

• Luke likes to group contrasts together. Zacchaeus’ story, Luke 19 was in contrast to the Rich Young Ruler of Luke 18.

• Here in 13 we see a contrast between the power of the kingdom of heaven with the impotence of the religious establishment.

We discover several things about the religious people:

(13:10-17)

1. They value their traditions over people (vs. 10-14)

2. They value their traditions over principle (vs.15-16)

3. They value their traditions over praise (v. 17)

Now that the people have seen the power of the kingdom at work Jesus seeks to give them greater understanding to the ways of His kingdom.

In verses 18-21 we see three principles of God’s kingdom:

1. Power of the seed

a. The primary point of this passage is about the power of the seed. The kingdom of God is power and the presence of God in the life of every believer is power. Think about these Scriptures

i. Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” (NIV)

ii. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” (KJV)

iii. Ephesians 6:10-12, “God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” (The Message)

iv. I John 4:4, “…the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.”

b. What I want you to see this morning is your position as a child of God. You are in a position of strength.

c. Maybe you feel behind the 8-ball. Maybe you feel everyone and everything has their sights aimed on you. But you are a person of faith.

d. It is a life and death struggle. The very fact that you are living for God and are up against difficulty will drive you to your knees and when it does, the power of God will be manifested many times over.

e. When Elisha’s servant was terrified of the armies surrounding them, Elisha prayed and asked God to open the eyes of his servant so he could see the armies of the living God poised to strike! (2 Kings 6:17)

f. Don’t give up. The power of God is in you and for you!

2. Provision of growth

a. Two ideas come from this picture of a tree:

i. The size of the tree is exponentially larger than the size of the seed. But that is true with all seeds. The point Jesus makes here is that the smallest seed these people would have been familiar with became the largest garden plant they would have been familiar with. The faith that we may possess may be small but God can do great things we the offering of faith, no matter how small.

ii. The growth of the seed is for the plant to bear fruit for the farmer but it also demonstrates God’s provision for those who need comfort. God cares about those who are helpless. The growth and expanse of God’s kingdom is for all who need and want it.

b. Don’t worry about the amount of faith you have. Be faithful and see what God will do with your faith to make it productive.

3. Practice of application

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