Summary: PENTECOST 4(B) God’s kingdom work is a matter of faith: Faith that God’s word is working and faith that God’s church is growing.
GOD’S KINGDOM WORK IS A MATTER OF FAITH (Outline)
MARK 4:26-34 - June 12, 2005 - PENTECOST 4
INTRO: Our gracious God has opened his hand and provided us with abundant blessings. We have been provided with moisture and sunshine. The spring rains have come gently to water the earth. Every-thing looks better than it has in years. God is good. Our attitudes are beaming with all of the life that is evident to the naked eye. But there is even more to make us happy. Our loving Lord blesses us with spiritual blessings that are not always visible to our physical sight. As happy as we may be because of God’s gracious gifts there is even more in store for every believer. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal"(2 CORIN-THIANS 4:8). In two parables this morning the Lord Jesus teaches us that –
GOD’S KINGDOM WORK IS A MATTER OF FAITH
I. Faith that God’s word is working
II. Faith that God’s church is growing.
I. FAITH THAT GOD’S WORD IS WORKING
A. Jesus used parables as points of comparison so that people could understand deep, spiritual mysteries.
1. Today’s parables teach about the kingdom of God. Verse 30.
2. The people thought Jesus was going to restore the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon.
B. That was not to be the case. Later Jesus reminded his hearers that God’s kingdom was within them.
1. Verse 26 tells how one scatters the seed into the ground. This seed grows all on its own.
2. Verse 27 describes the grace and power of God’s word – the seed that was sown.
C. The sower only plants the seed and the rest is up to God. The growth of any seed is a mystery.
1. Miraculously God gives power to the seed to produce fruit. Verse 28. God’s word works!
2. In the end the Son of Man returns for the harvest in verse 29. God’s word has done its job.
D. The power of the word of God is just like the mysterious, powerful working of the seed sown into the ground. None can really explain how a small seed is able to break through the hard earth and grow and flourish. Plants are hard to control once they take root. The battle against the weeds in a garden is proof of the power of the seed. God’s divine word is the point of comparison that Jesus wants us to remember concerning his kingdom. At times may underestimate the power of the word of God. We might even tend to not give God’s word the credit that it deserves. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart"(HEBREWS 4:12).
E. Consider what God’s powerful word has done in your life. God’s word has been planted in our sin-darkened hearts of stone. That word of God has burst forth breaking the hardness and coldness of sin so that we now have hearts of flesh. No longer do we live in the dark but walk in the light of the love of God. All of this happens because of God’s grace. The word of God was sown in our hearts – freely. And now, now, our lives are changed. "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperish-able, through the living and enduring word of God"(1 PETER 1:23).
F. God’s kingdom work is a matter of faith, faith that God’s word is working. All around us the world is constantly promoting another expert who has the answer to life’s mysteries. Wait a few months and an-other expert arrives with his answer. In the midst of all of this uncertainty and false hope you and I and every believer have the hope that is never disappointing. The word of God is alive and well in our lives and we celebrate God’s grace. "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers"(PSALM 1:2,3).
TRANS: GOD’S KINGDOM WORK IS A MATTER OF FAITH. Faith God’s word is working.
II. FAITH GOD’S CHURCH IS GROWING
A. In verse 33 Jesus uses parables for the believers to learn and be confident in their Christian faith.
1. The definition of a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
2. Jesus now uses another earthly comparison to understand his heavenly kingdom.
B. Verse 31 describes the mustard seed as a very small seed planted in the garden.