Summary: We like to think of the gospel as a huge behemoth, but it is actually an incredibly powerful force in a very unassuming package.
Passage: Matthew 13:31-35
Intro: We’ve all had those moments, which some people calls “Aha moments”
1. something that has been a little mystifying becomes clear (er)
2. the longer we live, we see that the world is divided.
3. not the little divisions, but the one big one from the Biblical perspective.
4. Jesus describes one part of that division as “the kingdom of Heaven.”
5. and the other, we know from Scripture, is “the kingdom of this world”
6. now these two kingdoms are at war, and one will win.
7. but the question we might have is this: how is this war fought?
8. we might prefer WMDs and vast armies, but at that point these two homely little parables, these metaphors of the kingdom, are very instructive.
9. because they explain why God does things the way He does, so we can understand His ways and His heart and imitate them.
I. Tremendous Power in a Tiny Package
1. we would love the kingdom of heaven described as something huge.
2. God, with His unlimited power and wealth, could manifest His kingdom in whatever way He wants.
3. and yet here Jesus uses this strikingly small metaphor:
4. a mustard seed, in this agrarian society, was commonly recognized.
5. “smallest of your seeds”=the ones used by you.
6. it is tiny, but still visible.
PP mustard seeds in a mans hand.
7. nothing unusual about a mustard seed, but from that tiny seed comes a very large tree.
PP mustard tree
PP bird in mustard tree
8. so what is the principle here?
9. don’t be deceived by the lack of size.
10. that tiny seed is packed with incredible power, and what started rather small will end up being huge!
11. Christianity had quite a beginning, if we will look at it as it was 2000 years ago.
12. a baby was born to a poor family who lived under Roman domination.
13. this baby grew up in his fathers carpenter shop, in a part of Judea that was held in contempt.
14. he had no home, no visible means of support. His followers were unschooled blue collar workers.
15. he enjoyed some popular acclaim, but ended up on the wrong side of the powers-that-be.
16. He died a slaves death, affixed to a cross in a position of absolute helplessness, bleeding from a hundred wounds, forsaken even by God.
-no greater act of power in the history of the universe.
17. and from this smallest of all beginnings, an absolutely ridiculous business plan, has sprung the amazing tree of Christianity which covers the earth (120 believers at first meeting)
Il) love the SS hour last week with Walt Edman. The church grows!!
18. there is nothing in this metaphor about the how it grows, just the growth from small to huge.
19. other religions have done that too. So what is the difference?
II. Transformation, not Domination
1. and here is another part of the explanation
2. “yeast” typically a symbol of evil in the Bible, but clearly not here.
3. Jesus is going to give a picture here of how the growth of the kingdom takes place.
3. because the how explains the purpose, the plan, the goal
4. the picture is simple, and many of you have first hand experience.
5. in order to make dough rise and become bread, you need to add yeast
6. it is fascinating stuff.
7. it is actually a tiny microorganism that has amazing powers of multiplication. (fungi)
PP inches/CM ruler, 1200 yeast cell side by side in one cm
Il) takes 20 billion yeast cells to weigh one gram.
8. without food, it is a spore, and can live for hundreds of years in harsh conditions.
9. but when food is present (sugar) watch out!!
PP becomes this cell, starts to multiply exponentially! (video)
PP time lapse of sourdough rising.
10. one yeast cell can reproduce itself in 20 minutes, then continue to reproduce until quickly breaks your calculator!
PP bacteria reproducing (video)
11. v33, woman puts a little in, and soon it has “worked through” the entire lump of dough.
13. word =to ferment, to leaven”
14. so it permeates the dough to transform it into something else.
15. it does not destroy, it transforms
16. talked in SS last week about Islam, and how it has spread.
17. summarizing many centuries, here is the bottom line.
18. whether using the military or the economic or the political, their purpose has been to dominate the culture they are in.
PP our catsclaw taking over the backyard.
19. they may transform the culture, but not the individual person.
20. if he will not convert, they have a number of options available.