Summary: To challenge to community of faith to a deeper (and more authentic) level of corporate relationship.

Mushrooms or Maple Trees:

Spiritual Growth as God Intended

Sermon #8

Sermon Objective: To challenge to community of faith to a deeper (and more authentic) level of corporate relationship.


We are in a sermon series called Mushrooms and Maple Trees. Mushrooms sprout up overnight and then wither away in a matter of days. Maple trees, on the other hand, grow gradually while learning to withstand the forces of nature that threaten their existence. They result in a majestic fruit bearing entity that lasts for generations.

So it is with people who follow Christ. Unfortunately some wither away very rapidly; but others grow deep and strong and produce the fruit of life that God designed for them.

In chapter 8 and 9 of Mark we are discovering elements of a Christ-follower that produce this depth and substance to life.

Just as Jesus was preparing and grooming the first disciples to be Maple Trees so we will discover that as we apply the lessons to our lives we, too, will grow in kind. Maple Tree style followers live lives that please God.

In past weeks we discovered that a life that pleases God is:

1. A life that follows Him Personally (8:27-33)

2. A life that follows Him in Full Surrender (8:34-38)

3. A life that follows Him in Obedience (9:1-8)

4. A life that follows Him in Close Connectedness (9:14-29)

5. A life that follows Him in Humility (9:30-35)

6. A life that follows Him by Welcoming Others (9:30-50)

7. A life that follows Him in Purity (9:41-50)

Today we will discover that a life that pleases God is a LIFE THAT FOLLOWS HIM IN COMMUNITY (9: 50)

Mk 9:50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

This portion of the Gospel ends on a high note … Jesus brings His disciples full-circle and back to His ideal for His people.

In John’s Gospel Jesus says: By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. (John 13:35)

Jesus is encourages His disciples not to lose that characteristic which the entire world needs. Like salt, love is a seasoning and a preservative. Life would be grand and the world spared if God’s love reigned.

“Be at peace with one another.”

Is that too much for Jesus to ask of His followers? Was Jesus naïve? Was he too idealistic? There can be no peace with one another when there is

• Ambition

• Rivalry

• A desire for prominence

• Finger pointing

• A lack of concern for others

• And an excusing / rationalizing sinful behavior

All of these are addressed in chapter 9. Just as Jesus said instructed them earlier in the book, loving your neighbor as yourself will go a long way in bringing reconciliation and harmony.

Peace can only come when we are purified in our inner self and seeking God’s will.

Can we state in positively? The marks of greatness in the kingdom of God are these:

• To learn to treat everyone the same, without respect of persons

• To take life and humanity seriously

• Be concerned to bless others, and not harm them or injure them

• Judge yourself and to deal drastically with the things in your own heart which are wrong

Fellowships that God uses are fellowships that contain a sense of community … and there can be no COMMUNITY without UNITY.

It breaks God’s heart whenever the body is fractured, angry, suspicious, resentful, and harboring grudges.

“Be at peace with one another.” Again I ask … Is that too much for Jesus to ask of His followers?

God’s Spirit gives us the power and motivation to deal with these things and put them aside. Unless this is done it is a misnomer to call ourselves “The People of God.”

For the past 18 months or so your church board has been wrestling with who we are. We have been attempting to take the mission statement that was on the wall in the foyer and boil it down to something memorable and doable. We think we’re about there. We’re close enough that we want to share it with you and ask you to wrestle with it too.

It is particularly pertinent with this sermon.

• We think the best way to describe our congregation is “family.”

• It also offers many elements of what it means to be “The People of God.”

• However, if we are not really a spiritual family and united then we are lying to ourselves, our community, and to God.

Potsdam Church of the Nazarene: Taking the Gospel to the world by being the FAMILY of God.

F Focusing on Christ and His Word

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

A Affirming each other as we grow in grace

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. (Acts 2:46)

M Magnifying God through lives of worship

Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. (Acts 2:47)

I Imagining the nations won for Christ

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.(Acts 2:47)

L Loving people

Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. (Acts 2:45)

Y Yoked together in love

All the believers were together and had everything in common. (Acts 2:44)


Life and history teach us that the human heart is ill-equipped to be at peace with each other.

We just do not seem to have the wherewithal to do that! Every human relationship is prone to conflict.

• Siblings

• Friendships

• Spouses

• Neighbors

• Countries and kingdoms

That is why the Church desperately needs to be different. We are the Community of the Redeemed. The church must courageously

• evaluate itself soberly – that is one of the reasons for the surveys

• speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)

• address its sin

• offer forgiveness and receive forgiveness

Since the church is the light of the world it behooves us to act upon the Gospel ... judgment begins with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

This is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is only possible when God has done a work within the heart of the believer. That is why verse 49 and 50 go together.

Mk 9:49 Everyone will be salted with fire.

Mk 9:50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

Ask yourself:

• Is there anyone on the Kingdom that I harbor hard feelings toward?

• Is there anyone I cannot look in the eye and say “I love you”

• Is there anyone I cannot serve?

“Be at peace with one another.” Again I ask … Is that too much for Jesus to ask of His followers?

The only way a COMMUNITY can be in UNITY is if the members of the body are individually in unity (harmony) with God. Jesus was telling the disciples that in order to get along with each other and the world you must be getting along with God.

James 4:1 says, What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? The problem is not “them” it is within.

Why not make room right now for the Spirit to do a work in your heart even today? The degree to which we / you do this is the degree to which God can form and transform us.

If, you have hard feelings toward another in the congregation I would be glad to help you work through those issues with them. I can assure you it will be grace-filled and Christ-honoring. It might be hard but it will be worth it.

Be at peace with each other