Summary: A look at how God grows His church.
Series: The Parables of Christ
Topic: The Growth Factor
February 3, 2002
And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." Mark 4:26-32
Introduction: Valerie’s candy bar sales
being the better salesman
lessons learned- If you want to achieve something you have to work for it.
I. Our Dilemma
A. Human Nature (Natural Inclination)
1. Control/ Manipulation
2. Instant Success/ Gratification
Allure of Credit cards
B. Spiritual Hindrances
Human nature carries over into our spiritual lives.
1. Control/ Manipulation
2. Instant Maturity/ Success in ministry
-instant decisions; instant growth
We think the great ones are the ones who can win thousands
Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
(John Maxwell, Rick Warren, Chuck Swindoll, Billy Graham)
One of the areas where these shortcomings are more prevalent is the area of witnessing, or sharing our faith. When it comes to our faith in God sharing our belief can be one of the most difficult things to do. Jesus gives three successful guidelines for telling others about God.
II. How It Works
A. Hands Off (letting God take control)
And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. vss 26-28
-Our tendency to get into the works
Ill-recipe for crust; my experiment
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9 (RSV)
B. Watch And Pray (Impatience leads to manipulation)
Man scatters seed. Leaves it alone. It grows.
Growth occurs regardless of involvement
We are driven by impatience; driven to see results
Parable of the Leaven out of Matthew 13:33
Ill-my arguments against church growth canned tactics.
C. It will Do What It’s Suppose To Do
Jesus uses illustrations of things which are meant to grow
"My word is like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth. They make the crops grow and provide seed for planting and food to eat. So also will be the word that I speak– it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do." Isaiah 55:10-11
"So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I send it." Isaiah 55:11 (RSV)
Conclusion: The power of our witness lies not in what we do, or are able to do, but in what God has purposed and what God is able to do.