Sermons

Summary: What will it take for the concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable for us in the church?

Unstoppable Growth

Mark 4:21-34

Rev. Brian Bill

May 14-15, 2016

David Platt, author of several books, including Radical, is now the president of the Southern Baptist’s International Foreign Mission Board. Beth and I heard him preach a sermon about a month ago that crushed me. I’ve watched it several times and think about it often. I found it unusually unsettling and quite convicting so thought I would paly a three-minute clip. If you want to watch the entire message, it’s posted on the sermon extras tab on our website.

Play Sermon Clip by David Platt – “Martyrdom and Mission: Why Reformers Died In Their Day; How We Must Live In Ours.” (44:06-46:50)

What will it take for the concept of unreached peoples to become totally intolerable to us in the church?

When did it become OK for us to be OK with unreached people dying without hearing about Christ and spending eternity in Hell?

• 2 billion unreached

• 90% of unreached live in Gospel resistant areas

• 495,000 villages in India have no Christian presence

The 10/40 Window is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia approximately between 10 degrees and 40 degrees north latitude. This area is home to some of the largest unreached people groups in the world, including those in Turkey.

Today (Sunday) has been declared as the Day for the Unreached. As part of the focus today in churches and mission organizations around the world, a “Manifesto for the Unreached” was put together. I want to read part of it.

• Unengaged and Unreached People. We refuse to stand idly by as people enter eternity without Christ when we can share the good news that transforms them through any means possible (Acts 5:40-42).

• Declaration. We will shout from every peak, pinnacle and rooftop that the only hope for this dying world is a relationship with Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

• Summary. As long as God provides His abundant grace, we will not stop or be deterred from this calling. We work relentlessly for the day when a gaze around the expanse of heaven reveals thousands worshipping at Jesus’ feet because of the mission He gave us for this moment in eternity (Revelation 5:9-10).

I’d like to lead us in prayer.

• Repent and ask God to shake us out of our sleepy lethargy

• Pray that God would give us a heart for our neighbors and the nations

• Pray for God to soften hearts to the truth of the gospel

• Ask God to raise up believers to go and reach these groups

• Pray for multiplying churches to be launched

It’s easy to get discouraged when we look at the unfinished task and the hard hearts of so many people in our neighborhoods and in the nations. Our passage of Scripture today is designed to help us see that God is on the move…and it’s our joy to join Him. I was helped by some insight from the brand new Gospel Transformation Bible’s commentary on the parables we’ll be looking at today:

“The growth of this new messianic rule appears outwardly unremarkable, at least initially. But the influence of the kingdom develops progressively to reflect the visible glory of God. Followers of Christ can easily grow discouraged by the fact that many of the powers and established structures in this world seem to overshadow the emerging kingdom of God. Jesus encourages all followers to trust that God’s purposes, which grow slowly, will be accomplished, despite all setbacks. The counterintuitive nature of God’s kingdom should not surprise us. After all, the gospel of grace is itself a message that confounds our expectations and tells us that things are not as they seem…”

We’re going to tackle four parables that remind us of the unstoppable growth of the gospel so we can join God in what He’s doing to reach the unreached among the nations. Two weeks ago we plowed into the Parable of the Soils and learned that when we go and sow, the kingdom of God will grow.

The word parable means, “to throw something beside something else” and has the idea of placing two things together in order to teach a spiritual truth. Jesus employs four metaphors to explain the growth of the gospel.

• The lamp helps us see that we’re to glow.

• The measure urges us to know.

• The plant reminds us that it is normal to grow.

• And the mustard seed demonstrates that our faith will show.

The progression goes from glowing to knowing to growing and then showing.

1. Glowing. Look at Mark 4:21-23: “And he said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’” The picture here is of an oil lamp that is designed to light up a room. In that culture these lamps were often put on a table or up on a nook in the wall in order to dispel the darkness. It would be totally absurd to take this lamp and put it under a basket or under a bed.

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