Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mustard Seed
Isaiah 9:1-7; Mark 4:30-34 / Proverbs 4:1-27

I. What Is God’s Kingdom Like?

A. What developmental or organizational model explains the church? “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” (Mark 4:30)

B. Full Bible Christians cannot settle for confusion and despair in troubled times; Jeremiah spoke of such times when ancient Jerusalem fell. “What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?” (Lamentations 2:13)

C. People who reject the truth must go without answers to their questions. “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” (Matthew 11:16-19)

D. God confounds the world by doing what is totally counterintuitive to the wise people of the age. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:27-30)

II. The Kingdom Is Like a Tiny Seed

A. The mustard seed is tiny and yet it is the illustration that appeals to Christ. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:” (Mark 4:31)

B. When the seed is treated as it is designed to be treated, it becomes enormous. “But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” (Mark 4:32)

C. The hope for a civilization is like that for a person: a tiny seed; and God promises that it will accomplish great things in His time. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)

D. The tiny child Jesus is also the King of Kings and Lord of all reality; sin has met its match, the Prince of Peace. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

III. People Could Not Understand

A. All reality takes people to God when they understand what they encounter. “And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.” (Mark 4:33)

B. Each faithful teaching enlightens the next, leading people from darkness to light in Jesus. “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” (Mark 4:34)

C. Prayer and revelation are necessary to the proper understanding to God, the gospel, and even the ordinary features of the world.That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:” (Ephesians 1:17)

D. The pattern for Christians must be the pattern of Jesus; plant the tiny seed and trust the great harvest to God. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” (Colossians 1:28)

E. The entire world will find refuge in the mature seed of the gospel. “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.” (Romans 16:25-27)

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