The Theology of Sleep! (Mark 4) (Session V)Apr 17, 2023
Thanks C.J. I have two responses to that. I just lost my eternal reward. Thank you so much. Will you do my funeral? This is a great event. It is not like this? We are having a great time of fellowship and instruction in the things that are critical for us to serve our King and promote his glorious name in the world. I am truly blessed and honored to have a
sessionat this very important convocation and so obviously I ponder long and hard as to what the Lord would do. ask me to bring to your attention where i landed and trust the lord this is in the fourth chapter of
mark, it may be because i am preaching through
markand mark is dominating my mind at the time but i want you to.
Take your Bible and open it to the fourth chapter of Mark. I want to talk about what I've called the
sleepand while you're at it, I just want to let you know that I generally
sleepvery well wherever I am. I'm in the world I seem to be sleeping I think that my ability to sleep to a certain extent is related to my
theologythat's where that title came from if I believed that the salvation of souls depended on me I don't know that I could sleep well I understand the horrors of eternal hell I understand the wrath of God I understand eternal judgment I understand what is at stake it is a passion for me to reach people with the gospel and I suppose with that kind of conviction dominating my heart under some circumstances and within some kinds of theology I may have trouble sleeping because of the urgency of the matters at hand, but my trust is in the Lord and in his power and not in me, so I can enjoy rest, refreshment, physically, occasionally, fun. off homework because I don't do the Lord's work my responsibilities are very limited someone recently wrote about me this is a quote MacArthur cannot reach the people the Christian missionary movement reaches so if he and his followers are successful in D legitimizing If the people who would never join the faith would be only tens of millions over the next century, the suggestion of that guy is that my D legitimizing contemporary gospel cultural changes will potentially result in tens of millions. of people going to hell the next paragraph said this but macarthur is reformed so essentially he can be as ineffective as he wants in outreach since his works have no part in saving people anyway how many souls should be lost: such unwillingness to be missional unquote that's a spin on me i really hadn't read before but somehow my reformed theology makes me responsible for tens of millions of people ending up in hell but that's the kind of, I guess you could say, neo-Phineas Pelagianism that motivates so many. people in evangelicalism who think that the success of the gospel depends on their persuasive powers and their wits that kind of thinking inevitably ends up adjusting the gospel I promise you that if I felt for one minute that someone was going to hell because somehow I couldn't make any necessary adjustments in the message to persuade them to believe that I would have a hard time sleeping that's a pretty heavy load to carry I don't think we don't think we have that kind of attitude I think that all of us here are here because we're not motivated We're motivated by the emotional rhetoric of bad theology, but we're motivated by the Word of God, we're motivated by the Scriptures, and for this
sessionat least I want us to look at the fourth chapter of Keep in Mind That It's Kind of a Magna Carta of Our Lord on the subject of evangelism.
This text is largely paralleled in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew in the eighth chapter of Luke at the beginning of the chapter just by way of brief introduction it tells us that the Lord began again to teach by the sea and met him once such a large crowd that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land where he taught many things in parables now this is a daily setting for Jesus during the year plus of his ministry in Galilee massive crowds crowds were so overwhelming that on numerous occasions the Lord and his apostles couldn't even get to a meal he couldn't shake the people long enough to get food, the crowds numbered in the tens of thousands, feeding all five a thousand men plus women and children would be a crowd of at least twenty to twenty-five thousand people, a not uncommon crowd pressing against him so that he often had to get into a boat and go offshore into the water just to put up a boat. little space between him and the crowd were drawn by his power over demons sickness and death that there was never a denial of his miracle-working power no one ever denied that no the highest leaders of Israel never tried to explain the miracles .
They were too massive or constant. Powerful, but just as big as the crowd and so fascinated by the miracles our Lord did. There were very few of them who were true believers, in fact, there were so few of them that later in the thirteenth chapter of Luke he records that one of his disciples told him: there are only a few who are being saved, the whole company is not really it seemed to be as expected. they expected him to go away and were entitled to some expectation, supposing that some of Jesus' followers were familiar with the Old Testament, which we know they were, would have understood that in the ninth chapter of Isaiah there is a promise about his coming. of the Messiah that his is the rain and the extension of his rule would have no end that he would come as a dominating power and a presence in the world and you may have been well acquainted with Isaiah 45 from verse 22 onwards in that great chapter that celebrates the unique glory of God that is coming a day when God will not only bring salvation to the nation of Israel but to the world or if you were familiar with Isaiah chapter 60 it would be the same the coming of the Messiah was always connected with national salvation and impact international but our Lord has been at this now for a while now there may be a little over a year away from the cross so he has been at this for practically two years and although there is a superficial fascination from the people there There are simply not many true followers, true believers, which is wrong because that is where national repentance is, where national redemption is, where the fulfillment of the Gentiles is, and the coming of the nation to Israel, and coming to the God of Israel, which is the problem as the flesh would respond by saying we need a different strategy this is not really working this is how the flesh always responds to evangelistic deception at low numbers it still is that way even today the response could be something like this well it has to be our fault no we are not doing this right we are somehow out of touch with the felt needs of the people thats a hard sell since jesus said he virtually banished disease from israel for the duration of his ministry he robbed the people of inner demons and halted funeral processions die dead in their tracks resurrecting the dead person but nonetheless somehow the default must be ours maybe there are other ways to do this maybe we are out of touch with the trends or the sensibilities or the style or the psychology of our time maybe we need to find another way maybe we need to recognize that people are motivated psychology psychologically they are materially motivated they are emotionally motivated as we heard last night they are intellectually motivated is that kind of thinking what kind of carnal thinking which is essentially behind all the evangelical adjustments in the gospel that somehow we have to overcome the resistance of sinners and we do it by creating a message that the sinner does not resist so much packaged in a style that is familiar to the sinner and with the one that feels somewhat comfortable and by the way the message needs to be friendly and it helps if it's also fun so the church has always suffered from a kind of parade of enterprising types offering to change the results by changing the message and I think that must have been at least in the back of the minds of the disciples if we're really doing this the right way when all this messianic fulfillment happens so here we are a year before the Great Commission and the Lord really gives us a chapter complete here on evangelistic instruction its fundamental foundation I think for our understanding of biblical evangelism it is comprehensive it is detailed it is essential for us to understand what is in this chapter I want to begin by having you look at verses 26 through 29 and it is from this portion of the chapter that I have taken out the title our Lord gives a series of parables here he is alone in the mark like the others appear in Matthew and Luke he is alone in the mark verse 26 he was saying the kingdom of God is like a man who casts a seed on the ground and it falls he lies down at night and gets up during the day and the seed sprouts and grows as he himself does not know that the earth produces crops by itself first the leaf then the spike then the grain in the spike ripens, but when the harvest allows it, immediately put the sickle in because the harvest has arrived. it's like it's like a seed that sprouts and grows and the farmer doesn't know how it happens and he's the expert by the way he's the agricultural expert the wonder of the gospel is you then the gospel and you go to sleep and it grows we have no control over that We don't know how that happens any more than the farmer knows how that seed lying dead or asleep in the soil produces abundant life, and the most learned botanists, biologists, and farmers cannot explain the forces of life, the only human act. what our Lord is saying is to sew and sleep while the crop grows mysteriously all the work of forces completely separate from the farmer even the best farmer this is the language of the Apostle Paul some sow a little water and God does what he gives to increase this it is also tied to those very familiar words in the Gospel of John, but to all who received it, he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name who were not born of blood or blood. the will of the flesh nor the will of man but of God spiritual birth spiritual life growing seed is a divine miracle in John chapter 3 and I want you to look at that for a minute there is this very very familiar conversation between Jesus and one of the main rulers of the Jews Nicodemus and it's a fascinating discussion and I think we should give Nicodemus a lot of credit he understands speaking in metaphors the Jews did it all the time he knows exactly that our Lord is talking about spiritual issues not physical issues he comes to Jesus at night he says you know you have come from God as a teacher that is evident because no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with him that is what he says but Jesus penetrates behind what he says - what he is thinking And he said really, really, I tell you that unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God.
What Nicodemus really wanted to know is how to enter the kingdom of God and Jesus said you have to be born again you have to be born again it requires regeneration it requires a new birth, that is, it is something beyond you, you did not contribute to your own birth and you are not really the contributing factor to your new birth, nor does Nicodemus understand it in verse four. he told her how can a man be born when he is old it's ok he can enter his mother's woman a second time to be born he is speaking in metaphorical language I can't do that I'm not in charge of my birth I can't be in charge of my rebirth?
How does that happen? Jesus expands it further by saying that you must be born not only physically of water but also of water and spirit. Borrowing the language of Ezekiel. Do not be surprised that I told you that you have to be born again and then the wind blows where it wants and you hear its sound but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going, that is how everyone who is born of the Spirit is. Nicodemus says how can I be born again how I can be regenerated what do I do Jesus doesn't tell him here are four steps here are three steps say this prayer that tells him that is really beyond your power the wind blows where it wants you to hear the sound you don't know where it's coming from you don't know where it's going This is how everyone is born of the Spirit It is a divine work It is a divine miracle The seed grows The farmer has no idea how it happens He is not in charge of power He is not in charge of energy The spirit does its work The spirit blows like the wind transforming regenerating a heart this is a divine work even our lord understands it perfectly and confirms it i want to show an illustration of this as we think about it in the final section of the Gospel of Luke there is a very familiar and wonderful account of the thief in the cross Luke 23 verse 39 one of the criminals who were hanged there was insulting him saying: are you not the Christ, save yourself and us?
This is pure sarcasm. This is a mockery. This is contempt. being the Messiah and others have certainly said that above him is hung on a cross on four great wounds inflicted on him by the will of the Jewish leaders and people and by the same act of the pagan Roman Gentiles, he is the ultimate victim because the crucifixion was reserved for the most rancid criminals, thelower people there is nothing convincing about his current position and stance to make anyone think other than this man is fake sarcasm is reasonable you joke you are supposed to be the messiah the thief we assume he is a jew maybe raised in a synagogue knows all the prophecies about the Messiah about national conversion about international influence this is the Messiah certainly if the crucifixion of Christ is a stumbling block for the jew and he is a jew it is a stumbling block for him here it is Jesus at his weakest hour, a victim for all intents and purposes from a human point of view, and the thief's response is a very, very reasonable response, you're a joke, but the other response and rebuking him said don't even fear God anymore that you're under the same sentence of damnation oh that's an interesting perspective where did that come from this is a thief this is a criminal criminal worthy of execution and then his theology starts to come out we are actually suffering we are just getting what we deserve for our works but this man has done nothing wrong and affirms the sinlessness of Christ Wow and now I understand that Jesus is half and virtually naked hanging on a cross being despised being mocked ridiculed not impressive but this man the other thief says he has no sin , he understood the impeccability of Christ, then Jesus says, remember me when you come into your kingdom, he understood the sovereignty of Christ, that he was a king, he understood the Savior of Christ, who could remember him and then bring him into his kingdom, he even understood the second coming of Christ when you come to your kingdom that is a very solid theology it is really impressive he told him truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise what happened to that thief the only explanation for faith at that moment on the cross in life of that thief was the power of God in his soul you somehow think his cunning is the source of someone's conversion the Lord Jesus said he is the weakest the most vulnerable he seems totally defeated hanging on that cross and next to him the Spirit of God gives life to a dead heart light to a blind soul and faith explodes and clear understanding comes salvation and the same day that thief is in paradise with Christ there is no human explanation for that in my mind that is the greatest conversion moment in the New Testament look at the parable it says sow the seed and go to sleep because you are not in charge of the results come back then to mark for a minute and we are just we are going to deepen our little bible study here at the mark for just a note of a greek term that i think you will find interesting the kingdom of god is like a man verse 26 he sows seed on the ground he lies down at night it becomes day the seed sprouts and grows how he himself does not know then this the earth produces crops by itself look at that little phrase by itself the greek is automaton automatically from otama pull automatically that word has only used one other place in the New Testament is in Acts chapter 12 in verse ten where when Peter was released from his chains the prison door opened automatically God opened the door and the harvest grows automatically he is a divine automaton the earth produces crops by itself first comes the leaf then comes the head and the ripe grain in the head and all that the farmer can do is wait until it is fully grown and then he can harvest it we can be the means but we are not the power we understand we can be the secondary agency but we are not the causative agency we have no other role than sow the seed and go to sleep and let God's work be done and it will be done in the most amazing ways some people have taken this parable and said that it represents Jesus as the farmer coming back to judge don't let me say that doesn't work because this farmer is going to sleep and judgment is the product of omniscience no sleep this is not jesus on judgment the farmer has been sleeping divine omniscience never sleeps particularly in regards to the record of sin leading to judgment so the simple principle is to sew and sleeping the success of the gospel does not depend on your power your manipulation of your business skills spiritual life and regeneration is divinely automatic but there are essential elements in that automatic operation that must be there and for us to understand some of those things we need to broaden our perspective here and pick up on some of the other parables in the chapter, so let's go back to the beginning of the chapter and I don't want to dwell on this one. because I know you're very familiar with that, but just to make a few points, how do we approach evangelism?
Let's make a few words as hooks to hang our thoughts on the first one is humility humility I mean we would understand that by just what was said humility because it really is not in our power to do the work we don't want to live under that ridiculous illusion and that is expanded in the parable very familiar in verse 3 behold, listen to this our lord says the sower went out to sow he was sowing a seed fell next to the road and the birds came and ate it another seed fell on stony ground where there was not much soil immediately it sprouted because it was not deep of earth after the sun had risen it was scorched because it had no root it withered another seed fell among the thorns and the thorns sprouted and choked it and gave no harvest and you can tell that those guys those disciples that were there with him are just yeah that that's right we're very familiar with that you're very familiar with that kind of setting where the fields were basically crisscrossed with beaten paths that's how they went in and out and around and through the field and our Lord's disciples were doing that and plucking grain as they went, of course, which they were allowed to do since the Old Testament when the first condemned them for eating without washing their hands, so they traversed those beaten paths, they understood that they understood that there was some kind of soil that had a bedrock below. and that the seed would open and there would be some kind of plant that would sprout but eventually die when the sun came up because it couldn't get past the rock to get to the water and it was shallow and fruitless and there were others that got caught up in the weeds that never they were cleared from the soil that everyone was very familiar with which they were not familiar with and the surprise in the whole thing is verse 8 another seed fell on the good ground and as they grew and increased they gave a crop that produced thirty sixty cent for one now the best research you could do on this would be the greatest possible harvest could be six times Jesus is speaking here in superlative language about something they had never experienced thirty sixty and a hundred times just unheard of well this had That would be good news for the disciples who were besieged by the fact that there were very few who were interested, our Lord tells them in this little parable that a harvest is coming that is going to be massive.
Now you know the story, there are three kinds of land. barren the hard land the stony land the weedy land there are three kinds of good land thirty for sixty and one hundred for one now our Lord wants to explain the parable so he does it only to his followers verse 10 says that he attracts his followers only to him and begins to explain to them why it is given to them to know these things, it is not given to the nation that already rejects that with the hardness of their hearts they have deprived themselves of that opportunity, so he begins the explanation I love this in verse 14 the sower shows the word this is so fundamental.
I just feel a bit silly saying it, but it should be obvious to everyone. from us that there are no adjectives to describe the sower the sower anyone who throws seed anyone there are no qualifications for the sower sower is someone who throws seed it is that simple that is not the problem here in the work of evangelization we are not really the problem it doesn't matter if you have a tattered burlap seed bag or a designer seed bag it really doesn't matter the style of your seed bag anyone who throws seeds is a planter and there are no adjectives to describe the planter so there is nothing in the story about the sower's seed we know what solar is so is the word in the language of luke 8:11 the word of god the word of god i don't know we need to be reminded of this romans 10 says faith comes by hearing the word about Christ correct faith comes from hearing the word about Christ whereas salvation is divinely automatic and is the work of God it cannot happen apart from the message about Christ the full message a few weeks ago in the Shepherd's conference at our church we go over some familiar words that Jesus said repeatedly to his disciples he performs a miracle and says don't tell anyone remember don't tell anyone do another miracle don't tell anyone go to gyruss's house you know how to fight your way through from the crowd curing the woman with the issue of blood finally arrives at the gyruss house there is a cacophony of chaos there are professional mourners and pipers are carrying out their drama throw everyone out of the place he enters the room where the daughter is dead and is brought back to life the daughter back from the dead she turns to the family and says don't tell anyone for sure why she's doing this she even told them after things like this glorious demonstration don't tell anyone some people say what was she trying to minimize the impact in the crowd because it would excite his messianic fever more and he would be thrown out of his planned schedule if he was trying to assuage the hostility of the rulers who followed in his footsteps and hated him and was trying to keep as low a profile as he could so as not to exacerbate them further was that what it was about no he himself gave the answer himself said this who do people say i am lucas 9 oh the answer and said john the baptist some say you are Elijah others say you are one of the prophets he said but who do you say I am Peter says that you are the Christ of God Wow and you remember Matthew records that Jesus said flesh and blood did not reveal it to you but my father who is in heaven that is by divine revelation that you know that and then he says verse 21 warned them and told them told them not to tell anyone this don't tell anyone about this dead girl I just raised don't tell anyone about these people I just healed don't tell anyone about my manifesto because don't tell anyone that I am the Messiah do not tell anyone why because Luke 9:22 next verse the son of man must suffer many things be rejected by the elders the chief priests and scribes are killed rise again on the third day after that tell everyone that the message is not healing the message is not free food the message is not simply Jesus is the Messiah the message is the cross and the resurrection after that you go into the world you tell everyone that is the Great Commission those are the words of our Lord explaining that he himself and I only take that out to say that our message is the cross and the resurrection to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God will raise him from the dead that is the seed that is the seed of the gospel that's the word about Christ it's offensive I bet it's offensive a stumbling block for the jews madness for the gentiles that doesn't change anything in that wonderful text 1 Corinthians 1 where the Apostle Paul talks about how he says we preach Christ crucified to the jews a stumbling block to the gentiles madness listen to this but to those of you who are the called there is a calvinist statement for you who are the called who hear the divine call those who are under divine automatic handiwork those upon whom the wind blows of the spirit this message that will always be madness that will always be a stumbling block for natural men becomes the power of God for salvation and at the end verse 30 says that it is by him making you are in Christ Jesus is by his work you are in Christ Jesus so if you are going to boast boast in the Lord Paul's response to this evangelistically when I came to you brothers I did not come with superiority or speech a speech or wisdom proclaiming to you the testimony of God I determined not to know anything among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified I was with you in weakness in fear in much trembling my message my preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power so that your faith faced does not rest on the wisdom of men but in the power of God Paul fully understood it preach Christ crucified and risen even though he is rejected even though it seems stupid and shameful preach Christ because to those who are the called ones in whom the spirit blows in whom life is divinely generated automatically this it is the power of God for salvation because what the parable is about if it is not about sewers and the seed cannot mess with the sower is anyone who shows that the seed can' Do nothing with a seed.
You don't want to create a synthetic seed and get a mutation. Do you think a lot is happening? I think they are everywhere. the parable is the earth the rest of this parable is simply an explanation of the earth in matthew 13 the parallel says what is sown in the heart then the earth is the heart i can then i can sow the seedI can't change the heart we agree beyond me. I am like the farmer. I just sow the seed and go to sleep. I am not in charge of the heart and it is popular for people to think that I can stir the heart in my preaching.
I never deliberately appeal to the human. Will I never try to control the human will because I might be causing people who have certain things they wish were true to go down a path like the weak-willed women Paul refers to in writing Timothy? I'm not interested in manipulating anyone's will. I never appeal to emotion I am not interested in sentimentalizing anyone Jesus, all appeals are to the mind to understand the truth to understand the truth don't appeal to people emotionally because you will get a lot of emotional responses don't appeal to people's will for you will get much of yourself - voluntary responses always appeals to the mind Jonathan Edwards in his 1746 treatise on religious affections was very very concerned to make it known that fallen human nature is fertile ground for carnal religiosity but you who are spiritual ungodliness rooted in self- love said gushing emotional experiences kind of sentimentalist approaches to Jesus schmaltz see musical experiences are a far cry from the genuine regenerative work of the Holy Spirit centered on a transformed soul transforming character Edwards wanted to point these things out and I think that The bottom line for him was where there is a genuine work of the spirit in a life.
The result is not a kind of smug satisfaction but a humility. A spirit of meekness. Kindness. Sorry. Mercy. issue so what we need to do is drive evangelism sharp on the issue of sin and repentance making acceptance difficult self-denial self-hatred even life denying self take up your cross follow me this is what it does acceptance is difficult that is why Jesus said when he was asked the question in Luke 13 if only a few are saved he said it is difficult there are many who are trying to enter the kingdom but they cannot they cannot pass that stubbornness they cannot reach the luke 18 mindset lord have mercy on me a sinner is not enough to make jesus attractive jesus is very attractive very very attractive is not enough to make people feel good towards jesus activate their will for some personal gain is not enough to arouse their emotions Spurgeon said that people are told to come forward in response to an emotional call they make a decision to accept Christ come forward and immediately step back they go told the consulting room and they convert in five minutes and they are done with godliness for the rest of their lives well these are the people who have no root the people who are caught up in the things of the world that the deceitfulness of riches the distractions of this century is the parable that unfolds in your of with that parable we are well aware that their hearts are the problems we are dealing with there are hearts hard as the hard earth there are those superficial people who joyfully receive the truth for a while joy there is no indication of saving faith true repentance is not necessarily joyful it could be agonizing Edward said that true conversion is marked by humble, brokenhearted love for God so that we understand where we are dealing with hard hearts and we are dealing with shallow hearts and where we are dealing with distracted hearts double minded hearts that are caught up in the things of this life and the things of this world but the bottom line is that we have no power over those hearts we cannot give life to the dead we cannot give light to the darkened we cannot give sight to the blind then we approach this ministry we humbly sow seeds we know we are not the power we are simply human it means we sow seeds read Deuteronomy 30 verse 6 that wonderful statement where the Lord says it will give spiritual life read Ezekiel 36 read Jeremiah 31 it is the work of the Lord it is the work of the Lord to put the Spirit in the heart so that we may sleep yes humility that is the first The second attitude added briefly is found in the parable of verses 21 to 23. a lamp is not brought to put it under a basket or under a bed it is not brought to put it is not brought to put it on the lamp? standing up because nothing is hidden except to be revealed nor has anything been secret that would come to light if anyone has ears to hear let them hear we humble ourselves because we know we are not the power in salvation but we are obedient because we know that possessing the light that it's the point of that story look you might say well if it's all the power of god then i have no role to play oh that's not it and that's why this parable is here don't cover the light you are the lamp don't put the lamp under a basket under a bed place it where everyone can see it we are humble because we know we are not the power to change hearts but we are obedient because we know we are the means by which light comes how will they hear without what a preacher will go for everything the world preach the gospel to every creature make disciples go to Jerusalem Judea Samaria the last of the earth because the Spirit of God will come upon you and you will have the power for that, he is telling them, look, their axiomatic lamps are to spread the light , you don't light one to cover it with a lit Modi and about a nine liter basket originally that you don't take a flatbed bed and place it on top of a lamp to hide the purpose of the lamp you put it in a lamp holder on the wall or on the floor this would have been a small oil lamp usually placed on top of something with a floating wick light the wick and this is how the house lights up we must be lights in the world must we not let our light shine.
These are all basic, fundamental, biblical concepts, so for one thing, it's not in our power to change hearts it's within our responsibility to be obedient to let the light shine and so it's not just the message that we preach that's the pure gas the cross and the resurrection but it is the life that sustains that personal testimony a life of light these are axioms all for them nothing is hidden except to be revealed nothing is secret except that it would come to light that is to say the purpose of maintaining something hidden for a while is that there is a precise time to let him see the purpose of having a secret is that it would be inappropriate to reveal it now until the right time to reveal it the day you are saying about world evangelism is coming a day when I will no longer tell you don't divulge this but i will tell you you are going to the ends of the earth spread the seed spread the light there is a third word like we just gave you i will give you one more in a minute but the third word would be diligent we would go humbly go obediently go diligently some people they say well if you are going to believe all this and you are going to believe that it is all the work of God that takes away the motivation of evangelism that is the great criticism that people in reformed theology always hear but I want you to look at verses 24 and 25 take care this is another little axiomatic analogy take care what you hear or how you listen according to your measure you will be measured and given more also now let me stop there and say this look friends you are not the cause of anyone's salvation but you are the medium, we are humble about the cause, we are obedient as the medium, we let the light shine, how diligent should we be, here is the motivation right here, by the standard of measure. they will be measured and given more, plus here we come back to the fact that this awesome promise seeum truism is this usefulness in gospel evangelism is proportional to the seed sown and leads directly to eternal reward sow sparingly reap sparingly so bountifully Harvest generously so you saw the seed you sow it diligently because you know that your usefulness is proportional to your sowing and that leads to divine blessing that leads to eternal reward this is how you buy friends for eternity in exchange for those who have more for themselves He will not even give what he has to those who do not have, it will be taken away.
There are some false evangelists or false Christians who believe that they are going to have a reward. They will say, Lord, Lord, we did this, we did this. you're going to get you're not going to get but the people who were the true believers who did the true planting of seeds you're going to get more more of what more of everything more of all the grace and goodness and goodness of God Matthew 13 12 says that will have in abundance your life will overflow and your eternity will overflow one more word we we like this and we sleep humbly because we are not in charge of the results obediently because it is the very nature of being the light that we shine diligently because our usefulness is proportional to our faithfulness to that and it will be rewarded to you forever and finally with confidence with confidence i love this verse 30 and it said how we will represent the kingdom of god how we will represent and you know if you're a skeptic you might say oh yeah a small group of people besieged here in a corner somewhere, that's it, that's the kingdom, renewed our whole focus here, no, that's how we should think about it, it's like a mustard. seed than when sown in the ground, even though it is smaller than all the seeds that are sown in the ground, not all the seeds in the world, but all the seeds that were sown typically and annually in Israel and when sown however grow and become bigger than all the plants in the garden and form great branches so that the birds of the sky can nest under its shade guess what with such confidence because we know that God has determined an exponential result how wonderful an exponential result what will it be the end result what should we expect with this little kingdom of tiny seeds and these little men at one point the whole kingdom is in a boat in a storm they could all have drowned right there what what what could they expect like a mustard seed explosive growth so small little seed that produces a bush 15 feet tall and 5 or 6 feet wide from that little seed the kingdom will rise up like those little beginnings no one could imagine very soon they would be saying about this little kingdom these people are setting the world upside down and by the way I love the fact that it fell at the end of verse 32 is a reference to Ezekiel 17 so that the birds of the air can nest under a change you know I know a lot of commentators talk about what the bird's nest means in the mustard seed.
I'll tell you what it means. All you have to do is read Ezekiel 17. The birds represent the nations of the world and you have the same. in the illustration of chapter 4 of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar's vision of his kingdom was that the kingdom was made up of his people and the birds were all the nations that nested in his great kingdom Ezekiel gives us a picture of the great kingdom of the Messiah the birds are all the nations of the earth would enter the kingdom exactly what they thought should happen would happen according to Old Testament prophecy summarizing the final explosive growth of the kingdom is the gospel spreads throughout the world and the church spreads throughout the world all the world finally culminating in the final glorious reign of Jesus Christ over all the earth one final thought we can we can sow the seed humbly obediently diligently with confidence and leave the results to the Lord alone just one final illustration Jesus fed the 25,000 people recorded in Mark 6 at the end of the feeding this is hard to believe excuse me it says the disciples got into a boat the wind stopped when jesus got into the boat the wind stopped they were completely amazed this is the night after the feeding of the twenty five thousand or so they get on a boat they go back to the other side of the west side and the storm comes jesus meets them in the middle and something amazing happens the incident with peter occurs jesus gets on the boat and they respond like this saying this you are a child of god They said that in the middle of the lake four miles from the shore in the storm when Jesus got into the boat and calmed the storm why did they suddenly come to that conclusion mark says this they had no knowledge they had not gained knowledge of the loaves incident but his heart was hardened they had just come from a hillside near the town of Bethsaida where Jesus had made food I mean he was making cookies flat grain crackers that never grew he was handing out pickled fish that never swam creating food and they are just getting the baskets and there they have people sitting in groups of 1,500 never shooting all this food everywhere and he says now pick up all that's left and come back with how many baskets twelve the accuracy is as amazing as the power I mean is knowing that you can't just be creating supernatural fish and leave it there, it all burned out, that says i didn't get any insight because his heart was hardened, that's what he would have said.
I think Lord I think I have no more questions what the hell after he fed them put him in the boat sent him up the hill and he says he prayed. I think he prayed forthey. I think she prayed for them. and that night, when he came to them in a boat, he got in the boat, the hardness was gone and they said, truly you are the Son of God, how did that happen? I believe that the father at that moment in the lake of Galilee that night answered his son's prayer for and opened their hearts that was the great moment of transformation there was something about walking on the water that was more impressive than what the man had done day before what he did all the times before that was the moment in the unlikeliest of circumstances in the unlikeliest of ways automatically life hard hearts shatter I'll tell you how exciting it is to be a part of this the burden is not mine except for sow the seed father we thank you for a wonderful text of scripture rich complete blessed we love you we love your word we exalt you be exalted through us as faithfully so the seed of the gospel to the glory of Christ amen you
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