Sermon Notes

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God's Plan for the World

Grow His Kingdom

December 15, 2019

Mark 4:21-34

God’s Plan for the World: Grow His Kingdom

Mark 4:21-34

I. God’s plan is like a lamp; 4:21-23.

21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Now that Jesus is here the secret is out. Even now it goes unrecognized by those who choose to grope in their own darkness. It will be fully realized when Jesus comes again. We, as the body of Christ, have the mission of revealing the light of the gospel, God’s plan, to everyone.

II. God’s plan is like a measuring cup; 4:24-25.

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

We have access to the truth and must be careful not to turn a deaf ear to it. The one who ignores it has everything to lose. The one who trusts has everything to gain. The more people refuse to hear, the less of an ability they have to hear.

III. God’s plan is like a growing plant; 4:26-29.

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

God’s purposes will be fulfilled in God’s way, and God entrusts the secrets of those purposes only to those who are willing to trust Him despite unpromising appearances.  We can get discouraged because we cannot see what God is doing and are unable to envision victory in what looks like utter failure. We cannot see into next week, let alone eternity, and we can become impatient waiting for God’s purposes to come to fruition.

IV. God’s plan is like a mustard seed; 4:30-34.

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” 33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

During the sowing stage, the beginning of the gospel, one must trust that what Jesus says about Himself and God’s kingdom is true. A small step of faith in Jesus results in an amazing eternal life, being a part of the magnificent Kingdom of God.

These parables apply to those times when we might feel that the Spirit is not at work or society is too far gone. The plan of God will seem inconsequential to the world and even to believers, because God often works silently and in ways we overlook. We are told that there are no certainties in life, but Jesus’ parables dispute that conclusion. We can be certain that God’s kingdom is at work in the world in ways we do not know.

God’s purposes are revealed in the cross and resurrection of Jesus, but many remain blind. Those who value worldly wisdom and who seek their version of proof still regard the cross as foolishness.

These parables should inspire confidence that overpowers hopelessness. In our hurried age that wants immediate gratification and results, people can easily write off God’s plan at work. The slightest failure may drive us to a sense of despair. Nearly every missionary has had a dark chapter when they were disheartened by setbacks that seemed insurmountable; a feeling of inadequacy, a feeling of complete defeat, but then overcame them.

The parables encourage patient faith. We may expect to plow the field, plant the seed, reap the harvest, thresh the grain, and bake the bread in a short time. God’s plan does not promise instantaneous growth. God gives the growth, and it cannot be hurried. We need to develop patience so that we can wait for God to bring about His plan of salvation. It’s our job to shine the light and plant the seeds.