The Kingdom of God is Like...
Sermon Summary

This message looks at two very short parables in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus had just finished sharing the parable of the sower in which He described the various kinds of soil on which the seed fell. He then related those types of soil with the receptivity of people to the Word of God. In these two follow up parables, Jesus gives further insight into what happens when The Word of God is sown. The seed that falls into good soil and begins to grow, does so without the farmers help. Once the soil is prepared and the seed sown, the farmer must let the sun, the rain, and the soil do it’s work. Besides watering and weeding, there’s little the farmer can do. It is much the same when we sow God’s Word to others through the testimony of our words and our life. We sow the seeds and God does the work in peoples lives. However, it is imperative we sow the seeds of God’ truth by living and sharing the principles of God’s Word! We might even be surprised at the results. Jesus’ second parable spoke of a small seed sown that grew into the largest of all the plants in the garden and not only produced what it was planted for, but became a place of shelter and protection for the birds from far away. In this way, Jesus was saying that the spiritual seeds we plant will produce a crop far greater than anything we could have imagined. The message ends with an example of someone’s life that was dramatically changed because others were faithful to sow the seeds of God’s Word. Read or listen to the message to find out who that person was and what they went on to accomplish in their life for Christ!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Are you amazed by the miracle of seeds and how a little dirt, water and sunshine cause them to grow and eventually produce a crop and other seeds? Describe why this amazes you?

2. Share an example of how someone planted a truth of God in your life and how it grew and helped you become who you are today.

3. Sometimes the hard part about sowing seeds of God’s truth is not being able to make them grow. Especially when you’ve sown them into the lives of your children and it seems they’re just not taking root. We have to remember, the person receiving the seed must be receptive, and we must be patient and allow God to work. However, there are some things we can do after we’ve sown the seed of God’s Word. Read the following passage and spend the rest of your study time discussing what some of those things are.

Col 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Col 3:13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Col 3:14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Col 3:15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Col 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Col 3:18  Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Col 3:19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Col 3:20  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Col 3:21  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Full Sermon Notes

Opening prayer!!!I thank God my heart belongs to Jesus Christ! Every day I live is a gift from Him! I wouldn't be here today if He had not been willing to reach down to the depths of the pit and save a wretch like me. But He did and I'm forever grateful. And my desire is to let the whole world know, Jesus loves them every bit as much as He loves me! Let's pray!
Father God, I don't understand why, but I'm so thankful you love me like you do! I'm so glad Your Word was planted in my heart by my Mom and Dad and by the Godly men and women who taught me Your truth with words and with deeds. Today, it is my desire to sow the seeds of Your truth to those who listen in this room and to those around the world who will listen via our podcast and video cast. Let me be hidden by your Cross and Your glory so that people only see You! Anoint me with Your Holy Spirit I pray in Jesus Name!

You might remember a few weeks ago I shared with you a message titled "Why Parables." In this message we discovered how Jesus taught the Word of God using parables in order to give people a choice. If they sincerely sought to understand the meaning of the parables God would open their eyes and allow them to see the truth. Remember, some were not given the truths of the Kingdom of God, but we have to remember this very important fact...

Not given does not mean not offered!!

When Jesus taught, He was sowing the seeds of The Word of God. You might remember that some fell on the hard ground of the path and birds stole the seed. Other seed fell on rocky soil and quickly sprang up but had no toot and quickly withered. Other seed fell amongst the weeds and were chocked out. However, there was seed that fell on good soil and listen to what Jesus said about this seed...

Mark 4:20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

Why do these understand?
The soil of his or her heart is good. This person has a heart that seeks God. A heart that desires truth more than it desires pleasure. A heart that understands the deepest and most pure pleasure in life can only be found in a deepening and growing relationship with The almighty Creator God!! This person will bear amazing fruit for God, not because they are perfect or better than the other people, but because their heart pants, and longs for God, His Word, and His ways!!

I want to tell you again, if you have the desire to know God and His truth, seek Him, ask Him, pursue Him! You will be rewarded!!
So today we're going to take a deeper look at The Kingdom of God as it is seen in the life of a person who has accepted the Word of God planted in them.

Jesus said the person who receives the Word begins to produce a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown!! How does this happen? Let's find out!! The Gospel of Mark 4:26-34. Two very short parables but full of truth.

Parable One
The Kingdom of God is like:
"A man scattering seed on the ground."

Mark 4:26 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.”

So here's how the person who received the seed of God's Word produces such a large crop. The seed grows into a plant or even a tree, as we'll see in a moment. The plant produces fruit and that fruit is full of seeds. The man or woman who has allowed the Word of God to be planted in their hearts take the seeds of God's Word that are produced from the fruit grown in their life and they begin to sow those seeds. As they do, some of those seeds take root in the hearts of others and begin to grow!

I hope you're tracking with me because this is so exciting I can hardly contain my excitement. That seed that begins to grow in the other persons heart and life is now growing whether you're sleeping or awake. Because you allowed God's Word to come alive in you and you shared it with the testimony of your words and the way you live your life the Kingdom of God is growing and expanding!! And here's a really neat thing to know.

Sometimes the people who are sowing seeds and making a difference don't even realize they're planting a wonderful crop through their life. They may not even think they're doing a very good job of shinning their light, but listen to the way Jesus put it in Matthew 5:14-16...

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

So I guess you could say the way you sow the spiritual seeds of God's Word is by shining the light of God's Word into the darkness by the way you allow the principles of God's Word to be displayed in your daily life!! Paul put it this way to young Timothy...

1 Timothy 4:9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance

10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things.
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Parable Two
The Kingdom of God is like:
"A mustard seed!"

Mark 4:30 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.

Did you notice it says with many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them? As much as they could understand. The disciples sometimes had a hard time digesting even the smallest truths, let alone the deepest truths. But over time, because they wanted to understand, they got it! That word planted in their hearts led them to eventually become such strong believers they would plant churches so powerful they would take the good news of Jesus around the world!  And some of the people they sowed the seed of God's Word into would become leaders of the church as it began to spread the gospel to the gentiles and pagans. Like Paul the Apostle. Here's what he said...

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Let's look again at what our text says about the size of the Word planted...

Mark 4:31 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.”

When you sow God's Word you are planting seeds of truth! Sometimes that truth may seem small and insignificant, but it could be the truth someone needs to help them with a question they've been struggling with for years. No matter how small the seed of truth you sow it has huge potential!

That little seed could be the seed that grows into a plant large enough to provide comfort, peace, freedom from the past, victory over a struggle, the realization of God's protection, and the list goes on and on! In fact, what I want to do is help you to see just how important sowing the Word of God is and the impact it can have. Listen closely to the verses I'm about to read to you and then I'll illustrate how the seed you plant by your life can grow into something larger than anything you ever imagined possible!

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Powerful words! Right?
The same guy who wrote that wrote this...

2 Timothy 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.

And he wrote this…

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Do you know who wrote those amazing words? It was Paul the Apostle who used to be Saul of Tarsus. And do you know how God first got Saul's attention? The twelve disciples of Jesus taught other disciples the truths of God's Word. One of these disciples was chosen to be a servant, or deacon.  

Why was he chosen? The Word of God planted in him caused him to become a man who was known to be full of wisdom, full of faith, full of grace, full of God's power, and full of The Holy Spirit. The Word that had been planted in Steven's heart blossomed. Listen to what happened after he preached..

Acts 7:54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,
58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death...

Saul could never get the testimony of Steven out of his mind and on the road to Damascus, God called out to Saul and Saul made his decision to become a follower of Christ, and what a follower he became. He turned his back on the evil things he had become and embraced Jesus Christ as Lord!

God changed his heart and his name!! Saul the persecutor became Saul the Apostle!!
God had used the seeds planted by Jesus into the hearts of the original disciples, and then used their sowing to reach other disciples like Steven and then Steven sowed the Word into Saul's life.

Saul, now known as Paul wrote the following words of wisdom through the inspiration of The Holy Spirit...

Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints —
5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
6 that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

When you sow seeds of God's Word, you are sowing seeds of cleansing (Eph. 5:25-27), seeds of protection (Psalm 17:4-5), seeds that sustain (Isaiah 50:4), seeds of instruction (Proverbs 4:10-11), seeds that guide (Psalm 119:103-105 & 2 Peter 1:19), seeds that give Godly counsel (Psalms 1:1-2), seeds that defeat Satan (1John 2:14), seeds that give wisdom (Psalm 111:10), seeds that save (James 1:21) and the list just keeps on going!!

Jesus often said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"   
So I want you to hear just three more verses this morning…Please let the seeds of these words, also penned by Paul, be planted deep in your heart...

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Let's pray!!