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PRINCIPLES OF KINGDOM GROWTH
Intro: This parable is one of many the Lord told during His ministry here on earth. Like some of the others, this one speaks about the “kingdom of God”. The kingdom of God, is His spiritual kingdom that is in the world today. Every person who is saved by grace is a subject in that spiritual kingdom.
Here, Jesus makes it clear that He intends to grow this kingdom. In fact, when He spoke of His church to His disciples, He stated plainly that His intention was to “build His church”, Matt. 18:16. Now, there is much confusion in our world about how He will do this. Some people think that we can grow the church by becoming more like the world. Others think that we have to grow the church by cutting ourselves off completely from the world. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.
In these verses, Jesus tells us a little bit about how He is going to grow the kingdom. Here, He gives us some Principles Of Kingdom Growth. I want to point out those principles this morning. I want you to see that Jesus Christ fully intends to grow His Father’s kingdom upon this earth and that you can be a part of what He is doing! Let’s look at this parable as we consider some Principles Of Kingdom Growth.
I. V. 26-27a KINGDOM GROWTH INVOLVES A MINISTRY
A. It Is A Human Ministry - Notice who sows the seed in verse 26. It is sown by a “man”. For His Own reasons, God has chosen to grow His kingdom through human ministers. God could have chosen angels to do this work. He could have created other beings, but He chose to use us! He saved us to use us - Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 4:7. Each of us was saved because some believer somewhere sowed Gospel seed. That seed fell into the good soil of our heart. There it germinated and produced life, new life, within our hearts. Now, we have been given the task of carrying the Gospel seed wherever we go and we are to sow it as we go, Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. (Ill. It has been said that Captain Cook, the celebrated explorer, in whatever part of the
earth he landed, took with him a little packet of English seeds, and scattered them in suitable places. He would leave the boat and wander up from the shore. He said nothing, but quietly scattered the seeds wherever he went, so that he belted the world with the flowers and herbs of his native land. May we, who are the citizens of the heavenly home sow the seeds of the Gospel of grace wherever our path may take us through this barren world!)
B. It Is A Humbling Ministry - After the farmer has sown the seed, he has done all that he can. He cannot bring life out of the ground, he can only sow the seed. He cannot make it germinate nor can he make it bear fruit. So, he places it into the ground and waits to see what will become of the seed. That is humbling work! The farmer is at the mercy of the seed, the soil and the elements. Yet, he is able to go about his daily routine without worry for the seed. Why? Because he knows that God has placed within the seed everything that is necessary to produce life! Therefore, even though he may not be able to make the seed grow, he can rest assured that the seed will do exactly what God has prepared it to do! You see, the seed grows totally apart from any human agency! (Ill. The difference between building a house and growing a garden. With the house the subtle changes can be seen day by day and often hour by hour. With the garden, noting can be seen, often for long periods of time! (Note: So it is with the Gospel of grace! The witness can but sow the seed and then he must leave the results in the hands of sovereignty! You see, the Gospel has power, Rom. 1:16. God has placed within the Gospel seed everything necessary to being life out of death. And, when that seed is sown into a prepared heart you can rest easy knowing that God will produce His harvest in His time, Isa. 55:11. So, let us spread the Gospel seed around liberally, knowing that when God brings His good seed into contact with a prepared heart, the result will be the salvation of that soul!) (Note: Why doesn’t every witness produce a saved soul? Not all seed falls into good soil, Matt. 13:1-9! All the sower can do is sow the seed, the condition of the soil is not his worry!)
II. V. 27b-28a KINGDOM GROWTH INVOLVES A MYSTERY
A. V. 27b It Is A Puzzling Mystery - No farmer, no scientist and no philosopher can clearly explain how a dead, dormant seed can produce life when it is buried in the soil. Yet, within an hour of being sown, the outer husk of the seed begins to swell because it is drawing moisture from the soil. Within 10 hours, the chemical makeup of the seed begins to change. And, often, it is less than 24 hours time that the seed begins send a tiny root downward and the beginning of as stalk upward! It is a puzzling mystery, yet the seed produces life within a short time. (Ill. So it is with the Gospel! When it is sown into a prepared heart, it is a mystery, but that seed begins to germinate. Sometimes in happens in minutes or hours. At other times, it may take months or years, but there is life within that seed and it will begin to germinate within that heart. When it does, life will issue forth. This is the process we call conviction, John 16:7-11; John 6:44. It is a puzzling mystery, how simply words, received into the heart, can bring about so profound a change. Yet, all those who have experienced it know the power of the Gospel when it touches the good soil of the heart!)
B. V. 28a It Is A Private Mystery - Notice the words “the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself”. The seed is planted and it germinates soon thereafter, but the results may not be visible for days or even weeks. The work at first is very private. Therefore, the farmer must patiently wait for the results of his labor to be seen. He does not know which seed will grow and which one will not. He does not know perfectly the condition of the soil, so he must wait! (Ill. So it is with those who sow Gospel seed into men’s hearts. We do not know the condition of the soil of their heart. We do not know which seed will grow and bear fruit and which will not. Days, weeks, months and years may pass without our having seen any results from our labors, but such things are not our worry! God called us to sow the seed! The harvest is His responsibility! However, even when results cannot be seen, we must believe that there is power in the Gospel to save the human heart!)
C. V. 28a It Is A Precious Mystery - This verse gives the promise that “the earth bringeth forth fruit...” The farmer may not see it, but that changes nothing! Even when he cannot see what is taking place, he understands that the seed is growing and changing and that the plant and the fruit will come! (Ill. When we sow the Gospel, we must know that God is working even when we cannot see the proof of that work! (Ill. Saul of Tarsus. No one could see what was going on within his soul as the seed of the Gospel began to germinate and take root within him, Acts 9:1-6. But, God was working beneath the surface, Acts 9:5, and in time, the proof of life was there for all to see, Acts 9:19-22!)
III. V. 28b-29 KINGDOM GROWTH INVOLVES A MAJESTY
A. V. 28b It Is A Progressive Majesty - This verse points out that there is a progression in the growth of the plant that is produced by the germination of the seed. It starts off small and fragile, and in that state, it would be easy to crush, but in time it matures and produces fruit. It has the potential to multiply itself many times over as it reaches maturity. (Ill. Of course, this is a picture of how a Christian is to grow in grace. After the seed has been planted in the soil of our heart, it germinates and produces new life. This new life is tender and easily damaged, but as the Lord gives grace to that life and as He waters it and feeds it, it grows strong in the Lord and bears much fruit for His glory! Let’s take a moment to look at each of the stages mentioned here:
1. The Blade - Here, the new life is tender. But, as the days and nights revolve, it sinks it roots deeper into the soil and steadily becomes stronger. This would correspond to the new believer. They are to be nurtured and loved as we wait for them to grow into maturity.
2. The Ear - Here the promise of future fruit is plainly seen. Still there is much growing to do. This speaks of the middle stages of the Christian life. The believer is stronger and shows the promise of a fruitful future, but there is much growing to do!
3. The Full Ear - Here, the ear hangs over due to the heaviness of the fruit within. Here is the potential for multiplication and more growth. This plant can be used to build up men and it can be used to produce more plants. This speaks of maturity in the Christian life! This is the stage of victory, usefulness and glory! It is here that the farmer receives his reward and his labors are compensated!
(Ill. Friends, it is this kind of growth that the Lord expects from His children. We are to move beyond those first stages into great maturity in the Lord. When we do, He is glorified! Others are strengthened and we possess the ability to multiply ourselves to the glory of God! He would have us grow, 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; Heb. 5:12-14! Are you growing in the Lord? Be honest! Are you maturing as He would have to?) (Ill. It is unnatural for a person to remain in the baby stages of life forever, 1 Cor. 13:11.)
B. V. 29 It Is A Profitable Majesty - When the fruit is formed and the time for harvest is come, the farmer receives the return on his investment and he receives the glory for the things that have been achieved! (Ill. When a person is saved and lives his life to the fullest for God’s glory, when he reaches his true potential for Jesus, it honors the Lord and accomplishes what He intended all along! Our goal as we live for Him should be to bring honor and glory to the name of the Lord, 1 Cor. 10:31. Nothing honors Him like a redeemed life and a life that grows in grace and honors Him!)
Conc: As we consider what we have heard today, there are a couple of questions that must be answered.
• If you are saved today, are you sowing the Gospel like He wants you to as you pass through this world?
• If you are saved today, are you growing in the Lord in a way that pleases Him and that give Him a good return on His investment in you?
• If you are not saved, has the seed been planted within your heart? Is God dealing with you about where you are going to spend eternity? Would you like to be saved?
If there are needs in your life and in your walk with the lord today, this altar is the place to deal with all of them. You come if He is calling!