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March 10, 2021 6:14 am
Jesus is another parable for them. Say the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed. It is the smallest of all, see but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, help with letting mustard seeds and lemon have to do with our spiritual life today.
Dana continues a series of the parables that Jesus taught his followers and his disciples on today's broadcast statement looks at T parables that go hand-in-hand in a message he calls the parable of the mustard seed we continue our study of the kingdom of God. Looking at different parables in Matthew's gospel that he taught. But let me give you just a quick inside and what we covered already looked at the parable of the sower and the soils in Matthew 13 we look to the parable of the wheat and the tares last week's message, a powerful teaching from Jesus about how the evil one. So those tears look like Christians but aren't really Christians in the kingdom of God in all of us have seen that happen over the years I watched the movie spotlight this weekend just the tragic tale of the pedophilia scandal in Boston and I found myself going. There are tears sewn in the kingdom. People who say they are Christians, but they're not producing the fruit of Christ and really are following a different gospel than the one I note.
So today we take the next parable in the line of the sower and the soils and the weeding tears to small little parables together the parable of the mustard seed in the parable of the leaven. This is the word of the Lord Jesus put another parable before them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air, and make nests in its branches. He told them another parable.
The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour till all was leavened that the old leaven, then grew to be all over the kingdom of heaven. This is the word of the Lord as you read these two parables.
There are two different possible interpretations, and as I read different interpreters this week. One would take one position and in the very next my red would take exactly the opposite position. So what I decided to do was to present you both interpretations and then you can make the decision if you choose one or the other or maybe somehow both of them can be true at the same time.
Here's the first interpretation, it's all about the growth of the kingdom. Jesus starts out saying the seed like he did with the parable of the wheat and the tares is the word of the gospel.
It is planted in a field in soils as you will. This mustard seed. Jesus, that is the smallest of all seeds now spiritual skeptics through the years have tried to entrap Christian by saying scientists know the mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds but it was in Jesus day in Jesus, location. There are smaller seeds in other parts of the world but is the smallest seed in Palestine in that area of the world.
When Jesus existed and when that seed is planted in the soils. A tree begins to spring up and slowly but surely it grows that not notice it's a scene from the outside the gospel that comes into the soil and produces a tree. It has to do with the difference between religion and the Christian faith. Religion is all about rules and regulations. It's what we've got to do to earn God's favor with the Christian faith is not about rules and regulations.
It's about an internal reality, the seed of the gospel invading our hearts and us having a personal relationship with the living God of this universe through Jesus Christ and then the tree grows and to about a size of 8 feet or so. Some trees went 12 feet or larger, and then birds would come and nestle in the branches of that tree, so the interpretation is that the seed of the gospel is like the kingdom that goes into this world and it slowly but surely produces a huge tree where the birds represent all the nations of the earth and come and dwell in its branches. Then, the parable of the leaven is a similar kind of parable where the leaven which is small, imperceptible comes into the loaf of bread and slowly but surely the bread expands and grows and grows until ultimately, these three holes could feed almost 100 people, so therefore it's another evidence of something outside the gospel coming into the loaf the world, and the loaf expanding and growing to feed lots of people so the interpretation is quite simple that the kingdom of God started out small with Jesus born in an insignificant stable in Bethlehem and then he chose 12 fairly insignificant followers called his disciples those 12 became 120 in the upper room and then when the Holy Spirit was poured down upon them.
Those hundred and 20 became 3000 at Peter's first Pentecost sermon and then from there the gospel to this day. 2000 years later spread to most of the nations on the face of the year. So that's one interpretation is the growth of the kingdom of God. Starting with the seed of the gospel of the word of God planted into human hearts who then grow until others and eventually melt all the world is nestled in the branches of that small mustard seed that's become an 8 to 12 foot tree that's one interpretation and some people believe it's as simple as that.
But there are people who object to that interpretation. They take a second view and say this is much more to do about the obstacles that face Christians who are trying to advance the kingdom of God. There are many reasons people look at this kind of idea that they believe that the parable of the mustard seed is probably closer to that interpretation.
But when you get to the leaven.
There are some issues that are up in front of us.
What are they will first of all, if you look at the whole idea of the continuum of this parable.
First of all, that it starts with the parable of the sower in the soils in each one of those four soils represents human hearts. There is a hard heart where the seat of the gospel just bounces off and a bird comes and swoops down at bird is the devil who takes the seed of the gospel away, so some interpreters say wait a minute.
In the first parable to Jesus chose the birds were good all the nations of the earth resting in the branches.
The bird was the evil one himself limiting this in situ from Revelation chapter 18 verse to a need to tell you this. This verse reads fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit will haunt for every un-clean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. So in God's judgment against Babylon, which is symbolic of all the rottenness and all the nations of the earth all the immorality that takes place in nations. One of the comparisons is to birds that are in Babylon. So every place in the Bible it seems like were birds are mentioned as a part of God's kingdom. It's in a negative context and then you look at leaven.
For example, in the second parable Jesus is always in the Bible looked upon negatively and there are several different instances of that first of all with the Jewish nation when they had Passover bread that they ate every year at the Passover celebration. They ate what kind of bread, unleavened bread, because yeast was seen especially in the Old Testament was called typology symbolism as sin. So you keep the yeast out of the bread because it's a symbol of sinfulness that the Jews weren't supposed to ingest and then you look at the apostle Paul and some of his teachings. For example, in first Corinthians chapter 5 he wrote these words to the Corinthian church are boasting is not good. Do you not know what a little leaven leavens the whole lump cleanse out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed to his calling them to humility, to get rid of their pride in their lives, and he gives pride and leaven a synonymous understanding. So, from Paul's perspective. Leaven was not seen as good. It was seen as a sinful quality that was to be kept out of the church.
Thirdly, Jesus constant warnings about the leaven of different people. For example, in Matthew 16 verse six through 12 in other places in the New Testament, he says, for example, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, not the Pharisees were the religious leaders of Jesus day who tried to interpret the 10 Commandments in the 613 moral laws that they tried to obey every single day of their lives. Of course Jesus called them hypocrites. They couldn't do it. Nor could you or I but Jesus said, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. What's the sin or the leaven of the Pharisees, its formalism it's reducing the faith to mirrored rules and regulations its defining a relationship with God is what you gotta do day in and day out to get his approval its performance-based religion and its deathly some of you came from toxic churches.
This said Dobbs only going to love you if you do enough to obey him that you do want to obey God. But it's not because you have to earn his favor is because you want to. In response to the gospel to Jesus at beware of the Pharisees leaven to your heart, and he also says beware of the leaven of the Sadducees through the Sadducees, they were religious leaders in Jesus day were more liberal in their interpretation of the Torok and they did not believe in a resurrection from the dead.
For example, that's why they were sad. You see, you'll never forget it. Okay, it's a sick stupid joke, but you'll never forget.
The Pharisees were legalists. The Sadducees were liberals and the leaven of the Sadducees is rationalism. It's what's happened in many of the mainline churches in America. What's been introduced is a mere rationalistic faith and it can't be explained scientifically.
People believe all I can tell you.I believe in is a God of the miraculous. He said so over and over again. Jesus practiced it.
If you have trouble with miracles. You got trouble with the opening verse of the Bible Genesis 11 which is in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now, dear friends, if you believe that you should not have any trouble with any miracle, because the God who created this world is quite able to do whatever he wants to do. Jesus had.
Beware of the leaven of the Sadducees were faith is reduced to liberalism and rationalism and you don't believe in the power of an Almighty God who can do all things. He also said the aware of the leaven of the Herodian's the Herodian's were religious leaders in that day, but their whole deal is to be in cahoots and colluded with the Romans so they could stay wealthy, so beware believers of the danger of materialism.
The danger of worshiping money above all else. He also says beware of the teaching of the scribes were the scribes were religious leaders of that day who had as their purpose. The teaching of God's word and Jesus had beware of them.
What is there leaven, it's false teaching. Jesus warned about false teachers. Paul warned about false teachers Peter Ward about false teachers over and over again.
There are people who can creep into the church and teach falsely in an award you last week that here's what you need to listen to from teachers of the word of God.
Do they say that your center or the do they just give you a feel good message and all is going to be okay. The biblical messages all of us have sinned and fall far short of the glory got they teach repentance or do they just say try harder. Repentance means you stop what you're doing because you know it hurts the heart of God.
They teach judgment that there the reality of the judgment of God upon sinners and the give you a warning about the reality of eternal separation from God. You don't accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Those are not popular teachings. They don't create national television ministries but they are the truths of a true teacher of God.
If someone doesn't teach those things are a false teacher. That's why Jesus said beware of the leaven of the scribes were not teaching you the truth, and finally, as you look at the place in the parables again if you look at the parable so the soils there are obstacles there. The enemy who takes the seat of the gospel of the heart heart. The second heart the shallow heart. The mere emotional heart when they are persecuted because of their belief in the word of God briefly the third heart, the deceitfulness of riches, the money will meet the deepest longings of your heart and also the worries of this world, the cares of this world being so busy. You never contemplate the true cross of Christ. Those are obstacles to those three hearts is only the fourth heart that bears fruit and in the parable of the wheat and the tares. The next one, the evil one sows tares right alongside weight there really waves but they look exactly like the wheat one thing that separates them. The is fruitfulness.
The week bears fruit. The tear does not and there's an obstacle in the kingdom because their people say they are Christians, but don't bear any fruit for God. And they're not any more Christians than the man in the moon. So then the next parable of these two so it makes sense, doesn't it, that in the parable of the mustard seed that there obstacles the birds in the branches, the birds in the first parable, were the was the evil one.
Here we have demonic hordes that stand against the advancement of the kingdom, and in this parable there's leaven that is a negative element so into the loaf of the world that is not good.
It's sinful Jesus at beware of it. So those are the four reasons. A lot of folks say this parables a lot more talking about the obstacles that exist in the kingdom of heaven. Make your choice or I think both of them are true to some degree and you're going to see in a couple weeks. The same thing happening with the parable of the Pearl in the parable of the hidden treasure their two meetings and both of them are valid.
So if you can dance with me with both interpretations as they both have some truth and understanding the kingdom of God, which is what Jesus is trying to do help us understand the kingdom of God living give you several insights that I think both of them teach. First of all, don't despise the days of small beginnings. That's a verse from Zechariah chapter 4 verse 10. Don't despise the days of small beginnings. I love that idea because Jesus began small. If you ever thought about the idea that God chose to put his son, his only son in a smelly stable in an insignificant little city outside of Jerusalem to be the birthplace of the Savior of the world that you provide been in charge. I'd had Jesus born in the halls of the Roman Emperor might have his birthplace as Rome, the capital city. We can always feel like an important woman citizen, God chose to be number in the midst of an is known as thanks for listening.
David joins me in continuing our conversation about the dangers of following the least resistance will be right. This is the ministry minute, focusing on ministries that have a positive impact on our community. I Mark McManus and with me today is Bart Noonan with West Boulevard ministry far tell us about West Boulevard ministry of taking this opportunity to speak about was for ministry and more poorly about Jesus Christ was Boulevard ministry serves a spiritual physical news.
The families of the communes with the was Boulevard to the Lord Jesus Christ weather were doing neighborhood outreach cookouts galleries will bring people outside of their apartments their homes into fellowship with one another forward doing Bible study. The first Wednesday of every month Little Rock apartments and we gather anywhere from 50 to 70 children that we share the gospel with play bingo after our Bible study portion of the night and couple weeks ago young man walked without close to three years came in if he forgot something.
Like a lot of young kids do. He forgot some in the space it came back in the in the praying out myself and all the other volunteers for the West Boulevard ministry to gather there for that night, and let us all imprint closeout fishermen particular church every every Sunday for the past year and 1/2 and and that's what it's all about us, about providing opportunity for Jesus Christ to work inside someone's heart.
Encourage them along the way that sounds right number. If any of our listeners want to get in contact with you how they do that the best way to do is either myself and parked at West Bard ministries on board morning call me straighter than myself and it always agents will conduct the phones always on 98029890270 encourage folks to also get our website which is West Boulevard ministry.ordinary consumer photo galleries and system of logs, things we do throughout the West Boulevard, to the glory Jesus Christ. It is great having you with us today. Thank you very much Dan and leave me today is our Pastor David stated, thank you so much for joining us today. It's my pleasure Jim great being with you as well will this week we've been taking a deeper dive into phrases and statement you called David is on a tough one for all of following the path of least resistance. What in the world do you have to pay about that were all walking down a path of life gin. Every single one of us has our journey that God is called us to enter into and again if each one of us is on some kind of path in life.
We need to understand this very important phrase.
The most dangerous path you can walk down in life is the path of least resistance. As humans we inherently resist what we perceive to be as difficult anything we deem intimidating or arduous, we seek to avoid instead were inclined to choose the path of least resistance. Whatever's easiest, requiring the least amount of effort labor or hard work, but ironically it's the very lack of resistance that is most dangerous to us all. Why is that because the absence of difficulty can lead to idleness laziness. I love this word slothfulness is hideous to look at the salon then animal just looks like he sleeping all of the time. All of those things, laziness, idleness, slothfulness can be very deadly in the Roman Catholic history of the church's lawfulness.
Laziness is one of the seven deadly sins.
Laziness can shortchange us of realizing the very dreams that God placed in our hearts picture on archer drawing back the string on a boat the arrow's power is born from resistance. It's what enables the arrow to reach its mark. Or another example, consider how resistance training with weights or bands makes our muscles much stronger.
The same is true in life. It's the tension in the trials that test our faith and produces perseverance.
That's what Paul says in Romans 53 through five. He says rejoice in your tribulations in your resistances for that's what produces perseverance, and that perseverance produces proven character, and that proven character produces hope. You see, perseverance is what propels us forward to achieve our dreams and keep our hopes alive. So next time you're faced with the decision to make.
Remember, dear friends, as you're walking down the path God has chosen you in life. Make sure you don't take a side trail down the path of least resistance, because the most dangerous path in life is that one again the path of least resistance. Lattice is really getting it reminds me of that as secular buck that I've actually read in the last couple of years called grants and how there is a GPA for academics that there's also this thing called a great point during that we be raising our kids with this awareness to do hard things to fail to get up again and and developed a sense of perseverance.
Yeah, Mitch Daniels is the former governor of Indiana and now the president of Purdue University and he is actually told his admissions office. Don't just look for the grade-point average look in their history for how they've had to persevere through problems because we have found. Daniel said that the student who is able to persevere through difficult times becomes their best student, not necessarily those who just have academic training that's so glad think he semi-sets very enlightening and for us as believers perseverance of our faith.
Yeah, keep moving forward. Folks don't travel down that path of least resistance is deadly, and if you'd like to receive a daily moment of hope from me go to moments of hope church.org look for that moment of hope you can subscribe get to your inbox daily at 7 AM. It's my gift to you free of charge. In moments of senior pastor and moments of hope Terrence. Today's messages from our online worship service and you can be a part of our service each Sunday morning at nine and 11 o'clock going to moments of hope church.org your online every dated daily, moment, delivered every morning to your inbox. They're both free and available through my website and moments of hope church.org for dated and the entire moments of hope to strengthen your spirit and find