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June 15, 2022 6:00 am
Jesus was doing a seminar for pastors about how to make disciples about how to teach about how to preach about how to raise up Christians that really make a difference. What do you think it's today stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge chipping ship survival for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians like Christians just a minute will continue ship series, the high-impact pastor building God's church and is a quick reminder before we get started. If you miss a portion of this program encourage you to catch up.
It's a great way to listen to Living on the Edge anytime will be held liable turnout to Mark chapter 4 trips message sowing the good seed welcome to session to. As we continue our journey to become high-impact pastors grow high-impact churches. Now here's what I know what happens when you begin to do some honest self analysis and you say okay here's the high-impact church people were regularly coming to Christ. Mature people are growing their lives are changing and they start ministering to others and is the church meeting that some of the deepest needs of the community will when you look at that and if you're honest about the church you pastor all of us fall short. I mean that's the ideal. We know that's what God wants and the bad news is initially were not where we need to be something you can't change unless you start with.
This is where we are. This is what needs to change back what I love about the high-impact church definition, it gives me a picture of what God really wants you know my confession as a pastor is often as long as the attendance was going and more people were showing up and maybe more money was coming and so that we can do more of what we wanted to do. I thought the church was really successful and what I realized. A bit later you know we don't have a lot of people that are fully devoted followers making a difference. Noah got some wonderful exceptions and I'm not discouraged. But here's what I want to do.
I want to walk you through a Jesus church growth seminar I want to take you back to the beginning of how Jesus taught his disciples to make disciples to teach to preach and to grow in such a way that they would be salt and they would be light and they would actually change the course of world history, the world's in great need. The church is the hope of the world and we are the under shepherds and we get to follow Jesus patter here is his promise, he said to you and he said to me, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And what I want to say is that I think we followed his teaching, and we followed some models, but if we will do what Jesus actually did, and if we will obey what Jesus actually said. Here's what I will tell you we will grow high-impact churches open your Bibles if you will to Mark chapter 4 this is a passage that you have spoken on many times I've spoken on many times it's very, very familiar, but I gotta tell you this. I have seen things in this passage that I've never seen before. My life it's pointed out to me things that despite how often other people thought I was very successful. You know ship you have thousands of people coming or there's messages on the radio or these have been turned into books or what ever you know people and pastors tend to think and I've done an honest appraisal and realized when I did it the Jesus Way. There were a lot of people coming to know him. There was life changing their lives, and we made huge differences in our community but often I measured the wrong things.
Often I was growing the church and I was measuring things simply by attendance or things that were external and here's one of excited about. I'm excited about us together learning the Jesus way to grow his church. Now you'll notice in your notes is Mark chapter 4 Matthew chapter 13 Luke chapter 8 is that very familiar parable of the seed in the sower is a very long passage. I'm not going to read it because you all know it. Here's what I want to do.
I will walk through an overview of what this parable says and I made some observations on this one single sheet of paper from each one of that the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke there in a tell us something about this parable. All tell us the same thing that as you see in the bottom each one of them gives us something specific in Jesus.
Here's the context his mother and his brothers become and they're concerned about and they say out what we need to see Jesus. We need to see Jesus he's not eating. He's overwhelmed with people he's doing miracles. Candidly, we might think he's lost his mind and so think about what it would be like, especially if you know the Jewish culture.
A Jewish mother comes I want to see my boy right and in Jesus response is this look at it in Mark chapter 3 it said just before chapter for an answer, he says, who are my mother, my brothers and looking around at those who were sitting around him. He said, here are my mother and my brothers to listen to this for whoever does the will of God. This is my brother and sister and mother and again he began to teach by the sea in such a large crowd gathered to him that he got into the boat in the sea and he sat down in the whole crowd was by the sea on the land and as he was teaching them many things in parables, and he was saying to them in his teaching.
Listen to this.
Behold, the sower went out to so so I want you to get the context it's about family relationship. He's he saying that I'm going to read the following what it means to have a family or personal relationship with me and with the father and is not blood is not growing up in a Christian home. It's not just simply believing the right things he says family relationship is based on those who do the will of God.
And this parable talks about how do we know the will of God. He's going to say it comes from his word. So let me just narrate it for you lean back and you know glance of the text as I talk. The sower goes out to so he sows the seed in the seed falls on four distinct paths right it's on the hard is on the shallow it's on that switch choked and on the good soil and then Jesus will say that each one of these represent the human heart.
The seed represents the word of God and the sower is the Son of Man, and then he develops this text and then the disciple say Lorber you explain this to us and you know this explanation right.
Let's let's walk through this because here's what's interesting there's only five elements in this parable. The first one is the sower. He's the teacher he's the Son of Man here's what I want you to observe, he preaches or teaches the word with moral and spiritual authority by the power of the Holy Spirit. See, I think some of us unconsciously without the Jesus when he teaches will he's God and there's great power but Jesus said I can do nothing of myself remember John 530.
He says I can only do the father shows me and then he says it's in the power of the Holy Spirit. So Jesus and his humanity is casting the very life-giving word of God.
Independency in the power of the Holy Spirit and he says this is what is the key to preaching and teaching with our second. The seed is the word of God. Man will not live by bread alone, but you could things a sentence can you, but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
You'll notice hereto. This is the key. This idea of his word and its power. Hebrews 4 verse 12 I put down the for the word of God is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword, and piercing to the division of soul and spirit of joint and marrow able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. He's going to say that we like him need to. So the word of God.
But we need to understand the power is in the message, not in the message or you know so many of us, we will hear someone preacher work will see a great ministry or large church or hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people come and secretly say I wish I could preach like that when I wish I had his gifts are. I wish I had her gifts and here's here's here's Jesus message the power is not in the messenger. Of course we have gifts. This is the powers and the word of God. Jesus final prayer to remember that in John 717.
It's truth father set them apart or literally make them holy by your truth. Your word is truth. The apostle Paul would say Romans 116.
The power is in the gospel.
That's what saves people and all I want you to get is that from old and New Testament, is that it's the word of the living word.
Jesus calls himself the log cost.
The living word of God. So this parable is about sowing the truth of God's word and trusting God's word to have its impact and he says what the variable is is not the word. He said the variable is the here's the human hearts those that are hardhearted, where Satan comes in crabs or steals the word, their leaders, those with the shallow heart of the here and the respondent all yes this is great and Jesus. He loves me, he forgives me until persecution or difficulty, and then there's those who respond to the word right in and they start to grow in his activity in the come to church and come to a Bible study that they started to care about other people and then the desires for other things in enriches the deceitfulness of riches and starts to choke out the truth of God's word and so there's lots of activity that they may be many people like this in our churches, but there's not fruit gets choked out, and then he says there's the soil 30, 60, 100. There's a kind of soil and you notice and in the very bottom where I have unique contributions in Luke 815. He describes the soil. It's a good and honest heart who receives the word.
The truth puts it into practice and with perseverance hanging in there. The ups and the downs bears the fruit of 3060 or hundred. So let's look at the growth notice in the first soil, there's none in the second soil.
It's very immediate and in the third.
There's significant growth.
But let's look now look at the the fruit, the desired outcome of the preaching in the teaching of God's word, the desired outcome. When Jesus was teaching them.
This is what I want to accomplish this is my seminar on discipleship.
This is my seminar on how I change lives. This is my seminar for you disciples because this is how I'm going to grow my church. Look at it. Notice there's no fruit in the first soil. There is no fruit in the second soil. There is no fruit in the third soil but notice there's much fruit in the last soil Jesus, the very last night to remember member when he got the disciples aside. He put his arm around him knew was going to leave. He said you know it's better that I leave because that the Spirit's gonna come take up residence in you, but we wanted to give them a picture and so I believe that as he was walking around the Mount of olives. There was a vineyard nearby says if you abide in me and my word abides in you. As you can bear much fruit. Father is the fine dresser.
I want you know you stay connected to me and connected to my word, and then he says what says by this you proved to be my disciples, that you have a lot of activities when they have a big attendance that lots of lots of money is coming in the have a nice building over that you have a van does he say that says you prove to be my disciples. When you bear much fruit.
The greatest and most startling thing I've seen in my life. After almost 40 years of ministry is that I have confused activity with fruit. I I've been a part of the church where hundreds of people show up work thousands of people show up and I remember one time just being so excited about what God was doing in and it's a good thing for lots of people show up.
Don't get me wrong but I remember I was in a in a little market, and I was buying some food and there was a person that I recognized and I was way behind him and Andy were from our church and they were buying some things and having a conversation and and they were regular church members who came to our church and I listen to the conversation that they were having and the words that they were using and the hate that was in their heart, and then I watched how they treated the person that the market and then I watched how they acted when they left I thought to myself how many of the people in the church that I'm the pastor. I know the diet preacher and the teacher how many of them are coming on the weekends to the service and they act like that of the market or at home or at work and when I begin to see is Lord.
I long to be a high impact pastor. I don't want to be a pastor.
The just can gather groups of people.
I want to be a pastor that bears much fruit, because you told me in his love and his kindness and his piercing case he's going to say to you and me. Did you bear much fruit that raises the question what what is fruit, what does he mean here noticing your notes. I think there's two major ways from the Scripture that we can measure fruit. The first is Christlike character right it's very clear Galatians chapter 5 the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, self-control. We have we have but fruit of the spirit that that's the character in a person's life, but I think it's also kingdom impact the fruit of fulfilling the great commission, the fruit of the great what I call the great compassion it it's this part of your heart and the ministry where you you care about the least of these. And then there's the fruit of I called God's goodness where, regardless of their background, their religion or ethnicity. You will love people that they think would never ever you would ever care about. That's fruit. It's it's it's what the early church did. As they as they took the children off the dumb peeps who were cast aside because they maybe had a defect or because they wanted a boy in and it was it was a girl so we just get rid of it, or so they adopted the children and it was the church that started schools at the church all throughout history that started hospitals.
This is the church you care about marginalized people that they bore fruit they cared. They lounged in the world was literally turned upside down a few ready for this. I remember reading a sociologist who'd done a study not necessarily spiritual and not necessarily the work of the Holy Spirit, but a sociologist that was trying to discover how in the world. When you start with 12 and then about 120 disciples, how in the world about 300 years later. They estimate that the Roman population of all the Roman Empire was about 60 million. How could you have 33 million Christians out of 60 million after only 300 years and his secular explanation ready for this. There were three major pandemics that just wiped out whole cities, pandemics, and the only people that stayed in the cities. According to the sociologist were Christians, and the only people that were in the cities were Christians who stayed to nurture people back to health. And when the pandemic passed. The only people left were either people who survived that were left by Christians or Christians who survived Jesus and love never fails. In this moment in history we want to grow high impact churches impact is not measured by size impact as measured by character of the great commission by great compassion and by great goodness and he's going to teach this group of ordinary men how to have that kind of impact notice at the very bottom. I asked some questions and explanations and working to develop this in our journey together mean this is like phase 1 of Jesus church growth seminar white parables. Do you understand when this occurred.
In Jesus ministry. I want to give you why this parable so important for years like you, I read through Matthew I read through markup study life of Christ.
But in recent days, I have decided Lord I want to I want to study your word in the way your Gospels but from the moment of your baptism to the moment of your death, resurrection and ascension.
I want to study all the Gospels and I want to put it all together chronologically, know what you did and where you were and what was the order because it changes how you interpret some of these things and impact of the if you want to open to Luke will look at this much more in depth later but but Luke in chapter 3, Jesus baptism starts and he hears the father's voice. This is my dearly love son in whom I well pleased.
He identifies with sinful mankind.
He surrenders her humbles himself and I love this.
He's going to do ministry, not to gain the father's favor. Please can I do is ministry from the father's favor in the notice.
Right after that, he goes into the temptation and he does the battle right with the enemy and he's tempted lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life. Observation if were going to follow Jesus. We need to not just do what he said we need to do what he did. How did he overcome the enemy. It is written, it is written, it is written, you know all these things right. It's the word of God's the power and so he defeats the enemy and then he launches his ministry and he launches it first in Judea honey.
He goes to a wedding and he does some miracles and heal some people in and then the religious leaders begin they don't reject them completely yet, but there's a lot of heat in the Roman government. So he goes up north to Galilee and goes up north to Galilee and he goes back to his hometown were probably 6 to 9 months into his his ministry so far and and he sits down like I'm sitting down now and he's been teaching in some some synagogues and people were very excited and while it like our hometown boy. I mean this is Jesus. He grew up here and thousands of people are coming.
Have you heard he did a miracle here, miracle here, there was a blind man here laymen here and they were excited and so he comes in the giving the scroll and and he opens it up right.
You guys know the story, and he reads from Isaiah. The prophetic identification of Messiah. And then he hands them back the scroll and then watch the text carefully, he sits down when a rabbi was speaking with authority that was the position he sits down in your hearing. This is been fulfilled and then there's some identity issues because they go away. Second, so you're claiming to be the Messiah mean a prophet or a great guy or miracle worker, but the Messiah, the chosen one, isn't this Joseph's son meet the Negro appear and will talk about this passage much more. Here's what you need understand when Jesus comes to teach about the seed in the sower he's come to a point in his ministry, where he's been rejected by his family. If you keep following that passage in Luke and Mark what happens they take him out on the edge of the city to throw him off the killing swings rejected by his family.
He's rejected by his hometown as will follow a little bit later as you read Luke he's rejected by the religious leaders. He's given the sermon on the mount and so thousands of people were following him and he says this is what a genuine follower looks like, you know. Blessed are the poor Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the right and so he's given in. This is the picture what it means to be a genuine follower of mine and when we get to this church growth seminar.
Jesus actually is now saying to the disciples I've offered the kingdom to Israel and they rejected my family has rejected me real relationship with me and with the father is based on your response to my word and what he's teaching them through this parable is this is how the kingdom works. In fact, as you read a bit more. Did you catch that you catch that, where he says to you, it has been granted the secrets of the kingdom prophets have long as you look at Matthew 13.
Mark four Luke eight and you put all those together. He's basically saying what I'm sharing with you now. Prophets of long ago wanted to hear and understand and I am giving you the key to how life change occurs. I'm teaching you the pattern. The model of ministry work life change happens on the inside out and transforms them and then we'll see a little bit later you notice where I put the unique aspect of Matthew.
He will give us six back to back to back to back to back parables that will help them understand what the future will hold where they will be tempted and what they need to do get 10 observations number one family relationship with Jesus is doing God's will, and we learn God's will from his word and his word is from Jesus, the sower number two. What is God's will is God's will that we follow Jesus that we do what he actually did, and that we follow what he actually said. Third, the sower of God's word is the Son of Man, he preaches with authority and power and yet he confesses that he is not doing it in his power or his strength by the power of the Holy Spirit number for the seed is God's word is will find good seed in good ground produces fruit hundred percent of the time. Listen carefully good seed of God's word in good ground and honest heart that wants to grow produces spiritual fruit 100% of the time.
Number five, the soils are the conditions of the heart responses to the truth God's word, not only for salvation but also throughout our lives we preach the word of God and some people don't respond.
Some people little bit.
He's telling them this is not just for salvation for you and for me went when we hear God's voice from his word. There's times where he says I want you to forgive your wife and your heart is hard. Now I'm looking to do that free speech to you about an addiction or a habit and you respond initially, but then you go right back to it. He's he's giving us a picture, a paradigm a model of when the word goes forth to us individually or when we preach it.
There are four different responses and when we become aware of that is what I want you to get. Here's the next observation effective sewing teaching and preaching is essential. But we must cultivate to prepare the soil for it had impact did you notice that Jesus invested in the soil, the disciples that were responsive, but as we learn to grow the kingdom and the church the way Jesus did what organ to learn is when there's hard soil what you do to soften it up when their shallow soil how to help those people who respond initially to to to be loved and cared for, where they make it through that time and where there is kind of those people are growing and there's activity and they start to stray and start to drift and they get choked out by other things. How do we refocus their attention so they actually grow.
That's what Jesus is going to teach us growth in fruit are not synonymous. Think about growth activity, attendance, some of things we measure in fruit Christlike character fulfilling the great commission helping the least of these, making a difference to those in our communities that are in dire need growth in fruit are not synonymous, fruitfulness, mature disciples who do God's will is the goal of our preaching in our teaching is what Jesus commanded, and he's given us the raw material of his word, Holy Spirit and one another actually produce it. And finally we have an instrumental role in the sewing of the seed and then will learn how to we need and to fertilize, but are you ready only God can make it grow member Paul's words as prescribed in chapter 3 he says I planted Apollo slaughtered, but God gave the increase.
The church's growth. The church's impact will not be on your gifts or what you can do what you can produce. We are gardeners we have the seed of God's word for you to learn together how to preach it and teach it and then to cultivate a garden and a culture where the churches whether they be small and medium size are large. Our focus will be fruit and that fruit is the kind of lives in the kind of focus that has changed the world and will change the world. We've never had a greater opportunity to really redesign ministry in the world. This desperately father I pray right now for my brothers and my sisters give us new eyes to see. Help us to see your church, your word this world the way that you see it. Help us to be like the early Christians who dependent desperately on you and were willing to do whatever and to forsake all to obey you and follow you, Lord, your promises, you will build your church, your command is for us to make disciples. Lord help us to hear. Help us to act may we've been in in women you would look down from heaven and see good soil that will produce 30 6500 fold in Jesus name. Today I had a very Encouraging Word pastors you know as a pastor. We all will struggle okay and may we long to be the men and women that God wants to be, but I think we got caught up into thinking that how many people came on the weekends or how big our buildings were or you know how many people online, were either watching or liking was the most important thing instead of one of the most important things and it's interesting that Jesus spoke to the crowds, but the real transformation came not in growth but it came in fruit and wouldn't talk about how to define fruit a little bit later but there's little windows. I think that happened in history when we get to pause and say if fruit if maturity of Christ likeness. If Christians actually living like Christians as the goal of the church than maybe it's time to rethink how we go about church and of course it's wonderful when lots of people show up when Jesus entered Jerusalem. It was hosanna hosanna hosanna they were celebrating and yet just a few days later, the same crowds would you crucify him, crucify him, crucify him crowds are fickle. The people that change the world with the disciples. Those who are mature those who bore fruit. They came before God, they learn to worship. They learned his word that they clung together and help one another. The church of the 21st century has to be the church were pastors and people come together and we say fruitfulness. Christ likeness to go deep together we can meet the deepest needs in our community to learn God's word. We are going to make a difference in our world and we can't do it without you, Lord Jesus, great worship thanks will, as we close, let me tell you that God has provided amazing opportunities for Living on the Edge to serve church leaders all around the world. So if you'd like to get involved in this work to support and encourage pastors now's a fantastic time to partner with us were in the middle of our midyear match which means every gift we received today through midnight on July 7 will be doubled dollar for dollar, thanks to a small group of generous donors to give go to LivingontheEdge.org or call us at AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org Listener step donate and thanks in advance for your support will until next time. This is to say thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge