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June 16, 2022 6:00 am
Did you know that there was one parable that Jesus taught that is more important than all the other parables. In fact Jesus said if you do not understand this parable you cannot understand any of the others want to know what that parable is welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with shipping trips or Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program motivated Christians to live what Christian were in the middle of our new series, the high-impact pastor God's church, Jesus way before we get started, let me remind you that you will join us after the teaching of storage of known for his message how to develop mature disciples Mark chapter 4, walking the session 3 Jesus commentary on the parable of the seeds and soils he's going to say to this group of disciples you watch the Pharisees you seen the Sadducees you grown up as good Jewish boys walk with me you seen miracles I now have given you the secrets to the kingdom of that parable that parable the seed in the sewer.
It's not just a parable.
Listen to what Jesus said.
He said to them, do you not understand this parable.
How when you understand all the parables a little stronger translation if you don't understand not just what it says but the implication of the seed in the sewers as the past is gone.
Israel has rejected me.
I am now introducing the kingdom you will be the kingdom builders you are going to launch my church.
If you don't understand the seed in the summer you can't not you won't. You can't understand any of the other parables seem to understand this. This parable is a line of demarcation keys keys introducing them to how life change occurs how the word of God in a human heart gives birth by the Holy Spirit in a way that a person's life is taken from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light how spiritual gifts are deposited at the time of salvation and how this new life in this coming new community called the body of Christ to the church will literally be sent to change the world and where the product we have 2000 years that we can look back on and what God has done.
Now I want you to follow along if you will. He's finishing up the parable of the seed in the sewers. I'm in Mark chapter 4, I lets pick up at verse 20. So we get the very ending, and those are the ones who sewn the seed on the good soil and they hear the word and accepted in the bear fruit. 3060 and 100 times as much now follow along and he was saying to them, a lamp is not brought to be put under a basket or under a bed.
Is it you put a lamp on a lamp stand for nothing is hidden except to be revealed, nor anything been secret, it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, hear, and he was saying. Take care what you listen to by your standards of measure, it be measured to you and more will be given to you.
Besides, for whoever has, to him more will be given, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away and he was saying, the kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil goes to bed at night and gets up daily in the seed sprouts and grows how himself. He does not know the soil listen carefully produces the crop by itself first.
The stock, then the head, then the mature grain in the head that when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come. So Jesus has given them the parable he's created. If you will a new model about how life change, discipleship, and his agenda is going to go forward and now Mark gives us what was Jesus saying, first of all, the purpose when he says this truth that you been given is it is like a lamp and no one would take a lamp and psycho it illuminates it. It helps people see it provides lighted, it exposes it allows us to move forward.
No one takes a lamp and sticks it under the bed.
He said this truth, I'm giving you isn't for private introspection. It's for public declaration, then noticed he goes on in verses 24 and and and 25. He says there's a practice there is a way that the truth is received or not received and how a person receives.
It makes all the difference in the world. He remember the warning as those who respond to the truth or those who respond to the light if the light of God's word. It's the truth about the kingdom it's the truth about Jesus is God, the Savior of the world and he says if people respond to that light. You know how it happens all this incrementally. If you respond, you get more if you reject the truth he says even what you have, gets taken away the implications are staggering. Listen very carefully. This was a turning point in my ministry a turning point in my life. Obedience is the organ through which life change occurs, not knowledge. Believing to the point that I obey. This is what God says. A husband does in his marriage.
I obey its heart and so when you think about this. This is what I'm to do when it comes to my money each area of my life. The organ of transformation is not agreeing with Jesus. It's not even intellectually believing oh yes that's true. He says if you apply it if you put it into practice member in John chapter 8 when Jesus was speaking to a group of Jews says they had believed on him and then he said to them, if you abide in my word literally if you take it in and continue to put into practice and then you'll know the truth and the truth will set you free. Jesus celebrated people's obedience. Jesus celebrated what they did and what they were becoming. We've grown up in a time where we celebrate how much people know we celebrate degrees and Bible schools and letters behind people's names and tell Me wrong there. There's a place for education. There's a place for knowledge.
It's very very important, but we have globally a church that knows a lot about cod that has big problems in applying what Jesus actually said and so sometimes we we feel like things are well because I teach the Bible they agree with the Bible.
They come to hear me teach the Bible, and yet you have this same group and instead of the light penetrating the culture instead of lives being changed means being that week we talk with one another inside our group and we we create a whole little huddle if you will. And Jesus said, no, no, no, that's not the purpose. And that's not the practice and then I love looking first 26. He says the soil produces a crop by itself and in English we get our word, that word by itself is is automatically so life change how a person's life changes is a taking the word of God in the spirit of God prompts their heart and is the good soil of faith that connects and says I can't do this on my own, but I'm trusting God.
I step out I obey.
He says it's a mystery, but it's automatic. In other words, it just on its own. We so the word we don't know exactly how it will operate with wheat when understand what God is actually doing, but good seed in good soil produces spiritual fruit 100% of the time and then did you notice he says it's a process. He says it's first in the stock and and then the head and then the maturity he's trying to help them understand your responsibility is to so God's word. The outcomes and how it actually works that is going to be the sovereign spirit of the living God working inside of people's hearts.
And so it's a mystery we so it takes time.
Outcomes are his responsibility. The sewing in the application and the modeling you think about what Paul would say to Timothy you know he's left this young man it at Ephesus and some false teachers are coming in. He says to Timothy says stir afresh the flame of the gift continue to watch your life.
Watch her conduct what your speech demonstrate your your truth. Your sincerity, your purity, your integrity you seek. We have to be what we long for people to become it's not about having events or having weekends or just teaching messages and and being content with a group of people. Whatever size it is whether it's small or medium or even large. It's about the life change that happens.
He says the purpose of the light is transformation. The practice is obedience in the process is mysterious and it takes time and then finally look at the product he he says to them, and how shall we picture the kingdom of God. What parable shall we use is like a mustard seed which, when sown upon the soil, though it's the small small the seeds that are in the soil.
Yet, when it is grown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants, and forms large branches, with the result is the result that the birds of the sky can come under arrest and what I would suggest is that we've all been in a hurry may include okay and how many people came and how we program and through and get everyone to read this and why don't they do that and come to our programs and come to our meetings and do this and do that.
How many people in the church that you Shepherd have someone over a cup of coffee or tea here. Their heart not tell them what they ought to do but share God's word with them helping them apply to their life crying through their pain, rejoicing with their victories. Discipleship life change requires nurture time and energy in my confession. Believe me I understand this is, in theory, and I want you to know really get to how to practically put this into your life and the life of your church, but we have to accept the Jesus model of what he did. Most of us do not most of us prepare messages. We have a weekend off and we try to get people in some groups we try to help them get busy and do things for God and then a pandemic comes, God reveals that we have a lot of shallow soil.
We have a lot of activity and growth, but the convictions of been choked out by the desire for other things and deceitfulness of riches in God is saying to us. I believe we have an opportunity like never before clinic. If you picture John chapter 2, three and four all happen very early the first six months or so in Judea and then when those things occurred and there was some difficulty. He goes to Galilee and he has a year of favor of public ministry. I mean it's on unbelievable tens of thousands of people, and feeding of the 5000, then authenticating and walking on the water and all the things that we read about and he did that publicly. And the disciples watched right and then he member he empower them to buy two and they begin to go do what he did. They taught the healed the cast out demons and they proclaim the kingdom of God is at hand repent and then he gets under extraordinary pressure and opposition, religious leaders, and becomes a target the last 18 months of Jesus ministry. Do you know what he did, he withdrew from public ministry, maybe a little here little there but he spent time with the disciples what he knew was if you want to change the whole world. You have to have men have to have women to go deep have character that no matter what happens, difficulty, persecution.
You do remember that 11 of the 12 apostles were martyred in the one that wasn't martyred got stuck on a rock so we could write the book of Revelation, but they were willing to fight for their Savior because they didn't believe what their head they had convictions in their heart hi impact pastors are men and women have a conviction in their heart that Jesus is who he said he is that he is coming back that his word is true and they will joyfully be persecuted and do whatever it takes to bring his kingdom on earth the way it is in heaven and is will to be done and that's her passion those kind of followers don't happen by going to a few meetings. They have to be in God's word. They have to be nurtured and cared for.
One author very very interesting. I wrote a book called Christ in stereo. It took 20 years and he wanted to take every single passage and you got outside critics and two Greek scholars and took everything in all the Gospels to try and we put together without an exception. This is what happened in the appendix. He is a very very interesting observation. He says most people think the Jesus ministry was three years because of the festivals and when they fall any decimal work in the Gospels and he says that may be true, but I think it was four years and he makes a good case and only point I want to make is not what it was three years or four years, but if it was three years over half his ministry was spent developing the disciples, and if it was for it was more than half is what I want you to know you do need to keep doing what you're doing right. We had a creature messages there's people to take care of, but there's three major implications number one we must redefine success in our churches.
We measure growth numbers, buildings, people Jesus measured fruit Christ likeness radical of multiplication ministering to the least of these good works in the community.
The Pharisees celebrated external behavior and morality. The Sadducees celebrated external wealth and power. And Jesus said no to both of those he celebrated fruit he celebrated fruit Christ likeness in people's hearts that beat with his heart to do what he actually did. Second, we must invest a disproportionate amount of time and energy into the good soil of people and leaders not programs and events it for you to do what Jesus did. Yes we teach like a cot we do ministry like he did. We help the poor, like you did we mobilize people were involved in our community but we take the lion's share of this precious thing God gives us in time and we start like he did with a very small group that are willing to go for broke a very small group that want to grow deep. A small group of you multiply and then they multiply. The third thing is we have to be able to clearly define and measure fruitfulness and have a plan and a process to grow, mature disciples before going to do what Jesus did. If we can teach what Jesus taught here. Go let me share my journey with you I told you been a pastor about 40 years. 20 years ago something happened, I found myself leading an organization took a break. As the senior pastor and 11 organization where we had. We were about 100 countries with 90,000 pastors and teachers, and my job was to create a course every year for leaders and another course that these leaders could take all around the world and so I had this amazing window of time Roy went all around the world with meeting different pastors in different cultures and we would bring in all the leaders and try to make sure that whatever we taught that how it played out in different cultures and then they would train people and they would go all to the world was very exciting time and I started asking this question because I was wrestling with. Why is it we have so many people show up to meetings and so few people who really live like Jesus and I will never forget. I was doing a conference in Lego's Nigeria and was it you know very successful because we were mostly measuring numbers 3000 pastors and the first thing they said you have to talk a lot slower, which I tried to, but then I get excited and so I'm talking very clearly a bit more slowly and talk about building a high-impact church and I tell them the most important thing is to know that the purpose of the church is to make disciples and I said how do you measure or define what a disciple is and then I heard what I've heard from thousands and thousands of pastors before that for 10 or 15 years disciple someone to come to church a lot. They read the Bible, they tithe, they help out, and they do things their very religious.
I pause, I think, can you think of anybody in the New Testament that ties the new the Bible was very religious and everyone's eyes went. Of course, the Pharisees, so said maybe we can't measure what a real disciple is by just attendance or spiritual activity and we've all had moments where the Spirit of God has done things we could never expect and I had at the time. 12. What I called laws of the high-impact church sort of the operating system of how I'd learned from many, many people how to grow a church that's deep and wide and makes a difference. As I was there I thought I have two full days with 3000 pastors to talk about discipleship and the look on their face was like they can define a disciple. If you can't find it. You can't measure it.
If you can't measure it, you can't produce it and I realized I was Joyce going to give more and more fuel to okay let's get busy. Let's get more activity and I remember having this moment now the raw material was in my mind many many years were the first chapters of the Bible I memorize his role in chapter 12 and I had and taught messages out of its eye. I mean I knew very very well, but I never forget this. I was looking at all these pastors and I said so what is a disciple how you define it and then look like this and there there was a there is a brother Hugh Nolan on the front row at this just came out of me like that was in my notes I said you see this brother on his laptop if he logged on to heaven.com/disciple. Do you know come on his laptop about a disciple and literally 3000 pastors went like this and I'm thinking I wonder now what I'm going to say is like the spirit of God just said that. And then I heard myself say he would say becoming a Romans 12 Christian and I had all these notes and it was a beautiful booklet and I said put your booklets aside okay right now you ready open your Bibles, I have opened a Romans chapter 12 and said, you realize that after 11 chapters of grace we get a summary of what a mature disciple looks like in five very specific relationships and there's actually five specific questions that every person is asking that that one chapter provides a profile picture a snapshot of what is a disciple. What does fruit look like. It looks like that and it was 20 years ago.
What I want to tell you is that it became a message and then became a series and it became videos and then became something that went to China and then with the Southeast Asia and then went to many parts of Africa and then it would to South America and what I can tell you is working to learn, not ship, not your denomination or that denomination or this denomination work to learn from God's word when Jesus said bear much fruit. This is what it looks like this is how you measure it, and how with your other activities. Right you still have to do things.
You still gonna reach out to the poor learn is how to find if you people who are willing to go for broke, who will be all and who will say with you pastor, I want to learn and I want to grow and as I learn and grow. I will pass this on to others and we will be able to measure fruit very specifically gracefully relationally and it will start very very small and then it will multiply well this is a theory so I after my season of going all around the world in Romans 12 became this picture. This profile of the disciple. The Lord allow me to go to up to a church that was broken but it was like our world today. It was so broken.
I said if I would become the pastor I'm going to focus on this is fruit.
Romans 12 Christians and if, on the pastor, then this would be our strategy in I'm going to focus on being a high-impact church, not just the church love people and if you will allow me to do that and help develop that kind of a team that I'll come. It was so broken they said sure, go ahead. I want to tell you so hard and so difficult that within six months, and what we taught.
We taught everyone.
This is what fruit looks like we taught everyone you know what a Christian is is not someone who just comes to church nods their heads sing some songs and listens to me or some other person preach. He said it's about a person who bears fruit who looks like Jesus. And that looks like a Romans 12 Christian and you know what people said I thought I was a Christian if that's what a Christian is. I have to redefine my faith. Other people repented from the way they were living other said let me warn you I don't want to be that kind of Christian that's too hard. That bar is too high and others their life changed and all I can tell you is it started very, very small, was very very hard. We didn't have money.
The facility was a mess. Little by little by little by little, and then it went from him a few hundred people thousands of people and then it was money that went out and that was deep, deep needs in the community with schools in the poor and refugees very imperfectly for sure and then he began to pour forth money all around the world like they never have before. What I want you to know when I begin to build the church, the Jesus way, the new wine I put in new wineskins, and some people didn't like it and it was far from perfect but it begin to build the kind of church that lost people came to Christ regularly because of knee. I found a group of leaders and they were a mustard seed and we took them through this process is just Jesus process and that is what can happen in your church will be easy. Absolutely not good seed in good soil produces fruit 100% of the time. The purpose of light exposure. The practice application. The process it will take time it will be slow. It will start small and the product supernatural God at work, and we've never had a greater opportunity. When you change things in the church.
People don't like it back. Jesus said it's traditions that hold people back from the truth hears my invitation. Let's cross church. Jesus way. Let's put new wine in new wineskins.
In our next time together will walk you through what a disciple looks like that you can measure and will start the journey of how to make this kind of disciples of God, thank you thank you that it's your word transforms lives is your Holy Spirit ignites it inside of human hearts of father. Would you please help us in such a struggle in these last many months and even few years. Or did you breathe new life, new energy new spirit into us, give us new eyes to see and then or would you protect us.
Would you help us to be the men and the women that you want us to be know for certain that you will build your church. You will return the name Jesus.
One of the reasons pastors get discouraged is because things start out very small that make the biggest impact were so inundated in America with big the big makes a difference in what I want you to know is that when Jesus wanted to change the world. He started with a mustard seed and mustard seed was just 12 individuals 18 of the 36 or 38 months of his ministry was spent investing in just a few. So can I encourage you pastor, no matter what else you're doing fine. Two or three for people who are spiritually hungry and go deep with them.
Help them understand God's word help them understand what God is really like. Do life in a very deep way.
I always did this with the elders of the church. In my experience, I wanted that to be the deepest and the best group because as the leaders go so go the church and can I encourage you as you feel all this pressure that if you do nothing else, teach God's word powerfully and then go deep with a few people invest in them with a view of them investing in others. Lord I pray now that you would encourage pastors who look out over what's going on in their church and just wonder where all the people are so many new people of come because of the challenges and the openness will all the difficulty in the world. But they wonder about people that used to come in where they are Lord, would you encourage them first and foremost and then would you move your people to move out of watching online if they're physically able and actually come and be a part and get connected and serve and love and be the body of Christ. The world is in such peril.
We need your church, your body to be alive and active and well. May it be so, Lord Jesus strip as we close if you'd like to learn more about the work Living on the Edge is doing with and for pastors all across the globe. Read through our newest ministry report LivingontheEdge.org, it highlights the specific ways we've been encouraging church leaders this past year, and if God is calling you to partner with us financially in this cause for pastors. There's never been a better time to stand with us right now. Every dollar we receive through July 7 will be doubled for greater impact, to make a donation go to LivingontheEdge.org or give us a call at AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org hapless nurse step donate. Thanks for your support and doing whatever the Lord leads you to do X of this program. Be sure to join us next time, Mr. continues his new series, the high pastor. Until then, this is the ranking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge