Thank you for joining me in this series highlighting The Kingdom of God. I've told parts of my personal story in this teaching; perhaps you can apply the concepts to your own story.
1. “The Kingdom of God is Here,” “The Kingdom of God is in Your Midst,” “The Kingdom of God is Among You.” When Jesus proclaimed those words, His power pushed back Satan’s power from God’s people----thus solidifying the meaning of The Kingdom of God as The Rule of God.
2. When Jesus ascended, He beckoned us to do the same works He had done. To do this, we form a Partnership with Jesus. The first two steps of partnership are: (1) You Must Be Born Again (2) Seek First the Kingdom of God by Picking up Your Cross and Following Him.
Last week, I shared the “monologue” I had with Jesus detailing excuses of why I couldn’t pick up my cross and follow him when He asked me to leave my teaching career. Nonetheless, after confirmations from God’s Word and Pastoral counseling, by faith, I walked out of a comfortable place into a foreign land --
and that is when the devil came upon the scene and
begin to try to steal, kill, and destroy me and my family.
I was so spiritually naive! I thought when you obeyed the Lord, everything comes up smelling like roses. WRONG! For the privacy of my family, as well as not glorifying the devil’s schemes, I won’t go into details of what all transpired. Let’s just say that overnight our lives took a 100 degrees turn. I moaned as the Israelites did in The Wilderness, “It would have been better had You left us in Egypt.”
Up until now, I knew just enough of God’s Word to get me by on a rainy day. But, I was brought to the place where I literally had to devour The Word of God to survive emotionally and mentally.
And that's when the third step in this partnership with Jesus became apparent: “The Mustard Seed.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed: (Mark 4:30-32)
“What shall we say The Kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Luke 17:6 says, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you."
Praise the Lord; I have that! I remember how excited I was as a nine-year-old child learning in Sunday School about miracles Jesus did. That must mean I have a mustard seed inside me. I am sure it has grown enough to destroy the devil’s schemes in my life.
Ooops! There’s one catch for that tiny mustard seed to Rule with Jesus. Read on.
The Parable of the Sewer (Matthew 13:19-32 NKJV)
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Herein lies the predicament with the mustard seed to push back Satan’s power. It depends on the type of heart that the Word is sowed on.
There are four types of hearts. (The Open Bible)
- The hard heart; this is the wayside soil, fertile but hard
- The shallow heart; this is the stony soil, fertile but depthless.
- The worldly heart; this is the thorny soil, fertile but possessed.
- The understanding heart; this is good soil, fertile and prepared
Time for Martha's heart checkup!
- Worldly Heart: Martha made excuses about following Jesus; possessed by financial security, retirement, college tuition.
- Shallow Heart: Martha ready to quit when problems arose; no depth!
A popular quote in the Nasa Space Program when trouble arises in the spacecraft, the astronauts radios the Space Center and say, "Houston, we have a problem."
Likewise------“Lord Jesus, I have a problem. Forgive me of my worldly and shallow heart. Help me to have an understanding heart; fertile and prepared, bearing fruit for your Kingdom.”
And so, my friends, as Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that Mustard Seed working for you in The Kingdom of God? Do you need to radio Houston? (Smile)
More next week on The Kingdom of God.