Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
– Mark 1:14 (ESV)
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
– Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
2. The kingdom seems slow, but will soon show its progress
“The seed is so harmless and negligible that the farmer at first may be unaware of its growth.”
– James Edwards
3. The kingdom seems unimpressive, but soon will show its significance.
One day, perhaps, when we look back from God’s throne on the last day we say with surprise and amazement, “If I had ever dreamed when I stood at the grave of my loved ones and everything seemed to be ended; if I had ever dreamed when I saw the spector of atomic war creeping upon us; if I ever dreamed when I faced the meaningless fate of an endless imprisonment or a malignant disease; if I had ever dreamed that God was only carrying out his design and plan through all of these woes, that in the midst of my cares and troubles and despair his harvest was ripening, and that everything was pressing on toward his last kingly day – if I had known this I would have been more calm and confident; yes, then I would have been more cheerful and far more tranquil and composed.
The following is a machine-generated transcript of the sermon. It should not be assumed to be perfectly accurate, and should not be used for quotation.
We are in Mark chapter 4 were going back to verses 21 to 34 jumped over Dale preached passage that I gave him a then I'm coming back to finish up the parables here of Jesus in Mark chapter for we were witnesses on Thursday this week to world history being made we stood at the precipice of this historic shift the power of power structures of the world on Thursday in a stunning 52 to 48% vote the United Kingdom exercise their right to exit out of the European Union and become independent waiting there their national sovereignty over and against the economic stability of staying in this union with a fellow European friends and as soon as this vote took place and if you were keeping up with it you are tracking with what is happening as soon as this vote took place immediately the other power structures of the world the kingdoms of the world began to shake we saw the economic markets across the world plummet the pound lost 12% on Friday our Dow lost 600 points on Friday if you go on to the nose any of the website has financial information is still there and read -600 by the end of the day that the British Prime Minister David Cameron had announced his resignation fear began to grip Europe with talks of other countries like Scotland and Greece and perhaps France and others seeking their own referendums for independence from the European Union and this this 70 year partnership of a multinational agreement that brought some measure of strain stability appears to be over and once again Europe is now destabilized as we find ourselves this Sunday that might've made greater news our country except were going through her own political and national struggles of all of the citizens that we the people could pick to lead our great country into the future remarkably were down to these two candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump we got Britain leaving the European Union and other countries talking about that we've got Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at that point of our country and it doesn't take a genius to know that world is on another precipice so would have to do with Mark chapter 4 what is Mark chapter 4 have to do with that simple God's kingdom will outlast and outshine the kingdom of man God's kingdom will outshine and will outlast will endure longer than the kingdom of man and Jesus is once again sitting boat side with his disciples with a crowd stretch alongside the beach the sea of Galilee and is teaching them and by extension is teaching us about a more important kingdom of the kingdom of man speech about the kingdom of God in fact this is the main message of the Gospel of Mark Jesus has come to proclaim that a divine king has come a divine kingship is being inaugurated in the coming of Jesus the King of Israel the King of creation the King of glory has a face Jesus Jesus has, as a new kind of ruler a different kind of of leader not a political figure not one that will free the nation from political oppression but a spiritual liberation one who will ransom us from spiritual slavery to sin and free us from the grips of of how Jesus has come as a divine seeing the King has come Mark the author of the Gospel captures is in chapter 1 verse 14 the records Jesus's words Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God the good news of God and saying the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand's repent and believe in the Gospel so while the powerbrokers of this world make earthly kingdoms rise and fall there is one kingdom that will last forever and when the kingdoms of man war and politics and wrestle with the instability of their existence there is a kingdom that is defined by the marker of peace is the kingdom of God in this matters for you this matters to you as a Christian this matters for us because we don't have to fear the shaking of this world's we don't have to fear the shaking of this kingdom because we've got dual citizenship we have citizenship in this country and it will come one day to an end at our true citizenship is found in heaven from which we await a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ's Jesus called all of us to get into this kingdom by faith in repentance the come into his kingdom to come under his rule to come under his reign that's what it means to be a disciple that's what it means to be the church the church has come under the Lordship of Jesus which means that the church is more than just doing good Christian kind things Mormons can do good kind things Jehovah's Witnesses can do good kind things Muslims can do good kind things what defines us as a church is that we come into the kingdom to faith in Christ and we've submitted to him as our Lord that he rules over us that his word has become our governor that his his agenda has become our passion that his holiness has become our law for the means to be in the kingdom that were under the Lordship the rule of the king in Jesus is the king which means he is a higher place in her life that even the authorities of the world's but we must not make the mistake of thinking that Jesus's kingdom operates the same way as the kingdoms of the world operate Jesus rules his church very differently than the world rules and so while you might turn on the TV or get on the Internet you see the kingdoms of the world the decisions of man ruling the nightly news cycle the kingdom of God by comparison seems very unimpressive we're here right were church were gathered together these blue chairs in a gym it can seem unimpressive compare to removing the relation from the European Union can seem insignificant can seem unimportant can seem not worth giving your life or not worth sacrificing your time for not worth giving your money for I would suppose that the Jewish man on the shoreline wrestled with the same things that you and I wrestle with as we hear the call to discipleship that Jesus gives us will following Jesus proved to be in utter epic waste of time Willie proved to be a wasted life Jesus helps us to know that this is what God has called for us by giving these three parables the short teaching short stories short illustrations to help us see the glory of the kingdom the progress of the kingdom the significance of the kingdom the massive scope of the kingdom of God that you and I have been called to be a part of by grace alone here it is three parables that come our way first the kingdom seems hidden but soon will be revealed second the kingdom seems slow but soon will show its progress third the kingdom seems unimpressive but soon will show its significance first look at the kingdom that hidden the kingdom seems hidden but soon will be revealed and now we get our tax verse 21 and he said to them is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed and not understand for nothing is hidden except to be made manifest northerly thing secret except to come to light if anyone has ears to hear let him hear this parable focuses on a lamp in the Greek this is more prominently made the subject is given at a definite article the lamp does Bob Lampe come in to be put under a basket or under a bad I you think about how we go about getting light wake up until the night you got a glass of water to the bathroom what you do you flit on a light switch while praise God that to sort of works that you touch a wall in like those on or if you're like me to get your phone he put on your light app and put the button and you instant light wherever you walk when Jesus's day oil lamps with the most common ways of giving off light is the most common ways and they hung these lamps and elevated spots as you can imagine to give off the greatest amount of light one illuminate the whole room it would be self-defeating to like an oil lamp only to put it underneath the bed not to mention a grave fire hazard or to put under a basket which would cover it up if it defeats the purpose of lighting the lamp it's meant to show the way it's meant to illuminate the kingdom of God starts off hidden kingdom of God starts off with obscurity Jesus doesn't, and a blinding Whitehorse glowing with angelic presence to announce that the kingdom in fact actually his identity is kept throughout the book to the variance he's born in obscurity in a city town called Nazareth as a as a baby there is a hidden this to the present glory of Jesus which could make one skeptical about the glory of the future kingdom of Jesus the verse 22 says if the kingdom is hidden now it's only hidden in order to then be made manifest it's only under a basket for a while in order to take it off and let the light shine it's only secret except to come to light Jesus is promising these men that the kingdom's is coming hidden but it will soon be revealed it's meant to shine in all of its glory like a lamp on a stand the by the light of Jesus all the world will be able to see truth Jesus is the lamp the light of the world John says and he's echoing this vision that the prophet Isaiah had in Chapter 9 verse two when Isaiah wrote the people who walked in darkness have seen a great I those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness on them has light shone where is a slight hidden why is this great light which is going to be revealed hidden and the answer that the rest of the gospel gives is that it is obscured on this Galilean shoreline because the King of glory has not yet received his rightful crown see the unveiling of the light of the glory of Christ happens at Jesus's kingly coronation which happens on the night of his crucifixion as the sky grows dark in Jerusalem the basket is about to be taken off as the sky goes dark in Jerusalem that which was hidden and secret is about to burst into a light so powerful that it will not only illuminate the darkness of the world but it will penetrate into the very dark places of your hearts and of your soul have you seen this lights have you personally experienced the brilliance of this lights see friends we get to experience what Jesus can only describe here we get to experience the light of the gospel coming into our lives and illuminating our souls and showing us what real truth is second Corinthians 4 verse six says for God who said let light shine out of darkness has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ think about Jesus is there on the shoreline teaching and they're looking at his face but there's a this is somewhat of a veil over his glory we don't get to see his face but to the word that captured in the Scriptures that tells us about Jesus in his life and his death and his resurrection for sinners like us we get that light of his face in the glory of the gospel to come into us in our hearts that we could gaze upon his word and we could see it for all of its beauty all of its glory the ironic mystery of the gospel is that you see the light by what you hear you see with your ears you hear the message and buy it you see if you hear the word and you accept his word your eyes are open to see the light of the Gospel and if you don't then you will never see it is glorious it will always remain hidden which is why Jesus goes on to issue a warning in verse 24 he quotes a version of an old Jewish proverb in verse 24 this has connections to multiple Proverbs and proverbial wisdom he said to them verse 24 pay attention to what you hear with the measure you use it will be measured to you and still more will be added to for to the one who has more will be given and from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away with the measure you use it will be used to you for what you get what you're able to get into you get back and more and which are not you won't and you lose what you have think about this experience and had a couple weeks ago when we were in in DC we are driving past the Washington Monument which is come down and turn right in the Washington Monument was just to the left of this clear unobstructed view of the Washington Monument beautiful day blue sky was awesome we can see this magnificent tribute this towering tribute to the left you can see clear as day driving is slow as we possibly can pass you can see the individual bricks that went into building this monuments is actually a spot in the monument with a stock construction and then when they pick construction backup they use a slightly different color brick so you can see the color change happens as the monument was built and I'm looking out to the side and I'm telling my family look out to the left look out to the left and there were two different experiences in my car those that were sitting on the left-hand side turned their heads and they were able to see it just like I once they hope to get it able to grasp it and then there was poor Lexi who is on the right-hand side and no amount of telling her to look to the left could get her to see what she could not see after Jesus is getting if you believe in Christ by faith his word will open up to you and you'll see it will become as it actually is the living and active word of God will show off the riches of the Trinity and all of his sublime perfection but to the one who doesn't the one who measures Jesus casually who looks at Jesus and moves on here's his words and don't take it seriously everything hangs in the balance I want you to hear this message especially if you're young you're under 18 in your here I sat with my family church for lots of years and never actually listens what the pastor was sent Jesus says pay attention to what you hear is your life depends on it if you don't have Jesus you don't have anything and you will find that what you do have will be taken away someday in death so pay attention to what you been given the privilege to hear and if you do you will have a view that's more beautiful than you can imagine the kingdom seems hidden but it will soon be revealed as revealed to us in the gospel Jesus moves on to the second parable and now he returns to the image of the sewer both of these next two parables have this image of the sewer but they have different emphases from one another and from the original parable so second the kingdom seems slow but will soon show its progress read along a verse 26 and he said the kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground he sleeps and rises night and day and the seed sprouts and grows he knows not how the earth produces by itself first the blade then the ear than the full grain in the ear but when the grain is ripe at once he puts in the sickle because the harvest has come the kingdom seems slow but will soon show its progress I think a little bit about farming the farmer typically plants seeds for his crops and he has to work the ground to produce the crop the apostle Paul picks us up in his epistle to Timothy when he says it is the hard-working farmer at the phrase the hard-working farmer who want to have the first share of the crops but Jesus's parable this farmer doesn't do anything that a hard-working farmer he does nothing other just scatter the seeds and then he goes about his life sleeps prizes they unite doesn't do anything and yet surprisingly the seed sprouts gross he does not know how is it possible to discover the seed everywhere do nothing and have it work this is what the kingdom of God is like James Edwards writes the seed is so harmless and negligible at the farmer at first may be unaware of its growth he can explain how this takes place but apart from his effort the seed possesses an internal internal property that grows itself automatically and in an orderly way the blade the ear the grain in the ear and brings it to a place were to write where then that the farmer puts his sickle and when it's right when he harvests that which he did not labor for the kingdom of God is so different from our kingdoms are kingdoms are built by our hands and you know what we like it that way we like to be able to say I did that I built the I prepared that I studied for that I practice for the I decorated that we like to take the credit that's now the kingdom of God is built the former just throw that seat at all he does the results he doesn't feel the field water given nutrients the gospel itself has a power in it that will make it grow if it is truly planted which means that the labor can only do so much this is meant to humble us we can only do so much the success of the crop is more dependent on the seed than it is of the one who sows it the seed will indeed grow when it hits that good gospel soil that Jesus was talking about that says it comes up 3060 hundredfold in its crop so don't be discouraged from sharing Christ with your friends we are coworkers who don't know him yet don't be discouraged don't feel like you can't share the gospel people because you don't have a seminary degree don't let their lack of interest throw you off people are not to be interested open the matter what you say to matter how compelling your reason is people won't be interest in the gospel if the seed has not yet taken root but in some that seed that little effort of sharing Christ talking about what he's done about how he's the answer to life's deepest problems that seed will take root and begin to work in miraculous ways under the surface imperceptibly with the power of the gospel begins to work he will draw sinners to himself and I am one of those sinners that God drew I am one of the sinners who heard the seed and got put into my heart and drew meets himself imperceptibly at first at his awkward experience of finding myself as the subject of a newsletter someone forwarded me a newsletter that was written and it was about me it will awkward the title is called hidden fruit and it was written by my very first Bible study leaders name was Rob Colorado and he actually afforded me the newsletter he told me he was in a he was gonna do it here's what here's a story of what happened Rob started a Bible study at the campus of University of Denver and I got involved in that study he let it for one month and it seemed like nothing happened probably nothing did happen and not one semester of perceptible importance and then he was engaging he got married and he moved to California and I'd thought I would never see him again a few years later I was at a conference and I was walking down this road near the conference area and I ran into Rob and his wife out of nowhere and we got to talking and I my life had changed and become a Christian and I get passionately following Jesus in my life become radically changing it I had forgotten that he did know this and so I told the story actually became a Christian and he was flabbergasted he couldn't believe it it no idea he had no idea that there was a seed being planted in that moment that was gonna bear no clue as we wrote this newsletter to share with people who were supporting his ministry about the the hidden seat the seed that produces fruit now no one knows why it does in some and why it doesn't in others no one knows why it goes deep in some and white doesn't go deep in others this is the mystery of God's election but what we do know very clearly from the Scriptures is that Jesus has indeed secured a harvest through his atoning death on the cross and he will receive a return on his investment our role is not to atone for sins our role is to scatter the seeds the tell people of the great news but Jesus saves and have our sickle ready when the harvest is right have you been shying away from sharing your faith because you don't feel capable enough we don't have enough answers let Jesus's confidence in the progress of the kingdom give you confidence this morning listen Jesus has always intended the gospel to go forward through people like us there was never a plan A the perfect people the great evangelists and you guys and they got into an airplane crash and so they're not around anymore to working with you know his plan was always to build the kingdom three simple people like us who don't feel it were capable enough or we know enough it doesn't rely on us other than open our mouths and to share and to love the care and help them along and up with sickle and when the harvest is ready people come to know Christ this is the kingdom works it seems slow but it's making steady progress and then the third parable the kingdom seems unimpressive but soon will show its significance keeps with the seed theme verse 30 and he said with what can we compare the kingdom of God or what parable shall we use for it is like a grain of mustard seed which when sewn on the ground is the smallest of all the seeds on earth yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants input sell large branches so that the birds of the air can make nests shades the focus of this third parable is not on the process of the seed it's not on who contributes to the growth but it's in the contrast between the smallness of the seed and what it produces it seems insignificant it seems inconsequential but it produces significant results the mustard seed wasn't technically the smallest C but it became known as in an symbolic of all things small within Jewish proverbial writings Matthew 1720 picks up on this to it was it was known to grow into a large shrub wish which birds could find a place to nests and Jesus says that the kingdom of God start up a little bit like this the little tiny mustard seed tiny seed you could step on it you wouldn't even know you stepped on for the kingdom of God is like as Jesus tells the story and you think about it it starts with one man one man start with a revival the start with mass conversions one man who gathers 12 men of his 70 men out of the entire world and on the basis of that supporting cast this kingdom is going to grow all across Jerusalem Judea Samaria to the ends of the world's to Phoenix to Santa Ana to Denver to Ethiopia to the Philippines all across the world becomes larger than anything else in all of the garden and that is exactly what has happened what Jesus said what happened has happened over the last two Millennium Gospel growth is listen it's unstoppable Gospel growth is unstoppable it will spread you cannot kill it the amount of Roundup ready like that you can spray on it that will kill the gospel it is unstoppable it such as a seed God flooded with light God is the one who gives the growth in God determines the scope and its massive huge people are being saved from their sins to the blood of Christ every single hey every day every day new converts are entering into the kingdom every day every day new faces are entering into the gates of heaven every single day across this world because he promised that this would happen he said it is said of Christ and of his kingdom that he is ransoming from every tribe tongue and nation people for himself as worshipers every single day this is not just a Jewish gospel that is for the men on the shoreline this is for all of us to hear Jesus is capturing the spirit of Ezekiel Chapter 1723 that foreshadows this tree that God will plant in Israel that will bear many branches and in its shade in Ezekiel says in its shape birds of every sort will nest birds from every kind will nest birds from every tribe tongue and nation will Nass this kingdom is not just for Jews but for every sort of person you will have brothers and sisters from Zambia you will get to know what have and if you're a believer you'll share the joy of Christ with so he tells these parables so that we have confidence that his kingdom will outshine and outlast all the kingdoms of man so yeah the kingdoms of man will totter and will teeter and will sway and will shake but there is a United Kingdom in Jesus Christ whose union will never be broken God's kingdom will outlast and outshine the kingdoms of man right into eternity and he teaches us is to give us confidence to know listen if you're Christian you're on the right side of history you're the right side of history if you stand with Jesus and if you're working for the good of his name under his rule on this earth it is not a waste of life to follow Christ it is not a waste of life to give yourself for the good of those who don't know Jesus it's not a wasted life to give your energies in your effort to building up the body of Christ how you are made to live what you were created to do verse 33 with many such parables he spoke the word to them has they were able to hear but I'm not I'm not dumb I am dumb and some things but I know this in this room some of your listening and some of you are not even in a parable about listening some of you are listening and some of you are not Jesus speaks to people as they hear it if you don't hear it you don't get it you don't benefit from it he listening to those who are able to hear it do not speak to them verse 34 without a parable but privately to his own disciples he explained everything cuts kingdom will outlast his kingdom the God-given will outshine the kingdom of man the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and never King of Kings Lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah that's what Jesus teaches us his kingdom will last forever and we are invited into it and to live under it and to expand it for his glory and for our good father we pray as we hear this word that we would actually hear it this morning and now as we come to communion on the basis of this word help us to respond to it every one of us is given to our own pursuits everyone of us has ways we think the world ought to work but you are the Lords you are the king is your rule and your rain that would you break into our lives in the places where were resisting you and would you help us submit to you would you help your word as its clear to us would you help it to convict us so that when you tell us to think and feel and act in accordance with the gospel that we will desire to do that will pray now that you help us to repent for where we've gone astray and what would you give us a passion for your kingdom the conveyance of the kingdom in this world we pray in Christ name