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The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32)

Sermon on 14th February 2021 by Ps Paul


Introduction

Parables are intended for those pure in heart and humble, willing to listen to Jesus’ teachings. They are not for the wicked, the proud and those with hardened hearts. All parables focus on Jesus and His kingdom.


But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. – Matthew 13:16-17


Message

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32


The parable of the mustard seed can be found in three gospels – Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 13. This parable is found right before parable of the yeast.


Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated all through the dough” – Matthew 13:33


Both parables talk about the kingdom of God. There are three characteristics of the kingdom of God shown in the parable of the mustard seed.


1. The kingdom of God transforms lives

Just like the mustard seed transforms into a tree, the kingdom of God transforms lives. Jesus healed a crippled woman during the Sabbath, who was bent double for 18 years and unable to stand up straight (Luke 13:10-17). Jesus also healed a blind man (Mark 8:22-25). Jesus showed us what was right to do, regardless of which day it was, so that we would follow in His ways. Luke 19:1-10 tells us about Zacchaeus the tax collector, who was transformed from a cheater to a giver, when the kingdom of God entered into his life. In Matthew 4:18-22, the lives of Simon, Peter and Andrew were transformed from cowards to courageous, from hot-tempered people to men filled with gentleness, from fishermen to fishers of men.


God’s kingdom is full of love, peace, humility, patience and mercy. It is not about riches or power.


2. The Kingdom of God may start small, but it has great impact


Jesus shared the kingdom of God with a Samaritan women at the well (John 4:1-42).


Jesus chose 12 disciples and taught them (Matthew 10:1-4). In the book of Acts, these disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaimed God’s kingdom after Jesus ascended into Heaven. The disciple Paul was converted (Acts 9:1-19). Previously, Paul was zealous in persecuting Christians, but Ananias was used by God to transform Paul’s zeal to good.


Don’t belittle the power of your sharing of the gospel with your family and friends. God will provide the transformation.


And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14


3. The Kingdom of God brings peace and security


Jesus is the ruler of the Kingdom of God and the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). The peace that Jesus gives is not what the world can give. We are called to be peace-makers.


For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. – Romans 14:17


And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:15


The world standard encourages people to get ahead of others. You can’t gain peace by living according to world standards. But you can find eternal peace when you live by the word of God.


4. The Kingdom of God is unshakable


The mustard tree becomes so secure, so unshakable that birds nest on the tree. Strong kingdoms rise but eventually fall. Babylon was strong, but it fell. The Greek empire ruled for a long time, but also fell to the Roman empire. That too, lost power. Nebuchadnezzar dreamt about God’s kingdom standing forever (Daniel 2:29-45). Only the kingdom of God is forever. We know that Christ Jesus is the ruler of the kingdom of God. It has the power of the truth of God. It is unshakable. Thus we have to stand firm in God’s word.


What actions, then, should we take?


We must live out the kingdom of God.


This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. – Colossians 1:6


And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2


We must preach the kingdom of God.


I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. – 2 Timothy 4:1-5


We are all recipients of God’s grace and salvation. Let’s go and tell others how the Lord has loved us.


But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:60


Closing


The greatest blessing you can give your loved ones is to tell them about our Lord Jesus Christ. We want to grow from a small seed into a great tree. The kingdom of God is in us. It is about life transforming according to God’s word and truth.


But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:27


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