Sermon Notes Sunday 27th October 2019
Kingdom Dynamics by Robin Spengler
Scriptures Mk 4:3-9; Mk 4:16-20; Gal 5:22-23; Jn 15:4-5.
- A few months ago, I gave a theological framework on the Kingdom of God.
- This was done as an introduction to a series of teachings on the kingdom.
- We have come some way since then, and Pastor George and others have spoken on many aspects of the kingdom.
- Today I would like to talk about kingdom dynamics.
- And to illustrate this we will be looking at the parable of the sower.
- The parable of the sower is regarded as fundamental to understanding Kingdom principles.
- It is the first in a series of parables on the kingdom.
- It could be an indictment against the religious leaders.
- But is also a lesson for all followers of Jesus.
- Basically, Jesus was saying, “If you don’t get this parable you won’t understand the kingdom.”
- I am taking Mark’s account of this parable.
- However, it may also be found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
- So, let’s see what Mark had to say about this teaching of Jesus.
- But before we do this, some background.
- Jesus had been ministering for some time and crowds were following him.
- At the same time there was growing opposition towards him from Teachers of the Law.
- For this reason, Jesus started teaching in parables.
- There were so many people listening that Jesus climbed into a boat.
- Jesus sat down; A teacher always sat down when teaching, this indicated his authority.
- The crowds were listening from the shore.
- At first a reading of the parable the interpretation is very simple.
- In fact, Jesus gives the interpretation (Mk 4:13-20)
- And we will be looking at this.
- But let’s try to unpack it a bit further.
- There are three main aspects to this parable.
- All three are important and each warrants a teaching on its own, but to-day I would like to investigate the third point, the soil of the human heart.
There are for types of soil mentioned in the parable.
- The hardened soil.
- The shallow soil.
- The thorny soil
- The good soil.
- First, we examine the hardened soil.
Mark, in the explanation given by Jesus, writes;
- A path walked over many times becomes Hard.
- In the same way out heart can become hardened by continually rejecting the word of God.
- The seed has been sown but because of our hardened heart it can’t penetrate.
- Satan steals the blessing and we drift further and further away from God.
- These people will never understand the kingdom.
- Then we have the shallow soil.
Here Mark writes…
- The shallow soil represents a person who has responded to the gospel but who has not fully grasped the meaning of it.
- Many new believers desire to learn more and become vulnerable to false teaching.
- Lack of understanding and bad theology are like 2 peas in a pod.
- If you don’t know your bible, you won’t be able to spot bad teaching.
- Social media and television bombard us with bad teaching.
- False teachers are nothing new and the only way to counter this is to know your bible.
- If you are not grounded in the truth of scripture, you can easily fall away when troubles come.
- Unfortunately, this happens only too often in the church today.
Next, we have the thorny soil…
Mark continues with his account of Jesus’ explanation.
- The focus now turns to spiritual fruit.
- These are Christians who have understood the Gospel and showed signs of early growth.
- But because of worldly desires and cares they never mature.
- Jesus did not say you will recognise them by their knowledge or their spiritual gifts, he said, you will recognise them by their fruit (Matt 7:16)
- In the modern church there is often lack of focus on the fruit in the life of a Christian.
- Unfortunately, the influence of the world is a huge problem and we need to guard against it.
- We need to be led by the Spirit and not succumb to the desires of the flesh. (Ro 8:5).
- The only way we can achieve this is by having an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Lastly, we have the example of the Good Soil…
- Here Mark gives the requirements of a mature Christian.
- Note his emphasis on the fruit.
- These Christians are receptive to the word of God.
- They listen carefully and allow the Holy Spirit to mould their lives.
- In addition, this is an act of compliance on their behalf.
- They practice the spiritual disciplines and lead godly controlled lives.
- Their lives reflect the fruit of the spirit.
- You may be thinking to yourself, “What is this fruit Jesus is talking about”.
- Well, Paul in writing to the church in Galatia, lists 9 fruit of the spirit.
- This fruit could also be any spirit directed activity in God’s Kingdom.
- And Finally, Jesus in his last teaching to the disciples gave the following instruction…
- This is the key to the kingdom.
- Jesus said, ‘Abide in me’.
- And then, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’.
- Well that is the parable of the sower.
- Now let’s look at an illustration of the kingdom.
- The top of the triangle represents the sovereignty of God.
- God the Father has appointed Jesus as King.
- The left-hand corner represents the inaugurated kingdom.
- This was the prime mission of Jesus.
- The right-hand corner represents the consummated kingdom.
- This will be brought about by the second coming of Jesus.
- The cross represents the entry point or the door to the kingdom.
- There is no other way to enter.
Now let’s look at how the parable illustrates dynamics within the kingdom.
- The Hardened soil represents those outside the kingdom, they never entered.
- The shallow soil represents those who heard the message but did not understand it, they never entered.
- The thorny soil represents Christians who hear the message but the fruit in their life is limited.
- The Good soil is a Christian who shows abundant fruit.
- As a Christian we live in an inaugurated kingdom of God.
- It is a spiritual kingdom, an imprint of the kingdom in heaven.
- We are therefore living in a tension between the three corners of the triangle.
- God is sovereign and in absolute control.
- However, it is an incomplete kingdom, we still get sick, bad things happen and we all face death.
- We have the Holy Spirit and the promises of Scripture, yet we long for the coming of Jesus.
- We often feel and can identify with Paul when he wrote, ‘For I do not do what I want, but I do everything that I hate. (Ro 7:15), yet we know we are sanctified through faith in Christ.
- We still sin and continually need to repent and ask forgiveness.
- We are not perfect, but we can say with Paul, ‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Ro 7:25).
- Kingdom life is not static, we move within the triangle, praying, repenting falling, getting up again and moving forward.
- All of this is activated and accomplished through the Holy Spirit and with the help of the Church.
- It is with relief that we are reminded that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Ro. 8:1) and we are prompted by the writer of Hebrews who says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Heb 10:24).
- We are in Christ and is Christ in us, we are led by the Holy Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit is becoming more and more evident in our life.
- We eagerly await the second coming of Jesus and we are reminded that will be rewarded according to the fruit that we reflect.
- Let’s pray.