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The Sovereign Growing Seed
Mark 4:26-34 The incredible power of the Gospel to transform the lost and change the world
How do you feel when you are totally out of control? How did you respond last time you were in an earthquake? I remember sitting at the dinner table as a kid as the lamp over the table swung around in a huge circle, and thought, “Wow, that’s awesome!” I loved it–still do to this day. At the same time, different members of my family reacted differently–one cried, one didn’t say anything at all but held their breath, another with bugged eyes told us, “Don’t panic,” while holding onto the table.
I recall being in two auto accidents (I rear-ended someone in one, and was T-boned in another) and not enjoying that feeling of being out of control at all–because of the lives that were at stake in my own car, and the cost. That out-of-control feeling can overwhelm you, when you get in trouble at school, or lose your job, or experience a serious illness. Many people do not react well to that feeling of loss of control.
But with a sovereign God, in a real way, you are always out of control–you are always dependent. God will accomplish His will, no matter what. God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases. And God’s sovereignty is one of the answers Jesus gives as to why there are so many different responses to the Gospel.
Why do some hate Christ, others respond and come to church then fade away because of trials, others respond but then get distracted and choked out by lesser loves–but the genuine respond by producing varying levels of fruitfulness. Why do people respond so differently to God’s Word? Jesus now says one of the reasons is He is in control. God is sovereign over salvation and sanctification. God is sovereign in choosing those who will be saved. God is sovereign in how people grow, and how the Gospel will spread. God is even sovereign in the size of a church and its health.
And Jesus declares this in Mark 4, verses 26 to 34 with two parables. Turn there and follow along in your outline. From your Bibles, look at verses 26 to 34, and follow along silently as I read aloud, and listen deep to what Jesus is saying. “And He was saying, ‘The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. 28 The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 29 But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’
30 “And He said, ‘How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.’
33 “With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; 34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.”
Last week, Jesus told His followers that they were to shine and share the Word. The Gospel message we have is to glow and show. The good news we have is meant to be shared. The Lord began chapter 4 with the parable of the sower–then He explained it, interpreted it and is now illustrating it. The first illustration was that of a glowing lamp in verses 21 to 25. Like the sower who spreads the seed over the entire field, you and I are to shine the light of the Gospel everywhere you go. To keep it to yourself is the exact opposite of what Jesus saved you for, and is in fact a potentially dangerous sign you may not be His true child.
Now Jesus gives two more illustrations, answering why people respond so differently to God’s Word, clearly defining what your job is and what your job is not. Your responsibility is to sow the seed, to shine the light of the Gospel, to tell everyone that Jesus is God who became a man, and out of love, took our punishment for sin on the cross, rose from the dead, and lives as the only way to be right with God we’ve sinned against. Only by exchanging all that we are in faith and repentance can we receive all that He is. Shining that message is our responsibility. Showing that message by our actions, and sharing that message with our mouths is what we are to do. That was illustration . . .
#1 The Shining Lamp–Showing the Gospel Verses 21 to 25
But we don’t save anyone–that is not your responsibility. We don’t grow anyone–that is not your job. And, we don’t build the Church–only Christ does. Christ is the one in charge. Christ is the one in control. We cooperate with Him in those tasks, but we don’t do it. And the Lord makes that clear with illustrations #2 and #3.
#2 The Sovereign Seed–Growing in Secret Verses 26 to 29
This parable is about the work of the Gospel in your life, and the work of the Gospel in the world today. This parable stresses God’s sovereignty in salvation, the miracle of salvation, and the difference it makes in how you live. How people get saved and grow is a demonstration of God’s power, but a mystery to us–yet it produces massive crops for a future harvest. Read verse 26 to 29, “And He was saying, ‘The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. 28 The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 29 But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’”
If Christ’s own friends think He’s crazy, Christ’s family wants to sneak Him away, and those who lead Israel spiritually want to kill Him, then isn’t sharing the Gospel message with others going to fail? You say, “We’re supposed to be a bright Gospel light in the midst of sinful darkness—but . . .” you ask, “it sure seems like the Gospel seed is going to fail.” You may even think, “Every time I share, it seems to fail.”
Jesus says, “No, it’s not–because a Gospel response is not dependent upon you who sow—but God who gives life.” You may not see it, but God is at work saving souls from sin, and transforming people from the inside out. The context of this parable would suggest the sower is the evangelist, the seed is the powerful message of the Gospel in the Word of God, the soil is the prepared heart, the heart that will produce fruit.
Notice verse 26–Jesus starts this parable in verse 26 in the original language, though not translated with an emphatic “so” or “thusly”. “And He was [continually] saying, ‘The kingdom of God is [thusly so].” The Kingdom of God is like this . . . . Christ will manifest His rule today, like this work of a farmer. It will not be earthly or common, or like everyone thinks it should be–it will be supernatural, yet almost hidden and unrecognized. That is how God works today—supernaturally, but unrecognized.
Verse 26, “It is like a man who casts seed upon the soil.” Verse 27, “and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know.” Unrecognized, but supernatural–the unidentified farmer does his generic casting of the seed on the soil of the hearts of the people all around us. As the farmer goes to bed at night, then gets up, life goes on. He makes no further efforts to assist the germination process. But while he’s sleeping and getting up, meaning life night and day, apart from his effort, another process is at work–the seed sprouts and grows. And he has no explanation as to how this works.
In fact, the verb “know” (verse 27), “he himself does not know,” tells us he didn’t know in the past, and he still doesn’t know how even now–pointing to the work of a sovereign God. With parables, one of the rules of interpretation, states this. Features in the parable that are improbable or given unnecessary emphasis are provided as an insight to understanding its meaning. Any farmer knows that this description of his approach, which is utterly “laid back” is unrealistic. No true farmer is laid back. A crop left to itself would hardly be worth harvesting. Thus the farmer’s inactivity is a clue to understanding the Kingdom of God.
One commentator says, “We read nothing about the farmer’s normal tasks of plowing, fertilizing or tilling. Nor do we read anything about the essentials for the seed’s growth like sun or rain. NOR… the various destructive forces like wind, hail, weeds and drought that at least threaten the seed’s maturation?”
William Hendrickson says, “Just how this growth takes place, the farmer does not know. Neither does the chemist or the most learned agricultural specialist. He has never been able to figure out exactly how the seed is able to transform into a living plant. The farmer knows the conditions which aid or hinder growth. But, the actual growth of the seed is still a mystery.
Seeds are amazingly supernatural. Some seeds which laid dormant in Egyptian tombs for thousands of years, still germinate. A seed is self-acting. There is a spontaneous power within a seed, acting apart from man’s effort or power. The Word of God (verse 28), “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.”
See the term “by itself”? The Greek term is auto mataa–sound familiar? It’s where we get automatically. The seed will germinate, then grow automatically–growing without human agency, without human effort. By a mysterious, miraculous process, apart from the agency of man, God’s Word is at work, growing and bearing fruit in God’s Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God through the Word of God is a sovereign work. And verse 28 adds, God will cause growth in this process—“first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.” Any effort on the part of the farmer to hurry the maturation process will ruin the crop. God will finish what He starts–God will complete the process. And both the germination and growth God will accomplish. Again, this work refers to either the work of God in growing His Church, or the work of God in saving and growing you–either way.
God’s Word clearly states, Christ will build His Church. Matthew 16:18, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” And God’s Word dogmatically says Christ will finish what He started in you. Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Be encouraged Christ follower–God will finish what He initiated in you.
And finally, verse 29 tells us someday God will be done with His work in the Church or in your life. God’s total work will one day be totally complete, verse 29, “But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” As soon as the grain is ripe, the farmer will reap the grain. The farmer hasn’t produced the grain, but he assists in the harvest. This means faithful farmers get to enjoy the super blessing of the fruits of God’s work in the lives of those He’s saved and sanctified through God’s Word—the seed.
The point of the parable is this–there is no need to panic over people who do not respond. Do not become discouraged by those who burn out because of trials. And don’t be sad by those who drift away because of being choked out by the weeds of lesser loves–whether people, girls, or things, or possessions. God will accomplish His purposes in the hearts of men. Be assured, be confident, be at rest–God will finish what He started. God’s Word is powerful in and of itself. God’s Kingdom can’t be stopped by unbelief, nor slowed by human effort. The seed of the Word of God grows on its own apart from human effort, and will mature people apart from external forces.
You may not see God’s activity, you may not see people being transformed, you may not see churches grow healthy at first. It is often undetected, like farming–it even seems underground. But eventually God’s work will become visible and mighty. God produces conversion and growth by the power of His Word, even when we can’t see it. First Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
Yes, Christian, be a lamp, verses 21 to 25–sow the seed of God’s Word. Verses 1 to 20, but no matter what, remember God is at work, and God will accomplish what He sets out to do. You are to share, but God is the one who saves. You hear God’s Word, but God is the one who grows you. God is sovereign, and will bring about His purposes in His time. This is not my opinion, this is not my ideas or the ideas of a particular teacher, this is God’s clear, direct, obvious Word.
Are you listening? God must save you–you can’t save yourself. God must raise you from the dead–God must awaken your sleeping soul. God must replace your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. God must give sight to your blind eyes in order for you to be saved.
John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you.”
Romans 9:15 and 16, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”
Acts 13:48, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
Acts 16:14, “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”
Romans 8:30, “And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
Ephesians 1:4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”
John 1:12 to 13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
You can’t save yourself–only God can save you and grow you. God will do the work of bringing His rule to completion on this planet, and in your life. That never means you are not responsible to labor and strive. But it does mean you should not become anxious in your service. Don’t become fearful of what God will do in your ministry or your church.
Today, Christians are constantly trying to do what only God can do–save people through persuasive invitations, and use business techniques to grow a church. So instead of preaching the Word of God as God intended, determine the one interpretation by digging out the author’s intended message, they burp over all the difficult passages on the roles of men and women, Hell, repentance, sin, discipline, money, assurance, homosexuality or divorce.
Today, it’s fashionable to have churches be “user-friendly”–so they alter their preaching to be easier. In their ads they’ll say, “You won’t hear people threatened with Hell, or referred to as sinners. Our goal is to make you feel welcome, not drive you away. We preach the gospel. Our sermons are relevant, upbeat, and best of all–short.”
An article in The Wall Street Journal described a well-known church’s attempt “to perk up attendance at Sunday evening services.” The church “staged a wrestling match, featuring church employees. To train for the event, ten employees got lessons from Tugboat Taylor, a former professional wrestler, in pulling hair, kicking shins and tossing bodies around without doing real harm.” This was not the fringe group, but took place in the Sunday evening service of one of America’s five largest churches.
Yes, we are to be loving, but we are also to teach God’s Word without compromise, and God will save those He has chosen, and will build His Church His way. In fact, Jesus says this Gospel Word, this seed is going to spread massively. Right now it’s the twelve men and a few loyal followers who all live in one tiny country. But one day Christ will have a massive amount of followers from all around the world.
#3 The Spreading Seed, with massive influence Verses 30 to 32
Great results develop from small beginnings. Just as mustard is first a very small seed, but grows into a huge plant like a tree, that sends out branches so large the birds of the air can lodge under its shade–so also the reign of God in Christ, acknowledged by a very small group at first, is going to expand to men of every race and influence every sphere of life, to God’s glory.
Read verses 30 to 32, “And He said, ‘How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.’”
Big things happen from small beginnings. Jesus has illustrated our age with . . .
1 The Shining Lamp
2 The Sovereign Seed
3 The Spreading Mustard Seed
The Mustard Seed illustrates the influence of God’s Kingdom in its present form, and its coming consummation. The disciples believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of David, the promised King who would rule the world in the Kingdom. The disciples expected this Kingdom to come in glory and power. They knew the Old Testament prophets promised a Messiah who would crush the rebellious, welcome the submissive, and establish a Kingdom.
The prophet Micah describes the Kingdom of God in the last days with the Messiah ruling in the Millennium (one thousand year, literal) kingdom in 4:2 to 5, “Many nations will come and say, ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3 And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. 4 Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 5 Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.”
One author said, The prophets predicted that the Kingdom of God would come to the earth and Jesus Christ would sit on the throne in the city of Jerusalem and rule the world. In the coming Kingdom there would be worldwide peace, no crime, no poverty, and the alleviation of suffering and even death. In this Kingdom Christ would be revered and honored as King; and anyone resisting [His rule] would be stamped out.
But when Jesus came, that didn’t happen. Jesus didn’t purge the rebels. He didn’t sit on a throne. He didn’t overthrow the Romans. There was still war: people weren’t beating their swords into plowshares. There wasn’t peace in the world, nor was there the condemnation of those who rejected God and His ways. Because the Jewish people didn’t see the fulfillment of their expectations when Jesus came, they wouldn’t believe Jesus was their Messiah King.
In the book of Acts 1:6, they were still baffled and asked Jesus, “Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Their expectations got in the way. The disciples became confused because of the hatred of the religious leaders, as well as the rejection of his family and friends. So when Jesus said, “I must die,” Peter said, “Lord, don’t let this be so!”
When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, and people laid palm branches at His feet, crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” it seemed like the right time for Christ to launch His kingdom. But Jesus came first to become a sacrifice for our sin—there are two comings. Jesus came first to be the Lamb of God, not the conquering King. Oh yes, the Kingdom of God is present even now–Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
And Luke 17:21, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” But it’s a Kingdom that is internal, not external. The present form of the Kingdom is a rule in the heart, not world dominion–that’s coming in the future. Those promises are still good, just not yet.
The disciples were looking for a Kingdom of power and majesty, along with a crushing defeat of their enemies. But it didn’t come immediately, so Jesus explains here in verses 30 to 32–Jesus tells the disciples, before the Kingdom comes there is a present form of the Kingdom that you must understand. The Lord refers to this present form of the Kingdom as the mystery in verses 10 to 12. It is the time between His two comings. Jesus explains that this mystery Kingdom was to precede the millennial blaze of glory they were anticipating. In showing us these contrasting dimensions, our Lord is calling us to trust Him for His present rule, and to be looking for His future rule.
“Oh Chris, this is just eschatology–last things, that’s not important!” It was to Jesus, who asks a double question, to make certain you and I are paying attention, in verse 30. “And He said, ‘How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?’” The Lord wants His men and you to understand His Kingdom. What will this Kingdom be like for now?
First The Kingdom has a tiny beginning
Verse 31, “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil.” The mustard seed is a millimeter in diameter. (You ask–how big is that? The size of a grain of sand!) Notice the phrase, “smaller than all the seeds.” That phrase is controversial because scientists have discovered smaller seeds than the mustard seed. So, they say, the Bible is wrong? Is it? No–you just stopped reading. Finish verse 31, “that are upon the soil.” Jesus is talking about farming–sowing a mustard seed is the smallest seed farmers used, and still use, in farming.
One scholar noted: “seeds” in verse 31 refers to seeds sown in an agricultural manner. It refers to intentionally planted seeds. The word “garden plants” in verse 32 refers to garden vegetables that are grown specifically for the purpose of being eaten, as opposed to something that grows wild. So the seed referenced here is a seed sown agriculturally to produce something edible. Of all the seeds that were sown at that time, and all the seeds that are sown today to produce edible products, the mustard seed was and still is the smallest.
In the same way, Christ’s Kingdom of ruling in men’s hearts, for now is going to start really, really small–twelve guys, a few loyal followers, a tiny flock of men and women. Yet God turned the world upside down from those tiny beginnings. Are you getting it?
When serving Christ, and following His Word, never feel insignificant, and never worry about tomorrow. Our God is in control of today and tomorrow. Are you worried about tomorrow? Will I get a spouse, get a boyfriend, a scholarship, that needed raise, pay my bills, resolve that issue? God says in Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” God can make great things from small beginnings. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed–it has a tiny beginning.
Second The Kingdom has an enormous end
Verse 32, “Yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.” From this tiny seed beginning, a mustard plant can grow up and reach a height of eight to fifteen feet in a very short time–even weeks. Here the smallest of seeds grows into the tallest of garden plants. It can grow so large the birds of the air can nest under its shade.
I love the word nest here–it means to set up a tent, tenting. The birds make their home in this giant mustard bush. Now what does this growth and birds tenting mean? Some say first this great growth is dangerous and abnormal–that true Christianity was never intended by God to become a great imperial power, nor any kind of political power. Jesus views political growth as something warped, as the faith moves from a spiritual force that is internally heart-driven, to an external, “politically-driven” government power, where birds, which represent evil or secular forces, now find their shelter in the Christian faith tree. God did not intend that.
So now corrupting forces, birds, have invaded the professing church and altered its original design–like when Christianity was embraced by Emperor Constantine, and the faith began to become more external, was corrupted and far less internally heart-driven.
Or a second view is this incredible mustard seed growth refers to the incredible growth of the Christian church from its small beginnings of twelve plus change, to millions worldwide. And everywhere God’s Kingdom has gone, millions have been saved from their sins, and all the evil corruption sin brings about. As the true faith is embraced, God’s Kingdom has brought with it hospitals, schools, orphanages, truth, morality, ethics, decency, justice, compassion, and above all salvation. Wherever it has gone, the true Gospel has abolished cannibalism, child sacrifice, abuse of widows, polygamy, demonism, slavery, the sex trade and more. As the true faith takes hold, even the unsaved find shelter in its branches, like birds.
Which one is it? You’ll figure it out. Regardless of which interpretation, the Gospel did go forth from tiny beginnings in Israel, and grew into something huge worldwide. Christ’s Kingdom is going to have an enormous end. Don’t worry about others who walk away when it gets hot, or those who choke out by lesser loves, nor leaders who want to kill Christ–this new internal Kingdom is going to grow big. It will not fail.
Even as our society declines, and the Church follows its example, never forget, God’s Kingdom will be enormous. FBC family, remember–our Lord is working all over the world, not just here. And in the end, every tribe, people, nation and race will be represented. Finally . . .
#4 The Loving Savior, teaching in parables Verses 33 to 34
By using parables, Jesus reached his audiences in a powerful way and held their attention. Then when at home with His disciples, He made sure He explained everything to them. Read verses 33 to 34, “With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; 34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.”
Verse 33 says Jesus taught many parables–more than we have written in God’s Word, and more than we see here in Mark. But in each, our Lord was describing what our lives would be like in His Kingdom between His two comings, right now. But Mark makes certain we know that this was God’s Word. The Lord was not just telling stories, but teaching God’s Word. Verse 33, “He was speaking the word to them,”–the Word is emphasized.
People need to hear God’s truth, not feel good with stories. The tense of the verb “speaking” is continually, meaning protracted teaching sessions. But there was a limit to what they could hear–do you see it in verse 33? “So far as they were able to hear it.” Sin has so thoroughly blinded our minds, corrupted our hearts, and weakened our wills–it was difficult for them to get it.
I’m not certain if you grasp just how difficult it is to teach God’s Word in our day in the Church. First of all, everyone has access to the superstar preachers of our day via electronic media, radio and TV. Second, we live in a feeling- and experienced-based society, where people prefer their emotions tickled, over having their soul fed. Third, people come to us from every background, carrying so much doctrinal baggage, preconceived ideas, multiple prejudices, false philosophies and entrenched traditions. It’s impossible to immediately undo the damage, even if they’re faithful to attend. Thank you for digging in, and sticking with God’s Word.
Like a child has to learn to count, then do simple arithmetic, then move on to fractions and long division before they can tackle algebra, trigonometry and ultimately calculus–so the Lord had to begin with very basic spiritual truths, and even these were tough for His disciples to grasp. Verse 33, “So far as they were able to hear it.”
What is encouraging is verse 34, “And He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.” The Lord kept illustrating truth with parables. Those on the outside didn’t understand the point—they did not get it. But for the insiders, the Lord would explain–literally interpret or unlock the meanings, loosen and untie the truth. Explain is used of solving or interpreting knotty problems, riddles or dreams.
And the Lord continually taught the Word to His men privately, meaning to one’s own, describing intimately with His followers. There is a sense that each of His men was carefully taught. They needed the help to understand the meanings of these truths found in parables. And never forget, believer–you too, today, are equally privileged to receive the teaching ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who, John 16:14, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” So here’s the challenge . . .
A Trust God to do His work
Be faithful to share and show the Word. Be that faithful shining lamp that talks and walks the Bible, but trust the Lord to change lives as only He can. He is in control. All the farmer can do is trust. To be sure, he can cover the seed, root up weeds, loosen the soil, add fertilizer, and perhaps even channel water to his plot. All these things are important, but he cannot cause the seed to sprout and grow.
Stop trying to force change, or press external conformity and expect the Gospel to transform lives one stage at a time. Yet God will complete what He started. Possibly you’re here today, unsure about your salvation. Possibly you know you’re without Christ. Then cry out for Him to awaken your heart, and give you eyes to see. For 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Trust God to do His work.
B Be faithful to do your work
God is sovereign but you are responsible. God will accomplish His will, but you participate with passion. I love the way Paul put it in Colossians 1:29, “For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” It is God’s power that mightily works within us, yet we labor, strive and work. The work of the Lord is work on your part.
Nothing great has ever been offered to the Lord without sacrifice. Ministry costs you–loving others is difficult, giving is sacrifice. God mightily works, but you must step out in faith with dependent labor. For your good and His glory, God commands you to serve in the Church in some ministry, sacrificially give of your finances, love others in the Body, and share the Gospel in the world and more. And rejoice–God will do huge things with little efforts.