Jesus' Parables

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Hi to the gospel of Mark. I were continuing the series that Richard kicked off for us a couple weeks ago that Bryant continue last week. We're moving through the gospel of Mark INR goal with this series is to move through this gospel and to finish up around Easter and some looking at the resurrection. So we've got some time here with the bookmark. One of the things I would encourage you to do is as we as a church or kind of walking through this on Sundays take some time through the week and read the gospel of Market. 2 things it's the shortest gospel. So if you got to read one read the shortest one the second thing is there's not a lot of downtime as Bryant talked about last week. There's not a lot of downtime in the gospel of Mark, right? It just kind of moves very quick paste gospel. And so I'd encourage you to take some time and to read through that as we're walking through it on Sunday morning, but this morning we come to a chapter 4 and we'll get to that in just a second. The back page of my notes as blank makes it very difficult to preach if I have it sitting that way so I did have the opportunity along with Anthony and can't Anthony is here this morning Kent is not here this morning after the trip. We kicked him out of the church.

No, that's not true. That's not true. Actually. We are rejoicing this morning because of Beryl Baptist called Kent to be their pastor and this morning. Amen.

This morning is his first official Sunday as their pastor. And so we have been praying for him this morning and just ask the Lord to bless that congregation into blessed. I can't Sharon as they move out there and as they begin to work there, but we had a great time down there but one of the things that you realize when you're overseas is you realize pretty quickly that there are cultural differences when you go to another country. You quickly realize you're not home anymore like Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore. Right? And so we got down there and Ecuador is a Spanish speaking country. Despite his last name Anthony doesn't speak Spanish. Despite my clearly Hispanic looks I do not speak Spanish and can't doesn't speak Spanish until we were working with through a translator the whole time and can't in particular was very fond of telling dad jokes. You know, what a dad joke is everybody gets as it's a joke. You don't laugh at you groan when it's done. He told a lot of those and they don't always translate well and working through a translator can be difficult to because you know, you're stopping every since or so it's easy to lose your train of thought and so I can't was was up and he had told her dad joke and it started his lesson and he forgot his place. I'm telling the story cuz he's the only one of us not here. We all did it throughout the week, but I'm just telling cancer right now because he tried to say, oh my goodness. I went brain-dead there for a second. Well, the translator looks at him like what? And and then he's like well, you know, I went brain-dead and so there was this much back and forth about a phrase in English. That means I forgot where I was at right? I stopped thinking for a second is there that's not how you say that they're you know Muerte de Cabeza, right? It doesn't work. And so the chance later he kind of talked back and forth and he finally came up with what you're trying to say is what we say in Ecuador. I forgot to eat a sardine.

And so the catch phrase for the Ecuador mission trip 2020 is we forgot to eat a sardine because they say no sardines are good for your memory. And so if somebody was talking and they forgot where they were they were just a up. Excuse me. I forgot to eat my starting this morning. So the point somewhat really such a good story that I wanted to tell. But it does illustrate a little bit about the differences that we have between cultures and what shapes culture right? There's different phrases. There's euphemisms. There's different metaphors that appeal in certain cultures that don't really translate elsewhere and that's true because I think God has designed us to be shaped by language really we are formed as as if Humanity that is one of the things that shapes our culture is not just the sayings that we use the things that we all kind of understand. Even if it doesn't mean what it says we find this in the Old Testament. One of my favorite passages is in Jeremiah. It talks about God flaring his nostrils, right. Flaring his nostrils. Well, it's just an image like a horse in a snorting it's mad and in so that's the way of saying God was angry, right? What doesn't translate very good into English. And so we we have to understand this a different culture same thing when were overseas same thing. We were talking about the stories we tell right how many of you know what the Great American novel is. What's the Great American novel? Everybody signed to write the next one? But what's the Great American novel?

This is this is like this is like a subjective things you guys the Great American novel is Moby-Dick right widely-held. Is this is this Paragon of excellence and every is trying to be the next one to write the Great American novel?

And yet that story doesn't always go over well elsewhere when you spend an entire chapter talking about different kind of nuts that Whalers use the pace kind of drags a little bit right, but then you compare that to something like Pride and Prejudice write something that for some in the room. It might really appeal for others. It might kind of dragged a little bit right and you have these different stories. It really start to shape culture Tom Sawyer. How many of you read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, right? This is quintessential American literature you contrast that with something like Lord of the Rings and you start to see there's some differences even though we're very closely associated with our English neighbors across the pond. We fought a revolution on purpose, right? There's a reason we're different here until we tell different stories even as we can relate, but then if you moved farther afield and you started reading say the great Chinese novel It's going to read much different than what we would consider a good book here. It's because stories form culture they come out of culture and then they shape culture. Well, when we come to the Book of Mark, we see Jesus introducing this isn't the first time he's used it, but we see really this this example of how Jesus starts to use story to shape a new culture. He starts to use what are called Parables and those Parable serve serve ultimately as a way of forming a new community a new culture the kingdom of God is going to be shaped by the stories that are told as a matter fact. This is one of the things that I think American Christianity in particular is missing we've lost the ability to tell stories We we simply as a culture kind of what American Christianity is known for his is we take the stories of our culture and we just regurgitate them with a Christian spin, right? But when was the last original Christian movie that you saw that had a genuinely kind of new plot or theme now, this is where I step on some toes. I'll freely admit. I'm not always the best person to ask about new Christian movies because often times I see them just as recycling old tropes that our culture abandon several years ago, right and we just kind of recycle this form of entertainment but not in a way that promotes a different culture Sabrina way that takes the themes of our of our culture and repackages them with the gospel. I think we need to get back to like Jesus telling stories that shape a culture that did that show that the kingdom of God and its residents are difference. From other cultures they're different from other kingdoms. And so we look it in Mark chapter 4 at these Parables now a parable has been called and I don't know who said it first, but literally every commentator that I read this week quoted it, so it must be true. A parable is an Earthly story with a spiritual point you guys heard that you're familiar with that. So Jesus begins to teach the people and conversely to the inspiration of Holy Spirit the recording of Mark we have him teaching us and we looking in chapter 4 at verses 1 and 2 again he began to teach beside the sea and a very large crowd gathered about somebody got into a boat and sat in it on the sea and the whole crowd was beside the Sea on the land and he was teaching the many things in parables. He was teaching them many things in Parables. If we use that definition, he was teaching them many things using Earthly stories with a Heavenly points, but we need to get more than that. I think that if everybody's quoting it, it probably means we become overly familiar with it. So what is a parable and what is its function a parable is yes an Earthly story but its design is not just simply to make a spiritual point a parable is a way of cutting through our mental defenses. It's a way that Jesus uses and others use to shatter kind of our religious expect expectations, right? We come to the great religious teacher we come to Jesus and we say, Meet our expectations Wright State of the things we expect you to say and the parable so often don't do that. They shatter those expectation and a parable is designed again in this culture formation sense of story. The parable is Jesus's desire to Grass into a some new ways of thinking some ways of thinking that are countercultural and contradict our own personal expectations and thought so that we begin to be and to think differently. That is what I understand. To be a way of forming in us a new way of thinking of Christ Gospel Kingdom centered way of thinking now, one of the things that we've done with Christianity is we've managed to convert it into a primarily intellectual Faith, right? We've managed to convert it into a set of beliefs that you simply acknowledge and then move on with your life, right we give Mentalist. Natsu a series of doctrines right? There is God he created everything he exists in Trinity. We are sinful humanity and he sought to redeem us by Christ's death on the cross and Resurrection gives us hope those are a set of intellectual assertions. But Christianity is not meant to be just an intellectual faith. And so a list of doctrines is beneficial is essential to Christianity, but it is not total. It is not complete. That's where Parables come in these stories that begin to not just teach us Doctrine. But teaches how to be in Christ be in the gospel. All right, so that's what Jesus starts doing. He starts teaching in Parables. And in in in Chapter 4 verses 3 through 9, he gives us what is really deep arable. Right and he'll still say himself. This is the parable that if you can understand this you can understand the rest of if you can understand this you won't understand the rest of them. So look at that with me in Chapter 4 verses 3 through 9. Listen to her went out to sow and as he sowed some seed fell along the path in the birds came and devoured it other seed fell on the rocky ground didn't have much soil and immediately it sprang up since there was no depth of soil. But when the sun rose it was scorched since it had no root it withered away other seed fell among thorns in the Thorns grew up and choked it and it yielded no grain and other seeds fell into good soil and Purdue. Grain, growing up and increasing and yielding 30 fold and 60 fold and a hundred fold and he said he who has ears to hear Let Him hear. Now. How many of you chill hands are familiar with this parable? Okay, this is familiar to us we get this this is this is the terrible when you think about Parable a lot of times this is what first pops into your mind and that's for good reason because Jesus says I'm going to show you in this Parable how to understand Parables. But but just briefly there's there's a few components in this Parable, right? There's the sower Rather somebody somebody scattering seed right? That's a real life example. It's very possible. By the way that we don't know what time of year was it Jesus was teaching this very possible that as he was sitting in the boat or standing in the boat teaching. The crowd is very possible that there was a farmer sowing seed back in the background that he was pointing at And saying well imagine the kingdom like that like somebody going out to sow and what's he so and he's sowing seed. All right. Now sewing is is a haphazard task to undertake by hand. Is it not right? You got a handful and I don't know how many seats fit in a handful but you got a lot of seed and you're just casting it out there. And so it's perfectly logical then when Jesus says some of it falls on the path now what the past the place where everybody by long practice walks right soil their get compacted by everybody walking around and so they get that when the seed falls on the path, that's not where you want the seed to fall. And that's not where the seeds probably going to take root and Sprout because it's hard packed dirt it. It's not broken up. It's not soft. The seed can't stink down and take Route instead. He says a bird comes and picks it up and flies off with it. Right and then he says but there's other seed that falls in among the rocks and it it sprouts up but there's no depth of soil. And since it has no root the Sun comes out and it Withers and he said some of the soil Falls among Weeds. Does anybody want to give a testimony of weeds today? SF enjoy this warmer weather here recently to talk at my house has shifted to gardening Ryan. We started talking. What are we going to plant? When do we start at new etcetera etcetera? But the constant Battle of every Gardener is so we can understand this is easy for us to Picture This seed falling among some weeds where it all Sprouts up. But the weeds eventually just choke it out, which is the story of almost every Garden I've ever grown soiled. It's soft soil is not riddled with weeds not full of rocks and that seed is able to take root and it's able to grow and it produces fruit. It produces what it was intended to do. It made makes more of itself. That's what it's producing if it's a wheat seed that falls in the ground. What's going to come out? What's going to be the fruit wheat, right? You don't plant an apple tree and expect peaches, right we get that. So this is very easy to understand even for those of us who are a little bit more removed from the Agricultural Society, right? We understand this Parable but Jesus, Stops, he tells this Parable to the crowd and then look at verse pin and when he was alone those around him with the 12 and those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. Today said okay we get it. We understand the mechanics of the sewing we understand seed we understand farming we get it. Thank you. Wonderful story. So what? And that's what Jesus expected them to do. He said to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in Parables so that they may indeed see but not perceive. It may indeed hear but not understand less they should turn and be forgiven us really strange thing. So there's a great story and I'll Jesus what's the deal with it? And Jesus says it has a purpose and the purpose is what Jesus says this is important. This is important for you to understand why I'm telling this story before it gets around to explaining it before he gets around to answering her question. He says why he's doing that. Why does he do it? For Jesus the parables are test. They are tests for the hearts of the here. He's wanting to see are those who hear merely going to take this information there. We save the seed of the Gospel. Are they going to take this to just kind of set it on a mantel shelf somewhere? Or is it going to take root in their hearts? Do they merely intellectually understand the mechanics of a good story or is this going to begin to be woven into who they are? They going to be transformed by this? Are they going to be hearing this and kind of Don't get it turn away, or they going to be curious and are they going to seek the answer? That's the question. It's a test and this test divides. All of Jesus's here's into two groups. It divides them into two groups in those two groups. Are those who hear and are intrigued and seek to know more? And those who hear and don't care and walk away. I'm curious and unresponsive to the transformative power of this Parable that Jesus is just told that's the purpose of The Parables used to test the people and Jesus quotes Old Testament scripture. He quotes from Isaiah chapter 6 to make his point and then I heard the voice of the Lord saying whom shall I send and who will go for us then I said here I am send me and you said go and say to the people keep on hearing but do not understand keep on seeing but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people do all their ears heavy and blind their eyes less. They see with their eyes and hear with your ears and understand with their hearts and turn and be healed now. Let me ask you a question. Are the pair is the parable that Jesus is telling producing deafness and blindness or revealing deafness and blindness?

Which one is at work here is Jesus saying I'm going to tell these Parables so that these people who would who would believe me who would believe me and turn to me. I'm going to tell these Parables so that they won't turn to me. So the deal ignore me, is that what Jesus saying? No, he's saying this is the test to see whether or not they are people who can see but can't see and hear but can't hear or whether or not they're people who can see and then pursue understanding who can hear and then seek clarification. That is the points for Jesus. He's not creating deafness. He's not creating blindness in his here's the parables are simply revealing what's already there. You are either curious about the things of God and willing to pursue the questions you have about faith or you're not in the parable serve as a test for your heart for my heart. That's what their function here is their going to begin to shape. The identity of God's kingdom people and really I think that's what Jesus gets to Next in his understanding and in his explanation of these parable. Because only after saying this is why I tell Parables this is why I'm teaching this way to test to reveal blindness and deafness to reveal sight and hearing right the reason I'm doing that. Is very specific. I'm seeking to identify. My people will get into that the second look at verse 13 with me. He said to them to who not to the crowd. But to those who came and said hey, what was the deal about that? He said to them. Do you not understand this Parable how then will you understand all of The Parables? Right? That's why I said this Parable becomes almost interpretive key for the rest of the Parables. Jesus says if you understand this when you're going to be able to grasp the others, if you don't understand this you're going to miss the rest entirely but to those who asked to those who sought an answer he perceives to explain it so that they can understand it. He gives them what they were seeking verse 14 and those and these are the ones along the path where the weirdest song when they hear Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that was sown in the me said some people are so Attuned to the rhythm of their own hearts that they're not open to anything else. Some people are so blinded by their self centeredness that they're never going to see the word. They're never going to hear it. And so it's no sooner is the seed of the word sewn on them. But that it just goes away. It can't sink in. It can't become a part of who they are. Satan takes it away their unresponsive to the gospel. They heard it, but they failed to respond to these are the ones Stone on Rocky ground the ones who when they hear the word they immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while then when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word immediately. They fall away. This is some people going to hear the word and they're going to shout hallelujah. Amen and look for all the world. Like they got it. But the moment of hard time comes they're going to split they're going to be gone. The word didn't really take root in them it produce some excitement, but it did not produce. The longevity the long-suffering that it was intended to it didn't produce anything real that was going to sustain them through trial or difficulty that others received the word the word sound but there are thorns. These are those who hear the word but the cares of the world deceitfulness of riches the desire for other things enter in and choke out the world the word and it proves unfruitful. He says there's going to be some who here receive but who gets so caught up in the things of this world and know what those things are. The he says, the things of this cares of this world there whatever the world cares about the deceitfulness of riches and they want they want to make money and The desire for other things he says these things choke out the word and it fails to produce fruit. But some received the word. And it takes root in them and it transforms them and as a result, they produce fruits what kind of fruit?

disciples some received the word become Disciples of Christ and as they mature they make other disciples of Christ. You don't look two weeks reduce barley. You look at me and say you better produce weeks and that's what it does if we are transformed by the word We Make Disciples. In different degrees according to God's Gift in this with different opportunities. Yes, but we make disciples. That's the point of the parable. Jesus says it's how do you identify? Who's apart of Jesus Kingdom? How do you identify who are actually following Christ? It's not just everybody who hears the gospel. Why is not just everybody who sits in the stadium while Billy Graham or Franklin Graham or one of the other evangelist Greg Laurie preach the gospel. They heard the gospel. So the seed has been sown. So there now in the Kingdom uses. No just hearing the gospel does not Mark you as a member of the king of nor does hearing the gospel and saying amen hallelujah. That does not Mark you as a member of the Kingdom. Because you've got to persevere through trial through difficulty through persecution. If it's to be real by the kingdom if you say yes, I'm in with the kingdom, but you're only focused on the things of this world.

This is know if you want to be identified as my people you're growing in the gospel. The gospel has taken root in you. It's transformed you from the inside so that you are sharing with others and seeing them transformed by it as well. That is the transformation. That is the identification. Why do I say that? Why do I say that? I did he's seeking to identify followers because that's what the context is an important rule when you're reading through the gospels in your in your looking at a parable. What are the key things to make sure you're interpreting it correctly used to look at the immediate context and the immediate context look back at Brewster chapter 3. chapter 3 and verse 31 will read through four. And his mother and his brothers came and standing outside. They sent to him and called him in a crowd was sitting around him and he said you and your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you now, we need to understand the context in which this is happening in this culture. The family was Paramount Your Allegiance to the family of your birth was such that is superseded Your Allegiance to your spouse the bond between a brother and a brother or a sister and a brother was greater than even the relationship they had with their spouse in this culture and especially with the mother the mother of the family the matriarch of the family was somebody who when she called you came. That's the culture that he lives in but Jesus is saying I'm doing something different the culture that is formed in my followers will be a different culture than what exists now. There's all sorts of examples of this from history. But Jesus is doing something different. He answered them verse 33. Who are my mother and brothers and looking around at those who sat around me said here are my mother and my brothers for whoever does the will of God. He is my brother and sister and mother. Jesus is concerned with helping people understand that the primary Allegiance when it comes to the kingdom of God is not the blood family.

It's the family of those who are submitted to Christ. He's helping them understand. This is what it looks like to be a part of the kingdom of God. This is what it looks like to follow me to follow means mean that every other human connection you have is superseded by your connection with the gospel. Who are my mother and brothers those who do? the will of God so this is about identity and then he begins to teach beside the sea. Remember, there's not verse numbers in chapters in the original Book of Mark. So this is not a shih tzu a shift of the chapter breaking like oh, this is something new know. This is not something new. This is still Jesus teaching on the identity of his followers. These parables are all going to serve that same purpose. And so the parable of soils is seeking to say this is who is identified with me. This is my mother my brother my sister. Those who do the will of God those to multiply and receive the word and let it bear fruit in their lives, but he's not done. This is not the only Parable that Jesus was going to tell as he sat in that boat. Right. He said to them is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed. And not on the stand for nothing is hidden except to be made manifest noise anything secret except to come to light if anyone has ears to hear Let Him hear and he said to them pay attention to what you hear with the measure you use it will be measured to you and still more will be added to you or to the one who has more will be given from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away. This is Jesus's answer to the question that we asked earlier and Isaiah was Jesus Parables seeking to create blindness and deafness you said no, right. He says in this Parable he says no the parables are like a lamp. The parables are something that is clearly intended to life the house clearly intended to give spiritual truth to those who hear it. Like we wouldn't blame a housekeeper who readies the guest room and set a lamp on top of the dresser and turns it on for the guess who comes in we would not blame that housekeeper. If the person who came The Guess Who Came was blind and couldn't benefit from the lamp just saying I'm not creating blindness. I'm not trying to hide the truth of the Gospel like a housekeeper my title lamp under a basket that stupid that's pointless know I'm sending this out there. These parables are telling Truth for all to see I can't help it if summer blinds and miss it. So the lamp serves as a pair of the parable here serves to illustrate. Did the point of the story? It's clearly available to any who would see it and who would seek its meaning but it's hidden to those who are already blind. And that's why he says pay attention to what you hear if anyone has ears let him hear pay attention to what you hear. Secrets meaning because as you seek and as you strive to understand what I'm trying to say as this Parable begins to shape you and mold you inform you into a new kind of thing bringing you into this new kind of Kingdom. You'll begin to understand with as you seek. It will be given to you and and more will be given to you. But if you don't seek even little understanding you may have had will be taken away again. It's about identity. It's a parable about identity those who understand the parable are those who are in the Kingdom or seeking the kingdom, they're able to grasp what Jesus is saying he goes on and he gives us another parable. He said in verse 26 the kingdom of God is just as it is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground nicer. He's calling back that image of the sower again, but it's got a different dress this time. 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 and ear but when the grain is ripe at once he puts in the sickle because the Harvest has come in Earthly story, right? We've all seen it we understand what it is for something to be planted something to grow and something to come to fruition. Write this is the garden thing. If you haven't planted a garden like you should try it. You know, I think everybody should enjoy the misery that I face every year.

Write like but we understand the seed goes in and through some sort of process and some of your scientific people you understand that process. But how many of you can make that process happen?

How many of you can look at that seed and say grow? And it grows no, you have no control over it. Once you've done your work of preparing the so I once you planted it as this passage says you can go sleep. And ended work of the seed carries on without your power without your knowledge. It just happens what she's a saying if he is talking about the kingdom of God. He's trying to illustrate something very crucial for us right as those who would join him and telling the truth of the Gospel is those who would join him in lighting the lamp and set it out for all to see by He says you have to understand that you're not able to produce site. You're not able to produce fruit in others. You can't do that. You're like the farmer you throw the seed out there. You can go to bed. And God will take care of the rest and you just wait and watch and see when it's time for Harvest Paul picks up on this image. I think he's I think you might be referring to this particular pair of politics up on this when he says to the Corinthians, he says, hey look, you know, I planted Apollos watered, but God gave the fruit. Right all of us have a role to play in the kingdom of God. All of us have a role to do in making disciples. Some of us are tellers some of us are doors. Right? Some of us our prayers some of us are Reaper. So everybody has a role to play in the Kingdom, but we need understand we don't make it grow. God makes it grow God brings the fruits because in the first Parable that he told us we can say what I want to be one who produces 34 folder a hundred fold. And so we just go out and we start trying to browbeat people into following Jesus so that we can have some fruit. Jesus has no. You be faithful to share you be faithful to harvest you. Let me take care of the things in between. I'm going to make the seed of the Kingdom grow in the people that it takes root in right? That's God's work rhythms of our life. Right. We all want to be the home run hitter. Write I want to do great things for God. What is God is just saying you know, what love your family well. Love your church. Well read the word with them hang out pray together and let me take care of the fruits. I think that's what he is saying it is we do just the regular rhythms of Life as we work in as we sleep we can have confidence that God is at work and will wake up one day and it's Harvest Time. There's a board out in the hall that everybody walks through when they come in the front doors says pray share and disciple and if you're new here, you may not know what that's about. If you've been here for a while you may have forgotten about it. These are names up on that board that we're praying for opportunity to share the gospel that we're sharing the gospel with and that we're discipling as they come to Faith, right? We need to recognize that we can pray for them and go to sleep. The God doesn't need us worrying about the names on the on that board. We can share with them. And be okay if they don't respond immediately why? Because it's just the regular rhythm of our life. Obey Jesus do what we've got to do and go to sleep and let God do the work. So he's Parables the lamp under the basket this parable of the soils that the parable here of the seed growing the sower sleeping. They're meant to form in US is understanding of what God is doing in the Kingdom demented show how it is that God is shaping this world moving in his church and establishing his kingdom and then he ends with a final Parable in 30 through 32. And he said with what can we compare the kingdom of God or what Parable shall we use for it? He said it's like a grain of mustard seed which wind is sewn on the ground is the smallest of all seeds on Earth yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and put that large branches so that the birds of the air can make a nest in its shade. He says what's the kingdom of God like a parable should I use to illustrate this king of the talking about how you're identified with it. I've been talking about who does the work in and I've been talking about your responsibilities. What is the kingdom he says this is the kingdom. It's something tiny. It's something miniscule so easy to overlook. The Winner Takes roots It's massive when it takes root. It's huge. It's all utterly out of proportion to its beginning right in the end. That is the kingdom of God the kingdom of God. Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God saying the kingdom of God is at hand. You know, when the kingdom of God is first scene. It seemed just in that little circle. Of his disciple saying what do you talk about? Right, when you look at the who was called as the disciples. Do you have a great deal of confidence for this movement going forward these people who are fighting about who gets to lead and who's the most important these people who miss the most obvious statements of Jesus. I'm going to Jerusalem to die. Say what were the Jerusalem Crown use king suite right? They missed it all along the way they missed it and yet from that very humble beginning. What results the kingdom of God the kingdom of God that Anthony and can't and I had an opportunity to go and rejoice with brothers and sisters living in that same Kingdom, even though we live in utterly different cultures and different places part of the same Kingdom a kingdom that stretches from Ecuador to Utah would be considered a massive geopolitical Kingdom and yet the kingdom of God is much greater than that. Because they are churches in China and there are churches in Kenya and there are churches in Ukraine and there are churches all over this world. Each of them an outpost of the kingdom of God which started with just this tiny tiny little seed of a group of guys who and women and men who in Jesus talk. They said run that by me one more time. I'm curious about what you're talking about your Jesus. There's something in what you're saying that resonates deep inside of me. And they began to look different they begin to act different. Jesus dies and then he rises from the dead in this little this little seed of the kingdom is set on fire.

And it grows and it grows and it grows and it never fails the kingdom never fails. Jesus said I will establish my church and the Gates of Hell will never succeed against it. The kingdom doesn't fail. It didn't fail when Jesus left. It was only getting started. It didn't fail when the apostles died. It was just then starting to pick up steam. It didn't fail when it moved into Europe. It didn't fail when it moved into North America, but it didn't stop there either. It just kept going. What are the coolest things that came out of Ecuador was this awareness in me that I knew intellectually, but I really got to see it lived out. We were talking with these members of the Ecuadorian Church. And one of them said, you know. I'm a missionary. and then I was sent to a country that the United States can't send missionaries to American can't even get a visa to enter this country and yet I could just get off a plane and walk in because of an agreement they have with my government. And there are times Church where I just wring my hands and I worry about the fate of Christianity because I just get looking at the American Church. So Dan had to talk me down off of ledge when I first got back. Because I was like there were 80 people that showed up every night for four hours of teaching 80 people that showed up for four hours of teaching for 5 days. And most of them came back on Saturday for five more hours at 25 hours a week. That's a part-time job and they were coming from 6 in the evening till 10 at night. They were coming after they had already worked all day. And I said man, we schedule a prayer meeting. Would you like two people to show up? I've been reading my hands and then like oh man the American Church, we're so weak or so we can we don't pray. We don't we don't love one another. Well, we're not sharing the gospel. We're not going out. And God reminded me. You can go to sleep now. Because the kingdom is so much bigger than your vision of it or what you see happening around you and I'm calling missionaries from Ecuador to go to the Middle East and I'm calling missionaries from other South American countries to go to countries. You can't even dream of visiting Brandon. God's work is not bound by these four walls God's work is not small enough for it to fit inside. My little brain God's work has grown into something that is encompassing all of creation. The Parables did Jesus give us our mint to open our eyes to this wider Glory open our eyes to the fact that we are not that the end of faith that we are not the point of the Gospel that we are not the one who God was just waiting for would you please come into the kingdom? That's not it. When we enter the kingdom. We enter something bigger than us in The Parables point us to that larger reality and they invited us to fill our minds with these stories to change the way that we think about the work of God in this world and to be transformed by it so that we can join God and what he's doing not and what we want him to do so that we can actually be a part of something bigger than ourselves instead of using the things of God to merely be a platform for us. Because we like going to church. We like singing those songs. We like hanging out with those people. That's great. That's not enough and The Parables point is to the fact that we're part of something that supersedes our Concepts that supersedes our heart and it is going to change the world. So my challenge to you as we look just at these Parables my challenge to you as your reading through the gospels you read other Parables is to let these stories

they're so easy to understand from the Earthly perspective, but to grasp and to seek the spiritual point of them to let them challenge your face. To check your heart against them in to let them produce Christ in you. Let them be with their intended to be a test testing your heart inviting you into Christ Kingdom for his glory. Let's pray.

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