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.