Sermon Transcript – How the Kingdom of God Grows

Series B – Third Sunday After Pentecost – Sunday, June 14, 2015 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:22The holy Gospel
0:30According to Saint Mark Chapter 4 verses 26-34
0:35Jesus also said this is what the kingdom of God is like a man scatters seed on
0:42the ground night and day whether he sleeps or gets up the seed sprouts and grows though he does not know how all by
0:49itself the soil produces grain first the stock then the head then the full kernel
0:56in the head and as soon as the grain is ripe he puts the sickle to it because the Harvest has come
1:02again he said what shall we say the kingdom of God is like or what Parable
1:07shall we use to describe it well it’s like a mustard seed which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground
1:13yet when planted it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants with
1:18such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade with many similar Parables Jesus spoke the word to
1:25them as much as they could understand he did not say anything to them without using a parable but when he was alone
1:32with his own disciples he explained everything in the name of Jesus
1:38mm-hmm with many such Parables Jesus spoke the word to them as they were able to hear
1:44it he did not speak to them without a parable but privately to his own disciples he explained everything
1:50now in order to understand part of the reason why Jesus spoke in Parables you
1:56have to remember the sermon from last week remember last week Jesus was healing people and the
2:02Pharisees and scribes from headquarters came down and said oh he’s doing that by the power of the Devil by the power of
2:09be eligible he’s casting out demons so notice that Jesus’s Ministry his message
2:15is meeting stiff opposition and so Jesus begins to speak in Parables and there’s
2:22a big misconception today and actually a false teaching if you would Regarding why Jesus spoke in Parables there are
2:29some Churches today who during the summer season what they do is they actually preach through popular movies
2:35no joke it’s a weird thing that’s going on in evangelicalism and these pastors when they give the reason as to why they
2:43do it they say well Jesus spoke in Parables and the reason Jesus spoke in Parables is because he was trying to
2:48appeal to the broader culture and tell them things in language that they would understand but that’s not why Jesus told
2:54parables in fact in Our Gospel the gospel of Mark Chapter 4 verses 10
3:00through 12. here’s what it says and when he was alone those around him the twelve
3:05asked him about The Parables basically the disciples said what’s the deal here why did you start preaching in Parables
3:11nobody understands what you’re saying and so Jesus said to them to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of
3:17God but to those outside everything is in Parables so that they may indeed see
3:23but not perceive that they may indeed hear and not understand lest they should
3:28turn and be forgiven so in part Jesus spoke Parables as a
3:34judgment against those who were persecuting him and literally you know
3:39saying that his ministry was demonic so he still preached but he preached in Parables so that they wouldn’t
3:45understand and so that they wouldn’t be forgiven something to keep in mind when we look
3:51at The Parables but we as Christians understand this the gospel writers write
3:57in such a way that we are privy to the inside information of the Inner Circle
4:02we are given the understanding of The Parables we are disciples along with
4:09them Jesus Is discipling Us the same way he discipled them with the same words with the same Parables with the same
4:15Miracles the only difference is is that we’re not eyewitnesses to these things we’re relying on the eyewitnesses to
4:22convey these things to us so we are being discipled along with the disciples and so with that we’re going to look at
4:28the first Parable that Jesus tells in Our Gospel text and I’m going to read it from the ESV
4:33here’s what it says and Jesus said the kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground he sleeps and
4:40Rises night and day and the seed sprouts and grows and he knows not how the Earth
4:47produces this all by itself first the blade then the ear then the full grain in the ear but when the grain is ripe at
4:53once he puts in the sickle because the Harvest has come so notice here the kingdom of God well
5:00it’s like a farmer now remember this is first century farming okay they didn’t
5:06have red or green tractors they didn’t have any of those things instead they would broadcast see you know they would
5:13take the seed and they would broadcast and put it on the soil that’s how it would be sown and the farmers in those
5:19days didn’t have the well 21st century science to explain to them how a seed
5:25operates all they knew is that I’ve got this thing I put it in the ground broadcast it and then all by itself
5:34stuff come you know happens right and so it’s kind of like that with the kingdom
5:40of God so we’re talking about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God well it grows in
5:46ways that we’re not exactly sure how it has something to do with seeds but seeds are the metaphor and the
5:53question is what is the seed the seed is the word of God the proclamation of the gospel and so what Jesus here is telling
6:01the disciples is something pertaining to what would become their Apostolic
6:06Ministry understand the kingdom of God grows in this way you don’t know how it works mechanically yeah I couldn’t
6:13explain it to you but I do know that when you preach the word of God
6:18the kingdom of God grows all by itself and it’s like a seed this is what Jesus
6:24is saying and so let me give you an example of this we’re going to look at a little bit of cross-referencing and here’s the idea scripture interprets
6:31scripture so we’re going to look at First Corinthians chapter 3 verses 1 through 11. and what I’m going to do is
6:37I’m going to point out by way of kind of an interesting cross-reference how this plays out the Apostle Paul understood
6:45this very well and if you know the background of the the Epistle of First Corinthians the Corinthian Church
6:52had issues and I’m being very polite Corinth was kind of like modern day Las
6:59Vegas okay and the church there well they had some struggles and there was
7:05all kinds of problems and so this is a letter written to correct some of the ways in which the Corinthian
7:11Church went off the rails and the funny thing is is that they went off the rails in that direction this direction this
7:17direction and the other direction too they were all over the place and so the the letter itself seeks to correct a few
7:24things but let’s take a look at this where Paul is correcting them because the Corinthian Church
7:30was engaging in what we call today kind of a cult of personality so if you if
7:36you know anybody who says oh you know I just love XYZ Pastor I you know oh he’s
7:42he hung the moon he can’t do anything wrong they might have a bad view of a pastor and you know to the point where
7:49they need to be corrected and understand that all pastors they’re servants and so this is what Paul is correcting kind of
7:54this cult of personality but back then the cult of personality did include guys like Rick Warren or Mark Driscoll or
8:00people like that it included well the Apostle Paul Peter Apollos you know big
8:05names that we find in our Bible and so here’s what Paul writes to the church at Corinth First Corinthians 3 verse 1. but
8:12I Brothers while I could not address you as spiritual people but instead as people of the flesh as
8:18infants in Christ so this is a sign of immaturity you know Cult of Personality immaturity he says I fed you with milk
8:25not solid food for you were not ready for it and even now you’re not yet ready for you still are of the flesh for while
8:32there is jealousy and strife among you are you not of the Flesh and behaving only in a human way for when one says I
8:39follow Paul another says well I follow Apollos are you not being merely human
8:47so let’s make this clear Paul is correcting something here and he’s one of the guys who they’re saying oh I
8:53follow Paul Paul could have easily said well of course they do yeah I’m the Apostle Paul but no he doesn’t do this
8:59and there’s a reason why because Paul understands that he’s an office holder in Christ Church and it’s all about
9:04Jesus so then Paul asked this question so what then is Apollos what is Paul
9:11I like the fact that he says What Not Who it’s a little degrading what then is
9:17Apollos what then is Paul servants through whom you believed and there’s
9:23the important word servants pastors Apostles prophets teachers they
9:32are not rulers they’re servants they are servants through whom you
9:38believed as the Lord assigned to each I planted Apollos watered but God gave the
9:46growth who is the one getting all the credit not paulus now Paul is not Paul God is
9:52because God is the one who brings the growth how does he do it yeah I don’t know I have no clue how the Mechanics
9:59Work but what did Paul do Paul was a missionary he would go out and he would preach the word that’s what
10:06he would do he would broadcast the seed of the word of God and somehow some of
10:12the seed would take root and it would grow and people would be brought to penance and faith in Christ and no
10:17sooner does Paul establish a church well he brings in Elders or pastors and they come in and they water those seeds and
10:24the seeds grow you know the plants grow and mature and then they produce a crop in other words they reproduce other
10:31Christians that’s kind of the idea of what’s going on here so let’s read a little bit more so neither he who plants
10:36nor he who Waters is anything you got that okay pastors Apostles yeah they’re just
10:45think of us as slaves that’s what we are we’re slaves we’re servants all right
10:50we’re not anything but it’s God who gives the growth he who plants and he who waters are one and each will receive
10:56his wages according to his labor for we are God’s fellow workers and you are God’s field God’s Building according to
11:04the grace of God given to me like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation and someone else is building
11:09on it let each one take care then how he builds upon it for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid
11:15which is Christ Jesus Jesus is the foundation it’s all about him so let’s
11:20take a look at then this idea you know the kingdom of God is like seed you know let’s take a look and see what this
11:27looks like in action Paul has explained it to the Corinthian Church he’s nothing he’s a servant he plants in other waters
11:33well let’s see what that planting looks like so that we can see how the seed is cast if you would or if you know put
11:39planted in the soil flip over to Acts chapter 13. we’re going to start at verse 13 and
11:46Paul is on one of his missionary Journeys and he’s going to come to the city of Antioch of pasidia you know
11:55there’s a couple of cities in the Mediterranean named Antioch this one is in pasidia if you don’t know where
12:00pasidia was it’s no longer called that but Cydia is in modern day Turkey in
12:06Asia Minor and it’s part of the region of galatia so keep that in mind here’s
12:12what it says starting at verse 13 of chapter 13. now Paul and his companions they set sail from Pathos and came to
12:19perga and pamphilia John left them and returned to Jerusalem but they went on
12:25from perga and came to Antioch in presidia and on the Sabbath day they
12:30went into the synagogue and they sat down now this is where much of evangelism took place in the first
12:36century because the people who were Jews they were familiar with the Old
12:42Testament scriptures and as a result of that they were the ones who were anticipating and waiting for the Messiah
12:49to arrive and so Paul would always go to the synagogue first and preach them and
12:54watch what he does so after reading from the law on the prophets the rulers of the synagogue
12:59sent a message to them saying Brothers if you have any word of encouragement for the people say it so Paul stood up
13:07motioning with his hands he said men of Israel and you who fear God now real
13:12quick little note here when it says you who fear God that isn’t as technically a title The
13:19God fears now if you don’t know who the god-fearers were God fears were Gentiles
13:24who were studying to become Jews so if you were a God-fearing man you were a
13:31gentile who was listening and being catechized into the Torah but you were not yet circumcised and seen as a
13:37full-blown member of the Jewish community so when you read the book of Acts and you hear about some this guy was a man who feared God that is a
13:45technical term as a title referring to the fact that he’s a gentile who’s studying to become a Jew does that make
13:51sense so these are your adult catechumens if you would into Judaism so men of Israel and you who fear God
13:57listen the God of this People Israel chose our fathers and made the people
14:03great during their stay in the land of Egypt and with uplifted arm he led them out of it and for about 40 years he put
14:10up with them in the wilderness that is an understatement and after destroying Seven Nations in the land of Canaan he
14:16gave them their land as an inheritance and this took about 450 years and after
14:21that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet and then he asked for and then they asked for a king and God gave
14:27them Saul the son of Kish a man of the tribe of Benjamin for 40 years and when he had removed him he raised up David to
14:33be their king of whom he testified and said I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart who will do
14:41all my will of this man’s Offspring God has brought to Israel a savior Jesus as
14:48he has promised before his coming John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel and as John
14:55was finishing his course he said what do you suppose that I am I am not he but behold after me is one one is coming the
15:04sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie so notice what Paul is doing here he’s preaching the word and he’s doing
15:11so by summarizing the the grand sweep of the Old Testament reminding them
15:17brothers you know all of these things because you’ve heard these things written in the Torah and the prophets
15:22and so he’s reminding them of God’s promise and now he’s declaring that God has kept his promise he’s fulfilled it
15:29by sending a savior so here’s what he says Brothers sons of the family of Abraham
15:35and those among you who fear God remember who the fear of God people are right to us has been sent the message of
15:42this salvation for those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers because they did not recognize him nor understand the
15:49utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath fulfilled them by condemning him and though they found in
15:55him no guilt worthy of death they asked pilate to have him executed and when they had carried out all that was
16:02written of him they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb but God raised him from the dead and for many
16:08days he appeared to those who had come up with him From Galilee to Jerusalem who are now his witnesses to these to
16:15the people and we bring you the good news that what God had promised to the fathers this he is fulfilled to us their
16:23children by raising Jesus as also what is written in the second Psalm you are
16:28my son today I have begotten you and as for the fact that he raised him for from the dead no more to return to corruption
16:35he has spoken in this way I will give you the holy and sure blessing of David therefore he says also in another Psalm
16:41you will not let your Holy One see corruption we’ll pause here again this sermon of Paul’s is just chock full of
16:50scripture now notice what Paul is not doing Paul is not giving his personal
16:55testimony not talking about lives being transformed or anything like that he’s
17:00proclaiming Christ and he’s planting the seed of the word of God how does the
17:07kingdom of God grow it grows through the preaching of the word and and the preaching of Christ and the preaching of
17:14him crucified and risen and it comes with the preaching of the Forgiveness of sins and so we’ll see this now as we
17:21move on move on so he’s talked about Christ’s resurrection and death and here’s what he says for David after he
17:27had served the purpose of God and his own generation fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption but
17:33we whom God raised up did not see corruption so let it be known to you therefore brothers that through this man
17:40the Forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you and to and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything which
17:47you could not be freed by the law of Moses wow
17:52did you catch that through Jesus is proclaimed to you the Forgiveness of sins
17:59and so brothers and sisters let us keep this in mind that as we share the gospel
18:06with our friends and neighbors those who live in Grand Forks Oslo Alvarado Warren
18:13don’t expect them to become Believers in Jesus Christ if you’re not telling them
18:18the scriptures if you’re not telling them of Christ and him crucified for their sins tell them about Jesus not you
18:25but Jesus tell them about Jesus and what he has done for them because that’s the
18:30seed if you don’t plant the seed you’ll never get a harvest I don’t know any Farmers
18:36around here who come the fall expect to see a harvest in their fields if they
18:42haven’t first planted the seed in the spring does that make sense so in the same way the kingdom of God does not
18:47grow if you do not preach Christ that’s the seed preach him tell them of the
18:53Forgiveness of sins tell them of what a wonderful savior that they have tell them of their sin and their need for
18:59this savior this is what Paul did and I’m going to point something out to you here notice how he ends this sermon he
19:07does not end it with an altar call watch what he does
19:13we continue beware therefore lest what is said in
19:19the prophets should come about he ends his sermon with a warning
19:24look you scoffers be astounded in perished for I am doing a work in your days a work that you would not believe
19:30even if one tells you as they went out the people begged that they that these
19:35things might be told to them again on the next Sabbath so notice he doesn’t end with an altar call he proclaims
19:41Christ and he warns them of unbelief don’t let this passage of scripture
19:46written in the prophets be fulfilled about you look you scoffers be astounded and perished for I am doing a work in
19:53your days a work that you will not believe even if someone tells you so he ends with a warning kind of leaves off
19:59with like you’ve been told repent believe don’t
20:05continue to persistence in an unbelief and scoff at this message that’s how he ends and so with that some beg
20:13that they might hear more of these things in the next Sabbath sounds to me like
20:19some of the seed is already starting to take root and after the meeting of the synagogue broke up many Jews and devout
20:25converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas who as they spoke with them urged them to continue in the grace so
20:32notice some of these people hearing this are going ah this is great news the Messiah has come we are getting great
20:38news and they see it as that so the next Sabbath NOW Watch What Happens here so into the next Saturday almost the
20:45whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord become a big deal but when the Jews saw
20:51the crowds they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul and were violing him
21:01to which we say ufta right
21:06that’s not good so they began to revile Paul and Paul
21:11and Barnabas they spoke out boldly saying it was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you
21:17since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves Unworthy of eternal life behold we are turning to the Gentiles
21:23notice what Paul did not do all right well maybe what we need to do is adjust the message here we need go back to the
21:29drawing board I mean clearly the this message is offensive so what we got to do is we need to make it less offensive
21:36he didn’t do that it’s this is the good news we’re
21:42proclaiming Christ repent believe be forgiven and there is no other message
21:48can’t change it you don’t like it the problems with you not the gospel
21:54and so Paul doesn’t sit there and say okay gotta go back to the drawing board maybe if we have a carnival you know and
22:00you know put in a water slide or you know at the baptismal fund because people come down the water slide and we can have a confetti cannon you know
22:06maybe that’ll get him right that he’s not thinking this way no instead he basically is all he
22:13follows Jesus’s directive when you preach the gospel and somebody refuses to believe persists in sin and reviles
22:20you what did Jesus say to do Shake the Dust off your feet
22:26so he says this since you thrust aside and judge yourselves Unworthy of eternal life
22:32behold we’re going to turn to the Gentiles for so the Lord has commanded us saying
22:38I have made you a light to the Gentiles so that you may bring Salvation to the ends of the Earth and when the Gentiles
22:43heard this they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord and as many as were appointed to eternal life
22:49believed and the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region but the Jews incited The Devout women of
22:56high standing and Leading Men of the city and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and they drove them
23:01out of their District but they shook the dust off their feet against them and then went to Iconium
23:08and the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit
23:13so by the way this kind of farming planting this seed could get you in a
23:20lot of trouble could get you in a lot of trouble but we are to not love our own lives
23:27because the one who loses his life will gain it Christ says so Paul never let the fact that there was persecution and
23:33those who reviled him keep him from casting out the seed of the word of God and proclaiming Christ he never
23:40compromised the message never changed the method because the method doesn’t change the kingdom of God Grows by
23:47planting the seed of the word of God and you don’t want one of those you know how nowadays they have seed that is
23:54genetically altered you don’t you cannot genetically alter the seed of the word of God
24:00it’ll create some kind of a mutant that isn’t a real Christian so you plant the real thing
24:07this is what you do and so Paul you know he experienced persecution but there was
24:13a fledgling Church there and so we read in the next chapter Acts chapter 14 19-23 Paul is in the city of lystra and
24:22in the city of lystra Paul actually healed somebody and the pagans in the
24:28city thought that he was one of the you know Greco-Roman gods in the flesh because they had performed a miracle
24:35well he explained to them no no we’re men just like you and of course the Jews who didn’t like Paul at this time
24:42incited the mob there the the mob was they wanted to worship an out for
24:47sacrifices to Paul and when they stop them the Jews kind of stirred them up and so they decided to
24:54Stone him instead so this is kind of where we pick up and we’ll see what happens regarding Antioch
25:00presidia because it’s mentioned again here so in we’re in lystra but the Jews came from Antioch that would be Antioch
25:06presidium and Iconium and having persuaded the crowds they stoned Paul
25:12and dragged him out of the city supposing that he was dead that had to hurt by the way but when the disciples
25:18gather around about him he rose up and entered the city on the next day and went on with Barnabas to Derby and when
25:24they had preached the gospel to that City and had made disciples they returned to lystra and to Iconium and to
25:30Antioch so notice he goes back to Antioch and why did they do that to strengthen the souls of the disciples
25:36encouraging them to continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom
25:43of God and when they had appointed Elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting they committed them
25:49to the Lord in whom they had believed so what did they do they went back to Antioch appointed Elders you can say
25:56pastors and these pastors then what Paul planted these pastors watered and you know what
26:03happened the church grew and if you look in the center of your Bulletin
26:08in the center of your bulletin there’s a photograph and it’s a photograph of what
26:13remains of the ruined now church because nobody lives there anymore the church of Saint Paul at Antioch of pasidia this
26:21was a church built during the Byzantine era and the building was constructed by the church that was originally planted
26:28by the Apostle Paul now if you think back and you look back on the wall out there in the fellowship hall there
26:36is a photograph of bursvend Anderson
26:43he’s the Apostle Paul of this church of this congregation that’s who he is
26:50he’s the one who preached the word planted the seeds of the word of God and
26:56they grew and the pastors that followed him were the ones who watered and built them up right and I’m just one of a line
27:04of Servants of this congregation but here in our photograph the Apostle Paul is the one who originally planted that
27:10church and they eventually had the funds to build a congregation a pretty nice facility if you would for the day and
27:18this is interesting recent excavations have revealed a first century building underneath the church
27:25which was which has been identified as the synagogue that was there so the synagogue where Paul preached in
27:33Antioch of basidia where eventually he that was where the rabble you know those
27:38who persisted in sin and unbelief kind of drove him out and some of those Jews
27:43from that same synagogue they traveled to lystra and stirred up the crowd against Paul and had him stoned there
27:50the people who were of that synagogue you know what happened to that synagogue it died
27:58and the church thrived and what ended up happening is is that on the same site where that synagogue
28:04was is where this church was erected fascinating story from history
28:10but again we’re all talking today we’re talking about the seed of the word of
28:15God so let’s come back to Jesus’s words Jesus said the kingdom of God is as if a
28:21man should scatter seed on the ground he sleeps and Rises night and day
28:27the seed sprouts and grows he knows not how and so the kingdom of God is like that
28:33and here’s remember what Paul said in our letter to the Corinthians that we
28:38are all fellow workers with God in his sovereignty has chosen that the
28:47means by which the kingdom grows is through the word of God but not just the word of God Alone the word of God in the
28:54mouths of human beings sinful humans like me and like you and he promises God promises to reward
29:02us and yet Paul said he who plants and he who Waters is nothing
29:07it’s God who brings the increase and so God is so rich in Mercy and Grace that
29:14he has permitted us human beings not angels to preach the word Angels don’t come down from heaven and preach the
29:21word of God and people are brought dependent in faith it’s sinful humans like me and like you and although the
29:26scripture says we’re nothing and it’s God who brings the increase still God in his Mercy rewards us
29:35for being his fellow workers this is what we call Grace upon Grace
29:41and so the idea is this brothers and sisters let us keep this in mind we all desire
29:47for the kingdom of God to grow and notice I didn’t say Kong’s finger I said
29:53for the kingdom of God the kingdom of God grows when we tell
29:58people the good news about Jesus Christ you and I all of us have the privilege
30:06to be able to spread the seed of the word of God to Proclaim Christ in him
30:12crucified and risen from the grave and proclaim the Forgiveness of sins that we so desperately cling to to those around
30:19us and they do need to hear it and so you want to know how somebody becomes a
30:25Christian it’s not by your cleverness it’s not by your great argumentation
30:30it’s not by your subtleties or Shenanigans or well or even by a church
30:35this clever marketing campaigns and things like that the kingdom of God grows
30:41when people like me and like you preach Christ
30:46so let us do that for the sake of our neighbor so that those who are appointed to
30:52eternal life may be brought to penitent faith in Jesus and that we can be fellow workers with God although that seems
31:00like being unequally yoked does it not I’m going to keep this in mind he’s
31:05given us his word he’s the one who does the saving he’s the one who does the regenerating he does all the heavy
31:10lifting and he has allowed us allowed us the privilege of preaching
31:16the Good News so let us do that let us do that and we know the God who
31:22never lies he will someday reward us too for telling people the good news and
31:28spreading the seed of the word of God by which the kingdom grows in the name of Jesus Amen
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