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Matthew 13:31-32

Kingdom Growth

31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

The parable of the wheat and the tares taught the disciples that the kingdom of heaven would not be ushered in by a great political upheaval and judgment of God's enemies. Judgment was reserved for the final days. If you were in the disciples' place, wouldn't you have wondered what you were doing there? Wouldn't you have been asking yourself, "What will happen to us?"

The next two parables were given to the disciples as a lesson on kingdom growth and as an encouragement to them. They are very similar in their meaning and intent.

In the text before us, Jesus continued the agricultural theme, saying that, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed..." The mustard seed was not the smallest seed in that part of the world, but it was probably the smallest used for agricultural purposes. The mustard plant was considered to be an herb, but grew to be up to ten feet tall. Jesus used it to illustrate the humble beginnings of His kingdom on earth.

The kingdom of God would begin with one man, Jesus Christ, who would select twelve disciples and gather another hundred and twenty through His teaching efforts. This was a very small group without political or military strength. A single mustard seed cast to the ground would seem like a very insignificant thing. Jesus and His handful of disciples would also seem insignificant compared to the millions of others in the world.

The good news for the disciples was that the kingdom of heaven would grow to greatness among all nations of the earth. The mustard plant became the largest of the herbs in the garden and it was a strong refuge where the birds could perch. Scripture frequently compares the saints to birds, eagles, doves, sparrows and others. Indeed, the saints will gather in the branches of the kingdom of heaven, depending on its shelter and support from the surrounding dangers. It is there that we shall finally find our Sabbath rest.

In today's postmodern and post-Christian society, it is easy for God's workers to feel very small and insignificant. We might wonder why we have to be out there doing evangelism all alone or in very small numbers, but we must remember that the kingdom now numbers many millions of people. The population of the earth has grown faster than that of the kingdom, but there is no greater kingdom on the earth than the New Testament church.

Our task is no different than that of the disciples. We must continue faithfully in God's work and trust that the kingdom will continue to grow and that Jesus will soon return to claim it. How many people have you brought into it this week? This month? This year? I have been told that a very large number of Baptist churches have gone a full two years without baptizing a single new believer. These people have lost the vision of the mustard seed. They have given in to the pressures of the world. They have begun to believe in their own insignificance.

Jesus gave us a vision of greatness and strength. You play a part in that vision. Your testimony, your faithfulness, and your display of love for the less fortunate are all part of the kingdom growth. God built Israel into a great kingdom as evidence of what He will do with His church.

Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. (Psalm 80:8-11)

God's kingdom is growing in the same manner. Today, there is not a place on earth where the gospel cannot reach. Come and be a part of the victory. Spread the gospel everywhere.

Before The Throne:

Pray that God would increase your vision for His kingdom. Ask Him to let you see how rapidly it is growing and what your part in that growth can be. Offer yourself a living sacrifice to Him as a commitment to kingdom growth. Pray for your church's outreach and growth.

For Further Study:

** put. Luke 19:11; Luke 20:9; ** The kingdom. Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19;

(v.32) ** the least. Ps 72:16-19; Isa 2:2-4; Ezek 47:1-5; Dan 2:34-35, 44-45; Mic 4:1-3; Zech 4:10; Zech 8:20-23; Zech 14:7-10; Acts 1:15; Acts 21:20; Rom 15:18-19; Rev 11:15; ** so that. Ezek 17:23-24; Ezek 31:6; Dan 4:12;


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