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The Kingdom Experience

07.02.17 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Pit Stain Sunday
    09.24.17 49m 05s
  2. It Is Finished
    09.17.17 46m 42s
  3. Are you Mary or Judas?
    09.10.17 47m 00s
  4. Jesus Wins the Apocalypse
    09.03.17 47m 12s
  5. Whose Image Is On You
    08.27.17 44m 16s
  6. Hope in the Streets
    08.20.17 38m 21s
  7. The Foundation of Our Convictions
    08.13.17 48m 52s
  8. Transfigured by His Glory
    07.30.17 43m 51s
  9. Bearing Your Cross
    07.23.17 51m 30s
  10. More Than Loaves and Fish
    07.16.17 42m 23s
  11. The Holy Spirit
    07.09.17 38m 36s
  12. The Kingdom Experience
    07.02.17 40m 11s
  13. Your Invitation to Follow
    06.25.17 48m 41s
  14. Liar, Lunatic, or Lord
    06.18.17 41m 51s
  15. What’s in the name?
    06.11.17 33m 15s
  16. Kesher Me Outside
    06.04.17 45m 14s

The Kingdom Experience

07.02.17 Nathaniel Wall The Genius of Jesus Series

I’m going to invite you to turn to the book of Mark together. I’m so glad you’re here with us to worship this morning in our series that we have been going through together on the book of Mark called the “Genius of Jesus.” The reason that we’re going through the series together is because the world has a lot of different opinions on who Christ is. Individuals in this world have a lot of different opinions on who Christ is, but we are just coming to this text, desiring to know Christ as he desires to make himself known in our lives.

So we want to look at the text, we want to look at the words of Jesus and we want to acknowledge exactly what Christ says and just pursue that with our lives. And so I believe what God wants to do in you and through you through this hour that we’ve got gathered together here for worship is really the most important thing in our week.

We think of all the information, all the things that try to speak in our lives all week long to grab our attention. The most important thing in all of it is God’s word because God’s word defines who we are and why we do what we do. What on earth are we doing here and where in the world are we going? When we allow God to impress upon us the the truth of his word, it gives us direction, purpose, and meaning as people.

If you want to turn to the book of Mark and follow along, we’re going to look at some portions of scripture from chapter three and chapter four this morning. If you’re just now joining us, I want you to know that in the series together we put these online, the first two weeks of this series really define the outline for what we are going to accomplish together.

This text of scripture is demonstrating to us the significance of who God is and really the kingdom that he represents. That kingdom wasn’t just for the time of Jesus. It transpires beyond the people of Israel and to the people throughout the world at the time and even to us today. What we see in Mark chapter one and on, it’s the declaration of the kingdom. Jesus came declaring that all the way to verse 15 of Mark. We see Jesus’ first statement about his kingdom, the father’s statement about the kingdom, John the Baptist statement about the kingdom, Mark who writes the gospel of Mark, statement about the kingdom, all in the first 15 verses.

So there’s the declaration, then there’s the demonstration, and then we have the invitation to come follow him. I would think of more “uns,” but three are good. Declaration, the demonstration, the invitation for us to follow after the Lord. And he invites us in our lives. He meets us where we are. We’ve seen that in the stories that Jesus has shared in just the first couple of chapters.

It made religious leaders mad because they of course have made themselves the most lovable. Therefore, God loves them beyond any one else. But we find out that the religious people are exactly the ones Jesus didn’t come for. It tells us he came for those that need a physician. He told us that of Mark 3. He came for those that need a physician. Unless you see your need for Jesus, Jesus will be useless for you, but God help our soul if we don’t recognize how needful we are for Jesus.

God would not have come to this world, God would not have given up his life. God would not have been crucified on the cross unless there was a significant purpose for his coming into this world. That purpose we talked about in forgiveness. That the thing that marks Christianity different than any religion in the world is the grace of God demonstrated through the forgiveness of God. Where Jesus comes into our lives, gives himself for us that we could receive him and be reconciled in our relationship with God.

Now we’re going to talk a little bit about that next week when we look at Mark 3, you’ll see this passage we’re going to skip over. It’s called blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I can just tell you, if you can go throughout this week, just don’t do that. Don’t do blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It tells us in this text, it’s the one sin that’s an unforgivable. Now you get the freak out all week long. What is that? You better come next week. But it’s important to know what blasphemy of the Holy spirit is.

But the thing that that marks Christianity as unique is that forgiveness and grace of God. God didn’t call us to religion, God calls us to relationship. And that forgiveness is necessary to experience the health and relationship and you know that in every relationship you experienced in life. Because at some point the closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to disappoint them. But the forgiveness brings the healing of reconciliation to enjoy one another.

That’s what this kingdom represents. Jesus is not here for the religious. Jesus is here for those that acknowledge how desperate they are with for him. God desires to reconcile you to him because he created you for relationship in him, which is why what we do this morning is so important.

When you look at that experience on the screen, 1 Peter 3, the way that he describes it, he says this, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts and Lord is acknowledging he’s a King in his kingdom. Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you with gentleness and reverence.

It’s saying in our lives, when we acknowledge what Jesus is here for, that he’s Lord and Savior, that what it gives us as people is hope, and we find purpose beyond today. And it’s telling us to share that with others. When people see that the hope that you have in living this life, that this world isn’t all there is and and you’ve got such joy and anticipation and all that’s to come, why is that?

Well, it tells you to be ready to just share that with someone else. To share the hope of that. And I loved the way that it tells us to do it with gentleness and reverence. When someone is seeking out what brings joy in the life of the believer and the hope that you have as an individual, they are acknowledging maybe in their lives something that needs addressed. They want what you have. And so when they’re already coming to a place of just desiring, just with gentleness and reverence, the hope that we have in Jesus.

We looked in Mark 3 last week and there were two positions. As Jesus gives the demonstration of this kingdom and the declaration and the invitation to follow him. There was two responses from the people, the religious leaders. It says in verse five with Jesus, he looked around them with anger, grieved at the hardness of their hearts. And in verse 13 then tells us about the ones that did follow Jesus. It tells us in verse 13 he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired and they came to him and he appointed 12 so that they would be with him and that he could send them out to preach.

Now, something unique about this text, Jesus calls it gives the idea that he’s just calling individuals coming to him and from those that come, he chooses 12. Why 12? Jesus just picked an arbitrary number out of the sky? Why 12? Only 12 good looking in the bunch? Why 12?

When you study the history of God’s pronouncement throughout scripture, you see 12 as a very significant number. If you go all the way back to the book of Genesis, in Genesis 12 there is this individual known as Abraham. He is the father of nations. I mean you guys, you might know the song if you were in church as a young kid, father Abraham had many sons, many sons …, one of the classics. I was one of them. They can get out of your head. Are you? Everybody starts swinging your arm.

But, but there was this individual known as Abraham. This is the promise God gives him. Genesis 12:2. I will make you a great nation and I will bless you. If you read on throughout the story of Abraham, you see in chapter 15, God calls Abraham outside. And he says, look at the stars. You’re going to have more people from you than the stars in the sky. Sarah, better look out, right? But God’s telling Abraham just how big of a nation he’s going to be.

Then in Genesis 18:18, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him, all the nations of the earth will be blessed. So from this people of Abraham, all nations would be blessed. As you read the story of Genesis as it unfolds, you see that Abraham has a kid who has another couple of kids. From that kid and the great grandkids end up having 12 kids and that becomes the 12 tribes of Israel. And it becomes a picture, the nation of Israel becomes a picture of everything Jesus wants to fulfill in the lives of the nation he desires to build through Abraham.

Everything in Israel, when you study Israel’s history, you can see the prophets, the priests, the Kings, the sacrifices, the temple. All of those things are shadows that Jesus will ultimately fulfill. He is the sacrifice. He is the temple, he is true Israel, he is the King, he is the high priest it tells us in Hebrews. Jesus fulfills the whole law. Jesus is the fulfillment of everything shared that shape the identity of the people of Israel. All of it was intended to be an imagery, an illustration of what Christ would accomplish for us, how significant he is.

So when you get to the end of Genesis, the book of Genesis 49, you see the 12 tribes established. And it got a little sketchy for a while. If you remember the story, Joseph goes in the land of Egypt, sold by his brothers, and there was a famine and God ends up using Joseph being sold into Egypt to save the 12 tribes of Israel to come to Egypt and have food so they don’t die in this famine. So you see these 12 tribes established. And the promise in the representation of these 12 tribes is that through these people, we would have illustrated how God wants to build his nation.

In fact, Peter grabbed ahold of this and it tells us in 1 Peter 2:9 is the description. Look at this, but you talking about all of us, you are, or we should say, as we say in the South, y’all. But y’all, you’re a chosen race. A Royal priesthood. This “you” here is plural. You are a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession so that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Let me just share this with you if you want to do some further study. Romans 11, Galatians 3 talks about how we become the people of God through Abraham. If you want to read that further, but the point of what Peter is saying in chapter two is what God is building in his people is a holy nation. And so what Jesus is declaring by coming to this world and choosing 12, it’s building a nation. He’s building a kingdom. That transcends all kingdoms. His choosing of 12 was intentional. It was a demonstration of the declaration that he already made about this kingdom. Just as God promised all the way back in Genesis chapter 12. Through Abraham, the nations would be blessed. That word for nations is actually the ethnos, the ethnics, the people groups of the world. All people groups called before the Lord.

When Jesus makes this declaration, the response of the people is found in Mark 3:21. You see in this passage, it happens in verse 21 and it happens again in verse 31 but this is what it says in 21. When his own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of him for, they were saying he has lost his senses. This man is nuts. He thinks he’s going to build a kingdom that transcends all kingdoms. I mean, how crazy do you have to be? Or he’s God.

The only one that would even be capable of such a thing, is God. And in verse 21 it tells us that people want to grab him and they can’t get ahold of him, so they are like, okay Jesus’ mama can do it. And then it says in verse 31 then he said, his mother and his brothers arrived. And standing outside they sent word to him and called him. And it tells us in verse 32, a crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, behold, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you, crazy. Answering them, he said, who are my mother and my brothers? Looking about those who were sitting around him, he said, behold, my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.

This is a tough passage. In scripture the Bible tells us to definitely honor our mother and father, Ephesians 6. To take care of your parents as they age 1 Timothy 5:8. And God definitely wants us to love our family that he gives us. What Jesus is acknowledging in this passage of scripture is that even some of the best things of life can keep us from the God things in life. That good things can keep you from God things.

What Jesus is acknowledging here, is he knew that his parents’ motives, his family’s motives were right but their purpose was wrong. The motives of the family was right and in trying to pursue Jesus, but their purpose for doing it was wrong. And if Jesus had yielded to his family, what he would have done is played right into the hands of the opposition. The religious leaders who were trying to stop Jesus in verse 21. The religious leaders would have then looked at what Jesus did in following after his mom and said, see, he agrees with his family. He’s crazy. He needs help.

By choosing in this moment to choose God things over good things he’s demonstrating what is most significant in life. He’s acknowledging as good as family may be, even family can become an idol. Now looking at a verse like this, we are in no way suggesting ignoring or abandoning your families in order to serve God. In fact, I think one of the first places God calls you in service to him is your family. In fact, when you look at the qualifications for leadership in Titus 1 and Timothy 3, the Bible tells us when you look for leaders in the church, the first question is do they lead their family well? Because you’re not going to lead the larger family of God without first leading your own family in God. So that qualification of leading your family becomes important for identifying leadership within the body of Christ. We’re not saying to abandon or neglect the family, but just simply recognize that the family itself can become an idol to what God calls us to in him.

In fact, if we took it a little step further, in Luke 14:26, it tells us, Jesus says, he does not follow me and hate his mother and father is not worthy of the kingdom. What in the world? Because Jesus also says to honor your parents. Now he’s talking about hating your family and following him. Is the Bible contradicting itself? I mean, what is going on? When you look in the way that the Bible can often use the word hate, there’s idioms in the way it’s used, like the Bible multiple times says God loved Jacob, hated Esau.

But what is acknowledging in this passage is the way in which we have different interactions in our relationships. And this is the illustration. You as an individual can love everyone in this room. But if you’re married, there is a particular type of love that identifies itself in a way that’s different and unique to all other relationships. There is a priority there. It’s a covenantal, intimate, sacred love that creates boundaries in that relationship against all others. And it’s not to say you don’t like the people or love the people around you, but it’s acknowledging there’s something special there. And what it’s saying about the kingdom of God is the significance of Jesus as being preeminent above everything. And I would even go so far as to say this and it’s biblical, so we’re fine saying it, but I don’t think it’s until you truly understand who you are in Christ and why God made you that you can really love people around you, the way that God calls you to love them.

And so when Jesus tells us to put him first beyond everything, I think the natural result of that is we learn to love the people around us better as Jesus would love them. And so the preeminence of Christ in relationship is significant in this passage. And that’s why Jesus is acknowledging not only for him by seeing that maybe the motives of the family was right, but the purpose is wrong. But he’s also calling everyone else to understand the uniqueness of their relationship to this kingdom.

Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother. The preeminence of Jesus beyond everything that’s good in this world becomes significant to put those relationships into perspective the way God calls us to. And in walking with him, we learn to better appreciate and love those around us. Bring me to chapter four.

These first three chapters, as Jesus demonstrates himself, he begins to raise the opposition. They come to chapter three and Jesus picks 12 tribes to demonstrate how he’s building this kingdom. And they think he’s nuts. He doesn’t listen to the religious leaders and they’re thinking, okay, now we’ve got a problem on our hands.

And so they began to pursue Jesus. They want to end his ministry, and really going to take his life. And so Jesus, in order to teach people starts to develop this type of teaching that’s referred to as parables. Parables are stories. Your God is a storytelling God. Now, I love the way he tells stories. I feel like making things third person sometimes is, I see myself reflecting these stories. It makes me embrace them a little bit more. If the Bible just said, Hey, you’re messing up here. You’re doing this wrong. You know you need to fix it. It’s stuff like that. I’m like, eh, you know, I’ll just put this aside for a little bit. But if you can let me see some mistakes some other people made and I’ll be like, I don’t want to do that. It’s good to see how the the narrative of scripture unfolds.

There’s wisdom that can be gleaned from other people’s lives. Then maybe I don’t have to walk that same path. But God is a storytelling God and he’s writing his hand of redemption throughout history. From Genesis 3, from the fall of the garden of Eden, all the way to the end. It’s his kingdom coming in pursuit of his people that he may rescue us, that we may enjoy him for all of eternity. And you see how his story unfolds. And the beauty of his story is that we’re not inviting God into our story. This isn’t my life and I’m like, God blessed me in everything I’m going to do because I’m writing my story. But rather this is God’s story being told and he’s giving us the invitation to join in with him.

So he shares these parables or these stories. This word para means come along side of the story. So it’s a teaching that comes alongside of a principle that Jesus wants to drive home. And the reason Jesus taught in parables was twofold. One, he wanted to conceal his teachings from those that opposed him and he wanted to reveal his truth to those who are walking in fellowship with him. The reason he wanted to conceal is because people are after him. And you see the stories of Jesus to this point where he’s gathering in homes and teaching and it’s so crowded that there’s no space. Even last week we looked at how they had to lower this man that needed healing from the roof of the house just to get to Jesus. And so Jesus wasn’t going to find privacy. And so what Jesus did in order to continue to teach his followers yet conceal his teaching to those that hated him, was to teach in parables.

And so Jesus would share these stories in order to drive home a thought or a principle. It would come along the side of a teaching about his kingdom. In fact, when you read these parables, most oftentimes when a parable is told it really wants to drive home just one point. Now the question is how do I know if a parable wants to teach me more than just one thing? I would tell you this. Jesus often interprets his parables. And so if you read a parable, you don’t understand it, usually if you read a little bit further, Jesus is explaining it to his followers say, I don’t get it. And if Jesus defines the purpose of the parable for more than one reason, then you’re okay with the defining the parable for more than one reason.

The parables become dangerous because what people tend to do is they look at these stories and they try to make interpretations of everything related within the story. And Jesus didn’t intend for everything in the story to even make a point. He was only driving to one point and the point generally had to do with his kingdom. And so when you study the parables of God beyond today, if you’re reading the gospels, just know that your pursuit in reading those, okay, Jesus is telling his story. What one thing does God want to drive home to us? And what does this have to do with his kingdom?

So Jesus, in identifying with his brothers and sisters, those are about the kingdom start to teach about the significance of the kingdom so we could grab ahold of it and let it live in our lives. What Jesus has building here was bigger than just for the moment and in which he was walking the earth. It transcends all cultures, all times, all of eternity. This kingdom is being built.

So what does Jesus teach us? I love the way that Jesus shares his stories. Because he always makes them practical. And in fact, if you read this first story in chapter four, he talks about the parable of the seed. I think who he’s talking to in the story, an agricultural society. And so this makes perfect sense in the context of where they’re living and understanding exactly what Jesus is trying to say to us.

And he teaches us parable to give concepts of the kingdom. Now if you read on in this story, I’m just going to read the parable, but if you read on Jesus explains the parable to them. And in fact he makes every distribution of the seed. You’re going to see the seed thrown out. Jesus describes different places to see this tossed and he adds meaning to every one of these places it’s tossed. So this is one of the cases where a parable has more than one thought that he’s trying to get across. But even in sharing these different thoughts, there’s still one thing Jesus is driving at in the story and we’re just going take a look at it.

And he was teaching them many things in parables and he was saying to them, in his teaching, listen to this, behold the sower went out to sow. As he was sewing some seed, some seed fell beside the road and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the Rocky ground where it did not have much soil. Immediately it sprang up because it had no depth soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched and because it had no root, it was withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns and the thorns came up and choked it and yielded no crop. Then other seed fell into the good soil. And then as they grew up and increase they yielded a crop and produce 30, 60 and a 100 fold. And he was saying he who has ears to hear, let him hear.

In the context of Israel and the way that they would actually prepare a farmland for the growing of crops as they would start by just throwing the seed. Wherever it hit, it hit and they’d come back later and plow it into the land. But when they would throw it, sometimes the soil of the land wasn’t real giving or kind and so it would land on some difficult places. It would land where there’s some thorns. That seed may not have been churned up and so different things happen in the seed. Sometimes the birds ate it. Sometimes it landed on rocky soil. Sometimes it didn’t get churned into to the earth. So when it would spring up it would go quickly and because there was no resistance to it. But then it would quickly wither because there were no roots that really took hold.

So he’s showing the different illustrations of our lives. There’s the hard heart, there’s the shallow heart and then there’s the crowded heart. The hard heart lands on the difficult soil. It just won’t take root. The shallow heart lands in a place where birds can pick at it. And then there’s the crowded heart which has so much going on around it, it doesn’t see the significance of Jesus. It sees Jesus as one of many things in life. And it just gets choked out.

In this story, let me give you the thought of where God is and who we are. God is the one who prepares the soil. God is the one who gives the increase to the plant. You’re the sower. If you belong to the kingdom of God, you’re the sower. And it helps us to walk in understanding as we go out in this world and we’re just sowing the kingdom, we’re sharing the hope within us that it’s not always going to take root. But the focus on what what Jesus is saying about the kingdom is the result in the story. Because you see at the end of the story, at some someplace it does take root. And this gives us place to pause and to celebrate and rejoice.

But here’s the unique thing about what Jesus is saying about his kingdom. Is that the result of what this fruit produces is 30, 60, and 100 fold. During the time that the farmers would go out and they would scatter the seed. If a plant yielded eight fold, it was considered a successful crop. Eight fruit off of a plant or eight vegetables off of a plant. That was a lot. But what Jesus is saying to these farmers is something that their mind couldn’t even imagine coming off their own produce. A plant yielding 30, 60, a 100 fold.

Do you understand the capabilities of this kingdom? Do you understand how significant what you follow is this morning? How much of a priority Jesus should be in our lives and the kingdom that he represents. What God is capable to do in us and through us if we just follow after him. We’ll go in to this world, we’ll scatter seed. Not everyone will see the significance of who Jesus is in their life’s. But when God moves in a heart and it takes root, what can be produced from a life in Jesus is incredible.

I’ve heard it said this way. It’s not about how many seeds are in apple, but how many apples are in that seed. It’s magic, what God is capable of in us and through us as we follow him. It’s giving us the understanding of the power of this kingdom. How it multiplies tremendous.

And then he shares another story about the parable of the lamp. And now this parable of the lamp, it really has one point. You get to the end of the story and you’re going be thinking to yourself, God, what’s your will for me? I mean, how can I be that one where 30, 60, a 100 fold comes out of my life? God revealed to me your will. And then he shares the story of the parable to sort of give us that illustration that demonstration of how that happens.

It comes in Mark chapter 4:21, and Jesus asked him, would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not. A lamp is placed on a stand. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. And then he added pay close attention to what you hear. This isn’t the New Living Translation by the way, but it says this, the closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given. And you’ll receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, but for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.

What Jesus is telling us in verse 24 and verse 25, how we are that individual, where the kingdom of God flourishes in us like that. And the way he’s choosing to do this is the illustration of a lamp. In Israel’s time, they would take eight jar and they would fill it with an oil and they would allow a little wick to stick out of the oil. Sometimes you would tie it off at the top to be able to burn. And this wick would come out and it would just create a lamp, this full of oil. But what Jesus is saying in the story is that oil has to come from somewhere.

Now those that try to fabricate it from their own strength, that just isn’t going to happen. But the Bible uses the story of oil several times and the oil always demonstrates in the New Testament the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit pours into our lives. God transforms us from the inside out. Now, if you have nothing to put into that lamp, nothing comes out of that lamp. If you try to fabricate things to put in this lamp, eventually he says in verse 25 that what you put in that lamp is going to go out. But what you need in your life is something that continually to dump into that lamp so that the source never runs dry and that you always aluminate the glory of who God is.

What is that source? It’s the Lord. What God is encouraging his people to is to let God imprint himself on your life. To pour in all the he is into who you are. To not say, God, join me on my journey of everything I want to accomplish on life, but rather, God, let me join you in your story. God create me a new heart as the psalmist said. A steadfast spirit. It’s not just praying, God reveal your will to me. But to acknowledge he’s already done it. It is amazing how we can gather anywhere and just have the Bible beside us and pray. God reveal your will to me. And he’s like, dude, I have. God’s will for our lives, I think sometimes we like to think it’s like this huge mystery. It’s not. I think what happens is we let God imprint in our lives. We see the two commandments God gives. Love God, love others, right? And we walk in that love for God.

We see that what God loved was people. And as we walk in our love for God, it broadens our heart for love for others. And I think as we walk with Jesus, the Lord refines our heart to particular ministries dedicated to specific people because God has inclined us towards certain things in this world. But at first all we learn in our walk with Jesus is God I love you, I love others.

And as we walk in that and we understand who he is and got imprints in my life, he creates within us certain passions for areas of life in which we can aluminate the lamp that is the Lord in this world as he pours into us. So the call of this kingdom is one to understand the power that it possesses and the way that God can multiply it, but then to look at how God works in us through that as he pours into our lives. To allow his imprint to just possess us.

I should give this last illustration. I didn’t put this on the screen but if you look in verse 30 and 32 he gives us one last story and he talks about the mustard seed. He says, how shall we picture the kingdom of God? It is like a mustard seed, which has been sown upon the soil. Though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms the large branches so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.

Now you look at this story of Jesus talking about this kingdom growing, God imprinting and inside of us there’s always this place that says, that’s not me. I’m not capable. I’m weak. God, pick someone else. Someone that’s more gifted. Someone’s got more ability to speak than I have, whatever. Just go somewhere else. And what Jesus is demonstrating here is the muster seat because he wants us to understand how insignificant everyone feels. The mustard seed is just dinky. But when God gets ahold of that, how incredible it becomes.

We share the story of the parable of the mustard seed and what it’s about before Jesus said, let your faith be like that of a mustard seed. But here’s the story. It’s not about the size of your faith, but about the power of your God. If you don’t trust in the right thing, it doesn’t matter how much you trust in it, it will fail you. But if you find what is true, look out as you behold its power. It’s not about the depth of your faith, but the enormity of your God. And God can just take the littlest mustard seed to a tremendous difference if you just let him imprint in your life.

As I was reading this week I came across a picture. This is taken by Kevin Carter in 1993 in Sudan. If you remember anything about Sudan, I believe this is when the civil war was breaking out. If I remember the two tribes that were fighting was the Hutu and the Tutsis, was the tribal groups that were fighting in this land. Because of that there was a famine that swept across the land. People are starving, it was horrific. And Kevin Carter happened to be there. He was a journalist. He was taken photos. He won the Pulitzer prize for this picture he took. As he was at this NATO camp that was feeding people, it became unbearable for him and he walked away.

And as he walked into the bush, he came across this little girl just trying to make it to the camp. So exhausted and hungry she couldn’t do it and she just collapsed. And as she collapsed on the floor and he was walking up to her, this vulture landed behind her, just waiting for her to go ahead and perish so that he could pick away. He ended up snapping this picture. And then everyone wanted to know was this young girl, was she able to make it to the camp and is she okay? And by reports that as I tried to follow her, that she lived through that circumstance.

But here’s the crazy part, Kevin Carter didn’t. He went home, won the Pulitzer Prize, three months later took his life. Out of all that he had experienced as a journalist, he lost hope.

1 Peter 3, make a defense to everyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. We hold to a hope this morning that transcends beyond our circumstance. Of a God who cares about us in our pain, who loves us where we are, despite any mess we bring. He loves us where you are and he loves you too much to leave you that way. You hold that hope. You represent that kingdom. You get to demonstrate that in this world, by allowing the imprint of that kingdom coming into your life every time you open up God’s word.

Doesn’t have to be profound. Just seek his face. One truth. Just go to his word and just find one truth that God can implant within you to see the fruit of that grow out of you. What you’re doing is serious business and I think all of us, all of us doubt God. Whether you’re capable and just little old me, but all you have to be is a mustard seed.

David Brainerd, I read this quote from him this week and I’ll just leave us with this thought. David Brainerd came to know Christ, he trusts in Christ at 21 and followed him with his life. By 29 he died from tuberculosis. He was in the 1700s, he lived in America and his ministry was to the Native Americans on the East Coast. And he went around and he preached to them. He saw a few hundred come to know the Lord before he died at an early age, just 29. But this was the statement he made about his life. He said, Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am.

That’s the kingdom. It’s not about you. It’s about him. And when Jesus called those 12 tribes, it was a demonstration of the kingdom that would transcend even today in our hearts, if what? We would let the Lord implant on our lives.