Season 1, Episode 78
For Wednesday, April 29, 2015
“The Growth of the Kingdom”
Welcome to The New You, where we focus on maintaining and accentuating the new that Christ has created in you. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s scripture:
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Mat. 13:31-32).
The mustard seed is extremely small. Wikipedia says that it is about 1-2mm in diameter. To give you some perspective, the ball on the end of my ballpoint pen is 1.4mm. So what does that have to do with the kingdom? Well, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like that mustard seed which starts out small, but produces a tree large enough for birds to come and nest in its branches.
The point is, that tiny mustard seed yields some comparatively large results.
Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven, the church (Mat. 16:18-19), is that way. Think about the day that the kingdom began. I’m talking about the Day of Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection. We read about it in Acts 2. It was around 33 A.D., and there were multitudes of Jews gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate that great feast day of the Law of Moses. I’ve read estimates as high as one million Jews that could have been in attendance on that day when Peter and the rest of the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the gospel for the first time.
You remember what happened – Peter preached, and some people were convicted of their sins (Acts 2:37). Peter told them to “repent and be baptized” for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38). Acts 2:41 says that 3,000 of them obeyed the gospel and became Christians that day. They were added to the kingdom (Acts 2:47).
If 3,000 people responded to the Lord’s invitation after one of my sermons, we would consider that to be a huge response. And it was then, to an extent. But when you consider the fact that there could have been around one million Jews in Jerusalem, it shows us that the kingdom had comparatively humble beginnings. After all, this is “the kingdom [that] … shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44)!
But the kingdom would grow big time! Scholars believe there could have been around 20,000 Christians by the time Stephen was stoned to death in Acts 7. That’s enormous growth! In Colossians 1:23, Paul said that that gospel “was preached to every creature under heaven.”
Let’s wrap it up: The point is the growth of the kingdom. Sometimes it may seem small. We may feel – and we may actually be – outnumbered. But there is great potential in the seed of the Word of God to produce huge growth. It can spread like wildfire, turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Now that we’ve been reminded of what the kingdom is capable of doing, what will we do to help its borders to spread and expand? We have lots of gospel sharing to do!
Memory Verse: This week we’re studying Colossians 1:13. We’ve been called out of the darkness and into the light of Christ’s kingdom!
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13).
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Tomorrow, we will look at how the kingdom of heaven is like leaven. I’ll meet you then for The New You.