Before I tackle that question, let me ask, “Did Jesus talk more about the Kingdom or about the Church?” If you said, “Kingdom,” you would be absolutely right. In fact, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven over 100 times and about the Church about 3 times. The most famous is Peter’s confession of Christ and Jesus’ response saying, “I will build my church (Matthew 16:18).” Just a simple look and one will conclude that Jesus wanted to build a Kingdom that would cover the entire globe. The Church is not bigger than the Kingdom. The church is a vehicle to build the Kingdom.
The first command Jesus gives His followers is to “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). One of the goals of His followers is to set up God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10). Jesus even tells His followers to Seek first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). What does that look like? How does the Kingdom of God grow on earth?
Typical thinking would say we build the Kingdom of God with a preacher, a church building, a stunning worship band, lights, and a haze machine. The preacher should be able to communicate to a large crowd so people would listen. The problem with that thinking is it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. Kingdom growth is much more simple than that. It is simple and transferable. Kingdom DNA has the power of reproduction in it from beginning to end. Jesus tells us clearly how the Kingdom of God grows through a lesson from agriculture.
The simple and reproducible lesson is found in Mark 4:26-29. This parable of Jesus is ONLY found in Mark.
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
I am amazed every time I think about how Jesus says the Kingdom grows. Only 5 things are necessary for the KINGDOM OF GOD TO GROW (maybe 6).
- A Sower
- A Season of growth
- A Sickle (harvest tool)
Sowers– are the beginning of God’s plan. They are men and women who are willing to cast the seed. God has chosen to use US, his people to be catalysts for HIS KINGDOM growth.
- What does a Sower do?
- Who is qualified to be a Sower?
READ- 2 Corinthians 9:6
Seed– The Word of God from the hand of the sower. God has provided us a picture of Kingdom growth to be like a seed planted in the ground. In another place, Jesus talks about SEED as being the word of God (Mark 4:14).
READ- Romans 10:17
Faith comes by hearing. Yet not everyone who hears believes (Matt 13:14). Some people’s hearts are just not ready, but that is not our job to distinguish between the two.
The sower sows the seed. The sower also tries to remove any obstacle from growth to happen. We want to do our best at being able to be hearable, loving, and full of grace and respect.
- What is the best way to sow seed?
- What barriers exist from keeping people from receiving the seed?
Soil– The hearts of the lost in which seed is cast. Everywhere we look we can see spiritually lost people whose hearts are far from God.
- How many lost people do I know personally?
- Do I know the condition of their soil?
Season– Commitment to the sowing of seed and harvest. No seed grows over night. NO farmer sows one day and expects to reap the next day. The wise farmer returns to the field where the seed is sown regularly.
- Are you committed to bringing the harvest in?
- How much priority do you give to checking on the growth of the seed you cast?
- Are you patient to wait for the harvest?
Sickle– Workers in the harvest force intentionally seeking to bring the harvest in. It only takes one to sow but it takes the entire community to bring in the harvest.
READ- Luke 10:1-2
- What resources do we have for bringing in the Harvest?
- Is your sickle sharp?
I said there might be a sixth necessary thing…
Spirit– read Mark 4:27…there is a worker that is working behind the scenes. Seeking to live on mission or go on mission without the power of the Holy Spirit is like planning a trip to the moon without a rocket ship. God calls and God empowers us through the HOLY SPIRIT.
- How often do you spend learning about God and listening to God?
- How would you describe your relationship with God?