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Openness of the Kingdom

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Openness of the Kingdom

Mark 4:21-34

 21And He was saying to them, "lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?

 22"For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.

 23"If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

 24And He was saying to them, "Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.

 25"For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."

Parable of the Seed

 26And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;

 27and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows--how, he himself does not know.

 28"The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.

 29"But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

Parable of the Mustard Seed

 30And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?

 31"It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil,

 32yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE."

 33With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it;

 34and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.

Introduction

We have been looking at the gospel of Mark and way in the beginning we are told in a nutshell of the Gospel that kingdom of God was near.

But there has not been much explanation until we get to chapter four.

In chapter 4, there are series of likeness images parables about kingdom of God.

There are at least two difficulties with this. The first is, that although kingdom can refer to the area ruled by a king (e.g., "kingdom"); it can also refer to the power or authority to "rule" as king. The idea of "kingdom" can make us think of a place -- such as a place we go when we die.

More properly, I think, we should think of kingdom as the ruling power that emanates from God -- perhaps translating the phrase as "God rules" or "God's power." As such, it is more about our relationship -- being under the "king's" authority, than about a place.

The second difficulty is the complete lack of experience of most of our members of living under an absolute ruler. Living under the authority and power of a "king" or "lord" or "master" is foreign to most of us. Whatever the kingdom of God is, it is not a democracy.

Reading through Mark from the beginning, this phrase is uttered by Jesus in 1:15; but it is not said again until 4:11:

And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret [or mystery] of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables."

There is a distinction between insides and outsiders.

Because of that you might get the impression that Jesus was trying to hind the meaning or Christianity was a secrete society but as you can see in verse

 21And He was saying to them, "lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?

So the kingdom of God is here to reveal.

Through these parables He is trying to give us an understanding about the kingdom of God.

1.     Importance of Kingdom

2.     Basic organization of Kingdom

3.     How we get the power to live according to that principle.

First importance of Kingdom?

If I were to summarize what kingdom of God is like, I would use verse 32

 32yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE."

When Jesus said that his hears knew what he is referring to but we don’t because many of us don’t know the Hebrew text like his hearers.

What Jesus was saying is that he has come to bring the great world tree of the prophet of old.

When you look at the prophets like Daniel and Ezekiel, they refer to this great tree what we call the world tree.

A connector between heaven and earth.

That which connect heaven and earth.

In Daniel 4; vision of a tree in the middle of the earth, its height was enormous visual between heaven and earth.  Its leaves were beautiful and fruitful and under it “the birds of the air and nest under its shade” under it all creature is feed.

Ez. 17 gives you the same vision

Now these are not literal tree but symbolism.

Explanation of the tree:

Originally God drew among us.

The world was garden… No death, poverty, no hunger

Because God’s face his presence is like the soil that everything grows and flourish.

BUT human being wanted control, we wanted to our own master.

As a result the presence of God is withdrawn.

As a result we live in a broken world.

When we became alienation from God, our social, physical, everything is broken.

Illustration: We are like fish, flopping and gasping in little puddles that are barley enough water to keep us alive but small for our being.

We weren’t built for anything other than God. 

Many of us living for ourselves, relationship, and all of it is too small for our soul.

But, the prophet saw a day when God will build a tree

Someday God will connect us to heaven.

That’s why it uses an illustration of a garden, tree where the new tree will come and give us food shelter. Home for the creature.

But the kingdom of God is reintroduction God’s presence back into this world.  That this world is cleanse of decay death and restored to the garden again.

And Jesus is saying I am bring that…

Now I said earlier that kingdom of God is difficult to grasp for many of us because we lack the experience of living under an absolute ruler. Living under the authority and power of a "king" or "lord" or "master" is foreign to most of us. Whatever the kingdom of God is, it is not a democracy

What does it mean that kingdom of God is not democracy?

Well we living in America land of democracy its all about our freedom, pursue of happiness.  You look at the bill of rights its all about us.

But kingdom of God..

1.     Means that God’s salvation is not just about you but about the world.

God’s salvation is not mainly making you happy that someday you will go to heaven.  When you get to the end of revelation you don’t see us escaping the world and going to heaven.  You see God coming down and renewing the world.

Purpose God’s salvation is to renew this world.

God’s salvation plan is not just to save soul and that important but to bring justice for the poverty, broken and injustice of the world.

You out to do housing health and education. Its not just about you but also about the world.

2.     means its not about you but about God.

God is a king.

Why do you enter relationship with a God.

You don’t come to a relationship with a king because he provides all your need (he can)

You don’t come to a relationship with a king because he makes you happy (he can)

You come to a relationship with a king because it is his due.  because you must.

Psalm 100 says “He who made us not for ourselves therefore we are his”

How do you come to a king?

When you come to a king you loose control.

You loose control of your sex life, money, and future.

What is the basic principle of the kingdom of God.

Its found in

24And He was saying to them, "Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.

 25"For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."

The way of fullness is to empty yourself.

THE more you give it away the more you have

Illustration: Teaching Bible Study, money, relationship

Paradox, is you cannot give away in expectation of receiving.  You cannot do that.

 31"It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil,

Look at what it says, the smallest seeds becomes the biggest tree

The way to largeness is smallness

The way to fullness is to empty oneself

Let me explain by saying this:

1.     The way up is to go down

2.     The way to influence in power is to serve

3.     The way to get rich is to give it away

4.     The way to be happy is to make other happy

This is the basic principle of the kingdom.

Kingdom of God is the world upside down.

CS Lewis says it best in mere Christianity.

“The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorites wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Now that’s the kingdom principle.

Richard B. Hays calls God has reversed the positions of insiders and outsiders.

The pharsess and the religious leaders are no longer the insiders in the Gospel.  It’s the poor, widows, the leopards the fisherman’s who have become the insider.

Where do you get the power to live this way?

Jesus, who became the smallest seed for us.

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