The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Passage: Mark 4:26–4:34
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Mark 4.26-34
Date: June 17th, 2018; Pentecost 4; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
- “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade” (Mark 4:30-32).
- It’s amazing that a tiny seed, a seed that is hardly visible to the eye, can grow into a huge tree. How can something so small grow into something that is so large?
- When we look at a tiny seed it seems so small and insignificant.
- But incredibly a seed contains life. When it’s planted it will grow.
- Faith is something like a seed. Faith is something that grows in you.
- The seed of faith is planted in you through baptism.
- Through your Baptism, you have the seed of faith in you.
- No matter how long ago you were baptized, no matter how long ago it was since you last attended church, or prayed, or read your Bible - the seed of faith has been planted. You have the seed of faith.
- It’s around this time of year that we start to see all of the hard work that goes into gardening show itself - we start to see the growth of plants, and flowers, and gardens.
- And it is hard work – there is tilling, and staking, and weeding, and watering, and fertilizing, and making sure that insects don’t harm the plants.
- And just as the seeds in a garden need to be nurtured and looked after, so the seed of our faith needs to be nurtured and looked after.
- The seed of faith needs to be taken care of so that it can grow.
- And God has provided us with the nurturing we need to care for the seed of faith that has been planted in us.
- He provides us with his Holy Word.
- Through reading and listening to his Word - our faith is fed and strengthened.
- The prophet Isaiah said, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
- The purpose of God’s Word is to create, strengthen, and sustain our faith - that we faithfully live as God’s people and receive his forgiveness and promise of eternal life.
- And this is exactly what is accomplished in us as hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest his Word.
- Our seed of faith is also nurtured by regularly receiving the Lord’s Supper.
- The Word made flesh comes to us very personally as we receive his true body and true blood in Holy Communion where he gives us his forgiveness and strength.
- This is faith food, the “Miracle Grow”, that our loving God provides for us.
- Faith starts from hearing a simple message.
- God loves you.
- This is the planted seed.
- Or as St. John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- God the Father has sent his Son to be your Saviour, to take away your sin, your suffering, your death.
- God the Father gave his only Son so that you shall not perish but have eternal life.
- Faith is what receives God’s love, forgiveness, salvation, and life.
- Faith is a gift - and it starts as a personal relationship between you and God - a relationship that he initiates.
- Then faith grows. It grows as you learn more about God’s love for you. It grows as you learn to love God.
- It grows as you find out that God hears your prayers, forgives your sins, understands your hurts, and helps you to fight temptations.
- And faith grows beyond just you.
- Your faith in Christ is connected with all believers. We are one body.
- With our brothers and sisters in Christ, we receive God’s gifts and respond with thanks and praise.
- With our brothers and sisters in Christ, we love and help those in need. We reflect God’s light into the darkness of this world.
- We talk to people who are lonely. We listen to, and care for, those experiencing difficulties. We share with those who are in need. We forgive those who trespass against us.
- We proclaim to the world that God’s love and forgiveness and life is for them too.
- We scatter the seed and the seed sprouts and grows.
- We don’t know how, but we trust God’s promise that it will.
- The Word works automatically - all you have to do is sow it.
- You don’t need an advanced degree in agricultural science or an advanced knowledge of evangelism.
- You don’t need seminary training to scatter the seed.
- Just proclaim the Good News to others - “God is at peace with you in the death of Jesus. Your sins are forgiven and eternal life is yours in Christ.”
- Faith grows. It grows because God continues to work in you and through you.
- He plants the seed of faith and continues to nurture you by his Holy Word and Holy Sacraments.
- Has it been a long time since your seed of faith has been nurtured and cared for?
- Has it been a long time since you saw any fruit of faith in your life?
- Dear friends, I can assure you that even if it has been many years since you have nurtured your faith, God will bring it back to life!
- God can give your faith the intensive care it needs.
- Come and hear his Holy Word. Spend time in the Bible and in prayer in daily devotions.
- Come, receive the Sacrament of the Altar.
- You are always welcome in God’s House and he will always welcome you with open arms.
- Your faith may be like a barely visible mustard seed - but with God it will grow into a strong, solid, faith - rooted in his Holy Word and Sacraments.
- The faith seed planted in you is the power of God for salvation.
- It is the power of Jesus to forgive your sin and raise you from the dead.
- The kingdom of God begins like the tiny mustard seed – with one lonely death on a cross – and ends with a tree of life big enough to embrace the whole world.
- That’s the powerful little seed God has put into your hands to sow.
- Scatter it recklessly.
- Tell the good news of Jesus.
- Sow it with joy - free from anxiety and worry about success or failure.
- It’s in God’s hands and the Word will achieve the purpose for which he sent it.
- God has spoken, and he will do it. Amen!
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen