This message was part of the ‘Who needs Jesus?’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in autumn 2019. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Mark 4.
The Parable of the Sower
1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
The Parable of the Seed Growing
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.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 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.”
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
Seeds are Small and Unspectacular (and Unimpressive)
- A seed has the potential to grow into something spectacular. Seeds have the potential to bring life and growth, but seeds by themselves are unspectacular.
- So our obedient actions to God are like seeds, they are small and unspectacular, but they have the potential to grow and yield beautiful fruit.
- As Christians, most of what we can do for God is unspectacular! We sow small and seeds, that is how the kingdom grows, as those everyday acts of obedience bear beautiful fruit for the kingdom.
- God is not after heroes, Jesus has already taken that role. Our role is to sow seeds. Billions of us sowing billions of little seeds!
Seeds Grow by Themselves
- Our job is to sow, the growth is up to God.
- Once you’ve sown a seed, you can’t do much to make it grow. You just have to sow it and then see what happens.
It’s often like this with our acts of obedience to God — once we sow the seed, we do our everyday obedience to God, the growth is out of our hands. The seed might not grow at all.
So often we can put the pressure of growth and fruit on ourselves when God is just asking us to sow seeds for him and trust him to decide what happens next.
Our job is to sow seeds. To be obedient. Whether or not those seeds grow and produce fruit is up to God.
Not every seed grows
- We must sow liberally!
God isn’t looking for a few heroic Christians to build his kingdom. The kingdom of God already has a hero: Jesus.
God is looking for all of his people to sow seeds.