Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

  • Sunday - 10:30 am
  • 520 8th Ave, 16th floor
    New York, NY
  • phone: +1 (973) 837-1041


BAC Sermons

Spiritual Growth

2005-01-23 Mark 4:26-34

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26 Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

30 Then He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?

31  "It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32  "but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."

33  And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it.

34  But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

I. Kingdom Perspective: (The Kingdom {literal, earthly, future} is that promised in the OT Mk 1:15; Isa 40)

The kingdom will occur with or without our efforts, because its fulfillment now depends solely upon the will of God

The kingdom will occur at the proper time, with judgment and harvest. (See esp Mt 13)

The kingdom will occur out of insignificant beginnings to be the greatest force on earth.

II. Personal Perspective: our growth in the spiritual life does not occur without our will embracing God’s plan

A. We might not know the intricacies, but we know the process and prerequisites

1. Seed - the word of Word (which when believed results in forgiveness, being born again Jn 5:24; freedom, and reward Acts 20:32)

2. Soil  - a prepared, receptive submissive heart (see last week Mk 4)

3. Water - the washing cleansing sanctifying process of being transformed (Eph 5:26; 1John 1:9; Titus 3:5)

4. Light - the ungrieved (bad relationships Eph 4:30) unquenched (despising prophecy {reproof/rebuke} 1Thess 5:19-20) Holy Spirit

5. Pollination - the accountable relationship with other members of the Body (Eph 4:15-16; 2Tim 2:2,22)

a. Blade - initial growth that gets one out of the mud and supports further growth (as a result of roots going deep into the Word)

b. Head - distinctive (Christlike) character emerges (as a result of the mind being renewed by the Word)

c. Grain - reproductive capacity (as a result of purpose, values, and life being conformed to the Word)

B. Reproductive Growth beats Numeric Growth  10,737,418,240

1 person saved a week * 52 weeks/yr * 20 years =  1040  at the end of 20 years ministry.  If 10 people reproduced their life every year:

10, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320, 640, 1280, 2560, 5120, 10240, 20480, 40960, 81920, 163840, 327680, 655360, 1310720, 2621440, 5242880, 10485760

C. Reproductive Growth is hindered by:    [1Cor 3:1 1Pt 2:2 carnal babes grow up by craving the word]

1. Immaturity- 2Tim 2:2 the things that you have heard from me...commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2. Ignorance - Heb 5:11...you have become dull of hearing. 12...by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again...13... unskilled in the word of righteousness... 14... by use have senses exercised to discern good and evil.

3. Inadequacy - 2Tim 3:17  that the man of God may be complete/adequate, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2Cor 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,

4. Impurity - 2Tim 2:21 if anyone cleanses himself...he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22  Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

5. Immediacy - temporal values (immediate gratification), short term  expectations (vs patience),  need an eternal focus

Heb 10:36  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise

6. Indifference - God’s plan/glory, and to the needs of others; worth and value from others liking, thus no rebuke (Demas 2Tim 4:10)

Mk 4:19 cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

7. Insensitivity - golden rule; self-centered (worked for me) Pr 12:18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. 15:2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness

8. Independence - Eph 4:16 effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Jn 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:

1. If God’s plan is reproductive growth (Matt 28:18-20) why hasn’t the world been saved many times over?

2. Can there the non-reproductive growth? Why does such a thing occur? What are the eventual consequences?

3. What causes different rates of growth in people? How fast did people grow in the early NT church? Is this different from today?

4. Why do you think most Christians fail to reproduce? What do you think is most likely to hinder the people in our Body?

5. How can your unique personality, background, experience, and present situation contribute to the growth of the Body of Christ?