Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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June 17 – The Improbable Growth Of God’s Kingdom

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from 2 Cor. 5.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Now is the time of year when we are beginning to see the miracle of growth in our gardens!  We remember planting tiny seeds – like the little onion seeds I placed in the ground a few weeks ago.  They were so tiny and small that I wondered if they could ever grow.  But sure enough, now they are cropping up and growing all in a line!
  • Ezekiel recorded God’s Word regarding the growth of the Kingdom of God – how God would grow it from “the topmost of its young twigs.”  Jesus talked about the growth of the kingdom of God being like “a grain of mustard seed . . . which becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches.”  
  • The growth of the Kingdom of God also seems “improbable” and remarkable, and it is in fact “miraculous,” the work of God!  It may even seem so to this day – when we consider that many of the institutions of Christianity appear to have little to do with God’s Kingdom, and perhaps much that is contrary to the growth of God’s Kingdom.  And so we must listen carefully to the Word of the Lord so that we do not lose heart – but rejoice in “THE IMPROBABLE GROWTH OF GOD’S KINGDOM.”

 

I.  God’s Kingdom May Indeed Look Weak And Small, A Mere Sprig Or A Mustard Seed

 

          A.  So We Also Groan In Our Life Of Faith In This World

Text:  “We know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling. . . . For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened.”

 

 Statement:

  • Our lives look much the same as that of other people in the world.  We have challenges, setbacks, struggles, labor, and trials.  We age and get older, and we struggle even more as we approach the time of our death.  In death we look just like everyone else in the world – no different.

 

Application:

  • Likewise, what is visible to the eye within the life of the church seems much the same as any other visible institution or society of mankind.  There is selfish ambition, petty jealousies, differences of opinion, and all manner of sin in the lives of Christians –  our own lives, and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the faith.  The church can be and is stepped on, squelched, corrupted, silenced, weakened, and deserted.  And we also see this all around us. 
  • So we groan – both personally, in our own personal experiences in life, and we also groan when we look at the progress of God’s Kingdom in the world, for there is so much that is wretched and wrong!  However, just as God’s Word promises and proclaims:

 

         B.  We Are Heading Toward The Time When The Mortal Shall Be Swallowed Up

 

Text:  “While we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life!  He Who has prepared us for this very thing is God, Who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”

 

Statement:

  • Just as it does “not yet appear” what my onions, tomatoes, squash, and beans are going to be, so also “it does not yet appear what we shall be.”  They are still “growing” and so are we, and so is the whole entirety of the Kingdom of God!  It may appear to be small and weak now but great glory is coming – when what is mortal is swallowed up by life!

 

Application:

  • So our congregation, and the many like it, and all of the Christians living faithfully but obscurely in the eyes of the world, may be groaning and may appear small and insignificant in the eyes of the rich, powerful, and important people of this world – but we are the Kingdom of God, and by the power of God we are growing, and will continue growing, to the great and glorious destiny God has appointed for us by His grace!
  • This is what Christ our dear Lord suffered and died for, and He promised to build His church, and that the very gates, the strength of hell, shall not prevail against us.  The power of His gracious forgiveness, mercy, love, and salvation are pressing this growth forward inexorably – nothing can stop it, not all the hellish spiritual “Round-up” and spiritual herbicides of the devil and all the world! 

 

Transition:  Because of these realities God’s Word continues to give us assurances – to build us up and strengthen us in our faith, in the face of all that tempts us to doubt and despair.  And as we allow the Spirit of God to strengthen our faith:

 

II.  We Continue To Be Of Good Courage

 

Text:  “So we are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.”

 

      A.  We Remember Too Christ’s Promise That Even In This Life He Is With Us Always

 

Matt. 28:20  “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

     B.  We Also Know That Soon We Will Be Home With The Lord Forever

 

Text:  “We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

 

     C.  We Look Forward To Soon Appearing Before Him – When His Kingdom Will Be Fulfilled And Established Forever

 

Rom. 14:7,8  “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.  For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

 

1 Thess. 4:17  “So we will always be with the Lord.”

 

Statement:

  • We are not concerned about the judgment of that day – “that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”  We know that all of our evil, our sins have been completely washed and cleansed away in the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, through faith in Him.  And we also know that “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has beforeordained that we should be walking in them.” 

Application:

  • Yes, we groan about many things in this fallen world of sin, but we are always of good courage, and always rejoicing, giving thanks to God for everything – knowing that we are soon to be home with the Lord!

 

Conclusion:  Yes, the Kingdom of God has not yet come to its full fruition – just as my onions and tomatoes and squash have a long way to go yet.  But the growth is inexorable – of the Kingdom of God.  We have His promises, His assurances, His Spirit, His guarantee – and it shall be so.  So we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.