Do Not Despise Small Beginnings | Luke 13:18-21

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings | Luke 13:18-21

Introduction

Luke 13:18-21 ESV  He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  (19)  It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”  (20)  And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?  (21)  It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

  • Remember from last week the context here.
    • Jesus is teaching on the Sabbath in a church, a synagogue.
    • As He is teaching a crippled woman walks in and Jesus heals her.
    • The ruler of the Synagogue rebukes Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and Jesus puts Him in His place saying that doing good on the Sabbath is not work, but is pleasing to God.
    • So let’s look at verse 17 which transitions us into todays message.

Luke 13:17 ESV  As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

  • So the people in the church were rejoicing… the leaders of the synagogue where shammed… then Jesus starts saying “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed”.
    • Why such a harsh transition… from healing to mustard seed?
      • Because Jesus is taking this opportunity to show the people that He is more than just a healer.
  • I am sure that as the people were amazed that there were some in the crowd who must have been thinking “Could this be the messiah? Could this be the one we are waiting for to save us and bring the Kingdom of God to earth?”
    • “But He is just one man… and he only has a handful of personal disciples… plus He is not very handsome”
    • “I mean, shouldn’t the Kingdom of God be coming with fire, and angles with swords, and flying horses, and glory overwhelming bursting forth as it devours the evil of this world?”
    • I mean surely the Kingdom of God can’t be coming from this humble man, Jesus, could it?
  • I think Jesus is taking this opportunity to answer these questions…
    • He is saying “Look, the Kingdom of God is here, but it starts as small as a mustard seed. I am that mustard seed. These disciples are that mustard seed. But don’t worry, because Just like the Mustard Seed, the Kingdom is going to grow bigger than you could ever imagine.
  • You know there was a time when Zerubbabel, a man who lived 500 years before Jesus decided by God’s grace to try and rebuild the Temple of God.
    • The people of Israel had been scattered and the temple had been destroyed.
    • But Zerubbabel dared to do something great, to rebuild the temple… and it had to start somewhere… so in the book of Zechariah we see Zerubbabel holding a plumb line… an ancient type of level.
      • WHO WAS THIS TINY MAN WITH A TINY TOOL TRYING TO BUILD SOMETHING GREAT?
      • Here is what God said through the prophet Zechariah:

Zechariah 4:10 NLT Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

  • Yes the task was great, but God know great things start small, and God rejoices to see the work begin!
  • Oh the many applications this message has this morning… lets bring up that title slide…

Show Title Slide

  • Even though we are preaching out of Luke, I chose this verse from Zechariah to emphasize todays message… great things start small… do not despise small beginnings.

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

The Kingdom of God Starts Small

Luke 13:18-19 ESV  He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  (19)  It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

  • The human condition is such that we expect things, we want things, we desire things NOW!
    • We expect that if something great is coming that it ought to come all at once, in its perfect form, ready to go full speed.
      • But so rarely does the Kingdom of God work that way…
      • So rarely does God say “Here is EVERYTHING I have for you all at once”.
    • Think about the history of what God has done through history, how often it starts small.
    • God created humanity from two people! JUST TWO! He could have created billions in a breath, but He started with two. And from that two came all the people of the world.
    • God chose one man, of all the people of the world, to father His people. Abraham.
      • He could have chosen a tribe, he could have chosen thousands, but God chose a childless man to start His people.
      • That man, Abraham, was promised children that numbered like the starts, but He only gave Abraham one legitimate son.
      • And from that one son came Jacob, a backstabber and a cheat. But God redeemed that one backstabber and gave Him 12 children.
      • And those 12 Children became 12 tribes.
      • And those 12 tribes became a mighty nation.
      • And from that mighty nation rose a humble king, the smallest and youngest of a family of warriors, it was the one who was not a warrior who was chosen.
      • And that little shepherd boy would slay a Giant and outlive a wicked King.
      • And from that Shepherd boy came a lineage that would lead to a Messiah.
      • A Messiah who was born in a barn. A savior who was born to poor girl. A king who’s Kingdom was still on it’s way.
      • And that Messiah led 12 men of little report.
      • And those 12 men planted churches.
      • And those churches planted churches.
      • And those churches planted churches.
      • And one of those many churches planted a church in Singapore.
      • And that church in Singapore planted a church in Cedar Rapids.
      • And here we are today.
      • Just consider this, from 12 disciples the church was planted.
      • In about 2000 years Christianity went from 12 dudes and there crucified leader to more than 2 and a half billion people.
      • THERE ARE MORE CHRISTIANS TODAY THEN THERE WERE PEOPLE ALIVE IN JESUS’ TIME!
    • DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS ONE MAN DID?! WHAT THESE 12 DISCIPLES DID?!
    • Yeah it might have been a small beginning, but man that mustard seed grew.
  • I think that Jesus was literally prophesying that this movement that He was starting, Christianity, would be the biggest thing ever. That the Kingdom that was starting as small as a mustard seed would soon spread its branches over the whole world.
    • And I would say that’s a fulfilled prophesy, amen?
  • Now what does this have to do with all of us today? We know that Jesus was right, that the mustard seed of the Kingdom of God would grow to be massive… that more people today consider themselves Christian than anything else!
  • But what does it mean for us today?
  • Here is what it means… God hasn’t stopped using small beginnings… and maybe that small beginning is you.
    • Maybe you think you aren’t qualified to do great things for God…
      • Maybe it is because you think you have sinned to much?
        • Well Paul murdered Christians for a living, and God brought Him to repentance and used Him to write half the new testament and to plant churches all over.
      • Maybe it’s because you think you aren’t smart enough?
        • Well John and Peter never went to school and were in all likeliness illiterate… the couldn’t read or right… yet the lead thousands to Christ…

Acts 4:13 ESV  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

  • Maybe you think you are too poor?
    • Most of the original 12 disciples were poor too, but that didn’t stop Jesus from using them.
  • God hasn’t stopped using small beginnings! Amen? Maybe that small begging is your ministry…
    • Y’all, Pastor Teresa was a nurse with a passion. She didn’t have power or politicle influence, she was passionate about her ministry to fight Human Trafficking, she offered that ministry to the Lord… and now she has been appointed by President Trump!
    • Guys, this church started in our living room… for the first 3 weeks we had no one come to church but us!
  • All Zerubbabel had was a plumb line, a piece of string with a weight attached to it, when he dared to rebuild the temple! WHAT A SMALL BEGINNING!

Zechariah 4:10 NLT Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

The Kingdom of God Works From the Inside Out

  • That brings me to point two… the Kingdom of God works form the Inside Out.

Luke 13:20-21 ESV  And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?  (21)  It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

  • We often expect things to happen by external means…
    • We want to SEE it working.
    • We want to know what’s happening.
    • We want to see Jesus come down from the clouds and change the world in an instance… Subduing nations, destroying armies, annihilating His enemies…
      • But again, that’s rarely how God works… He certainly does work that way sometimes…
      • But much more often does He work like leaven in bread.
    • If you have ever made bread you know that adding yeast to the dough doesn’t change the way the dough looks… at least not at first…
    • Adding yeast doesn’t change the color of the dough.
    • It doesn’t change the texture of the dough.
    • It doesn’t really look like it does anything… at first.
  • But slowly, from the inside of that dough, the yeast begins working.
    • And slowly that dough grows and grows and grows. Not from an external source… but from the internal working of the yeast.
  • Oh how it is with the Kingdom of God.
    • He changed Israel from the inside out.
    • Sending a messiah from the line of David to infiltrate the synagogues.
    • To teach from the inside… to bring from the inside the Kingdom of God.
      • Jesus could have thrown Himself from the highest point of the temple and the world could have watched as the Angels saved Him… in an instance proving His deity… but He said “No” this is not how my Kingdom comes.
    • God save the world not through fire and brimstone, but through a human being, Jesus Christ… fully man and fully God… man who was tempted like us, who suffered like us (and even worse so), who had to eat and sleep like us.
    • Jesus could have come down fully God and not at all a man… with fire in His eyes and a sword in His mouth… and He will come that way soon. But He came to change the world as one of us.
    • Changing the world from the inside out.
  • And hopefully you saw this coming… But Jesus does the same for us.
    • God brings His kingdom in our life from the inside out.
    • Salvation does not come by outward means….
      • Salvation does not come by being good, doing good, acting good.
      • Salvation does not come by things seen, but rather by things unseen.
      • When we die to ourselves and change from the inside out.
  • And for those of us who are still saved, He continues to work from the inside out.
    • Please stop worrying about all the sin you are stuck with…
    • Instead focus on the soul inside of you that is allowing that sin…
    • Why are you as a person coming to the point of sin… what is broken on the inside.
    • Most of the time when I repent from sin, it first starts with healing from brokenness.
    • Because my own arrogance and ignorance has damaged my soul so much that even though I am saved and redeemed and know Christ… for some reason I still sometime chose sin.
      • Sometimes I have to ask myself “WHATS WRONG WITH ME” and God says “Let me show you and fix it from the inside out”.

Conclusion

Luke 13:18-21 ESV  He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  (19)  It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”  (20)  And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?  (21)  It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

Zechariah 4:10 NLT Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

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