Matthew 13:31-35 The Impact of Christianity

Bob and Lynn Bray “You will never know the impact you will make this side of Heaven”

Our churches in America made a huge mistake when they got caught up in the numbers game. Not that numbers are all bad but when you limit the impact you are making with just the people who are at church on Sundays you miss out on what is going on in the rest of the world. I knew several pastors that would not allow any mission or youth trips to be taken over a Sunday. Our job is to be on Mission with God and to do that the Churches in America need to change how they count effectiveness.

If our church were to pack up after today and stop being a church would we have been a failure?

We have to be careful to judge eternal impact and not just what we can see. We do not know all the purposes of God when He starts and sometimes stops a ministry.  Yes if this church stopped being for one reason or another people would say we failed but would God say we failed? The true effectiveness of any church or any believer is obedience to God not if we see the results of our work.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of Mustard Seed

At this point the disciples may have been feeling a little overwhelmed with the situation as Jesus was talking about this new religion in their mind.  They knew that although Jesus drew large crowds that He did not draw many followers. Jesus was talking about sowing and reaping and they understood that they were the ones He was talking about carrying on this great work all over the world.

Have you ever felt like God could not use you because you have nothing to offer Him?

That is how the disciples felt especially since their were more qualified people than themselves that Jesus should have picked.

Smaller than all the other seeds

Critics of the Bible point this verse out and say that Jesus was wrong and the Bible if full of errors because the mustard seed is not the smallest seed that exist. Although that is true Jesus was referring to seeds that they planted in the garden at that time. Jesus was not referencing the fact that it was the smallest seed of all time but the smallest seed they knew about and dealt with.

It amazes me that critics will point to something like this and ignore that the Bible was written on 3 Continents, by 40 authors,  over a 1500 year period, while maintaining one consistent story, God’s redemption of mankind to Himself.

But when it is full grown

They started looking around and going is this it? Is this all we have? They saw the Roman Empire was very ungodly and they also saw the Jewish leaders who were against what Jesus was saying. Their focus was too much about themselves and the small group that trusted Jesus and so Jesus was reassuring them that just like the small mustard seed they would see results bigger than they could imagine.

Similar to us we can focus on the evil instead of our task. Also Don’t focus on the size of the task or the abilities you have but focus on the calling of God in your life.

“You, just like the disciples were, are part of something bigger than your present situation.

God used a small group of dedicated people that turned the world upside down and God continues to do the same today. The mustard seed plant in Palestine would grow  to 12 to 15 feet tall and  Jesus is making it clear to them that no matter how small and insignificant it seems now it will grow larger. At the time of Jesus death the Bible tells us in Acts 1:15 that there were 120 followers of Christ.

Christianity is ranked the largest religion in the world today. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in 2010 there were 2.18 billion Christians around the world, nearly a third of the global population.

Although you can criticize  and say not all those who claim to be Christians are Christians, the good news is that at least all those people and those around them have heard the story of Jesus Christ.

Christianity has touched the world and although there are still people groups that need the gospel our job is to continue to sow seeds in peoples hearts. According to the same article almost 80% of people in America say they are Christians. It is not our job to judge who is and who is not a Christian because that is for the Harvesters (Angels).

Birds of the air come and make nest in its branches

Nesting carries this idea that they will build in a place that is safe for them.

Christianity has made an impact all over the world and has literally made the world a safer place to live. I know many will point to those who abused the name of Christ and did things that were not of Christ but we also have to see the impact that Christianity made for mankind.

Read Matthew 13:33

John 17:14-16 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

The kingdom of Heaven is like leaven

A woman would take a piece of the leavened dough from a risen batch of bread before it was baked and when she made more she could put the piece in with the new batch. This caused the new batch to ferment and make it rise. Jesus is saying again although small in stature we can make a big impact on the world.

The leaven although small in comparison effects the whole loaf

The amount Jesus was talking about would have fed 100-150 people so Jesus is making it clear that the work of one could have an impact on and entire village.

Education, Justice, Dignity of Women, Child’s rights and protection, Prison Reform and Hospitals are some of the areas that have been done by Christians. We could add into that mix that the scientific community as well has benefited from the work of proclaiming Christians.

Christianity’s impact in the World

William and Catherine Boothe: Salvation Army

1865 in East London, food was scarce, 80,000 young women became prostitutes to survive, tens of thousands on streets, and they transformed the homeless into communities of self-helping self sustaining families. The salvation army is in 118 countries now and provides services in 175 different languages

Jean-Henri Dunant: Red Cross

1859 he traveled to Italy and saw the battle of Solferino. 40,000 men on battlefield begging for help. He persuaded military leaders to release any prisoners needing medical help and used churches and homes as make shift hospitals His efforts set in motion the Geneva Convention which addressed how fighting armies would treat wounded soldiers.

Agnes Bojaxhiu: Mother Teresa  “The missionaries of Charity”

Millions are being reached in former Soviet Union and eastern Europe as well as in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“The heart of a small lady moved by the great compassion of Christ brought comfort and healing to many.” (Josh McDowell, The Unshakeable Truth, pg 359)

It is not the talent that you have that will impact this world, but the love in your heart.

Samaritans Purse

Through the vision of Franklin Graham over 100 million children have recieved gifts around Christmas time. Most of these children are in poverty or war torn areas of the world.

World Vision International , Compassion International , Harvest International and so many more were started because of a heart for Christ and a love for people.

To Christianize a nation is not to pass Christian laws, or force Christian baptism on everyone. Christianization does not start at the top and move down. Rather when Jesus Christ  transforms individuals, they being living for Christ in their homes and in their churches; then they begin to influence the larger society. (Core Christianity, Elmer Towns, pg 124)

“The family unit is the most fundamental institution of society and the most effective way to pass on the core values of one generation to the next. (Core Christianity, Elmer Towns, pg 126)

If you want to make an impact on the world start with your own family. It is as we raise up Godly children that this world will continue to be preserved by Christians. It was the work of the Christians in the first century who cared for the discarded children and the lame that changed Rome. They did not focus on the evil of the nation but on helping just one who was literally along their path.

“A Christian does not have to be a national leader, a famous entertainer, or a sports figure to influence the world for his Lord. It is the power of God’s kingdom within a believer that makes his witness effective, and that is the influence on the world that Christians should seek to have. “(John MacArthur, Commentary on Matthew)

Jesus told these stories as encouragement not only to the disciples but to us as well. The apostle Paul would have never thought that Christianity would have permeated Rome so much that it would take over the Greco- Roman gods.

It is said that 1/3 of the population of Korea is Christian and despite the terrible persecution going on there it is estimated that there are a hundred million Christians in China. The mustard seed principle is continuing all over the world as people are discovering the good news of Christ redemption on the cross for them and they are finding true hope for the first time.

Jesus spoke to them in parables

As we have stated before it is not that they cannot understand but it is they choose not to understand.

The deeper things of God take some time to understand but that does not mean they are not understandable.

“Jesus does not intend to make it easy to enter the kingdom. He demands full commitment, a radical discipleship that does not leave room for wishy- washy Christians. Being a devoted follower of Christ has never been easy, nor will it ever be. You cannot have your cake and eat it too in following Christ. His truths, like parables, take time and effort to unlock. There are hidden realities that can only be known by serious Bible study and absolute commitment to Christ. (Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)

Only in Spiritual Matters do we tend not to push ourselves or our children. We do not give our kids a pass when it comes to Algebra or Chemistry but if they do not understand the things of God we tell them not to worry about it. If you want to know God, He makes Himself known but to do so it may take some time and effort.

We are called to make an impact on this world no matter how difficult, how much ridicule or how much cost.

Where has God called you to make an impact?

What has God put on your heart to do?

Everyone that has been used mightily by God have been ordinary people doing extraordinary things because of the power of God and the obedience to His call.

 

 

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