Title: Expect Great Things from God; Attempt Great Things for God
Text: Mark 4.21-25
Introduction: It is William Carey who said: Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. The father of the modern missionary movement was an amazing man. He practiced just what he preached: He expected God to do great things and he attempted to do great things for God.
I’m guessing that William Carey understood the texts we studied last week in John and the call or command to bear fruit and continue the works of Christ. He had a deep comprehension of the symbiotic relationship between obedience to Christ and love for Christ. If you love me you will…
We’re continuing our study in Mark 4 this morning. And, as we look at our text (Mark 4.21-25) we’ll see that same connection: There is something unique in the way we work as if it all depends on us, but God is the one who accomplishes the work.
Mark 4 contains three parables concerning the Kingdom of God. The three parables deal with seed in some context. In the 1st parable, this seed represents the Word of God as brought by Jesus, the sower. More specifically though, the 1st parable is about the responses to the Kingdom of God as seen in the soils. These next two parables in verses 26-34 deal with the nature of the Kingdom of God. Having covered the 1st parable already, we’ll cover the next two next week.
But something interesting happens in the midst of the parables of the seeds: Jesus gives an analogy. You might see it as two, but I think it is one and the same.
You probably see it as the illustration of the lamp and the challenge to ‘measure’ it out to others. But just how do these fit together?
Let’s look a little closer at what Mark is telling us. The beauty of this passage is seen in its original language. V 21 literally reads: The lamp does not come in order that it might be put under the basket. That is odd, isn’t it? The English has been changed in order to make sense to our minds, but it isn’t so in the Gk. A lamp doesn’t come into a room; it is brought into a room. A lamp is simply passive to the will of another.
Ill.: when I arose this morning, I had to turn on the lamp in my living room so that I could see. It didn’t notice me and then turn itself on because it was dark.
Note, though in our text:
- The lamp isn’t passive. The Lamp is active.
- The lamp has a definite article.
We often run to the conclusion that this means, we’re to let our light shine before men. And that’ll preach for this morning: Go, let your light shine! But I don’t think that is what Jesus is communicating. He’s been saying to them that he is speaking in parables because… look at v 11 “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables… and then he quotes from Isaiah.
But now he talks about a lamp set on a lampstand to give light to everyone. So, what does Jesus mean? He tells us in v 22: 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. I think he is saying that what is hidden for the moment, will be revealed. This message of the Kingdom will be preached boldly.
There is something else here that I find interesting:
1st, the word measure in verse 24 also appears in v 21. It is the word translated basket or bushel
2nd, the word measure in v 24 actually appears 3x’s in v 24: with the measure you measure, it will be measured to you. It almost sounds negative: what goes around, comes around, Buddy! He’s not saying you reap what you sow, but rather, He who sows sparingly, reaps sparingly. He who sows abundantly reaps abundantly.
The message of the Kingdom of God – The Gospel will be clearly seen. It will be accepted and received, or it will be rejected and turned away.
Rd v 25; Be responsible with this incredible message you have.
Ill.: When I was a Youth pastor our kids had a skit they would do for whatever activity we were involved in…i.e.: youth camp, revivals, retreats, choir tour, etc. (Demonstrate the skit.)
Application – Moral: love isn’t love unless you give it away. And, if you don’t give it away, you don’t really have it. And these two analogies are teaching us that this message of light is something that isn’t to be hidden, but rather to be shared. If it isn’t shared, it isn’t really light. And, it must be shared in abundance. It matches the 1st parable. Where it isn’t sown, it isn’t grown; however, we’re commanded to go and sow, in order that we might reap 30, 60, even 100 fold! We’ll look more at the other seed parables next week.
Conclusion: Something interesting has happened over the past few weeks in our studies together in Mark and John: Jesus is going to die. He is going to leave them. He isn’t going to be with them much longer. The work is being passed to them. Parables won’t be needed soon. The disciples will be blunt and direct. This Jesus, whom you killed they will say, has risen from the dead.
You and I have inherited this mission.
Here is where William Carey connects with us because he is preaching to us: Expect great things from God: attempt great things for God. Today, we’ll have an opportunity to mingle with people from our community. They’ll be coming in from all around for the BBQ Fundraiser for TVFD. We’ve distributed 1200 tickets to the children in Bandera and Utopia. We’ll have Bounce Houses and Snow Cone machines and other activities for children. There are so many areas of service, and we need disciples to expect great things from God; and attempt great things for God. You might just exchange hellos and introductions. Or, you may have a chance to plant some seeds. Who knows what God is doing? Let’s pray.