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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE GROWING SEED

Mark 4:26-29 And he said, so is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

In the letters of Paul, written to various churches and individuals, the church of Christ is referred to interchangeably as the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of His dear Son. Peter calls it the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Matthew, in his gospel, uses primarily the kingdom of heaven, but refers to it a few times as the kingdom of God. Mark refers to it, almost entirely as the kingdom of God, with one exception when he calls it the kingdom of our father David. The kingdom of God is used exclusively by John in his gospel as well as Luke, both in his gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles. All of these titles refer to the same spiritual institution - the kingdom designed by God, over which He made His Son, Jesus Christ, its King. One example proving that these names are used interchangeably is the parable of the mustard seed. Matthew writes that it was given by Christ to explain the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:31), while both Mark and Luke says it served to describe the kingdom of God (Mark 4:30-31 & Luke 13:18-19). His dominion today includes all things in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). The earthly portion of His kingdom is His body, the church of Christ, with everymember being subjects within that kingdom. God's word has been preserved and it revealsthese things to us.

The inspirational word of God also tells how the church originated in the mind of God from the beginning. It tells of its prophecy and its fulfillment. It establishes Jesus as its head and elders as the overseers of each individual body of Christ. It holds our complete guide to eternal salvation. In it we find God's standards of conduct by which we are to govern our lives. The word of God, if believed and obeyed, frees us from the bondage of sin, and through it we are able to find new lifeand be reborn. It restrains us from sinfulness, leads us to righteousness, and serves as our spiritual food by which we grow in knowledge, faith, and the grace of God. It is our armor, shield, and sword that we use to defend ourselves against the cunning, deceitfulness of Satan. It is a lamp the leads us along the narrow pathway and leads us to heaven.

The parable in our lesson text tells us that the word of God is a seed that is sown. It germinates, grows and when mature, produces a Christian. How? No one knows, but it is just as true and predictable as the example of nature cited in this parable. The natural growing process of a seed is orderly; after being sown in the ground, the blade first appears, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. The same is true of the seed of God being sown in the heart of an individual. Birth, rather rebirth, occurs when one initially becomes a Christian. This babe in Christ is as tender as the new blade of the germinated seed. Like the plant obtains nourishment from the soil, sun, and atmosphere, so the young Christian grows through continual encouragement, instruction, and study of the bible, as well as in works of righteousness. The plant finally matures and produces fruit of its own, and, when sown, results in more new plants. Such is a mature Christian, which sows the seed of the kingdom. The seeds of a mature stalk of corn produce other stalks of corn, which produce other stalks of corn, etc. The seeds of a mature Christian produce other Christians.

Until sown, both the seed of a plant and the seed of the kingdom, God's word, lie dormant. Neither new plants nor new Christians will be produced until seeds are planted in receptive places. Seeds require good earth in order to germinate, and proper cultivation is necessary to grow. To take root, God's word needs to be sown in good, receptive hearts, and, in order to grow into a mature Christian, needs godly instruction and the good counsel of faithful children of God. As Christians, it is our responsibility to sow the seed of salvation, God's word, to all mankind. We do not know which hearts will be receptive; neither can we make it to grow. It will grow of itself. And when the blade appears, we are to spiritually nourish it, feed and water it with the wisdom found in the inspired word of God. All this is God's plan that was placed in motion from the beginning of time. It cannot be altered and neither can it be explained! It is given that we might believe in it, be obedient to it, and find eternal salvation in heaven. O, the wonders of God's natural world! O, the wonders of God's spiritual world, His kingdom!