Matt 13:31                One Grain of Mustard Seed                                 6/24/2018      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Kingdom of Heaven is Like (Matt 13:31-32, Gal 3:16, John 1:3, Col 1:18)

 

 

 

·      One Grain <2848> of Mustard Seed (Matt 13:31, Luke 13:18-19, John 12:23-24, 1Cor 15:35-38)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Christ Made Himself Very Low (Matt 13:32, Phil 2:7-8, Psalm 22:6, Mark 10:44-45, 2Cor 8:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within the Plan of God (Isa 46:9-11, Heb 6:18)

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 13:11 (2X). We are continuing our travels through the Gospel According to Matthew, and we are looking at the eight parables in Matt 13 in detail. Today we have arrived at the third parable, which is “The Parable of the Mustard Seed”. Therefore this sermon is titled, One Grain of Mustard Seed (2X). What have we seen so far?

We have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ told the first four parables in this chapter to the multitude who were standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then afterward, privately, the Lord Jesus explained the first two of the four parables to the Disciples: They are the Parable of the Sower, and the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. There are a total of eight parables in this Chapter, but only the first two He explained. The Lord Jesus leaves six of the eight parables unexplained. It is as if He is saying: “Here are two parables for which I have given you an explanation. Now, you can yourself explain the other six parables by following the pattern that I have given you for the first two parables.” Do we remember what the pattern was in the first two parables? Let me bring up just three points:

#1.  In Matt 13:11 the Lord Jesus said to the Disciples: “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.” Very clearly, you cannot miss it; the Lord Jesus is speaking about the doctrine of election and predestination both in the first and in the second parable. Since all people are by nature spiritually dead, the only way they can be saved is, if God chooses to save them. If God does not do that, if God passes them by, they remain dead in trespasses and sins.

#2.  A second point that we observed of the pattern in the first two parables was this: the message is addressed to people in the church, and different people react to that message differently.  And so, these parables are illustrating the reaction of people to the preaching of the Word of God, and they are illustrating the effect this preaching has on the hearts and lives of those who hear. The seed of the preaching of the Word does not always fall on the same kind of heart. Or to say it differently, the seed does not always fall on the same kind of soil. That is why the Lord Jesus says repeatedly: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” meaning: you must have spiritual ears to understand the parable.

#3.  Point number three: In the first two parables people are selective hearers; they hear only what they want to hear. People who are represented by the wayside, or by the stony ground, or by the thorny ground do not listen to the Word of God like those who are represented by the good ground. Why don’t they? It is because they have not been given the desire to listen carefully to what God says. The Wheat and the Tares do not listen to the Word in the same way. Those who are the wheat have heard the Word, and have tested themselves, and are overjoyed. Those who are tares do not know that they are tares because they never tested themselves. They are dead; they cannot hear. 

And so we see that these first two parables emphasize the sovereignty of God in salvation. This is not a popular topic with most people these days, but it is found all throughout the Bible. But since most people do not read the Bible, they do not know what God says about His plan of salvation. And His

plan is always the perfect plan. Please drop down now to verse 31, Matt 13:31 (2X).

#1.       The Kingdom of Heaven is Like (Matt 13:31-32, Gal 3:16, John 1:3, Col 1:18)

Mt 13:31  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

Mt 13:32  Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

The first question we have is this: Who is the sower? When we compare verse 31 with verse 24 we see that the wording is almost identical, and we must conclude that the sower is the same person in the second and in the third parable. The Sower is the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares Christ is the Sower of the good seed. In the parable that we consider today the seed is “a grain of mustard seed”.  The Lord Jesus chose this time “One grain of mustard seed”, because this parable illustrates that the Kingdom of Heaven is like something starting very small and it grows into something very large.  We do not put our focus on the mustard, but we put our focus on the seed. This is the item similar to that spoken of in the previous two parables. What then does the seed represent in this “grain of mustard seed”? In the previous two parables the seed represented two different things. Thus it may be expected that in the third parable the seed represents again something else. The one seed is the origin out of which the entire kingdom of God evolves. And so, the seed is not one Gospel message, like in the first parable, for the entire kingdom of heaven does not evolve out of one Gospel message. The one seed does not represent one human being, like in the second parable, for the kingdom of heaven consists of many human beings; many grains of seed. And so, when we think of the one grain of seed we are drawn to a statement in Gal 3:16, where God speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ as the seed, singular. God says in Gal 3:16,

Ga 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

In this verse Christ is spoken of as the Seed, singular. He was incarnated out of one singular seed of God who in the womb of the virgin Mary took up residence in one singular human egg. And so, it is in this direction that we must seek the meaning of the one grain of mustard seed that grows into a large tree, representing the kingdom of God. And indeed, the entire kingdom of God on earth as well as in heaven originates from One Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. That is why God says in John 1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”. Before the foundation of the world Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, created all things that were created, for He said that He and the Father are One God. And that is why God says in Col 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”. The Lord Jesus Christ is called the head of the body of believers, both OT and NT believers, which is the church. And He is called “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”, for He is the first of the entire human race who was raised from the dead to inherit the eternal kingdom of God in the NH&NE. And so, let us now focus on the One Grain of Mustard Seed.

Mt 13:31  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain <2848> of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

When we consider the grain, which is the Greek word indicated by the number <2848>, we are drawn to two other passages where this Greek word appears. One is in Luke 13:19, and the other is in John 12:24. Put a sticker here in Matt 13:31 and please turn to the Gospel According to Luke, Luk 13:18 (2X). On the Sabbath the Lord Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues of Galilee where He healed a woman which had a spirit of infirmity for 18 years. Then the ruler of the synagogue showed his indignation about this act of mercy on the Sabbath. It was an unjust remark. And it is within this context that the Lord Jesus then spoke the words that we now read in Luke 13:18-19,

Lu 13:18 ¶  Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

Lu 13:19  It is like a grain <2848> of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

On the face of it, this does not seem much different from Matt 13:31-32. But when God wrote the Bible He chose His words very carefully. There are two differences we observe in this verse. The first is that the man “cast” this one grain of mustard seed, which is actually very difficult to do, for this mustard seed is not the size of a stone, but it is a very small seed. The second difference is that the man cast it into “His garden”, rather than in “His field” as in Matt 13:31. The field represents the world, as we read in Matt 13:38, but the garden is something different. Put another sticker here in Luke 13:19, and please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 12:23 (2X). It is Monday, the 10th day of Nissan, the day that lambs were selected for the Passover meal on the 14th day of Nissan. And on this day, on the Monday before the Passover in AD 33, God selected His Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the Lord Jesus said in John 12:23-24,

Joh 12:23-24  And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.                    Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn <2848> of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

The Lord Jesus spoke here of His suffering and death on the cross. But when we read in our KJ Bibles “a corn <2848> of wheat” we must realize that the word “corn” is the same word <2848> that was used to describe “a grain <2848> of mustard seed” both in Matt 13:31 and in Luke 13:19. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke here about a necessary “Transformation”. In the first place, Christ spoke about His coming crucifixion, His death, and the glorious outcome of it all through His resurrection and the abundant fruit that would be produced in the growth of the church that would follow. The Lord Jesus Christ is that “grain” that had to die for our sins, to endure the wrath of God in our place, with the glorious result that we might receive the righteousness of God in Christ, because all our sins were paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. Once Christ had paid for our sins and given us His righteousness there is nothing that can keep us out of God’s holy heaven, because “If God be for us, who can be against us?” In the second place, we who are so intimately identified with the Lord Jesus Christ that He could be our stand in before God, we are also represented by that “grain” that had to die. If Christ was our substitute when He died, then we died with Him in order that we also might be raised with Him. And this is indeed what the Bible says. In Christ we died to the Law in order that we may also become the Bride of Christ. In the third place, we see that when God uses the word “grain” <2848>, like in a grain of mustard seed, or like in a corn of wheat that falls to the ground, God is referring to a seed that must die in order that something glorious may grow out of it. Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:35 (2X). God speaks here about the glorious bodies we shall receive in the resurrection on the Last Day. The entire chapter of 1Cor 15 is dealing with the resurrection of the body, not the resurrection of the souls, for the resurrection of the souls has been dealt with in the rest of the Bible. We read in 1Cor 15:35-38,

1Co 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

1Co 15:36-38 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:    And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:      But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

The word “grain” in verse 37 is the same word <2848> as we have seen in Matt 13:31. Our body that goes into the ground is like a little brown seed that is sown. But the body with which we will be resurrected shall be totally different. And again we see that God is referring to a seed that must die in order that something glorious may grow out of it. Let us now look at another aspect of Luke 13:19.

Please turn again to the Gospel According to Luke, Luk 13:19 (2X). We have now seen from the Gospel of John, in John 12:24, that the little corn of wheat refers to the little grain of mustard seed, which refers to the Lord Jesus Christ who was sown in the earth to provide the seed for the church, which grows out of Him like a large tree. We read in Luke 13:19,

Lu 13:19  It is like a grain <2848> of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast <906> into his garden  <2779> and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ “cast Himself into His garden?” That word “cast” is used in many other places in the Bible in a very uncomfortable setting. In many places God uses that word “cast” for “casting people into Hell”. That is the second death!  When did the Lord Jesus Christ begin to suffer the second death in our place? It was in the Garden of Gethsemane. And look at the next word here in Luke 13:19. It is the word “garden”.  This word for “garden” is used only in three other verses in the Bible, all three in the Gospel according to John, all three associated with the second death that Christ had to undergo in our place. We read in John 18:1,

Joh 18:1 ¶ When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

This garden was the Garden of Gethsemane. Then we move in the same chapter to verse 26,

Joh 18:26  One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?

This verse is again talking about the Garden of Gethsemane. Now we move to John 19:41,

Joh 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

God, in His Wisdom, chose here the word “garden”, even though we might not think it to be an appropriate name at all. Think of it, this was Golgotha, the Place of a Skull, a place for execution of criminals, a place that stunk of death and sin. It was not a nice place to visit at all. It would be entirely incongruous to have a nice garden here in this place. But God uses the word “garden” to make us associate this place Golgotha with the Garden of Gethsemane, and with the garden in the Parable of the Grain of Mustard Seed in Luke 13:19. This word “garden” associates with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. This word “garden” is pointing to the place where the Church was sown. This word “garden” is identifying the place where the Lord Jesus Christ purchased His kingdom. We read again,

 Luk 13:19  The Kingdom is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden;

This “grain of mustard seed” is representing Christ, which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself “cast into His garden” to purchase for Himself His kingdom, and He did that by dying on the cross for those whom He purchased out of the power of sin and of Satan. Can we see that this is a picture of the seeding of His church? This was absolutely necessary to have the church come to existence. What a fabulous picture of the love of Christ for us, sinners on the way to Hell. And what a fabulous picture the Lord is showing us here in this Parable of the Mustard Seed. And what a glorious result! This little seed has grown into a large tree representing the kingdom of God, the church. Please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 13:32 (2X). There we read about the history of this little seed.

#2.       Christ Made Himself Very Low (Matt 13:32, Phil 2:7-8, Psalm 22:6, Mark 10:44-45, 2Cor 8:9)

Before we look into the history of the little seed growing into a big tree, we should consider the words in the beginning of Matt 13:32, indicating that Christ made Himself very low. We read in Matt

Mt 13:32  Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Why does God state here that this little mustard seed is the least of all seeds? If we want to be technical, we know that a mustard seed is not the smallest seed on earth. Perhaps the mushroom seeds or the orchid seeds are much smaller seeds. They are so small, you would need a microscope to see them. And why is God boasting about this great tree? Technically the mustard tree is not at all a gigantic tree. But this is not the direction that God is taking us in this parable. We must look at the spiritual meaning of these words. We now know that the little mustard seed represents the Lord Jesus Christ. Did He become the least of all mankind? Let us review some verses here which point in this direction. God says in Phil 2:7-8 that the Lord Jesus became the servant of mankind. We read in:

Php 2:7-8  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:            And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and

became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

And so, when Christ humbled Himself to the death of the cross, He became more despised than any other human being, for none of the human race had yet entered into the condemnation of Hell. Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, for it contains the words of Christ on the cross. Christ says in Ps 22:6

Ps 22:6  But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

These words show that the Lord Jesus became more despised than any other human being. When we read the words of Mark 10:44-45, we find again that Christ became a servant of men.

Mr 10:44-45  And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.    For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Since Christ is the one who must become the chiefest, He must first be the servant of all. And thus it was necessary that He first became poor, for our sakes. We read in 2Cor 8:9,

2Co 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

And so, the Lord Jesus made Himself a member of a very poor family. He was born in a stable, and He was laid in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. No one in this country is that poor. This is the reason why God says in Matt 13:32, “Which indeed is the least of all seeds”. But now look at the result. In the words of Luke 13:19 God says,

God is not pointing to the physical size of the mustard tree. We must endeavor to look beyond the historical and the physical to see the spiritual meaning of these words. Why is God using the words “a great tree”? It is because the church that this tree represents is a great church, and it rests upon a great salvation, which was designed by a great Author, having great wisdom, and great power, and great love, and He made great promises of great honor in heaven, and He wrote it in a great Book, the Bible, wherein are listed great sins, and wherein God promised great penalties for sins. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? Throughout the Bible God portrays the church as a tree. For example, God says in Rom 11 and in Rev 11 that the true church is like an olive tree. But the olive tree is not the only one who represents the saints. For example, we read in Psalm 1:3,

Ps 1:3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Furthermore we read in Jer 17:7-8,

Jer 17:7  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

Jer 17:8  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Furthermore we read in Psalm 92:12-14 about the palm tree and about the cedar in Lebanon.

Ps 92:12  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Ps 92:13  Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.

Ps 92:14  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

Furthermore God has lofty words in Isa 41:19-20 about a great number of different trees that are representing the saints. God says in Isa 41:19-20,

Isa 41:19  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:

Isa 41:20  That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

The focus is not on a particular kind of tree, but the focus is on the fact that it is God who has planted them. He must get all the glory. Therefore God says in Isa 61:3,

Isa 61:3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

And so you see that God chose to make the mustard seed grow into a great tree, not because it was a mustard tree, but because it was the planting of the Lord. The eternal church, consisting of the saints throughout time and throughout the world, is the planting of the Lord. He has done it, and He must get all the credit and all the glory. As you know, we read in Rev 7 that this is a very great multitude which no man could number, from all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. Let us now focus again on Matt 13:32 and continue with:

Mt 13:32  Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Who do these birds of the air represent? When God speaks of birds He uses two different modes of expression. When God speaks of good and friendly birds of the air He names them sparrows, or doves, or turtledoves, or pigeons. But no other birds of the air are called friendly birds. Of course there are other friendly birds that are ground-dwellers, but these do not belong to the birds of the air. On the other hand, when God writes about the fowls of the air, or the birds of the air, or the birds of every sort, or the fowls of the heaven, or the fowls that eat carcases, or the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, God refers to these birds as representing devils. For example, we read in Matt 13:4 (2X), “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up”. God clearly says in Matt 13:19 that these fowls represent demonic beings. We read in Matt 13:19, “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side”. Therefore, since the Lord gave us the explanation of only the first two parables, He expects us to interpret the following six parables according to the pattern He has laid down in the first two. But does our interpretation harmonize with the rest of the Bible? Indeed it does. God tells us in the Bible that especially near the end of time, when the church becomes great and comfortable, and physical persecution is reduced to the minimum, then the church will go apostate and the church will seek other ways of salvation than the salvation of the Bible. The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ is always despised, and it is gossiped about, and the powers of darkness are conspiring against it. But it has always been that way. The Gospel of the cross has always been despised and ridiculed. It always was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. But near the end of time demonic doctrines and evil men will infiltrate the pulpits, to the extent that gradually the voice of the Gospel dies down until it is barely heard, and then the end will come. Today we can see that most churches have fallen away, and so we sense that we are close to the end of time. For example we read in 2Tim 3:13,

2Ti 3:13  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

In other words, as time goes on wickedness in the church shall increase. Wickedness in the Roman Catholic church did increase for many centuries. But then, about 500 years ago God rescued the situation by causing Bibles to be printed, and causing the Reformation to take Europe by storm. This went well for the first 200 years, but then even the reformed churches began to deteriorate, and when we look at the 20th century we see that apostasy progressed like an avalanche. The history of apostasy in OT Israel and Judah is being repeated in the NT, but now on a worldwide scale. Free-will  gospels where man is the kingmaker are taking the world by storm, replacing the Gospel of the Bible. Charismatic gospels where God is still bringing divine messages in dreams and visions, and in angel visitations, and in tongues are everywhere, just adding to the total confusion. And most wicked of all, the Bible is rapidly being replaced by a counterfeit NIV Bible, which contains doctrines of devils.

All these things have been prophesied in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which the Lord has given us through the pen of the apostle John. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 11:7 (2X). Most churches do not read this Epistle to the seven churches any more, because they know that this would condemn their current practices and beliefs. Most churches sidestep this prophecy, claiming that it is too difficult to interpret. But the truth is that they feel threatened by these prophecies, and they would rather focus on some practical day to day issues, and applications pertaining to improving this earthly life. We read in Rev 11:7,

Re 11:7  And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

How shall Satan silence the true saints of the Lord? Please turn two pages to Rev 13:7 (2X),

Re 13:7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Again the saints shall be silenced, for the beast shall overcome them. And how shall this beast overcome the saints? He does that with the help of the false prophet, who is introduced in Rev 13:11,

Re 13:11 ¶  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

This is the false prophet, who will infiltrate churches and lead many astray. During the FTP Satan

is not fighting the saints by requiring their blood, but instead he will join the church. By this change of strategy Satan will be much more successful than when he was persecuting the saints. He will be so successful that the church will be called “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth”. We can read that in Rev 17 and 18 where God has cursed the apostate church. When the church has deteriorated to the extent that no one any more is saved, then the end shall come.

But wait a moment. Does this mean that Satan will have won? Does this mean that Satan will overcome the saints who are the apple of God’s eye? Absolutely not! The elect cannot be deceived, for God will see to it that they will be preserved forever. Actually all the efforts of Satan, even his most successful ones, are all falling within the plan of God.

#3.       The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within the Plan of God (Isa 46:9-11, Heb 6:18)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 46:9 (2X). In this chapter God speaks to the remnant of the house of Israel, Christ, which are borne by Him, and which have been carried and preserved from the womb. Here God emphasizes that He is God, and that He causes history to unfold as He pleases, and not as Satan pleases. We read in Isa 46:9-11, 

Isa 46:9-10  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,          Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isa 46:11  Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

God says, “I am declaring the end from the beginning”, and God says, “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it”. Not Satan, but God is in control. And if mankind sins so that they bring to pas a great apostacy, then God says that He planned it to be this way. Now, this must be a great comfort especially to us who are living so close to the end, for we can easily be discouraged by seeing so great apostacy around us. Especially when we are confirmed in our observations by correctly understanding this “Parable of the One Grain of Mustard Seed”, and we see these birds of the air lodge in the branches of the great tree, we may think that everything we can do is hopeless. But now we can see that God is patiently waiting for the wicked to complete their efforts to bring the church of God down to their level. God is waiting, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And in this we can actually see that God is righteous, for He will bring judgment only after the sins are committed. But as long as we have our faith and hope on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we keep our eyes on the Word of God to keep us faithful, God shall not abandon us. He will not leave us nor forsake us, for that is what He promised in His Word. And God swore “with an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb 6:18). Let us therefore rest in His promises, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.