Small Beginnings - Big Endings

Posted on 01/31/16 by John Lindell in The Gospel of Mark: Servant King

In this message, Pastor John Lindell shares some incredible stories of how God began the growth of James River Church. As we study Mark 4:26-34, we see how the Kingdom of God grows and how God is growing the global reach of James River Church. Let this message be an encouragement and blessing to your life!

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Small Beginnings – Big Endings
Mark 4:26-34
Lead Pastor John Lindell
January 31, 2016

Bible Passage – Mark 4:26-34 (ESV)

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

1st The Kingdom starts small

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. Mark 4:26 (ESV)
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, Mark 4:30-31 (ESV)
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20-21 (ESV)
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6 (ESV)

2nd The Kingdom grows large

He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. Mark 4:27-28 (ESV)
yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches… Mark 4:32a+b (ESV)
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15 (ESV)

  • 100 A.D. – 181 million people on earth, 500,000 born again Christians. Ratio of 360 to 1.
  • 1000 A.D. – 270 million people on earth, 1 million born again Christians. Ratio 269 to 1.
  • 1500 A.D. – 425 million people on earth, 5 million born again Christians. Ratio 84 to 1.
  • 1900 – 1.6 billion people on earth, 40 million born again Christians. Ratio of 40 to 1.
  • 1950 – 2.5 billion people on earth, 80 million born again Christians. Ratio of 30 to 1.
  • 1980 – 4.5 billion people on earth, 275 million born again Christians. Ratio 15 to 1.
  • 1990 – 5.2 billion people on earth, 500 million born again Christians. Ratio 9 to 1.
  • Globally the church is growing by 80,000 people per day.
  • 510 new churches are formed every day.
  • In Africa Christianity will have grown from 143 million people in 1970 (38% of the continent’s population) to 630 million by 2020 (49.3% of the continent’s population).
  • In Asia, Christianity is growing more than twice as fast as the general population, most through conversions. Asia has seen the number of Christians double from 1970 to 2010.
  • Missionaries to the Islamic world say more Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last 14 years (since 9/11) than during the entire 14 centuries of Islamic history.

3rd The Kingdom blesses people

But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:29 (ESV)

…so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:32c (ESV)
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58:11-12 (NIV)