The Mustard Seed and the Yeast
Matthew 13: 31-35
Introduction: This is a sermon about how “little is much
when God is in it” The Kingdom of God isn’t so much about
Grand Beginnings as it is about Growing Blessings.
The New Living Translation of the Jewish scripture: Zechariah 4:10
says: “Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin,”
Today we hear what Jesus had to say
about small beginnings.
A. The Often Tiny Initiation of the Kingdom
1. The prayer of faith doesn’t waste a lot of time telling God
how large your problems are – It goes to work telling your
problems how large your God is.
Jesus wanted to teach that we shouldn’t be dismayed by
small beginnings. So he likened the start of the Kingdom of
God in someone’s life to a small seed
31 He told them another parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed,
which a man took and planted in his field.”
Remind us how big is a mustard seed? (hold up a ruler)
There are 23 Cms on this ruler
THAT is one Cm.
There are ten millimeters in that 1 centimeter.
A mustard seed is one millimeter across.
When Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard
seed,” He was saying God’s work starts small. Ah but …
“Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.”
Working with small things for big results
is a pattern you will find all over the bible:
•Moses' rod delivered a nation from Egypt
•The jawbone of an ass in Samson's hand was a mighty weapon
•Five smooth stones felled the giant Goliath
•The handful of meal and a jar of oil that sustained a widow through years of famine
•Five barley loaves and a couple fish fed a multitude
Remember this. A mighty oak tree happened
when a tiny little nut held its ground.
2. The kingdom of God spreads quickly like a pinch of yeast.
(33) He told them still another parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast.
May I remind you how yeast works:
yeast makes bread dough rise because
it is a live, single-celled, fungus organism.
It starts to eat the flour. As the fungus is feasting,
it begins to release gas bubbles of carbon dioxide, and
small amounts of ethanol alcohol.
These bubbles, trapped in the bread dough, cause
the rising action. Get it?
Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God is spiritual life that
comes into the spiritual deadness of our lives.
Is it OK for this preacher to suggest that the Kingdom
of God comes into you to start nibbling away at
the deadness to produce more and more life?!
The start of God’s work in your life almost always has a
small feel to it - give it faith plus obedience and
it will grow grow grow !!
So the first point this morning is The Often Tiny Initiation
of the Kingdom and now for the last point:
B. The Obvious Timeless Influence of the Kingdom
1. You weren't made just for you.
The kingdom is always about a world far bigger than
the circumference of your ambitions and plans.
When the kingdom grips a life that person becomes ....
a blessing to others (32) Though it is the smallest of all seeds,
yet when it grows, it is the largest of
garden plants and becomes a tree, so that
the birds come and perch in its branches.”
When I read that, I dwell on the last part. The So that!
The kingdom life spills blessing over to others.
That is the great lesson of a man named Mr. Kimball of
Boston - surely you have heard of him!?
A Sunday School teacher, Mr. Kimball, invested his life in
the lives of others Mr. Kimball, in 1858, led a Boston shoe
clerk to give his life to Christ.
The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, became an evangelist.
In England in 1879, he awakened evangelistic zeal in
the heart of Fredrick B. Meyer, pastor of a small church.
F. B. Meyer, preaching to an American college campus,
brought to Christ a student named J. Wilbur Chapman.
Chapman, engaged in YMCA work, employed a former
baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work.
Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, N.C. A group of
local men were so enthusiastic afterward that they planned
another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to
town to preach.
During Hamm's revival, a young man named Billy
Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ.
Billy Graham has a son named Franklyn who last year preached in
all 50 States calling Christians to get prayerfully
engaged in our country and he has touched millions of
children in the third world with those
Christmas boxes you send.
Now what do you think of Mr Kimbell?
Does the place you’re called to labor seem
too small and little known? It is great if God is in it
But hear this too: what God does through you
is less important than what God does IN you.
2. The influence of the kingdom is a spread to the whole of
life 33 like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about
sixty pounds of flour until
it worked all through the dough.”
That is the nature of the kingdom. It may start with just your
Sunday mornings but it intends more.., much more. You
start showing up at a weekday bible study. You start thinking
about God on other days too.
All through. That is the nature of the kingdom. It may start
with giving a few dollars in the plate. Next thing you find
yourself giving a tenth in one of those little envelopes.
Watch out! Before you know it you start thinking that all
your money is really God's. He just lets you administer it.
All through. That is the nature of the kingdom. It begins
when you read a verse from the Bible and find you like it.
Before long you have collected a few of those verses. Oh oh
- next thing we catch you reading a whole chapter now and
then. After a while you are found reading the Bible every
That's the kingdom - the dough works to expand into
the whole sixty pounds
Conclusion: Does the place you’re called to labor Seem too small
and little known? It is great if God is in it, And He’ll not forget His
own. Little is much when God is in it! Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
When a few people saw an old broken down youth camp in
Hunterdon County they dreamed of a place where 100 addicted
people could be helped at a time – they didn’t despise small beginnings!
When a rabbi and a preacher believed there could be a clinic
for people who couldn’t afford dental work they started with
a dream and a letter to congress - they didn’t despise small beginnings!
When a lady named Joan felt there should be a place where
desperate pregnant moms who had no place to live could be housed –
she started with a broken building that the bums had stripped bare.
She didn’t despise small beginnings!
Have you been praying for someone?
Well don’t you dare despise small beginnings!
That’s how the kingdom works.