Lesson Three – The Power of the Indwelling Seed

The Power of the Indwelling Seed

Lesson Aim:  To show that when the seed has been planted in good soil, a Christian  becomes what is written in the word of God.

Scripture:  Matt. 13:31-33.

Historical analysis for reading the parable.
See Part II, Lesson One.


God’s kingdom with His Son as king has come to mankind.  We can believe this if we can believe Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28).  We can also believe it if we are enjoying the forces of heaven ruling in our lives.

We learned from the first two lessons of Part Two the word of God must be heard and understood to enjoy the kingdom.  Secondly, Christians need a responsive faithful heart to bear fruit for God.  We also understood how we must value the blessings of the kingdom and understand their power for a higher life.  In this lesson we want to discuss the process of getting the commands of God off the written page, the Bible, and on our minds and hearts as per the new covenant (Heb. 8:10-12).


There is one question most sincere Christians would like to have answered.  The question is, “How am I doing spiritually?”  The Apostle John gave us a test.  Christians are to keep the commandments of Jesus and love our brethren (I John 2:3, 9).  This sounds like a simple enough answer; however, as we take a closer look at some of the commandments we might still be wondering how we are doing.  It is obvious some commands are easier than others to internalize.

The following are examples of commands we can read, understand, obey and know we have obeyed.  Christians have obeyed some of these commands and we are keeping the others. The “keeping” aspect is manifested in our behavior.

He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.  Heb. 10:25.

And on the first day of the week, when we were  gathered together to break bread.  Acts 20:7.

On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.  I Cor. 16:2.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.  Matt. 28:19.

The following are a different type of commands: 

They direct our minds and hearts:

Do not be anxious.   Matt. 6:31.

Do not judge.  Matt. 7:1.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.  Acts 20:35.

Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.  Rom. 12:1

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   Rom. 12:21.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.  Rom. 13:8.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands.  Eph. 5:22.

Husbands love your wives.   Eph. 5:25.

Children obey your parents.  Eph. 6:1.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Eph 4:31.

We can readily see these commandments involve more than responding by faith to the good news about how we can be born again.  They are more encompassing than assembling of ourselves with the saints for worship.  It is not that we cannot read and understand the latter list, we can, but they require a re-learning in each stage of our learning processes.  Please note the foregoing list is only a small example of the vastness of the laws of liberty of life revealed and taught by Jesus Christ while on earth. See I John 1:1-3; James 2:12.

The difference in the latter group is that they demand a long range change in our world view, yea our eternal view (Eph. 1:15-19).  They demand a deep change within our minds and hearts about everyday mundane matters (I Pet. 2:13-17).  They involve a re-learning of how to measure success in life (II Cor. 5:12).  They demand disciplined training by tribulations (Heb. 12:5-13).  The reception of these commands might call for a Christian to give up his or her physical life (Rev. 12:11; 13:9, 10).

This spiritual growth program will not go forward unless Christians accept the Holy Spirit as our timeless companion (Rom. 8:12-16; II Cor. 13:14; I John 3:24).  The fellowship of our divine companion in our every day affairs is a part of the definition of godliness (I Tim. 4:7, 8).  Godliness is translated from the Greek word “eusebia.”  In simple terms it means Christians live as if God, the Father, and Jesus are present in our social and private activities and, being aware of Deity in our presence, we do that which is pleasing to God (I John 3:21-24).  Godliness is what this latter category of commands is about (I Tim. 6:3-6).

The will of mankind versus the will of God is the struggle Christians have with our obeying each commandment of God.  Our progress is rewarded with spiritual growth – another word for sanctification.  The concept of the kingdom presented in the parables from our scripture text is sanctification.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.   Matt. 13:31, 32

This is much more than working with the strengthening of a part of our nature, it involves all of our being.  To proceed from the mustard seed to the mustard tree, we must accept; that is, be willing to be subjected to all the commandments written in the word of God.  We must be willing to allow all of our will to be subjected to the will of God as he has revealed it in His commandments.

He spoke another parable to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened.’   Matt. 13:33

The kingdom of God is like leaven in three pecks of meal.  Leaven influences the nature of the total batch.  The kingdom of God must influence the life of a Christian until our total “self” is changed to conform to Jesus’ person.  It is the goal of sanctification     (II Thess. 2:13, 14).  It is a goal we will still be developing when we die, or when Jesus comes again (II Cor. 3:18; I Pet. 5:10).

How can we let this happen to us?  How can we obey all of these commandments of God when, in some cases, they are so much in conflict with our own will?  We must understand the kingdom.  The parables of Jesus clearly define many of the concepts.  They involve blessings from God, the life of Jesus Christ, the will of man, spiritual growth and fruit for God.  We must understand one concept of the life of the kingdom in the way we think about the cultural norms of a nation.  The inhabitants of the city of God live in a culture whose architect is God.  The cultural norms of the society are of the eternal life quality.  See Heb. 11:10; John 17:3; Rev. 21:22, 23.  Also, we will need to understand the value and high quality of life we learned from our previous lesson.  Only then can we have faith in the life of the kingdom.  When our faith becomes the dynamics of our life we will be able to accept all the commands of God.  After we hear of the life quality of God’s kingdom and understand it as an eternal culture, we must believe it is plausible.  Only then can we begin to speak of our faith.

Let us sum up the foregoing concepts in order to show how a Christian can accept commands from God that he or she would not be able to accept under other circumstances.  For instance, the Scriptures command that we should “owe no one anything but love.”  Suppose we did not know about that command but had recently found it.  Again, let us suppose that we did not have that much love in our hearts.  We know we could not suddenly be able to command ourselves to love everybody.  We could read and understand God’s will; however, we would not be able to instantly love everybody even though we desperately tried.  God did not say try; He said do it!

The problem is clear.  Some commands can be read and understood but we cannot instantly obey them; however, we accept them.  We must not refuse; consequently, it was necessary for God to arrange things in His kingdom in such a way that we can accept His commands.  God has given us certain blessings which we discussed in Lesson Two.  When Christians understand what it means to be “blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ,” our mental and spiritual environment improves (Eph. 1:3; II Cor. 3:18).  As our faith deepens our spiritual environment will improve and we are able to move with God’s commands.  It is a progressive cycle.  The more blessings we understand and have faith in, the more our environment improves and the more we are able to subject our will to God’s will.  That is, we will be able to hear, understand and obey more and more of God’s commands.  The doctrine of justification by faith allows faithful Christians time to obey the commands that demand a change of our nature.

The more of God’s commands we obey, the more changes we will enjoy in our lives.  We will be able to move spiritually from “a mustard seed to a mustard tree.”  We will be totally leavened.  We will not only assemble with the saints, we will be able to overcome anxieties and judging the motives of others.  We will find the joy of being a giver of ourselves.  We will overcome evil with good by accepting our eternal debt to love everybody.  Husbands will love their wives and wives will in turn gladly subject themselves to their husbands.  Children reared by parents of the kingdom will happily and more readily obey them.

The blessings of God’s kingdom with Jesus as our king can produce an environment so mentally healthy and encouraging, we can finally accept the command of God:  “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matt. 5:48.

Spiritual growth involves the leavening of ourselves with the commandments of God; consequently, we must have all of the concepts of the kingdom working for us before these commandments will be more than just nice “platitudes” we quote from the Bible.  Christians become a tree so strong the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.  We become God’s salt and light to the world and we inspire others to be salt and light.

In general, we can say people of the world do not think such a quality of life has plausibility.  In the parables in our previous lesson one man was searching for the “eternal life” quality and the other man somehow found it.  For a glimpse of the culture in the city of God see Rev. 21:1-8.  If these two people had not believed the quality of life in God’s kingdom was plausible they would not have recognized it when they made contact.  This is why evangelism efforts fail to reach the masses.  When the masses are Number One soil they will think it is a joke, or wishful thinking, to talk about a place like heaven.  Unfortunately, if the church and the evangelists are not quite convinced of the quality of life in the “holy city” of God, then our preaching may sound like a joke.  We may need to go back to the “drawing board” with a faith building study in such cases.  We may want to start by listening to Jesus’ parables in order to understand how Christians are being fitted into the life of the kingdom of God (Eph. 2:19-22).

Questions for Discussion 

  1. If we enjoy the forces of heaven in our lives, what has come unto us?
  2. According to the Apostle John, how can we know how we are progressing spiritually?
  3. Why might John’s answer leave some of us with a question as to where we stand spiritually?
  4. Why are some commands easier to obey than others?
  5. Give one word that captures the concept presented in the parables in our text.
  6. List three concepts from the Introduction of this lesson that are a part of the total concept of God’s kingdom for Christians now in time.
  7. Name the grace doctrine God established so that Christians can accept all of His commands.
  8. Explain how a Christian can hear a command like “owe no one anything but love” and remain free from guilt and fear.
  9. What is the reward for one who accepts God’s commands and grows?
  10. Explain the two parables in our lesson text.
  11. Describe one similarity between the culture of a nation and eternal life in the city of God.
  12. How does the word “plausibility” relate to the topic of world evangelism?

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