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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 

Option A: From  Kelly Bedard 

Kingdom Growth Principles
Mark 4:26-34


1. Growth is God's work (verse 26: "the kingdom of God")

2. God unleashes mysterious forces which operate of themselves (automaton) to achieve His sovereign purpose ("scatter" [verse 26]="to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to give over to one's care uncertain about the result")

3. Seeds must be allowed their appointed course of growth and ripening (stalk-head-full kernel): "sleep" (verse 27)=euphemistically, to be dead; metaphorically, to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one's salvation

4. The purpose of sowing and growing is the harvest--which means, figuratively, the gathering of people into the kingdom of God

5. The Word of God is powerful and reliable--like mustard seed, it both irritates and stimulates ("God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable")

6. The kingdom of God is not one of outward form and shape--yea, it is almost invisible ("the smallest seed")

7. Its eternal fruits are large! ("becomes the largest of all garden plants...")

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div..
------------

Always Confident
2 Cor. 5:1-10

Introduction: "Confidence is half the battle." Judging from the sales of "positive thinking" books, many people believe that confidence is an important ingredient to success.

Paul the Apostle was a tentmaker. He knew how important it was for a tent to provide shelter in a storm. Our bodies are like those tents Paul used to make--well-crafted, but limited in their ability to withstand the storms of life. Yet, Paul was always confident!

1) Because this earth is not our final home
  A. As He reminded us in Phil. 3:20-21
  B. As Jesus told us in John 14:1-3

2) Because we have the Holy Spirit as a down payment on the future
  A. As in 2 Cor. 1:21-22
  B. As in 2 Cor. 5:5
  C. As in Eph. 1: 13-14 

3) Because Jesus is our Righteousness
  A. It does not depend upon our own uncertain work (Eph. 2:8-9).
  B. But upon the solid legal foundation of Jesus being our substitute (2 Cor. 5:21).

2 Corinthians 5:4
For we that are in this tabernacle-We who are in this state of trial and difficulty do groan, being burdened; as if he had said: The whole of human life is a state of suffering, and especially our lot; who are troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down, bearing about in the body
the dying of our Lord Jesus, and being always delivered unto death on the account of Jesus--

2 Corinthians 4:8-11. These were sufficient burdens, and sufficient causes of groaning.
Not for that we would be unclothed-We do not desire death, nor to die,even with the full prospect of eternal glory before our eyes, an hour before that time which God in his wisdom has assigned.
But clothed upon-To have the fullest preparation for eternal glory. We wish not to die, whatever tribulation we may be called to pass through, till the whole will of God is accomplished in us and by us.

That mortality might be swallowed up of life-Being fully prepared for the eternal state we shall scarcely be said to die, all that is mortal being absorbed and annihilated by immortality and glory. See the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:51-56 (note). From the use of these expressions among the
Jews, this seems to be the general meaning of the apostle. 

2 Corinthians 5:5--Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing-God has given us our being and our body for this very purpose, that both might be made immortal, and both be glorified together. Or, God himself has given us this insatiable hungering and thirsting after righteousness and immortality. Mr. Addison has made a beautiful paraphrase of the sense of the apostle, whether he had his words in view or not:

"Whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, 
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread and inward horror
Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction?
'Tis the Divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis Heaven itself that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.-
The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds."

Parallel passages would be such as: 
* 2 Tim. 1: This grace was given us in  Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10  but it has now been revealed  through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death  and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

* 2 Cor. 5:8  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 

Adam Clarke quotes a "Mr. Addison" who wrote a paraphrase based on 2 Cor. 5:5:

"Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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