Of mega churches and mustard trees

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭31‬-‭33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Of mega churches and mustard trees

There is a natural order to the things of God. If one plants an orange tree, there will be, under normal circumstances, oranges when the tree is fully grown. The tree will have all the characteristics one might expect of an ordinary orange tree, as it will have the size and and appearance that it should.

Likewise the mustard seed, when planted, grows into a low plant, short in stature, covered in beautiful yellow flowers. From the small seed comes something of great beauty, for it is doing as it was designed by its Creator, thus is its required worship.

As I read through the parables in Matthew this morning, I was once again struck by the seeming incongruity of a tiny mustard seed giving way to a mighty tree. The Lord was giving those who listened knowingly, a two pronged message that needed to be received with spiritual ears.

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Matthew 13:10-12 NKJV

Jesus was describing the false religious doctrines of the Pharisees, for they had gone away from what is of God and had gone after what is fleshly and sinful. As a result their worship resulted in outcomes that were not of God.

I have found, during my time in the faith, that the most meaningful gathering of those who are in Christ Jesus is the moment when the one who professes to be a Christian is alone with God. Our model is Adam, who alone with the God, had the most holy intimacy, for he was veiled in the glory of God. There was no one else.

In the life of the Christian, it is the time that we are along with Jesus that our true spiritual selves are on display. Our Lord is omniscient and and knows the true nature of our hearts. It is in that intimacy, praying, studying the word of God and worshipping, that the depth of our development is brought about.

Jesus modeled this alone time with the Lord, as He would rise early in the morning to spend time alone in prayer.

“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.””
Mark 1:35-37 NKJV

It is my habit to get up early, long before the dawn, that I spend time with the Lord. There is certainly a place for congregational worship, if one is able, but the hard work os done alone.

Getting back to the mustard seed parable, I can see many reflections in the evangelical church today. At some point, I don’t know when, out became important, if not prestigious, to have a mega church. Those in the b body of Christ began to esteem pastors, not for their godliness, or their ability to produce deep disciples, but for the size of their congregations.

I remember visiting a certain mega church of great renown in California. It had a sprawling campus, with great wealth apparent in every building, but as I interacted with those who were the product of that ministry, I was amazed at the lack of spiritual depth of many of those I spoke with. It became clear to me that this great church, whose pastor had written many best selling books, was a mile wide and an inch deep.

It was a mighty mustard tree, and the birds of the air had taken up residence in its branches. Birds of the air a type of evil or sin in the old testament.

Most of the churches on the bygone era of the early disciples met house to house, studying the Scriptures and the letters of the Apostles, breaking bread, and praying together. It is from this small, intimate gathering that strong disciples are made.

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:46-47 NKJV

Brothers and sisters, in the coming days, weeks, months and perhaps…years, we will see a shift in the way that we do church. There may come a time when the large gathering is not tenable, when those who are true to the Lord will be forced underground.

Even so, the Lord has given us a mission to go and share the Gospel. Those who are true disciples will be more effective in fulfilling the duties of a saint.

In the meantime, it is on us to seek the Lord with personal vigor, for each of us who is born again has been given the Holy Spirit. When we said yes to Jesus, we received all that we need to persist in the faith.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
II Peter 1:2-4 NKJV

The world will be attempting to impress its image of the church upon us, for it is even now seeking to draw all branches of Christianity back to Romanism, and worship of the Harlot.

Let us have a faith that is fitting of the mustard seed, bearing correct fruit, that is as it should be, featuring beauty and not a place where the birds of the air seek to nest.

And let our faith be without leaven, pure and holy.

Have a Fantastic Friday!






2 thoughts on “Of mega churches and mustard trees

  1. The world and the church doctrine of my youth had implanted its self upon my soul, creating a wheel chock affect against my salvation. I’m so thankful that the Lord shattered all of that, and when he saved me at the age of 34. So incredibly thankful for the faithful saints, willing and able to share the gospel and God‘s word with me. Bernie, thank you for being one of those faithful saints in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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