Ace continued from the previous week on the topic of “how God works”. Last week Ace preached about the Parable of the Mustard Seed to explain his vision of how OneHeart’s ministry will grow. This week, Ace preached from Matthew 17:14-20,
14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”Matthew 17:14-20 (NIV)
Ace acknowledged how the current generation of youth and young adults face a large number of challenges and temptations. Therefore Ace alluded to how Jesus makes a deliberate contrast between the tiny mustard seed and the enormous mountain (verse 20: faith as small as a mustard seed, … mountain will move).
The mustard seed is significant for a number of reasons but the one that Ace wants to focus on is “life”. The mustard seed turns into a large tree because it is living. The question, then, is: what kind of life is within each of us? Specifically, to continue to metaphor, Matthew 7:16-20,
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.Matthew 7:16-20 (NIV)
The specific kind of life that Ace implores the audience to fill theirselves with is that which is mentioned by Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The profound learning that Ace personally took from the Port Augusta mission trip was that Aboriginal church leaders focus on introducing Jesus as their Saviour because Aboriginal culture already has an understanding of God as creator, but the life of Jesus changes everything.
However, the other consideration about the image of the mustard seed is “sacrifice”, based on John 12:24-26,
24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.John 12:24-26 (NIV)
Ace’s encouragement for us is that the most meaningful sacrifice that could be made is the sacrifice of our personal time. Our time in this world is limited but sacrificing parts of it is meaningful because, in Ace’s words, “this world is a temporary picnic area”.