Big Things Have Small Beginnings

March 19, 2023

David Sorn

God’s Kingdom starts small but don’t underestimate its power!

Big Things Have Small Beginnings

March 19, 2023

David Sorn

God’s Kingdom starts small but don’t underestimate its power!

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Matthew 13:31-35


Good morning!  My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Throughout the month of February, we spent a lot of time talking about how our church has been growing exponentially fast  

So much so that we know we’re going to run completely out of room here if we don’t do anything about it.

(Show Rendering #1)

And so, we are attempting to add 24,000 more square feet to make room for all of the people who want to come and hear about Jesus and grow in their faith. 

This expansion will cost 8.75 million dollars.  

(Show Rendering #2)

So we set out to raise 4 million dollars in 3 year pledges, knowing we had to get over 4 million if we wanted to break ground sooner rather than later. 

And I want you to know that this was a massive goal for our church.

Not only in amount, but per person, it’s the largest stretch goal we’ve ever had. 

And so we were going to need God to move.

That’s why we fasted, and prayed, and came to the Lord together. 

Okay, Here is where we are at:

Our total pledged number is $5,155,947

(Put up PLEDGE NUMBER slide)

Let’s praise God!


And listen, because we are not only over 4 million, but over 5 million, we are going to break ground…at the end of May! 

And let me tell you how this happened.

It happened because God moved.

and it happened, because our participation rate was astronomically high

We had, this is unbelievable, 470 different families pledge!

I didn’t even know we have 470 families!

That’s basically, everyone.  Like, everyone. 

Church, this is our history, and our present, and our future!

God moves through us, the people of Renovation Church, who are all in this, with an oar in our hands, together!

And He’s going to do great things through us!

Let me just say 3 very practical things and then we’ll jump into our message

1) If your first thought was, “Oh, we’re OVER,” we’re not really over. 

Remember 4 million was “the floor.”

The cost of the building is 8.75 million.

Even with almost 5.1 million, we’re still going to take on 3.6 million dollars more debt.

But the fact that we’re at 5.1 million, allows us to take on less debt, and to start faster.

Speaking of that, #2) What happens when we break ground at the end of May?

The contractors are going to start by tearing up this worship center and the kids hallway, so we won’t be able to meet in this building…for at least 3 months.

However, we are committed to worshipping together as a church body…in person. 

So, we are going home this summer, back to Northpoint Elementary where this all began.  

We can’t fit in that little gym anymore, so we are going to host fun outdoor services this summer out on the field, but children’s ministry will be inside, in the beautiful pods they have at Northpoint.

If you weren’t there with us, they are excellent spaces for kids!  

And finally, #3) As far as the bank is concerned, the more money we have in hand before we break ground, the better.

Now, for 85-90% of you, you’re going to give monthly over the next 3 years, and that is A-OK my friend!

But, let me speak to the 10-15% of you that marked that you want to give annually or just one time.

If are going to give annually, and you have the ability to give your first annual gift in the next month or two, that helps a lot.

For those of you who are planning just to give your whole pledge once…if you can do it now, that helps a lot.

But however, you give, we’re thankful.

Thank you all!

We are so grateful to all of you!

We are in awe of what God did through all of us…together!




(Parables of Eternity Series Slide)

All right, let’s jump into our Bible teaching for the day.

We are in Matthew chapter 13, so everybody grab a Bible

Matthew 13:10-17

Page 666  

We are in a series called “Parables of Eternity” where we are teaching through Matthew chapter 13 in the Bible.

Most of the chapter contains parables from Jesus that are focused on thinking long-term

If you are unfamiliar with what a parable is, it is simply a story or illustration that teaches a main point or a principle.

And typically when Jesus shares a parable, he doesn’t explain its meaning. 

And in our first week of the series we jumped over Jesus’ explanation for why that is, so let’s go back to it now. 

So take a look at verse 10

(Matthew 13:10-17) – NIV

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;    they hardly hear with their ears,    and they have closed their eyes.Otherwise they might see with their eyes,    hear with their ears,    understand with their heartsand turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

(Parables of Eternity Series)

Now, at first, Jesus’ answer may feel confusing, and that’s okay.

But what Jesus is doing by telling parables is putting the responsibility on the listener.

For those who seek to know the truth, they will find it

But for those who don’t really want the truth, they won’t see it

Think of it this way:  Any of you have kids where you tell them to do something, and they don’t do it?

Oh, just me? 

Do you ever say to your kids, or grandkids, time to go brush your teeth, or clear the driveway, or put the dishes away…

And you say it 3 times, but nothing happens. 

And when you go right up to them and say, “I told you to go get ready for bed!”

They often will say, “I didn’t hear you!”

And you’re thinking, “Umm…you didn’t hear me?!??”

But what’s happening?

It’s not that their ears didn’t audibly hear the words, they just decided in their minds (maybe even at a subconscious level), that they didn’t WANT to hear those words you were speaking!

This is what Jesus is saying: “Though hearing, they do not hear…or understand”

And so with the parables in this chapter, if a person doesn’t truly (in their heart) want to understand them, they won’t

But if you do want to understand them, you will.    

That’s how parables work. 

So let’s take a look at two more of them..




We’ll see them in verse 31, so jump there.

Matthew 13:31-35

Page 667  

(Matthew 13:31-35) – NIV

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 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.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,    I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

 Okay, so Jesus is telling parables about the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is a phrase that is interchangeable with “The Kingdom of God”

These are Jesus’ phrases for what life should be like when God rules in the hearts and lives of people.

And Jesus is teaching, specifically here, on the spread of this Kingdom 

So I want to show you 3 things we can learn about its spread

Here’s the first one:


#1: Kingdom change starts internally not externally   

The Kingdom of God spreads as God changes hearts…internally.

So, if you’re making bread, the little packet of yeast you start with has billions of living yeast cells that have to be ACTIVATED…if they’re going to get to work and spread and make the bread rise.

To be activated, the yeast needs to be thrown into warm water …it needs to interact with sugar, starches.

And as the yeast eats up sugar and starch, it sort of burps up Carbon Dioxide (gas), which causes the bread to rise.  

But notice for the yeast to do its work in ALL the dough, it has to be activated!

If God is going to use you to spread His Kingdom, you need to start praying, “God activate me!  Make me a Renovator for your Kingdom!    Use me in my family!  Spread your Kingdom through me at work!”

And see, the Kingdom will spread when you allow God to first internally change you.

But don’t get frustrated if you can’t spot the changes overnight. 

Like yeast in the bread dough, you can’t literally see the yeast doing its thing inside the dough (on a microscopic level), but eventually you can see the effects of it!

(Title Slide: Big Things…)

 And Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like yeast, being activated…and then working.

And so if you’re coming to God daily, trust that He’s working. 

And like we sing here, “Even when I don’t see it….you’re working”   

And eventually, one of the ways you’ll see that He’s worked in you, is when the Kingdom in you, starts spreading through you and influencing and affecting other people.  

And notice that the mustard seed parable is saying a similar thing.

You don’t see the beginning stages of the growth of the mustard seed either. 

It happens underground.

But just because you don’t see it at first, doesn’t mean it’s not growing

In fact, it’s doing important work.  It’s laying down its roots!   

And these descriptions of the Kingdom matter because most people in Jesus’ day believed the Kingdom of God was the complete opposite.

And, honestly, I think many Christians today do too.

When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”

Most of his listeners we’re expecting he’d finish the sentence by saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like “A good ruler on the throne”

See, Jesus’ oppressed, Jewish listeners wanted Jesus to grab a sword and liberate them from Rome…

But instead of saying, “My Kingdom will change the world with power, and the sword, and authority,”

Jesus says, “We’re going to change the world with some yeast…and a mustard seed” 


Because power from the outside in, doesn’t ever change anyone.  

But change, from the inside out, that then spreads to another person, who also truly changed from the inside out…that spreads to another person who is changed from the inside out…

That mustard-seed-like, yeast-like change of Jesus, will bring more change than war or power or rulers ever could.   




And that brings us to our second learning:  


#1: Kingdom change starts internally not externally 

#2: Big things come from small beginnings   

Think about the influence of Christianity on the world. 

It’s amazing in comparison to its humble beginnings.

That’s why Jesus uses the example of a mustard seed, which was THE smallest seed that farmers and gardeners used in those days.  

But it could grow to 8 or 10 feet tall! 

But look how small the mustard seed is:

(Mustard seed example)

It’s so small that, the gardener, holding it in their hand, could have felt like it was powerless.

It was a tiny seed.

What could it do?

But the gardener plants the seed in the ground because big things come from small beginnings. 

And remember, the gardener is not putting a marble in the ground…but a life-giving seed.

Do not miss this from God’s Word today!

I think one of THE main reasons we are often so scared to talk about God to other people…is because we forget that the power is in the seed…not in us

It’s not your job to make the seed grow. 

You don’t have to say it “just right”

Or know the answer to every question

Or have the perfect timing.

God makes the seed grow.

One of my favorite parables comes from Mark chapter 4, and very intentionally, it’s the passage that precedes this exact same mustard seed passage in Mark

(Mark 4:26-28) – NIV

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.

That gives me a lot of peace as a Christian.

It’s not my job to make a seed, or the Kingdom, grow in another person.

Only God can raise the dead and bring someone to life.

My responsibility is just to plant seeds. 

God will do the hard part.  

(Title Slide: Big Things…)

So what if you believed what Jesus is teaching in these 2 parables?

That it’s GOD that grows the seed.

That the Kingdom can grow in someone’s heart…even from the smallest seed:    

If you truly believed big things have small beginnings, will you drop more small seeds?

Maybe you just do a social media post where you share about what God’s doing in your life

Maybe you text someone a Bible verse

Maybe you offer to pray for a co-worker who was having a terrible day

Big things come from small beginnings. 

Mustard seed beginnings.

We’ve got to believe that!

And remember, after you drop that seed, a mustard seed doesn’t grow at warp speed

Seeds don’t explode out of the ground

They just get into the soil…(into the heart) and they start working…slowly…over time.

But there’s a living power within them.

But it starts SMALL!

When Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God, so often He talks about the exponential power of small things.

In the Bible we read about 1 cup of cold water, next week we’ll read about the one priceless pearl, the widow’s 2 small copper coins, the two fish & five loaves, the 12 young disciples. 

Think about it…

Jesus wants us to start small and believe that HE can grow it.

 That’s why he teaches these simple, humble parables about things like yeast and mustard seeds.

Because you can’t really get prideful over planting seeds.

It’s not hard work to plant A seed in the ground

You can’t walk around talking about how well you put one seed in the ground.  

“Oh you should have seen my seed placement!!!”

No, you don’t get the credit for planting seeds.

God gets the credit for growing it!




But we have to plant something! 

And that’s the 3rd learning:


#1: Kingdom change starts internally not externally 

#2: Big things come from small beginnings    

#3: Kingdom change doesn’t come if you never plant

God wants to use you to influence other people and bring them into His Kingdom. 

But He’s not going to use you if you never plant any seeds. 

So what mustard seed do you need to plant this week? 

And that doesn’t mean you need to stand up at your office and say to your 10 coworkers, “I’m going to preach to you now!”  

For most of us, our step this week is going to be simple. 

Who can you invite to church next week?

Who can you pray out loud for?

Who can you share with about what God’s doing in your life?

Who is God putting in your mind right now?  

Do you trust Him?

Do you trust the power of His mustard seed?

(Title Slide: Big Things…)

For some of you, your mustard seed might even be to start sharing more about God with your own kids.

What if this is the week you start praying together at meals? 

Or you make this the week that you start the habit of reading a Children’s Bible with your kids every night before bed?

You can find great recommendations (by age) for that on the Kids Resource page of our website!

What if you made it a point to just start talking to your kids more, casually, like on car rides, about what God is teaching you?  

SO they could see that faith is a normal, and important part of your life?

If you do these kind of things, you’ll see the mustard see grow.

Because when a mustard seed really gets planted in your heart…and you let it grow…and it starts changing not only you, but your kids, and eventually their kids, and their kids.

A mustard see can grow into an entirely changed family tree.

So where do you need to start planting this week?


And what if you’re here and you’re still thinking about this Jesus thing…and if He’s truly worth giving your life to?

If that’s you, today I want you to ponder with me how this little seed of Christian faith has turned into a massive tree

Last year I read Frank Turek’s excellent apologetics book, “Stealing From God,” and in it, he interprets a great thought from James Allen Francis.

He writes:

Think logically with me about the life of Jesus:   

Jesus was a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then he traveled from town to town for just 3 years…as a teacher

He never wrote a book.

He never held an office.

He never owned a home.

He never had a family.

He never went to college.

He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where He was born.

He never did even ONE of the things that usually accompanies greatness.

He had no credentials but Himself.

When he was only thirty-three, the tide of public opinion turned against Him.

His friends ran away.

One of them denied Him.

He was turned over to His enemies.

He went through the mockery of a trial, and He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

And even when he was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.

And yet, twenty centuries have come and gone and today, this Jesus (who the Bible says rose from the dead) is the central figure of the human race. 

I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, and all the kings that ever reigned…

…all of those things put together, have not affected humanity as powerfully as the person of Jesus.  

And so, if this “mustard-seed-life” of Jesus Christ is the life that has changed the world more than any other person who has ever lived, you owe it to yourself to investigate him.   

Please, we would love for you to take one of our Bibles today and start reading about the life and teachings of Jesus.  

You can start right in this Book of Matthew.  

It’s intellectually unfair to say, “I don’t believe it’s true, if you’ve never actually studied it yourself.”

And yet that’s exactly where most Americans are.

All I’m asking you to do is to give this a fair chance.

I would love to see many of you walking out of this service today with one of those Bibles. 

And if you’re ready to start following Jesus for the first time…by believing He died on the cross for your sins, and you want to make Him your Leader and Savior today…

…I want to encourage you to come talk to me or our follow-up team during this last song. 

We’ll be stationed right next to the back doors. 

Come over to us, and we’ll step right outside into the lobby when you come.

Let me pray

Copyright: David SornRenovation Church in Blaine, MN

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