Mark 4:30-34

Talks for Growing Christians

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Mark 4:30-34

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Lesson Number 19

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The kingdom of God is not synonymous with the body of Christ.

Practical Application

  1. Make sure you are a possessor and not just a professor.


  1. Describe the mustard seed of Mark 4:31.
  2. Who is in the body of Christ?
  3. Who is in the kingdom of God?
  4. When the servants asked the master if they should gather up the tares, why did he tell them not to? When will the wheat and the tares be separated, and what will happen to each?
  5. Are professing Christians in the kingdom of God?
  6. Refer to the kingdom parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32). Do the birds represent good or evil? Which is the preferred interpretation in this parable? Why?


  1. It is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth, and the smallest one that the Jewish farmers knew and planted. It could become greater than all of the herbs or other seeds, sometimes reaching heights of ten to fifteen feet, with branches and leaves for birds.
  2. Believers only, with Christ as the head of the body.
  3. Both true believers and professing believers at the present time.
  4. Because they might uproot the wheat when they took out the tares. Separation comes at harvest time (the final judgment). The wheat will be gathered into the barn (heaven), and the tares will be bundled and cast into the fire (hell).
  5. Yes. Everywhere the gospel is spread and takes hold, throughout Christendom, there are both professors and possessors. The kingdom of God is the sphere.
  6. There are two interpretations: a) the birds are good, finding rest, or b) the birds are evil, representing those adhering to false teaching and the cults, coming in under the umbrella of Christendom. The latter, for they are a part of the kingdom, but not of the church (the body of Christ). The birds can be seen as part of Satan's kingdom, with false teachers resting in the branches of Christendom, connecting them with the parable of the sower Mark 4:4).


  1. Refer to the kingdom parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50), and discuss what the following represent: a) the net, b) the sea, c) every kind of fish, d) the good fish, and e) the bad fish.
  2. Refer to the kingdom parable of the virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). What did the Lord say to the foolish virgins when they asked for the door to be opened? In light of the virgins, how do you identify?


  1. Do you have friends who believe that they are Christians (even going to and serving within the church). Do you know for sure that they are possessors of the truth, and not merely professors? Re-read 2 Corinthians 13:5, and apply the test to both yourself and your friends.

Key Verses

  • "With many parables, Jesus spoke the word to them as they were able to understand.

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