Weeds or Wheat

Weeds or Wheat

Scripture: Matthew 13:24-43, Psalms 24:1, Psalms 50:12
Date: 10/30/2011 
If God is good, how can there be so much evil in a world made by a good God? If God is all powerful why doesn’t he just destroy the enemy? Satan is on a rampage to cause as much suffering as he can. The Lord needs to let the results of the Devil’s work be fully revealed.

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The Children of Israel believed that when the Messiah came, one of the first things He was going to do was burn up all of the gentiles. - I'd invite you to turn to a parable that you only find in the book of Matthew. Now there are a lot of parables that are exclusive to the gospel of Luke, but you usually find that whatever is in Matthew, you usually find also in Mark or Luke or somewhere else. But this is one parable that is just in the book of Matthew, chapter 13. Matthew 13. And it's a parable that comes following the parable dealing with the different kinds of soil and the seed. Sometimes it's known as the parable of the wheat and the tares, but we don't really use the word tares very much today. Tares really are the equivalent of weeds. So, I’ve titled this the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Matthew 13, starting with verse 24. "Another parable He put forth to them. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and he sowed tares among the wheat and He went his way."

Now in Bible times it was not uncommon if you wanted to get even with or to bankrupt an enemy then you would go and you would scatter these very deadly and destructive weeds among his good crop. And, you know, this was a major investment for people. When they sowed their food it was where they got their grain to sustain themselves. And it says, "When the grain had sprouted and appeared" - there was a crop - "then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came to him and said, 'Sir did not you sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' And he said, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us to go and to gather them up?' but He said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather the tares and bind them in bundles, but gather the wheat into my barn.''"

Now, here you've got the parable. And then, you find Jesus goes on teaching, but the disciples come to Him later and they specifically say, 'This parable, in particular, we need explanation.' And so we've not only got the parable, we've got Jesus interpreting His own parable very clearly. The interpretation begins in verse 36. "Then Jesus sent the multitude away and He went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the tares in the field.' They don't even mention the wheat. They wondered about the tares. And He says, 'He who sowed the good seed is the son of man, the field is the world. The good seeds are the son of the kingdom, the tares are the son of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age. The reapers are the angels.'"

Boy, you never find any place in the Bible where you have Jesus speaking so succinctly about what the symbols mean. He goes, 'Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing. This is what they mean. This is what they represent. "Therefore" - now let's tie it all together - "as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels. They will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into a furnace of fire and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" And He closes it off by saying, 'If you've got the ears and the Holy Spirit opens them, you will hear and understand how to apply this.'

Now, one of the very important aspects of this parable that Jesus is trying to illustrate, really shook the disciples to the core. The Children of Israel believed that when the Messiah came, one of the first things He was going to do was burn up all of the Gentiles. He was going to judge them. They were the ungodly, the Jews were the godly. They were the chosen ones. Do you remember even when Jesus was about to ascend to Heaven. Even after He had risen from the dead and taught the scriptures, I think it was Phillip who said to Him, 'Lord, will You at this time, destroy the kingdom? Are you going to now burn up all the wicked? Are you going to give us the kingdom and call all of the Jews from all these nations together?' And they didn't understand. He said, 'No, there's going to be a period of time where they're going to grow and they're going to be mixed up together.'

First of all, the seed that the king sowed was good seed. God is the one who owned the field and He owns the seed. And the seed that He first planted was good seed. 'Every good and perfect gift comes from God.' Genesis 1, verse 12. "And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit was in itself after its kind, and God saw it was good. Just in the first chapter of Genesis it says 'good' seven times. That's a nice biblical number. Good Good Good Good Good Good Good. Everything was good. God sowed good seed in His vineyard. And He tells us what the field represents. That's the next thing. It says, 'The field is the world.'

Now I want you to think about that for a moment. Probably 80% of the pastors I hear preach on this say the field is the church. Does Jesus know how to say the word church? And when Jesus was interpreting it He didn't say, 'The field is the world church.' He said world. And so He means what He said. The world is the Lord's. Psalm 24, verse 1. "The earth is the Lord's in all it's fullness." It's not just that the church is the Lord's, the whole world is the Lord's. All over this world the Lord has His wheat. It's not just in one place. As a matter of fact, this was a problem the Jews had. They thought, 'We're the only ones' and God said, 'No, there are many that will come from the East and the West.' Elijah was sent to live with a Gentile woman. God even had his people scattered among the non-Jews and there are people who claim to be believers and they're scattered, mixed in - and they're counterfeit.

So, all over the world - the world is the field - you've got genuine children of God and you've got counterfeit that are scattered there. And it was a good field. Psalm 50, verse 12. "If I was hungry I would not tell you; for the world is mine and all the fullness." So you've got a good land owner who's sowing good seed in his world. When this world was made and it came from the hands of God it was good. It was perfect. But along comes an enemy. And when does it happen? While men slept. And so, from the first part He's just saying, in the time when people are resting and they're relaxing, that's when the enemy took advantage of that. And while men slept he comes and in the darkness he sows tares among the wheat.

Now, the word here that's in the Greek for “among” is a very strong word and it basically is saying scattered thoroughly everywhere. Thus Satan sows false doctrines in the darkness in the very place where truth is to be practiced and proclaimed. 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 8. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil is like a roaring lion going about seeking whom he might devour" and he's sowing bad seed all the time. I added that last part.

Now, I’ve got to take a moment and talk about these weeds and what they are and what they look like. The Greek word is azanon and it's called also, in the land of Israel, darnel. It injures the wheat. It looks like wheat, especially in its infancy. It even has a head with grain on it and when it's sown there, for awhile all of their color is the same. But as the season progresses they take on a little more of a gray color and that's when the servants of the kings said, 'Didn't you sow good seed? We're noticing a color change in the field and it appears that you've got tares. You've got these darnel - this wheat. Now this stuff really exists, the darnel wheat or 'the cheat' they call it. This tare abounds all over the East and is a great nuisance to the farmer. It is, in short, a strong sporific poison and it must be carefully winnowed and picked out of the wheat grain by grain before grinding of the flour is allowed, otherwise it's not healthy. Even farmers in this country, who generally weed their fields, do not attempt to separate one from the other. They would only mistake the good grain for them. But very commonly the roots of the two are so intertwined that it's impossible to separate them without plucking up both. Both, therefore, must be left to grow together until the time of the harvest.

So, this weed, these tares, this darnel grass that has been sown among the wheat, the roots are tight - and you know, wheat is sown very thick, and the heads start getting mixed up and you can't just go through with a scythe and cut it off because it's going to be all mixed up. The wheat ultimately will grow taller. So, if you wait until the harvest, it becomes very evident and it's easier to separate the two at that point. Where did weeds come from? Genesis 3:17 and 18. "And God said to Adam, 'Because you've hearkened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree which I’ve commanded you saying, 'You shall not eat it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In sorrow you will eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee and thou shall eat the herb of the field." There would be unuseful, unwanted, painful plants that would be growing where before there was all good.

What is a weed? I’ve looked up a definition here for you. A weed is "A valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows in cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop. Any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it's not wanted." You don't want this growing among your wheat. And, so, Christ then says, when the angels say, 'What happened, didn't you sow good seed in your field?' He said, 'Yes.' He says, 'An enemy has done this.' This parable is very important because, how many people do you know that they look at the sin in the world, they look at the wickedness in the world and they say, 'If God is good, where did sin come from? How can you have so much evil in a world made by a good God?' And so, Christ says, 'There is an enemy.' and yes, you might be thinking, 'well, God is all-powerful, why doesn't He just destroy this enemy?' well, you've got to understand the great controversy - that he's falsely accused God. And so, the enemy is out there on a rampage, trying to cause as much sickness and suffering as He can. And so, He has sown this beautiful world that God made, with weeds.

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And then Jesus goes on to say that the reapers are the angels. Angels are involved in what's happening here in the world. You notice the angels are jealous for the crop. They're examining the wheat. They're watching it. They say, 'Wait. Something's here that doesn't belong here.' Does God have His angels watching over His children? Are His angels going to be involved in the great harvest at the end of the world? As a matter of fact, you can read Matthew 24. "He'll send His angels with the sound of a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other." So, the field is the world. And He said, 'Let them grow together.' Now, wait a second Jesus, we thought that when the Messiah came that You'd separate right then. He said, 'No, there's a period where they grow together.'

Have you wondered, 'Why did Jesus have to come two times? Why, after He ascended from the grave, couldn't He have said, 'All right, now we're all going to go to Heaven. I’m going to have My resurrection.' Why have 2000 years gone by? From the first coming to the second coming there's this period where the weeds and the wheat are growing together. Why? Because the plan of salvation has not fully been demonstrated. Because the character of the devil was not fully demonstrated. Because of the results of the devil's government and the government or kingdom of God - these two governments are at war and the fruit of those governments needs to be seen because there's only going to be one kingdom that will last eternally. That's what the book of Daniel is all about. And so, the Lord needed to reveal the results of the devil's administration. It's not evident right away. It takes time for the crop to mature and to become evident. And that's what's happening in our world right now, is the policies of Jesus and the policies of Satan are bearing a harvest. Matthew chapter 13, verse 30. He says, "Allow both to grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I'll say to the reapers, 'First gather the tares, bind them in bundles and burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."

So that means that there are some counterfeit in the world - that are not genuine. There are some counterfeit in the church too. Are there people that are out there around the planet, from many different religious backgrounds that love the Lord, but they haven't found out about Jesus yet? Doesn't Jesus say, 'Other sheep I have that are not of this fold and they're going to hear My voice' and they haven't heard it yet? 'They're going to hear My voice and they'll come out of Babylon and there'll be one fold and there'll be one shepherd.' Right now there's people scattered all over the world, but just before the end there's going to be a great winnowing. There's going to be a great shaking that's going to take place and it's going to end up separating. This is known as the Harvest.

Now, we get into the heart of this. Jeremiah 8:20. Once the harvest comes, the saved are saved and the lost are lost. You know that verse "The harvest is past. The summer is ended. And we are not saved." Now is the time for us to grow into wheat as opposed to weeds. Now, I’ve got a lot of verses here for you. John 4, verse 35 through 38, Jesus said, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then the harvest comes?'" This is when He had that experience with the woman at the well, and the disciples were wondering, 'Why are you talking to a Samaritan woman. Samaritans, they're all lost. Why, they're Samaritans.' - back in Jesus' time, if you wanted to insult a person, you said that they were demon possessed or a Samaritan. And the disciples came back from getting food and they saw Jesus talking to a Samaritan - a woman no less - that was the bottom of the barrel as far as they were concerned. They were lost. And Jesus then used her to tell everybody in that town about Him, and they all came flowing out of the town because they believed her word and there's this great harvest of souls, and right when Jesus says this to them, He says, 'The harvest is ripe,' they saw these people coming from the Samaritan village to meet Jesus. And He's looking right at them. He's talking about this harvest. A harvest where they didn't expect it.

And so, when Christ is talking about the wheat and the tares, He's saying, there are people out there, disciples, apostles, that you don't know are My people and there are some people that you think are Mine that are not. Matthew 25, verses 31 and 32. "When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the holy angels" - those are the reapers - "with Him, He will sit on the throne of His glory. And all the nations will be gathered before Him and He'll separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats." they're going to be separated.

Now, are goats and sheep different? Are they both domestic? I mean, there's benefits in goats, you can drink the goat's milk and you can use the sheep's wool. I’ve taken care of both and I can tell you, they are very different. Now, they might forage together, but they're different. And in the same way, there's a difference between the wheat and the tares. Ezekiel 9. Now this ties in with Revelation 13 and the seal of God and the mark of the beast so listen carefully. It talks about this great separation. "And the Lord said to him, 'Go through the midst of the city and the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." - those that hate sin. - "and to the others He said in my hearing, 'Go after him through the city, and smite. Let not your eye spare, neither have pity. Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children and women, but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary." and they began at the ancient men that were before the house of God. There is this judgment, but before this judgment takes place, there is a mark of separation.

Does the Bible tell us in the last days everybody is marked either with the seal of God or the mark of the beast? There's a great separation that takes place before the harvest. Matthew 13, verses 47 to 50. "The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea" - a big old net - "and it gathers some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew it to shore and they sat down and" - they'd go between them - "they gathered the good into vessels, but the bad are thrown away. So will it be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth and separate the wicked from among the just and cast them into a furnace of fire. And there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

What do you do with weeds if you've got a farm and you gather them together? Do you frame them and put them on your wall? Or do you burn them? They're good for nothing. You pull them up - matter of fact, I was weeding yesterday, weeding the flowers, and I was pulling up these weeds and I didn't have time to collect them all. I put them out and I said, 'it will be a hundred degrees tomorrow, they'll be dead." Just put them out there where they're dry. They'll be dead and you can gather them together and dispose of them later. But, this is what the Bible says is going to happen. Matthew 7, verses 16 to 20. Jesus said, "You'll know them by their fruits." and we opened with this. "Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, a bad tree bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

And so the Lord is telling us very clearly that He wants us to have the fruits of the Spirit. What are those fruits? You look at that list there in Galatians chapter 5, verse 22. Love, love for God, love for your fellow man, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, meekness, patience, temperance. God wants us to have the Holy Spirit in our lives. He wants us to be genuine. So, there are two kinds of children. Jesus, in illustrating the meaning of this parable, He says, 'You've got the children of the Kingdom and you've got the children of the wicked one.’

Now, I often hear it said, and it's politically correct to say, 'We're all children of God.' The Bible doesn't teach that. Jesus, even when He was preaching, He said to the religious leaders, 'You are of your father the devil. And the desires of your father you will do.' To the saved, 'Behold what manner of love God has bestowed on us that we should be called sons of God.' And so, there are children of the Lord in the world and there are children of the devil. Let's just face it. Those that live for themselves that are motivated by self, that are wicked - they're children of the devil. You can call them children of God, but as long as the heart is unregenerate and they've rejected God, Jesus made it very clear through several parables that there's two kinds of children. And then, I like the last part, it says here in Matthew 13:43, it tells us about the great separation, and He says, "Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun." By the way, Jesus is quoting Daniel, isn't He? He's quoting Daniel chapter 12 when He says, "They that be wise" - verse 3 - "They that be wise will be like the brightness of the firmament. And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.

You know, this is a very comprehensive parable. It takes us from the very beginning when the devil sowed weeds in God's good world, and it brings us all the way to the end where the harvest is come, and the two groups are separated. And the wonderful thing about this is sometimes things start out looking like weeds or tares but you watch them and you say, 'Oh, it's not what I thought it was, it was, you know, mixed in with the tares and so I confused it. It's actually good.' Have any of you ever been weeding before? And you pulled up what you think is a weed and you pulled up a flower. You say, 'Oh!' And the one reason the Lord tells us to wait is because sometimes things aren't what they appear to be.

One area where I struggle with this parable is, some of you might be thinking, 'Well, I’m either a weed or I’m wheat, and I have no choice.' and that's the part I don't want you to misunderstand. You do have a choice. The Lord can bioengineer you. You heard about this bioengineered wheat and bioengineered corn, where they mix up the DNA and they get the healthiest strains and I don't know how they do it all, but the Lord, He can take that darnel and He can turn it into wheat. If you come to Him just like you are, He can transform you. He can give you a new heart. Isn't that right? All of us are children of the devil until He gives us a new heart. He can give you that new heart when you come and you'll be ready for that harvest.

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