MESSAGE DELIVERED: NOVEMBER 27, 2016
I think it’s a good idea for us to look at this particular parable of Jesus every once in a while because, first of all, it reminds us that we have an enemy, and secondly, THAT enemy is working a whole lot harder than we are.
In relating this parable, it is necessary to refer back to the one Jesus had just spoken, although we didn’t read that one. Still, it will be familiar to you, the parable of the soils. Because in both of those parables, the SEED was GOOD, but the SOIL it landed in WASN’T, always. So some of the good seed fell on the hard ground of the pathway where it had no chance to sprout, before the birds came and ate it up.
Then some of that good seed fell on shallow soil, where it quickly sprouted, but at the first sign of trial, it withered away. BOTH of those types of soil reflect the activity of our enemy, the devil.
Hearts that are already closed to the hearing of the Gospel, are represented by the hard soil of the pathway, and there the enemy need do nothing else. Those seeds will not be received.
The shallow soil is a little different. It represents those who hear the Word with gladness, but are unwilling to endure any kind of trial or difficulty because of what they heard. That seed is not allowed to take root.
BUT, we ae told that SOME of the seed fell on GOOD soil, where the enemy was not able to prevent it from sprouting, and flourishing, and producing a good crop. BUT, just because the enemy wasn’t able to stop the seed from growing and making a good crop, does not mean that he just went away!
NO! Our enemy is working night and day, even though WE are NOT! And THAT fact makes up the BASIS for the parable we did read today. It looks back at the good crop, that came up from the good soil, and then it tells us that, since the devil couldn’t stop the seed from growing, he did what, to him, was the ‘next best thing’. HE planted a crop of his OWN, in that same plot of good soil! His was a crop of noxious weeds, and the purpose of that planting, was to cause PROBLEMS with that GOOD crop. And THAT it does!
Now, Jesus explained the parable of the soils, and He explained the parable of the ‘wheat and tares’, but I want to make sure that you see that, before He explained, He sent the CROWDS away! Then He gave the explanation to the disciples only.
In that first parable, the different soils represent the world, but the second deals only with the good soil. So you can very easily see that that one represents the church. It doesn’t take any kind of leap to see that. And you know that the church represents Jesus Himself on the Earth today, and the devil cannot stand to see any success come from its efforts. So the devil sows his own seeds among the good ones. And that is where WE come in.
I want you to look at verse 25 and see when the bad seed was planted among the good ones. It says “while men slept”. Now, that is US, and that is a recurring theme among the parables. In the parable of the 10 virgins, which we looked at just a little while ago, while waiting for the bridegroom, ALL slept!
When the servants of the Lord sleep, the enemy can work without any hindrance. And the enemy’s planting takes place at night, which reflects the condition of the Church-Age, and it takes place in darkness, which reflects Satan. THAT makes a contrast between two different outlooks at the same time frame. In 1st Thessalonians, Paul told the believers there “You are all sons of Light, and sons of the day. We are not of the night, or of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch and be sober-minded”.
Jesus Christ, when He walked among us, was the Light of the world. And that Light was taken away at Calvary. That’s why the sky became dark as Jesus hung from the Cross. But, Jesus also proclaimed His disciples as the Light of the world. And both statements are true. In Genesis we are told of two great lights that God provided; the sun and the moon. One, the greater, to rule the day, the other, the lesser, to rule the night. But I want to remind you the moon has no light of its own. It can only reflect the light of the sun.
And that is us. Jesus is the Light of the world, but for a time, that Light has been taken away. So it is left to the believers to reflect His Light to the world. Sometimes, we do, and sometimes we don’t. Just as the moon waxes and wanes. So while God’s children, who are commissioned to reflect that TRUE Light to the world, are spiritually sleeping; the enemy, who never sleeps, who never even takes a coffee break, takes advantage of the time, to sow his own, counterfeit children, in the rich and fertile soil of the church.
Those are the two parts of the parable: The wheat, God’s children…and the weeds, Satan’s children. And I can promise you, where you find ONE, you will also find the OTHER!
And that is where the problems come from. The children of God are working for the things of God, but the children of Satan are working against the things of God. And that’s why someone once asked me “preacher, God’s kids, and the devil’s kids…how are we supposed to tell them apart”?
Well, see, that’s the rub! We can’t! The weeds look so much LIKE the wheat that only the EXPERTS can tell them apart. In this parable, the experts are called the reapers, which Jesus later explained are His angels. But to us, the wheat and the weeds look pretty much alike.
That is especially true in the churches. The devil’s children look and act just about like the Lord’s children, at least on the surface. But they have a much different agenda. They work subtly, like their father, who we are told is the MOST subtle of ALL creatures. And his kids have been in the church, almost from the beginning.
2nd Peter 2:1 says “there are false prophets among the people, even as there are false teachers”. And in 1st John 2:18 it says “Even now there are many antichrists”.
Those weeds have always been with us. And until Christ comes back for His church, they will continue to be with us. So, what are we supposed to do about them? NOTHING! When the servants asked the owner if they should go into the field and gather out the weeds, He said ‘no’, because in the process of doing that some of the wheat would also be lost.
So the weeds are to be allowed to grow alongside the wheat, until the time of harvest. Then those experts will come and remove those that do not belong there, in the Lord’s store house.
Those weeds may be able to fool US, but they will NOT fool the Lord’s reapers. And not one single weed will find its way into the store house. It’s true that occasionally one of the weeds will end up giving itself away and be uprooted, but that only happens rarely, given the number that exist.
Some of the weeds the enemy sows among the good seed will do such a good job of imitating the wheat, that it will be capable of preventing some of the good plants from reaching maturity. And when you stop to think about it, the biggest, best, and strongest wheat plant in the world, is useless, unless it reaches maturity, and brings forth its fruit!
The weeds growing among the wheat steal some of the nourishment that was meant for the wheat, and that slows the growth process. Remember that Satan is a deceiver, and his children are counterfeits. They will never announce that they are weeds. Even in the face of overwhelming proof, the weeds will still claim to BE wheat. But sometimes they give themselves away.
When Moses and Aaron, God’s children, went to Pharaoh with signs and wonders, Jannes and Jambres, Satan’s children, met them with LYING signs and wonders of their own. And while those magicians were able to duplicate some of the things Moses did, they were soon shown to be phonies.
And a time is coming soon, when Satan will present to the world his ultimate deception: the antichrist! The man of lawlessness! And that antichrist will be able to do many amazing signs and wonders, and will deceive millions! But WE know that he is a deceiver, sent from the father of all lies.
The problem is, WE won’t be around to BE deceived by him, or to NAME him AS a deceiver to others! He is not going to APPEAR, FULLY, until the GOOD crop, the wheat, is gathered into the barn. The ‘tares’, the weeds, that are among us now, those we DO have to deal with, somehow. But that person who asked me how to recognize the weeds among us, when I told him that we CAN’T, then wanted to know how we were expected to FELLOWSHIP with them, to break bread with them.
Well, let me give you an example: Jesus Christ Himself. He called 12 men to Him and He taught those 12 men. He lived with them, ate with them, ministered to them. And when He sent them on a missionary journey, He empowered each of them, equally, to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. “Freely you have received, freely give.” That’s Matthew 10:8. One OF those 12 men, was a WEED. And Jesus KNEW he was a weed, from the start.
But TO that man, Jesus showed no different treatment than He did to the others. And just before that man betrayed Him, Jesus got down on His knees, and He WASHED that man’s FEET!
So, how are WE supposed to treat the weeds among us? Just like we do the sweetest saint in the church. Because YOU cannot TELL which is which! Sometimes that WHEAT will act like the weeds, and sometime the weed will seem like the best of the wheat, and YOU can never be sure. So you just treat EVERYBODY the way Jesus did!
“Watch me” Paul said often…so I guess I can repeat it. We are all given different gifts by the Holy Spirit, to be used to build up the Body of Christ. One of those gifts is called the ‘gift of discernment’. And I like to think that gift sometimes operates in MY life. People with that gift are usually called ‘a good judge of character’. But then, sometimes I can be fooled.
Sometimes when looking at a person I seem to see a different person than the one he WANTS me to see. And sometimes I’m right. But, many times, I’ve been wrong. Still, I may see someone that I believe is a weed and not wheat, so I’m asking you to watch the way I deal with them. Because, by the Grace of God, I will do my level best to treat THEM exactly the way I do everyone else.
And that is because I am NOT a reaper! And I am not able to tell the weeds from the wheat…the good from the bad…and beloved, NEITHER can YOU! So we are only allowed to do as Jesus did, and treat them all alike. No matter how convinced you are that you’re dealing with a weed. Because there is a very good chance that you are wrong, and are dealing with a WHEAT plant that is, for some reason, ACTING like a weed.
YOU cannot tell! So we have to abide by the words of this parable: “Let them grow together until the harvest”.
How many innocent people, I wonder, have been horribly and wrongly harmed, because SOMEONE took it upon themselves to become a REAPER…to become a JUDGE, and has destroyed the reputation of someone that THEY labeled a TARE, a WEED, a child of the devil…and they have been WRONG?
I’d like you to consider this…if someone is accusing another of being one of the weeds instead of wheat…then you can probably safely TURN that accusation AROUND, and see that the one doing the ACCUSING, is more likely the child of the devil, than the one being accused.
And how can I say that? Simple. There are two forces at work in the world today. They are the Holy Spirit, and the devil. One is the COMFORTER, the other is the ACCUSER of the BRETHREN. So, the one in question…the one taking the role of the reaper…is he COMFORTING, or ACCUSING? And when you answer that, then tell me, WHOSE child is he?
As I said, sometimes they slip up and reveal themselves. And when they do, how should you treat them? IF they repent, treat them just as you did before…because remember, YOU can never know for sure. And it’s not your PLACE to know!
There are people who make their living by manufacturing PHONY money. They make copies of genuine bills in some way. And then they go out and pass those phony bills off as the real thing. Now, if I should end up with one of those phony bills in my pocket, unless it’s a real BAD phony, I wouldn’t know the difference. And I would probably take it to the store and spend it. That’s what money is for, and that’s what I would do with it. And the person at the store would probably accept it, because it looks so much like the real thing.
But, if that phony bill ended up in my daughter Dixie’s hands, SHE would know INSTANTLY that it is phony!…from the way it looks, or the way it feels…even though I don’t see anything wrong with it. Because you see, Dixie is an expert. In her twenty some years in banking, she has become so thoroughly familiar with the real thing that a phony will stand out immediately.
So I’m going to say to you that yes, there are phony Christians among us. They will be found in every church. But WE are not equipped to tell them FROM the real thing…unless they are a very BAD copy. And, even then, can you be SURE? Are you comfortable taking for yourself a role that had been reserved for the REAL experts?…reserved by God Himself?
I know people that HAVE done that. And the ones they accused may very well one day be shown to actually BE weeds. But NOT by ME! That’s not MY job! And I’m not EQUIPPED for it! And neither are YOU!
So back to the question…what are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to react to others in the body that don’t act like WE act? You are supposed to LOVE them, like Jesus loves the church, and GAVE Himself FOR it.
Having learned that there are weeds among the wheat, now FORGET it! It is not for us to judge them. God has ANGELS standing by to do that. Do NOT get in their way! All we need to do is to treat everyone who come into the church like a soul for whom Jesus died.
And do NOT say that you can’t do that. California, they say, will one day be hit by “THE BIG ONE”…a HUGE earthquake that will cause MASSIVE amounts of destruction and loss of life. Everyone living IN California KNOWS that! But they also know that there is absolutely NOTHING that they can do about it! And they ENJOY the benefits of living IN California. So they ACCEPT the fact of a ‘someday event’, and go on with their lives.
I am asking you to do the same thing. Accept the fact that there are weeds among us. Accept the fact that when GOD places people in the church, SATAN comes along and does the SAME thing! And YOU cannot tell them apart.
So we have to take a tip from just about every YOUTH group in the world, and ask “What would Jesus do”?!
Jesus would love every person He comes in contact with, so, SO should WE!
So let’s go into a time of invitation. Find hymn #74. It is MAJESTY, and that’s what I want to concentrate on right now…the absolute MAJESTY of Almighty God…and ask you…have you been taking on for yourself a job that God has reserved for His angels?
Or, do you know in your heart that you ARE wheat, but you’ve been living or acting like WEEDS?
Is there ANYTHING in your life that you need to ask God’s forgiveness for?
OR, is it possible that you’re here and have never made the FIRST step, and asked the Savior to come into your heart, and save your soul? This is your chance to DO that, right now. Your chance to meet the Savior face-to-face…to confess your sinful condition…and allow His precious Grace to SAVE you.
Look, the only person that really knows YOU, is YOU…and God. And there are some here right now who need to throw themselves ON Him, and let Him heal…or change…or save you…so please, come to Him NOW!