August 6, 2020
Pastor John Hering
24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced heads of grain, the weeds also appeared. 27 The servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy did this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather up the weeds?’ 29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because when you gather up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds, bind them in bundles, and burn them. Then, gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
36 Then Jesus sent the people away and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered them, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the Evil One. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the world. The reapers are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will pull out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and those who continue to break the law. 42 The angels will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
You’re cruising down the interstate without much traffic. Then three cars ahead of you a baby stroller whips out the back end of a pickup truck and cars swerve in every direction causing a multicar crash. You end up with a broken leg, hand, cuts and glass all over your body. You suffer. Or maybe you wake up feeling pretty good and hop out of bed preparing for a good day. But, then the throat gets scratchy, breathing tightens and your head throbs with pain. You suffer. Nobody wants to suffer. We want our life to be void of hurting, discomfort, pain and problem. So, we call the doctor, take a pill, visit the therapist because we want solutions, relief, comfort, peace, happiness and we want it now!
Now, I’m not against doctors, prescription drugs or developments in medical technology. We actually ought to spend a little extra time in our prayers thanking God for the life we have with so many advances for our well-being. But, the fact remains that no matter what drugs are prescribed, therapies practiced or healthy habits followed for the green pastures of life, we will never have a life free from the weeds of pain and suffering. Evil will always be around us. The devil is not going to stop making our lives miserable, working overtime on Christians like you.
While the Devil wants to use the weeds in life to tempt us to doubt God’s love, the Lord God allows or even causes weeds in our life to give us opportunities to have our faith tested, share Jesus’ love with others, or exercise our faith. God has every right to do this! First, he knows us well for he created us after all! Ever since Adam and Eve turned their backs on God he knew all their children would have the sin nature to do the same. Just like Grandpa Adam and Grandma Eve all people work like crazy to make their lives better, for smoother sailing, for greener pastures—work like crazy to make this life better, but often forgetting about the life to come. You see, God has something way better in store for us than good health, clear eyesight, pain-free backs, new cars & trucks and a comfortable home. God wants us to be with him in heaven forever. That’s why God allows and even causes pain and suffering now. The suffering we endure is a reminder that this world, this life, my time here is not and never will be perfect. This shouldn’t come a surprise to anyone who knows the account of Adam and Eve after The Fall. God told them that giving birth would be painful, tension between the role relationships of men and women, and a hard life with weeds in the fields. And that’s the point of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13:
There Are Weeds For A Reason
Jesus begins: ““The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.” And then he explains: ““The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom [believers]. The weeds are the sons of the Evil One [unbelievers]. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the Devil.” You get the intensity of the devil. His intensions are to destroy the field. So, he sows weeds among the wheat. Because of your sin-nature you are the evil weeds. That is how we were created by parents infected with the sin nature. This isn’t a truth of Scripture that is readily preached by churches. Who wants to tell people they are children of the devil! No, this work is done in the darkness of hearts and minds and the devil loves to use his evil children to ruin God’s creation—including people!
The devil hates God so that wherever the Word of God is touching the hearts of people and blessing them with the new-nature, the nature of being a child of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, you can bet Satan is right there to sow his weeds and ruin God’s work. Satan wants as many of the souls God created to live with God in heaven, to live with Satan in hell. God wants people to trust in him, to desire what God desires. Satan wants people to believe his lie that they are just fine as a weed, they’ll be alright without God, and to do and say what makes them feel good. The devil is sowing weeds among the wheat to deceive and destroy.
You can see that the devil’s work is double tricky. 1st) Satan is not going to march down the middle of the street in a peaceful protest and say, “Follow me to hell!” Neither does Satan carelessly plan his attacks like throwing seed to the wind! No, he is intentional and personal in his attacks, working undercover and sowing his lies in strategic times and places. 2nd) Satan loves to make his weed seed look appealing! If you’re married he might ask, “Are you lonely? Then how about meeting someone new for some excitement?” “Are you depressed? Then how about trying this new Summer Hummer and drink away your sorrows?” And if you’re rich, maybe he’ll give this appeal a shot: “You’ve worked hard your whole life to build up your bank account. Now you’re ready to enjoy life in your retirement!” Or how about this: “Are you so poor? Then let’s be jealous of others, discontent in what you have and have a pity party!” Or how about this if you’re young? “You don’t have to respect those older people! You have the right to your own life, your own opinion, and to have nice stuff like older people have!”
Just think, if Satan is working so hard in the hearts and minds of people who are striving to be the children of God they are, just think what’s he doing in the hearts and minds of people who could care less about their relationship to God. Therefore, there are Weeds for a Reason! Satan wants to sow those weeds to destroy your relationship with God. God allows those weeds to be sown in our lives because he wants us to realize that this earth is not our home. Therefore, during our time of grace on his earth wheat and weeds will grow together for a reason!
If you talk to a gardener, they will tell you the difference between bean seeds that sprout and weeds. But, if you talk to a farmer who plants wheat seeds in his field, that when those seeds sprout it is difficult to now the difference between wheat and weeds (tares). The problem is obvious. Jesus said it. “27 The servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy did this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather up the weeds?’ 29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because when you gather up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest…… 39 The enemy who sowed them is the Devil.” We can understand the zeal of the servants who wanted to rid the field of the weeds, but pulling up the weeds could damage the wheat. So, there has always been the temptation among Christians to think they can be holy street sweepers and clean up the world from those who offend God. That’s how the church got into trouble. It happened back in the middle ages with the Inquisition when supposed heretics were hunted down and tortured. It happens today when Christians use their politics to push their agenda. The Church is not called to scorch the earth to eliminate unbelievers and then to hole up in the castle Church and close the draw bridge.
Jesus is offering us some cautions with this parable. When we are trained by God’s Word and our conscience directs our attention toward a certain path, it may not be the only path. There may be other valid opinions and suggestions that also hold water. Remember Romans 13 where Paul was speaking about the horrible government under Claudius who kicked all the Christians out of Rome when he wrote, “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities. For no authority exists except by God, and the authorities that do exist have been established by God. 2 Therefore the one who rebels against the authority is opposing God’s institution, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves” (Rom 13:1,2). This would be an obvious occasion where wheat and weeds would work together under God’s authority to promote peace and justice for all. God gave the sword to the government (wheat or weed) to punish evil doers and to keep peace. The only sword God gave to the church is the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God.
Therefore as we live in this world, there will be wheat and weeds growing, good and evil people living all around us. God does not want to us eradicate them. God wants us to testify to the truth—that there is one Savior, Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty of the sins of the whole world and through faith in him a miracle takes place. We are called out of being children of Satan into being the children of God. The remaining weeds growing there are there for a reason—so we can share Jesus with them as we get ready for the judgment…..or as Jesus called it:
While the servants were told not to pull up the weeds, they did learn about what would eventually happen to them. “30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds, bind them in bundles, and burn them. Then, gather the wheat into my barn.”’… The harvest is the end of the world. The reapers are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will pull out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and those who continue to break the law. 42 The angels will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. All people have ears and all people need to hear Jesus’ words. The farmer will sow and seeds will grow, even with the weeds, but in the end, they will be mowed. For you this is an event to which we look forward. God has created the miracle of faith in our hearts so that the fruit of our faith stands as a testimony.
Mowing down unbelievers is not our work, it is God’s Work to be done in his own good time. In the meantime we wait. We don’t like to wait at the doctor’s office or the DMV. Waiting isn’t much fun, but it’s what we do. God has a good reason for delaying his judgment. God wants more people to be changed from weeds to wheat through the miracle of faith in Jesus. God would also want us to wait for heaven rather than get all caught up in this world. Let God do the mowing and separating on Judgment Day. That’s the whole point. There is sowing, growing and mowing so we can recognize our life now, and what life is waiting for us some day. As we live among the weeds, we live trusting in God’s promises!
So, now it’s time to say it plainly. Nobody likes pain from car crashes, suffering from sickness, or heartache of living with unbelievers. We want a life of green pastures of peace. But, there’s a purpose for the weeds of life. They remind us that this world is not our home. That we have work to do in sharing the gospel with weeds so that through the miracle of faith, they too might be changed into wheat. And finally, God gives us this time to trust in him as we await our eternal glory with him in heaven. God is at work, he is still in charge. God will not let Satan rob us of our eternal glory. But, Jesus’ parable does remind us to face reality. There is going to be suffering while we live in this sin-cursed world. When you experience the weeds of this world in your life, let them serve to remind you that we have a purpose to share Jesus with more people, and that we keep our eyes focused on our eternal home in heaven, “43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” Amen!