Weeds in God’s Garden
(Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43)
I have titled the message this evening . . . . the KJV has the translation of this word, weed, as tares.
And that is really a better translation than other, modern versions that simply translate it as weeds.
The tares in this parable are indeed weeds, but they are weeds that closely resemble wheat–that is until the wheat begins to ripen.
The tares Scripture is describing here are actually something called darnel.
And that is a poisonous weed organically related to wheat but difficult to distinguish from the real deal in the early stages of its growth.
It is only in the final stages of growth when the kernals of the tares actually turn black that their falseness becomes apparent.
And as Jesus gives an explanation to His disciples on the meaning of this parable, I think we can see clearly a striking connection between the Kingdom of God, as represented in the church, and to the tares and wheat existing in the same field of the world together.
The field, of course, is the entire world, and our study tonight will consist in our discussing how it is that the false wheat, the tares, and the good wheat, can coexist after the Kingdom of Heaven has broken into the world.
You see, just as the OT prophesied, God sent forth a Messiah, didn’t He?
He sent the Son into the world at just the right time; there was the breaking forth into the world of men of another world, one with values at odds with this one of sin and pain and death.
But this kingdom hasn’t yet reached its final victory.
The victory was, indeed, won on Calvary and in Christ’s resurrection, but awaits its final consummation in The Second Coming.
In the meantime, God’s Kingdom, which is both here and is real, has both tares and wheat; the false and the true.
During WWII when the Allies finally invaded Europe in 1944, that invasion signaled the death knell for Hitler and the Nazis.
For all intents and purposes, the war was over.
Yet the German armies, and what was left of the German Government, did not actually surrender until 1945.
The war was over, but the battles continued.
With the superior firepower, manpower and military intelligence of the Allies there was no question that the Allies would eventually conquer Hitler and his armies.
But the fighting, destruction, and deaths continued from the D-Day invasion of Normandy on Jun 6, 1944, until the official German surrender on May 7, 1945.
And so it is with the invasion, if you will, of the Kingdom of God into this world; a world that is dominated by Satan and his world system.
The war is won, but the battle still rages.
The believers in Christ, the church, are living right alongside the enemies of God, aren’t they?
Sometimes, we even rub elbows with them in the church, too, don’t we?
And so true believers are called by our Lord to ceaselessly wage war against the forces of darkness.
But we will see that our weapons are not the weapons of our enemies, are they?
They are the weapons of God’s Kingdom.
And so we will also clearly see, the final victory belongs to Jesus.
It is Christ who will come to set things to rights, it is Christ who will order the gathering of the tares and the wheat at the time of the harvest: one to be consigned to the fire, the other to be delivered to glory!
The Sowing (Matthew 13:24–28, 38, 39)
(1 Who is the sower in this parable?
Jesus said it was Himself, didn’t He?
And the seed in this parable is us, right?
Children of the Kingdom.
Children of the wicked one.
And ever since the breaking in of the Kingdom of God in this world, there has been both tares and wheat existing side by side.
And this Kingdom of God is the principle teaching of the NT, indeed of the entire Bible.
In our churches today, we often think that the salvation of individual souls is the only purpose for Christ’s first coming to this world.
But that simply isn’t so, is it?
Of course, Jesus died for sinners, didn’t He? Luke 19:10 (KJV)
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
But Jesus came to redeem the whole universe, didn’t He?
To save the whole world, not just people, but everything!
A universe enslaved and in the grip of sin and death.
Paul wrote of this truth in that most glorious of chapters: Romans 8! Romans 8:20-23 (KJV)
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
And so this is all about the living God going about the business of redeeming His very good creation from the effects of human sin.
It is about His Kingdom which was ushered in by the Lord Jesus Christ becoming the norm for human existence.
So, why all the evil?
What’s up with all that?
Why does everything seem to always spiral out of control?
If this Kingdom of God is supposed to be so wonderful, why do things stink?
We find the answer in this parable.
Let’s begin to look at it.
Read Matthew 3:24-28.
(2 There is a certain type of person, one who imagines himself to be intellectually and emotionally sensitive, who also fancies himself to be just a tad bit superior to other folks who aren’t quite as sensitive.
And these people, both men and women, are forever angst ridden.
They worry over the fate of humanity.
They ask the perennial questions: Who am I? Why am I here?
What is the meaning of life?
And these folks never seem to find the answers, never get to the truth, because they seem to be forever looking in all the wrong places.
(3 Now there is another type of person who grows out of this immature way of looking at life, but they really don’t get to the truth either.
The reason being they look to all the simple pleasures of life: family, friends, comfort, home, country as being the only reasons for life.
Neither approach gets to the truth of life, do they?
(4 Christians ought to know the meaning of life, shouldn’t we?
We ought to know what history is all about: where it’s going, what it means.
But we don’t.
Most of us think that history is moving toward something, and we pay lip service to God’s being in control of it, but I’m not too sure we really believe it.
Most Christians think that life is all about the invitation, the altar call!
We really sometimes think that all of life is all about my salvation.
But it isn’t.
Life, history, everything is all about Christ Jesus, and His reign as King over all that is!
And everything is His!
Now to be sure, that reign begins in individual hearts in an individual’s personal salvation.
But even if you ain’t saved, God is still sovereign, and His Kingdom is still supreme.
And everything still belongs to Him.
(5 But why ain’t everything hunky-dory?
Look over at verses 38-39.
Have you ever stopped and wondered: Why the devil?
Why is he still allowed to hang around and torment this world and tempt God’s children?
Unfortunately, in our modern, pseudo-enlightened age, the devil is not seriously considered as a real personal being.
We will believe any nutty conspiracy theory out there, from the government being responsible for JFK’s death, to the government being responsible for 9/11.
But we are way too sophisticated to believe in a personal devil.
Evil is more often thought of us a Star Wars’ like force out there, real and present, but not personal.
Just on the opposite end of the spectrum from good.
And often to the popular mind the devil is just a funny creature in red underwear with horns and a tail, and sometimes a pitchfork.
Neither is the image of Satan portrayed in the Bible.
He is portrayed in the Bible as an angel of light, isn’t he?
As the most glorious creature God made–until he fell.
(6 That Satan is a real person is beyond doubt from a Biblical point of view.
And in the Book of Isaiah we find that pride was the reason for His downfall.
In the book of Ezekiel we see how high his original state was: Ezekiel 28:12-15 (KJV)