Living as Wheat among the Weeds

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

July 19th & 20th, 2008


            There you are in the middle of spring, you just tilled your garden, watered it appropriately, and even put a stick at the end of your row so that you can recognize what is there. It looks real good, clean, but as you well know this doesn’t last long.   Lets say you never even look at the garden until you want to pick your vegetables,  what is it that you see?  Weeds, weeds, and yes more weeds.  What is the lesson- don’t neglect your garden.   This parable is about the Kingdom of God, and as we hear that term, know that it is not just general good things, but the entrance of king Jesus into this world.  It is a parable, that frankly has unpleasant warnings and descriptions in it.  Here we have that famous depiction of hell “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.  Jesus says “let the wheat and the weeds” grow together, and I’ll sort it out in the end.”   In other words go ahead interact with non Christians, be in the world, but not of the world.  Pray that God will use you to proclaim that only through this sowers can a weed be transformed into wheat.    These are important words for everyone, for in the end Jesus says “He who has ears, let him hear”.  Translation, if you have ears, this message is for you.

            What’s the first thing we see in this parable?  Jesus, the son of God, only sows good seed.    In other words only he can create and keep children of the kingdom.  He is not the author of evil.  Our Savior is perfect in every way yet without sin.  Some might say “if he is all powerful then he can’t be good” .  This view says that because of evil in this world, God the powerful one can’t be good.  Another philospophy says this “If God is good, he can’t be almighty”.  That is, the very existence of evil, means that a good God comes up a gainst a problem he can’t solve, thus not almighty.   The problem, obviously, is that the God of the Bible is described as both good and almighty.  God created the world, and everything was good, including his people.  However, a foreign substance, sin itself,  a foreign seed came into his garden, and this evil could only be redeemed by God alone on Calvary’s cross.   According to the bible God is so powerful, he can even use evil for his purpose…. Romans 8 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  In baptism, God is planting, and making a new creation, and he alone gives growth to the Christian.  The first point, the almighty and loving God plants good seed, and only good seed.

            Second, the devil and his angels exist, and they reek havoc on God’s good garden.  The devil is described in the Bible as the evil one, a murderer,  the great accuser, the father of lies.   This isn’t your make believe monstor, this is the one whom Peter says “Roams back and forth in the world seeking someone to devour”.  He is the one who after you hear the Word of God, that you are a loved child of Christ says “Really, mmm are you sure????  He is the one who after hearing God’s precious words uses doubt.  Come on, you really believe that? The devil wants us to doubt God’s Word. For example  the existence of hell, that is just a ruse, the church through the century has made up to control everyone.  We know from the bible that hell is no ruse, but a grim reality for all who neglect the love of Christ alone.  Other doubting words are “Did God really say that he created the world out of nothing?”  “Did God really say that he is the only God, and he alone should be worshipped?”  Did God really say that you should receive and hear his words of love and forgiveness regularily?”  “Did God really say that you are a sinner?”     The devil has been defeated on calvary’s cross, he is not all powerful, he is a limited creature of God, but powerful none-the-less.  

            What to be done?  Take matters into our own hands, pull up the weeds?   Jesus says no, for we’ll  have a hard time distinguishing between the wheat and the weeds.  For you see in the ancient world, the weeds were darnell weeds.  Weeds that at their early stage look very similar to wheat.  Weeds that can be distinguished at he harvest, but not much ealier.   This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t confront sin when it is in our midst, and it doesn’t mean that we false teachings shouldn’t be pointed out.  Rather, its not up to us to make things look perfect in our world, in other words we can never this side of heaven totally separate ourselves from the weeds.  WE are even called to enter into this world with the good news of Christ, and proclaim that Christ is in the business of transforming weeds into wheat.  He has given this world a  marvelous grace period, where repentance and forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to all.  He wants all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.  Yet, in the end it is God alone who will send angels to harvest the wheat and throw away the chaff into fire.  An eternal separation of God that creates a weeping and gnashing of teeth.  It is out of vogue in the 20th century to speak of  hell, but you know Jesus spoke of it.  Hell doesn’t cease to exist, because of wishful thinking.  No the picture here is of everlasting condemnation,   the result of unbelief.

            Yet in the midst of this chaotic world, that in many ways will remain chaotic until Christ comes again, Jesus promises that those who confess his name will shine like the sun.  For you see Jesus in many ways became a weed himself, he experienced all the judgment, separation, pain, sorrow of hell itself on the cross (my God my God why have you forsaken me), so that he could do something that no other farmer would ever be able to do, turn weeds into wheat.  “For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him will not Perish, but have everlasting life”. 

            So what have we learned?  Jesus alone sows good seed.  If you are a believer in Jesus, ultimately it is not your doing, rather it is the gracious work of your Savior on your behalf.  Second, the devil, while less than Jesus and one who has been defeated on the cross,  is quite real in this world and he “seeks someone to devour”.     Third, in a strange farming technique, Jesus says “don’t spray for weeds”, rather let the weeds and the wheat grow together”.   In other words, this side of heaven Jesus is in the business of turning weeds into wheat”.  Wheat that will one day be harvested, and will one day shine in the everlasting light of the true Son who lives and reigns both now and forevermore.  Amen.