Once again, as I've studied familiar Scripture, the Lord has shined His light upon the Word to give me a new and fresh revelation. We are studying Matthew in our Home Church and, specifically, Matthew 13, best known for the richness of the parables Jesus shared with His disciples.
If you've spent any time at all reading your Bible, then these parables are familiar to you. And if you are like me, my initial understanding of them was that Jesus spoke in terms of simple stories, in order to teach a moral or spiritual lesson. Theses "lessons" were to be applicable down through the centuries to His followers. And I thought I'd done a pretty good job of comprehending what He was trying to teach me. That is, until I discovered His message of the Kingdom. That changed everything!
It began with the recognition that the Kingdom of God was the central point of the parables, and that the Parable of the Sower is the foundation for understanding all the parables. Jesus confirms this in Mark 4:13 when He asks His disciples, "If you don’t understand this parable [of the Sower], how will you understand any parable?"
So, Jesus proceeds to explain the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:18-23. How many of you, like me, missed verse 19 completely? How many, like me, were stunned when the Lord shined His Light on this fundamental truth in His Word? He says, The hard path where some of the seeds fell represents the heart of a person who hears the Good News about the Kingdom and doesn’t understand it; then Satan comes and snatches away the seeds from his heart. As we've all been taught by the Church, the "Gospel" is the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. He couldn't make it any clearer in this parable ... He is the Sower bringing the Gospel of the Kingdom into the hearts of men who will receive it! It is important that we distinguish which Gospel Jesus is sowing into the hearts of men in this parable! Check out the various translations in the Bible.... almost all of them identify "the seed" as the "word of the Kingdom".
As I've written in previous posts (here and here), I am not downplaying or discrediting the Gospel of Salvation, but that wasn't His primary message to the crowds or to His disciples. Salvation is the necessary and mandatory entry point into the Kingdom of God. Jesus explains that quite well in John 3:1-5. Please read that, if you are confused about the difference between the two Gospels. Because, today, I want to show you why this confusion even exists today. And believe me, the Body of Christ needs to understand this truth in this critical hour.
All you have to do is query the internet about the meaning of the parable of the Sower and you will find such vague and misleading answers as these .... The man represents God and the seed is His message. But what Message? Salvation or Kingdom?.... The moral of the Parable of the Sower is that not everyone who hears the Christian gospel will understand and believe. But which Gospel? Salvation or the Kingdom?
So, why is it so difficult for the Body of Christ to grasp this important and crucial message about the Kingdom? Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom message was of primary importance to Him. In Luke 4:43, He says, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” Why does the Church stay focused on the good news of Salvation, instead of taking the next step and sharing that once a person is Saved, they are to see and understand the Kingdom and enter into it? That's why they are here on earth!
It's taken me a long time to get to the central point of this blog, but here it is .... In Matthew, after presenting the most important parable of the Sower, Jesus then shares the Parable of the Wheat and Tares [or Weeds]. Do you think that is a coincidence? If you believe as I do, that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then join me in understanding what our Lord is telling us in this pivotal parable.
In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus has this exchange with His Disciples, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
We know from the previous parable of the Sower that the man is Jesus, the good seed is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and the field is the world which Jesus created. So how did weeds get in this field and what does it mean for us? This time, Jesus is more succinct in explaining the meaning of His parable. He says, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil."
I want you to focus on this small portion of the parable ... that Jesus sowed the good seed of the Gospel of the Kingdom, but while "his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also". Are you able to discern that Jesus accomplished His mission of sowing the Gospel of the Kingdom into the world, which means the Gospel was received by the sons of the kingdom [the Disciples] and the Body of Christ, or the Church, was born. But after that first generation of Disciples died [were sleeping], others came into the Church and sowed seeds from the Enemy. These seeds represent men who began to alter Jesus's Gospel of the Kingdom, to focus primarily on the Gospel of Salvation. While this Gospel is not wrong and is most important, it stops short of Jesus's full mission for us ... receive Salvation and then enter the Kingdom to bring the government of Heaven down to earth.
And here is an expanded meaning of what the weeds represent: In the King James Bible, “weeds” is called “tares”, and this is how the Concordance describes them: “A kind of darnel (Eurasian ryegrass) that grows as tall as wheat and barley, and resembles wheat in appearance, except the seeds are black. It is seen by the Jews as degenerate wheat (it has lost the qualities of wheat). The seeds are poisonous to man, producing sleepiness, nausea, convulsions and even death. The plants can be separated out, but the custom, as in the parable, is to leave the cleaning out till near the time of harvest”.
If as true Christians, we desire to righteously represent our Lord, why have we tolerated these "weeds" in our midst? It's because these “weeds” have grown up alongside the men of the Kingdom since the inception of the Early Church, poisoning its teachings. They introduced denominationalism with all its varied doctrines and traditions, and hid the Gospel of the Kingdom from the Body of Christ. They promoted Salvation as the be-all, end-all of our Christian experience, and these teachings have continued until today. That’s why the Church follows so many wrong man-made doctrine.
We were unable to recognize the poisonous seeds because they resembled the seeds first sown by Jesus. We did not see what grew from the seeds; we ignored the blackness of the seeds which was a poison that produced apathy and passivity in the Church. We, as the Body of Christ, did not guard against imposters, but welcomed anyone whom we thought resembled us, without doing our due diligence.
And now, the Body as a whole, cannot be trusted to recognize the pure wheat from the impure (or degenerate) wheat. Centuries of assimilation and accommodation have produced a crop within the Church that includes lethargy, sickness of soul and spirit, upheaval in the Kingdom on earth, and yes, even death. These conditions are the weeds grown from the seeds of Christ's enemy. And Jesus will come and gather them out of His true Church at the end of this age. He will be the One who separates the wheat from the weeds at His harvest. And I believe the Body of Christ will be shocked at what is revealed amongst them.
But, I also believe this is the season before the harvest, when the Remnant can rise and boldly declare the full Gospel of the Lord ... He came bringing the government of His Father's Kingdom in Heaven; to show us why we were created -- to rule the earth [as images of our Creator] in the same way He rules Heaven. The first and crucial step is to recognize our unrighteous sin, and receive Christ as our Savior, and pledging to be obedient in all His ways. Then we have the credentials to enter into the Kingdom, where we are to spend the rest of our lives as ambassadors of the Kingdom and continuing Jesus's work to bring the heavenly model of God's Kingdom to earth. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven is not to just be spoken in reverent prayer, but is to be walked out and lived daily!
It is not too difficult to recognize that the wheat is ripening and the harvest is near. And I clearly distinguish the wheat from the weeds. The Good News that Jesus came proclaiming includes both Salvation and Kingdom! In this crucial hour, let us not rest on an incomplete Gospel. Let us bring Salvation to the nations and then encourage them to enter the Kingdom, where we might yet save more wheat from being destroyed by the weeds. I praise my Lord for calling my attention to His Word and revealing His truth where I have missed it. Let me be one of the righteous that shine like the sun in my Father's kingdom! Let me be an instrument to grow His harvest! Let's no longer tolerate the destruction that comes with the weeds!
Acts 20:29-30 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.