This is a lengthy passage of scripture, but to try to break it up in sections would do it an injustice, for we need to read this in its entirety all together in order to get the complete picture. And, then we can discuss it.
The Parable Told
Matthew 13:24-30 ESV
He put another parable before them, saying, “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.”’”
The Parable Explained
Matthew 13:36-43 ESV
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “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. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
The true church of Jesus Christ is comprised of all people who are surrendering their hearts to Jesus Christ, who are dying with him to sin, in order that they might live with him to righteousness. They have crucified the sinful nature, and they are now living for the Lord (Rom. 6:1-23; Gal. 5:24).
But, then there are the gatherings of the church, or the meetings of the church, which can and do include those who make only a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, yet whose lives do not bear the fruit of the Spirit of God.
Yet, since even true followers of Christ are not immune to sin’s deceitfulness nor to giving way to temptation to sin, sometimes there is a fine line between those who are true followers of Jesus and those who are not, but who have the appearance of being Christ’s followers.
What is this not saying
So, what is this saying here? That we are to leave all judgments to God, and that we are to say and to do nothing if we discern error, or if there is rampant sin within the church being left undealt with? No!
It is clear throughout the New Testament that there are not only false believers among true believers, mixed in together, but there also false teachers, too, who have slipped in among us. Yet, we are not to ignore willful sin and rebellion within the church, or false teaching and teachers. But, we are to make just and righteous judgments in these matters, and we are to follow specific courses of action that God has laid out for us in how to deal with these, which are written down for us in the scriptures.
In fact, in 1 Corinthians 5, not only are we instructed to have removed from our fellowships those living in willful sinful rebellion against God and against his moral laws, but that we are not to even eat with or associate with anyone who calls himself a follower of Christ but it is known that he or she is living in sexual immorality or is an idolater, etc. We, as the body of Christ are to purge the evil from among us so that the evil does not spread throughout the fellowship and infect the whole of the body of Christ.
And, we are warned about false teachers, too, and we are instructed to not put up with what is not sound doctrine, but that we are to test the spirits to see if they are of God. We are not to put up with teaching that is proclaiming “another Jesus” or “another gospel” other than the Jesus and the gospel of the scriptures, but rather, we are to expose what is false (1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Co. 11:1-4; Eph. 5:11; Rev. 2:13-29).
So, this is not teaching tolerance. It is not teaching a “free for all” where we blend in with the culture of the world and where we “stay in your own lane” so as not to make any judgments and in order that we don’t offend anyone with the truth of the gospel. It is not teaching silence, either, and that we should just look the other way while the world and the false church goes to hell. But, we are to teach what is true and expose what is false.
What we Need to Understand
Not everything is as it appears. Not everyone is who he or she says they are. Anything can be faked, pretty much. And, it can be hard, sometimes, to distinguish the fake from the real deal. But, we are called to discernment and to test the spirits, so that is what we must do so that we are not taken in by those who are fake and who might be trying to lead us astray.
So, how do we distinguish the fake from the real? By the Word of God, studied in full context. In other words, one of the main tricks of the liars and deceivers is to pull scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say in order to deceive naïve minds who are not versed in the scriptures. And, so we must test everything we see, hear or read against the scriptures, taken in context, and against God’s divine character and will.
The bottom line here is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just forgiveness of sins and our free ticket into God’s heaven. The gospel of our salvation teaches that we must die to our old lives of living for sin and self, and that we must be changed (transformed) in heart and mind of the Spirit of God. And, it teaches that we must now put on our new self in Christ Jesus, and that we must now walk (in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, we must also know that we are all going to appear before God one day and that we will be judged according to our deeds (our works). For, what we do is evidence (the fruit) of what we say we believe. So, if we sow to please the flesh, from that flesh we will reap destruction. But, if by the Spirit we sow to please the Spirit, then from that Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
But, this judgment that determines who will have eternal life and who won’t is not to be determined until the end of time when Jesus comes back. For, those who are faking it now may turn their hearts over to the Lord Jesus at some point in time, as may those who make no profession of faith in Jesus. And, those who now are living for the Lord may fall away from their faith and they may go back to living in the flesh in sinful rebellion against God.
So, we make no final judgments regarding anyone’s salvation for we know not what the future holds. But, we are to discern the spirits, and we are to call out those who profess faith in Jesus but who are living in sinful rebellion against him so that they don’t infect the whole church.
And, we are to call out false teaching and false teachers so that the body of Christ is not led astray, and so that the masses who have professed faith in Jesus Christ don’t end up believing a lie, thinking they are going to heaven, when one day they are going to hear, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
So, know the truth, for it is the truth which will set you free.
Our God, He is Alive
Music and Lyrics by A.W. Dicus
Our God, whose Son upon a tree,
A life was willing there to give,
That He from sin might set man free,
And evermore with Him could live.
There is a God, He is alive,
In Him we live and we survive;
From dust our God created man,
He is our God, the great I Am.
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Do You Know My Jesus?
William F. Lakey, 1956
V.B. Vep Ellis, 1957
Do you know my Jesus?
Do you know my friend,
Have you heard He loves you,
And that He will abide till the end?
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