Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 4 months ago

The Weeds and the Wheat (Matt 13:24-43)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Christian McArthur

Well, American Christians areinfatuated with eschatology now already I need to apologize for two things. Oneover generalizations are just not helpful, so sorry for over generalizingto one of the things that I've learned in seminary will, while studyingeschatology, is never to use the word eschatology in a sermon. So for that I apologize I've notgraduated. Yet please don't turn me in. So what does eschatology mean, and whyare we so concerned about it? Well simply put eschatology is the study ofthe last things? What happens in the end? You might be wondering why couldn't youhave just said that I went to seminary to learn words like eschatology, but moving on one of the particular aspects of thelast things at the in times of eschatology. That is a particularinterest. I think, especially in America, it seems is figuring out thespecifics of when Christ will return and how the final judgment will takeplace and do a quick, Google search you'll find this all over the placethat the people are really interested in figuring out how this is going tohappen. Two Thousand and ten there was a pole of Christians in America and andforty percent of them believed that Christ would return before two thousandand fifty so almost half. I would imagine if you did that pole again in apost, coved world people would assume much much sooner and you're. Seeing this as you readblogs and articles that that what we see around us seems to be the end ofthe age, we really want to figure out. If that's true. Well, it just so happens that we arenot the only group that is interested in the in times fact. The end iscertainly in mind for Jesus's listeners in the first century, particularly hishis Jewish listeners. They are specifically concerned withwhen the Messiah comes when the Saviour of Israel comes. How will this judgmentgo down? How quick is it going to happen because we really want thisMessiah to rid the world of our enemies, specifically anyone who's, not part ofthe nation of Israel, and in this we want to finally be lifted to this placeof g global prominence and power. The Israelites had endured the presenceof the gentiles and the land for a long time now they are under the thumb ofthe Romans. Their eschatology is hopeful and they hope that God will ridrid the land of these enemies. These unclean gentiles these Romans that havebeen against them they're concerned about the in timeslike so many of us are concerned about the in times, but as we've seen as we've walkedthrough some of these parables Jesus comes and often times does not meet upwith the expectations of his of his listener. Does he I mean he's cominghe's announcing the Kingdom of Heaven we heard about that a few weeks ago,looking at the SOWER, but people are quickly confused as towhy Jesus the Messiah, if he is really the Messiah, does not seem overly concerned aboutbringing about final judgment. Why is this? Well, I think it is this confusion, atleast in part, that Jesus is speaking...

...into with this parable that we'relooking at this evening. Why isn't he establishing the Kingdomof God or perhaps more accurately? Why isn't he doing it in ways that peoplewould expect and ways that we would expect if wewere bringing in a kingdom? Well Jesus answers these questions inthe air by providing two very certain realities that we will look at thisevening. One of these realities is: There is acoming judgment when the son of Man will come andfinally put an end to all evil, he will punish UN Righteousness, He willvindicate the Righteous, and this is a very real reality that we see in thistext. The other reality that we see is Jesusseems in no hurry to do it and that's confusing for Foks, and so we'llconsider these two realities, both this pending judgment and this patientsavior and, finally, briefly, we will considerhow this has US view this peculiar kingdom, the pending judgment, thepatient saviour in a peculiar kingdom. So, let's consider the pending judgment, so our parable this evening comes rightafter Matthew's version of the parable of the sower that we looked at a fewweeks ago, we looked at it from Mark's Gospel, but Matthew covers that as well. When Jesus continues to use thisagricultural imagery to explain the Kingdom of God to those who arelistening and Jesus begins, he tells a story of aman who sowed a good seed in his field. Well, like the parable of the serer, wehave the benefit of getting Jesus explanation of what's going on here,and so he tells us this man who is sewing is the son of man. He is Jesushimself uses this common title for the Messiah that that Daniel uses in theprophetic writings, the son of man and this son of man is sewing good seedinto a field, and this field is Jesus, explains, is the world the seed and its subsequent growthrepresents the sons of the kingdom. Jesus says, and right from the start were inparable form seeing this doctrine of election, one that we can be skirmishabout, except we sang this beautiful song that Jackie Jacky requested andjust beautiful about this, this picture of God choosing his people before theEarth's foundations were laid in a way. Jesus is telling Ephesians one andparable form here. Isn't he that that the son of man has so good see that hehas chosen and he is bringing about the growth and he has these people in hishand from the very beginning, an Impara form. We see this beautiful doctrine ofelection, but quickly we run into a problem.Don't we? It seems that an enemy has come he's infiltrated the field, while theservants of the master are sleeping and the enemy begins sewing. What ourSV says, weeds some translations say tears. Other translations treat this indifferent ways, but it seems specifically like this plant is a plantcalled Donald, and the thing about Donald, it's well known in the firstcentury, in fact, is well known. This Day is Donald, looked almost exactlylike wheat until it started to flower,...

...so it's very difficult to tell what iswhat and the passage confirms this? Doesn't it it's not until the wheat issneer ready for harvest that the servants even noticed that it's there, but as soon as they notice they'reconcerned, as any good farmer would be, they go to the master, they said.Didn't you put good field or good seed into the field, and if so, where didthe weeds come from the presence of Donald these? Theseweeds would be concerning for anyone who knew about farming, wheat and andand harvesting, because what would likely happen as, asthis donald grew and you didn't identify it, it would begin to entangleitself with the wheat. It would begin to choke out the root system andultimately, it would affect the harvest. So, if you're concerned about the yield,you would want to swiftly take care of these weeds. This would be veryimportant as it is with these servants they're in a hurry to get rid of these weeds well in Jesus explanation. Helets us know that this Darnall, these weeds, represent the sons of the evil,one all causes of sin and all law breakers.He says: Well, this analogy fits. Doesn't it evil in this world often seems like itis snuffing out and taking over that which is good, it's poison and it'sprevalent. It seems in many ways to overtake all that it comes in contactwith Paul picks up a similar idea in First Corinthians fifteen. He says badcompany ruins good morals. The presence of evil threatens that which is good, and that scares US and- and it shouldwe're concerned about our culture, we're concerned about our children andthose who are younger, we're concerned about ourselves. Will we be able topersevere in a culture that seems to be an increasingly antithetical to theword of God? There is real evil and I think all of us are in a wayanxious to rid the world of this evil will in Jesus explanation of theparable. He too shows he is concerned about this, and he says that he himself, throughhis angels, will take care of the evil in the final judgment. First thirtynine Jesus says the harvest is the end ofthe age, and the reapers are angels, just as the weeds are gathered andburned in the fire. So will it be at the end of the age? Jesus will send his own reapers theangels and do this work of separating that which is weed that which is evil,and that which is wee to that which is good, and it's a pretty forceful picture ofthe end. Isn't it just as the weeds are thrown into thefire, so all causes of sin and all law breakers will be thrown into a fieryfurnace. In that place, there will be weeping nashing of teeth, imagery that Jesus uses elsewhere, that we build up these, that we buildthese doctrines of eternal punishment of hell,...

...probably not like favorite memoryversus for you. If they are, we should talk later, but they're all over the scripture.Aren't they they're disturbing images. Second Thesaloniki says that theUNRIGHTEOUS will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of theLord, from the glory of his might. Jude says that the fires of Sodom andGamora were just a fore. Taste of the judgment to come. John Revelation speaks of this lake offiery sulphur that Burns eternally one that was created for the devil and hisfollowers again, not favorite passages to read orpreach on or think about, but true reality. A final judgment is coming, but there is good news: There's goodnose for us that are in Christ, because we need not fear this end as we look to Christ alone and rest inthe promises seal to us and and baptism the forgiveness of sins union withChrist. We can look forward with great anticipation not to judgment but to thehope of glory to the Resurrection, and that is a wonderful thing, but one of the problems we have withthis infatuation with the in times at least for those of us who arecounted among God's elect sons of the kingdom, is that we can be in such ahurry to rid the world of this evil influence that we forget the true reality that iscoming for those that are not in Christ, horrible picture of judgment and in our hurry to bring about the endour attempts to identify what is good, what is evil? We sometimes lack discernment which brings about our second point,which will explain this idea of discernment, a patient Savior. If we move back in the passage a bitand look at the parable itself, there's an interesting emphasis. The Servant of the masters come to him.They offer to take care of the weeds, and rightly so. They don't want these weeds affectingthe harvest they're concerned about what is good well, we, like the servants, often havea rational impulse to rid the world of evil. Of these weeds, but the prroblemwith our efforts to do this, the problem with the servants, those who offer to go out and root outthe weeds is they are not discerning nor patient enough. What do we mean bythis? Well, it's interesting how the master responds to the servants. Isn'tit servants in verse? Twenty eight say: Doyou want us to go out and gather up the weeds? He says no less in gathering the weeds, you root up the wheat along with them. This is interesting, isn't it these servants are so concerned withthe weeds that they run the risk of calling what God sees as good evil. They run the risk of wronglyidentifying what they are getting rid of me think about this in the Jewishcontext that we're speaking into a Jew...

...hearing. This would assume- and some ofthem rightly so- that they are good seed. Well, what would bad seed be? Gentiles the Romans easy enough to identify and yet think about if one of theseJews was responsible for for labeling, the winners and the losers, the weedsand the Wheat, the Gospel would not go out to all nations. They would not properly identify thatwhat sometimes looks like weeds as actually God's precious wheat, all these people to the ends of theearth that Jesus came to die. For that still look a lot like weeds. We too, like to identify the winnersand losers. Don't we we like to point at things and labelthem as evil, and I think this impulse is often right, but I think often times our metrics,for how we label things are not so right. Sometimes it is simple as how someonelooks how someone thinks, God forbid, how they vote. We see that in our country, don't wewere able to label things just based on affiliations, but Jesus loves to take what looks evil and make it good, because he is patient because he is kind because he is longsuffering in the case of this moment in history,during the telling of this parable. Jesus has in mind opening up the goodnews to the kingdom to the ends of the earth, to gentiles, like you and like me, to all tongues, tribes and nations and for us here today. He has in mindpeople who look think and yes even sometimes vote differently than we do people that we would quickly label asweeds that God has beautiful things in mind, for it is good news that we don't choosethe winners and losers. Isn't it, but the God and eternity past haschosen the winners and losers in his son, not based on what we look like, butbased on what his son looks like and in history. Jesus is patient to usas we all go through our weed phases, and second Peter Peter writes, he'swriting to folks that are concerned about this final judgment, and he saysthis he says, do not overlook this. One fact beloved that with the Lord One day is as athousand years and a thousand years is as one day theLord is not slow to fulfill his promises, as some count slowness, but he is patient toward you. Why does that matter? Because he is not wishing that any oneshould perish, but that all should we reach repentance Peter will go on to say count thepatience of the Lord as Salvation. How beautiful is that count? Thepatience of the Lord as Salvation Jesus is patient. He is a patientgardener awaiting the full number of his elect to come to harvest. Yes, heis fully aware of the final judgment...

...he's the one that will bring it to pass,but his concern at this time is that none of his would be lost. He is awaiting the salvation even nowof some that we know some, that we pray for some, that might be our children orour parents or friends, people that have not even been born yet and he'sholding off on final judgment even now, so that they might come to repentance. Jesus is willing to wait a D, and it'snot just good news for those that are still coming to repentance, but it's good news for us, because we did not always look likewheat, and some of you can point to a specifictime in your life, where it was very evident that you did not look likewheat and had someone come through to collectthe wheat and the weeds, you would have been yanked up. Some of you have had the greatprivilege of being born into a Christian family being baptized as acovenant child. You can't remember a time when youweren't wheat, but there was a time and Jesus was patient waiting for youto be born that he might bring you into hiskingdom. Our master is patient, not willing that any might perish, butwe might flower that we might produce good fruit. Two very real realities. Final judgmentis coming and our saviour is patient. Well, question does remain for us. What do we do now and this evil world? How do we know wewill not be overcome by evil? How do we know that these weeds willnot choke us out will not choke out the faith of our children and our family?What do we do with one foot in the Kingdom of Heaven and one foot and theKingdom of this earth? How can we know that we are safe, thatthis kingdom is actually coming to pass? Well briefly this evening, I want toconsider how Jesus answers this. We don't often times put the parable ofthe mustard seed and the parable of the eleven right after this and include itas part of this, but there's a reason it's right after it, and I would argue that Jesus is perhapsanswering this question, he's aware that this parable would notfully satisfy his listener, a listener that is eager to rid themselves of theevil in this world, a listener who expects the Messiah to come and makeeverything okay and now, if I, this parable, it seemslike Jesus is far more interested in having them. Endore evil then eliminateit. Jesus knows this question is in the air.How does he answer it? He says well, the Kingdom of Heaven islike a grain of mustard seed, really small insignificant and though you don't see it growing, it will one day fill the earth. He uses this picture from Daniel ofthis tree, where, where all the birds can nest in it, where the beasts of thefield can find shade in it, he says if that doesn't make sense toyou that the Kingdom of Heaven is like...

...this little bit of Leavin, that youcan't even see in your hand and a woman puts it into some based goods, and youdon't see it happening, but this loaf will be full of thisleaven growth of this kingdom looks small, though it will one day be a mighty treeand a fully eleven loaf. That day is probably a ways off for now. We do have to endure evil inthis world, but we can know that he is establishinghis kingdom and I think the way that we can know iteven more clear than those who are first hearing. This is that we can see that is often thisvery evil in the world that God uses to bring about his good. He is a God whouse is evil. He is a God who leaves His throne and all that seems godly to takeon our humanity our suffering, an order to allow the greatest injustice andworld history to stare him in the face to put a crown of thorn on his head andto nail him to the Cross to endure defeat from evil so that you don't have to. He allows himself to be plucked out so that we might see fruitfulness. That is a peculiar victory and apeculiar kingdom, and if this evening you buy into thatmysterious message, then you can rest assured that, as youcontinue to hold fast to that mysterious message of Christ and himcrucified that he who started a good work and you will be faithful tocomplete it even as we let live in this presentdarkness and rest assured also that the way isthat he is completing this good work, often look peculiar as well. They look ordinary ordinary means of grace that he givesus to build our faith. They don't look powerful, they don'tlook grand as we would think of them, and yet, in the Gospel preach throughthe mouth of the center bread and wine things that look ordinary, even foolish,he gives us himself that we might be preserved that you might enjoy everlasting lifeas a member of his harvest rush ashore this evening, brothers andsisters that the master does not sleep his servants might, but he does notsleep. He knows your struggles, he knows yourlife, your worries, your frailties, and it comes to us even in this night,to give of himself through word and sacrament that we might be strength inboth body and soul to life, everlasting that we, as the parable says, may shinelike the sun in the Kingdom of our father. Let's pray together a.

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