Summary: The parable of the Wheat and the Tares forces us to balance three principles: Toleration, Patience, and Discernment
Text: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-42 (Parable of the Wheat & the Weeds)
Main Point of the Text: God didn’t call us to be his weeders, but he doesn’t want us to be weeds either.
FCF: The only way we can avoid being a weed is to learn to discern what the Master wants.
SO: I want people to realize that there are errors of either side – tolerance and blind acceptance.
Intro: The Buddhist house on Route 50 always makes me a bit uneasy. On the one hand, I don’t like what they stand for, but on the other I know I need to love them as God does.
..We’re called to be in the world but not of it. (I read something the other day that made me laugh – most Christians prefer to be of the world but not in it!)
I’d like to point out three key points that each illustrate how Jesus would have us balance that in the world / of the world thing.
(Do not reveal the final outline)
I. At first, nobody was called to pull the weeds. (Tolerance)
II. Eventually, nobody doubted what was wheat and what was weed (Patience)
III. In the end, nobody wanted to be a weed (Discernment)
At first, nobody was called to pull the weeds. (Tolerance)
- Wheat and weeds look very similar at first, its not until they fully sprout that you can tell the difference. Ultimately, you know them by their fruits.
- I have a friend at work who knows almost nothing about Christianity – he regularly confuses Jehovah’s Witnesses w/Methodists, etc… But, when he found out I was a Baptist, his first question was, “Oh, aren’t they ones that keep fighting over what the Bible is?” You know, in the 1st century, the secular historians and emperors knew of Christians by their love. Isn’t it sad how they recognize us today?
- Like most Baptists, I’m in the “a pox on both your houses” camp. The whole fundamentalist / liberal battle for the bible would be a whole lot easier if both sides were to meditate on this parable some.
- Big danger of being God’s weeder – “You could be wrong!”
- Also, just like Jesus said, trying to uproot the “weeds” can endanger the real wheat. How many people on the fence have been scared off for fear of becoming embroiled in this controversy?
- Speaking as one who holds a very high view of Scripture, I can tell you that on the day you stand before him, God isn’t going to ask the question, “What did you believe in regards to inerrancy?” He wants to know if you loved his Son.
Ultimately, I’m probably a bit closer to the fundies in regards to theology, but their fruit scares me off. That leads me to the second point
Eventually, nobody doubted what was wheat and what was weed (Patience)
- The principle of “by their fruits you shall know them” is pretty consistent throughout scripture
- Given time – literally “long suffering” eventually truth comes out.
- When I think about the Buddhists on Route 50, I am sad, b/c I know the fruits of that religion:
o It traps people in this cycle of karma – In India (Buddhism came out of Hinduism) people think that if you are born low caste, its because of something you did in a former life. You deserve your suffering, and there’s no release until the next life, if you’re lucky!
o It gives you no hope – The best you can do is avoid sorrow and joy! Talk about disengagement! My Jesus not only gives me joy, he is joy!
- Back after 9/11 it was very fashionable to go out of your way to praise Islam. The actions of 20 Muslims was not then and is not now sufficient cause to hate an entire religion. But this doesn’t mean you should neglect the fruits of Islam.
o Islam teaches that the only way you get into heaven is by doing more good works than bad. The problem with that for a Christian is we no that there is none righteous, no not one! All our righteousness is as filthy rags!
o Islam teaches intolerance. This parable is not one you could ever find in the Koran –
o Like Buddhism & Hinduism, Islam also teaches that you always get what you deserve. God be praised that I don’t!
o Finally, the real problem w/Islam? They have no concept of forgiveness!
That love that was the central thing that identified Christians in the past is exactly what is supposed to differentiate us from the rest of the world today.
- If I had given this sermon 50 years ago, I probably would have been fired on the spot – Tolerance wasn’t all that hot back than. But the truth of the matter is that today, I suspect people expect me to say nothing else. That’s because the major mindset today is that of secular humanism, and tolerance is its chief god.