Summary: This sermon addresses how we need to be patient and let God decide when it it is time to separate the wheat from the weeds of His field.
Text: Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
I used to work at the Milliken plant in Saluda, SC. As I worked there I became increasingly familiar with how things were in the textile industry here in the United States as opposed to other countries. One day while eating breakfast I had read a newspaper article that mentioned that there was some brand of clothing that was made here in the United States. That same article mentioned how there were bootleg versions of the exact same product. The items of clothing had been made overseas but it was discovered that a tag had been sown into the inner part of the clothing products that said "Made in the United States". That was 1985. I do not remember how long the article mentioned that this problem of counterfeiting had gone undetected. But, it was obvious that whoever was behind the scheme had an agenda to make profits off of the counterfeiting. It was also obvious that the purpose of the counterfeiters product was to make money at the expense of the company that made the genuine clothes. That is also the way that Satan tries to work. He tries to infiltrate and plant counterfeit Christians that will blend in with authentic Christians.
Satan has a strategy to try to duplicate counterfeits to confound God’s purpose as well as God’s people. Go back to the stories of the ten plagues in Exodus. Before the first plague, by God’s design at Moses command, Aaron threw down his staff and it became a snake. Pahroah called in his sorcerers to throw down their staffs which became snakes (Exodus 7:8-13). However, the snake from Aaron’s staff ate the snakes from the staffs of the sorcerers. Then came the first plague where Moses and Aaron at God’s command turned the water in the Nile river to blood, using the staff. Again, Pharoah got his sorcerers to duplicate this wonder (Exodus 7:14-25). The second plague was frogs that covered Egypt when Moses (following God’s command) told Aaron to stretch out his hand using the staff. Again, Pharoah whose heart was still hardened against letting the Hebrews go got his sorcerers to duplicate this wonder (Exodus 8:1-15). Then came the third plague which was gnats which came by God’s design when God commanded Moses to tell Aaron to use the staff and strike the dust. The sorcerers or magicians could not duplicate this wonder (Exodus 8:16-19). History tells us the rest of the story and the message which was God always has the last word. God always has the last word regardless of what Satan tries to do or through whom Satan to accomplish frustrating God’s plans.
Satan tries to use our impatience against us. Herbert Lockyer once said that Satan’s method is "opposition by imitation." (All The Parables Of The Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963, p. 181). Satan hopes that his strategy of opposition by imitation will cause us to get impatient and quit waiting on God to intervene. It is Satan’s hope that we will get so impatient that we will start to uproot whatever we think might be a weed as opposed to wheat. In the Orient it was not uncommon for an enemy to seek revenge by sowing weeds in his neighbors field. (Richard Carl Hoefler. The Divine Trap. Lima: C. S. S. Publishing Company, 1980, p. 33). Both weeds and wheat may look alike until they mature and bear fruit (Hoefler, p. 37). Satan hopes that his opposition by imitation will turn us into vigilantes who will turn on each other and suspect each other of being a weed that needs to be uprooted. But, the counterfeit weed looks so much like wheat that it is hard to tell one from the other which makes the task of uprooting dangerous because of how wheat could be mistaken for a weed. The tendency is that we have the capacity to become obsessed with the speck in the eye of a brother while neglecting the log in our own eyes (Matthew 7: 3-5).
OUR HOPE FOR FAILSAFE SECURITY
"There is no zone of security from the work of evil". (Richard Carl Hoefler. The Divine Trap. Lima: C. S. S. Publishing Company, 1980, p. 39). We often associate evil with evil places. The only problem is it is not that simple. There is no such thing as a safety zone. Remember when you were a child and you played tag or hide and go seek? There was always a base where you were safe and could not get tagged by whoever was it. Consider Mark 1:23-24 where Jesus encountered a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue. "… the Evil One prefers Holy Places---God’s field---for there he can artfully utilize his artful disguises and exercise his full bag of tricks" (Hoefler, p. 39). If Satan cannot use the people in the church because they are saved, then he will try to use areas of potential conflict. "The same authority that aggravates demons awakens hope in the helpless". (David L. McKenna. The Communicator’s Commentary: Mark. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1982, p. 53). The only security that Christians have from evil and the schemes of evil spirits is in Jesus Christ who has conquered sin ,death and the fear of death and given us the victory.