Summary: There may be those in the church that we see as nominal Christians or hypocrits. How do we deal with these people. Jesus tells us in this parable.
1. Discuss my hatred of weeds and how they destroy the beauty of a lawn.
2. Sometimes we look at certain people in church as weeds.
3. Are there weeds in church? Where do they come from and how do we deal with them?
4. Remember time when some thought I was a weed - "John, a few of us were talking the other day. We were concerned about whether or not you were spiritual enough to be a SS teacher".
5. I was very upset but I couldn’t think of what to say back. Who were these people to judge whether or not I was a good enough Christian to teach SS?
6. It was as if they were questioning whether or not my faith was sincere.
7. If am an further honest, I must admit that I also sometimes have and may still look at other people who go to church and yet I wonder if they are really believers or not.
8. It seems like such a terrible thing to do - to question the sincerity and faith of others, but have you ever done it:
a. That man or woman at work who goes to church every week but whose language is very rough.
b. That elder who runs his business in ruthless ways, sometimes even breaking the law.
c. Perhaps that minister who seems more concerned with social issues than the gospel.
d. Perhaps even someone in our own church that you have known for years.
1. We are the church of Jesus Christ - a people who share a common faith and yet not everyone amongst us may be a true believer.
2. What should we do about this? Should we not purge the church of them?
3. Jesus deals with this very matter in the parable that He presents to us this evening.
4. He has just finished telling and explaining the parable of the sower, which we talked about last week.
5. He then tells another parable about sowing but there are some differences about what the parts of the story represents.
6. Just like the other parable, Jesus explains what the parable means - the sower is Jesus, 2 kinds of seed here - good is sons of the kingdom and bad, or weeds that come are sons of the devil. These are sown by the devil.
7. The harvest is the final judgement and the reapers are angels.
8. What does the field represent? Jesus says the field is the world. That seems to mean that the parable represents how there are Christians and non-Chrsitians living in the world, but we need to read more carefully for we are told in vs. 25 that the tares are sown among the wheat.
9. John Calvin and many others say that this means that the weeds are sown in the visible church .
10. Satan plants people within the church that are not really part of the invisible church - the body of those who are truly saved.
11. Why does he do this? To affect the healthy growth of the church the same way that weeds affect a crop.
12. The tares that He talks about is an obnoxious weed that in the early stages of growth looks the same as wheat. This wheat is the home of a fungus which, if eaten by man or animals, is poisonous.
13. It not only takes nutrients from ground away from wheat but it causes sickness.
14. We can see how these people, with unregenerate hearts, would hurt a church. Their goal is not to honour God and build up His body but to destroy it.
15. They prevent the church from being a beautiful witness to the world and even can bring in false teachings.
16. The church would be much better off without them, and so like the servants we would probably come to God and say God " Let’s get rid of them before they do any more damage".
17. To our surprise God says to us "No, just leave them be"
18. Why does God say this? vs. 29 - "Because while we are pulling the weeds we may root up the wheat with them"
19. I can see 3 reasons why we should wait
a. The younger the plants is the harder it is to distinguish from wheat. People can appear to be believers for a period of time but sooner or later the truth will come out.
i. And we cannot just point to someone who sins and say they are a weed. We are all growing in faith but none is
ii. We can begin witch hunt in which we seek to stamp out sinners, but how many would be left in church - none?