Summary: In an unclear world, Jesus makes things very clear about the fate of weeds and wheat.
LIFE IN THE WEEDS Matthew 13:24-43
It’s important for things to be clear. If I were to say to you, and to anyone who might be interested in attending services at Beautiful Savior – we’re meeting at a hotel. Which hotel? Well, it’s around the interstate. Which interstate? Well, the one that goes to Chicago. We are meeting sometime on Sunday morning. If I were to talk that way, you would say to me, “You’re not being very clear. You need to be more specific. Which hotel exactly? What time, exactly? It’s important to be clear, because without clarity, people won’t show up.
Today, in our world, there is a great lack of clarity about all kinds of things. People are unclear about what is good, and what is evil. This past week, the American Taliban who took up arms against the United States was sentenced. Good or evil? It’s seems clear to me, but it’s not clear to everybody. Enron, Worldcom, and other big companies are guilty of fraud. Good or evil? Network and cable television are portraying more and more immorality – a variety of alternate lifestyles, foul language, the willingness to do anything for money, violence as a form of entertainment – are those things good or evil?
It would seem that it’s clear what’s right and wrong, at least to a Christian who is solidly grounded in the Word of God. But we live in a world where most people aren’t grounded in God’s Word. For many people, there is no distinct difference between right and wrong. Right and wrong is whatever you choose it to be. What’s right and wrong to you might not be what’s right and wrong to me. That’s the world in which we live, a world that is very unclear about what is good, and what is evil.
And this can be confusing to a Christian. For example, why should I believe in Jesus if it doesn’t really matter what I believe? Why should I show up on Sunday morning, if the rest of the world is telling me that I’m old-fashioned and naïve? Why should I go out of my way to do good things for others, when no one really knows what good is anymore? Why should I reach out to people with the Gospel, if everyone is going to heaven anyway, regardless of what they believe? Lack of clarity in our world can confuse you as a Christian. It can paralyze you, keep you from being the person that God has made you to be through his Gospel.
This morning, Jesus teaches a parable, and the purpose of this parable is to give you clarity. Today Jesus will make it very clear to you what is going on in our world today, and what will someday happen in the future. It is my hope and prayer that as you hear these words of God, you will be strengthened in your faith in Christ, in your understanding, and in your desire to serve your God and Savior. May God bless you this morning with clarity as you listen to his Word.
Jesus uses a picture of a farmer. A farmer went out into his field with good seed and planted some wheat. Jesus tells us that this is a picture of him. And the seeds Jesus plants are Christians. Jesus puts Christians into this world – the good seed. And just like that wheat, Jesus wants his Christians to grow, and to produce a crop of good works in their lives. That’s why Jesus has planted us here in this world.
But an enemy in the middle of the night goes out and plants some weeds. At first, no one notices. There’s a weed in Palestine called the “bearded darnel,” which is a common curse to farmers. In its early stages, it looks just like wheat. But when they both produce kernels, you can see the difference. The weeds look different, and its kernels are poisonous. Jesus tells us that this is what is happening in our world today. Jesus’ enemy, Satan, is planting unbelievers in the world, right next to believers. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. But after awhile, an unbeliever will show himself by the things he says and does.
For example, the nice young man who lives next door to you – suddenly you find out that he has converted to Islam and has joined the Taliban – he is a weed that Satan has planted. The nicely dressed businessman who says good morning to you – you find out that’s he’s the CEO of a company that has lied about money, and that he was a part of it – he is a weed that Satan has planted. The TV executive who keeps pushing the moral envelope – how far can I go with the things I show on TV? He is a weed that Satan has planted.