Summary: The end of the world is coming. Even if the end doesn't come in our lifetime, everyone dies at some point. This fact serves as a constant and urgent reminder that our goal as followers of Jesus is to go to heaven and we want to take as many others with us as we can.
As a church we talk a lot about spiritual growth. This is our mission statement "we exist to increase and mature God's people." This process of increasing and maturing is called Discipleship. It's a big Bible Word but it has a simple meaning. A disciple of Jesus is a follower or even more specifically a student or a learner of Jesus. And our job as a church according to Jesus is to "make disciples." We are in the business of making students or learners and followers of Jesus.
Maturing or growing spiritually is learning more about who Jesus is so that we can live more like Him. The more we live like Jesus in the world the more the world will see who Jesus is. Today we're going to take a look at a parable and more specifically the meaning of a parable to help us understand why it's necessary for those who follow Jesus to grow up.
Here's the parable as Jesus tells it, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
Here's the one thing about this parable of Jesus that you should remember and understand. This parable serves as our motivation. Jesus teaches that the most important command is to love God and love people, why? Because our goal as followers of Jesus is to go to heaven and we want to take as many others with us as we can.
The clue to the meaning in this parable is in the last sentence. "I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn." The followers of Jesus who heard this didn't understand what He was talking about. They had no idea what this meant. Who were the weeds? Who were the wheat? Who were the harvesters? Who was the farmer? What in the world did all this mean?
So Jesus provides an explanation. Here's what Jesus teaches in Matthew 13:36-43
His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!"
Here's three things Jesus points out.
1. The church has a job and that job is to live like Jesus in the world so we can make disciples (vs. 37-38)
Those who are comfortable with Jesus and with His Word are the good seed, the people of the Kingdom. "You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 We show the goodness of God through the way we live. We are His possession. Jesus commands His followers to love God and to love others because we want them to go to heaven. Our single greatest role in the world is to "make disciples." The only way we do this according to Jesus is to serve the world and bless people. When He discusses the final judgement in Matthew 25 this is what He says, “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” The righteous are those who served the world, and the others who go away into eternal punishment are those who refused to live like Jesus in the world. We live like Jesus in the world because our goal as followers of Jesus is to go to heaven and we want to take as many others with us as we can. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did"