Summary: A sermon examining the difference between true Christians and those who only appear to be saved.

The Harvest Is Near

Matthew 13:24-30

On February 15, 2015 NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was suspended and eventually demoted because of a story he told on January the 30th. He was referencing an event that occurred while he was on the field reporting on the Iraq war in 2003. He falsely claimed that a military helicopter he was traveling in had been "forced down after being hit by an RPG." I have a hard time believing that Brian Williams would blatantly lie on national television. I think it is likely that early on he embellished the story and then over time he continued to add to the story and eventually he began to believe it really happened that way.

It has been said that "if you tell a lie long enough, people will begin to believe it". I think it is also true that "If you tell a lie long enough, YOU will begin to believe it." There are many people today who had some emotional experience somewhere along the way and began to profess that they were saved. And they have come to a place here they really believe that they are born again. But if you press them to tell you when and how they were saved, they are unable to tell you exactly how they were saved. These are people that one day will stand before Jesus at Judgment and hear Him say ..."I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How tragic would it be to go to hell from a church pew?!?! It will be tragic, but probably more common that we can imagine! Hebrews 9:27 tells us that "it is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment." - In our selected text Jesus speaks of an impending "harvest time". He is on a boat speaking to the crowd that is gathered on the shore. In verses 24-30, Jesus shares the parable of a farmer that planted a field of wheat. He planted good seed and was expecting a bountiful harvest. But while his servants were sleeping and enemy came and plated "tares" among the wheat. It is believed that these "tares" were weeds called "Bearded Darnel". As these weeds come up they look exactly like wheat. It is only after the wheat and tares mature that you can tell a difference. The wheat will have grain in it's head. The tare will be filled with little black seeds. Early on, as you look at the field it has the appearance of a bountiful harvest. But as the harvest continues to grow it becomes apparent that there are tares among the wheat. The farmer's servants eventually noticed that there was a problem. They inform the farmer and offer to pull up the tares. But the farmer knew that the roots of the two were intertwined. If they had pulled up the weeds they would have damaged some of the good crop. So the farmer says to let them both grow together until the time of harvest. At harvest time the reapers will gather the tares first. They will bind them and burn them. After this the good crop (the wheat) will be gathered and stored in the farmer's barn.

In this parable the sower is Christ. The enemy who sowed the tares is Satan. The wheat represents those who are saved. The tares represent those who are lost but appear to be saved. Those who are saved will be gathered together in Heaven. Those who are lost will be gathered and cast into an eternal lake of fire.

There is an impending harvest, and it may be closer than we could ever imagine. Paul said in - Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. - The Word of God proclaims that the Lord will return some day. And that day is probably closer than we think! While this return is a glorious promise for the believer, it is devastating news for those who are lost. If I were you, I would make sure that I was ready for that day! I believe that the Lord sent this message to a specific group of people. Who? you may ask. This message speaks directly to the lost church member. Now the term "lost church member" should be an oxymoron...but it is not! As long as there has been a local church, there have been "lost church members". I have no doubt that there are some of those who are present today! I would like to take a closer look at this parable and preach on the subject "The Harvest Is Near"

Some time ago the local farmers prepared their field and planted some seeds. In doing this they expected to one day reap a harvest of cotton. All you have to do is drive down the road a look and you will see that the fields are white and ready to harvest. Likewise, if you will look at the signs of the times you will see that in the spiritual realm the fields are white and ready to harvest. As we consider the fact that "The Harvest Is Near" let's begin by examining:

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