Summary: The 4th in a series of messages from texts unique to Matthew’s gospel. This one deals with three parables Jesus told about the kingdom, each one showing the mixture of good and bad mixed together in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew’s Unique Message #4
The Kingdom of Heaven – A Mixed Bag
Matthew 13:24-30; 47-51; 25:31-46
CHCC: July 29, 2007
This summer I’ve been preaching sermons taken from the Gospel of Matthew. We’ve looked at several passages where Matthew gave information about the life of Jesus that none of the other Gospels mentioned. We’re into a section now where we’ll be looking at 9 parables that only Matthew recorded. It’s interesting that Jesus told all 9 of these stories for the same purpose: to explain what His Kingdom is like. Most of the Parables start with the words, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like …”
It makes sense that Matthew would be the one who recorded these particular Parables. Matthew, more than any of the other writers, wrote for a JEWISH audience. In fact, according to an early Church Father named Papias, Matthew was originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek later.
The Jews were expecting their Messiah to set up His Kingdom here on earth. They expected a Jewish Political Kingdom that would overthrow Rome. Obviously, Jesus of Nazareth did not set up that kind of Kingdom. So Matthew wrote to explain that Jesus DID establish a Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Jesus was NOT Political or Military. It was not tied to any particular Nation or Race. His Kingdom would come to be known as The Church --- It would be Universal. --- It would be Eternal. And --- at least for the present --- the Kingdom of Heaven would MIX in with the Kingdom of this World.
Today we’re going to look at a Parable about a Field where Weeds were mixed in with the Wheat. In another Parable, Jesus told about a Fishing Net that picked up all kinds of fish. And in a 3rd story He told about a Day of Judgment when the sheep would be separated from the goats. All these Stories show that --- for now --- the Kingdom of Heaven is a Mixed Bag.
1. The Mixed Bag
In the Parable of the Field, Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat… Matthew 13:24-25
In the Parable of the Net, He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. Matthew 13:47 This shows that the Kingdom of Heaven is INCLUSIVE. Everyone has access.
In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Jesus said, All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:32
Have you ever wondered why there is so much Conflict in the world? You won’t find any promise from Jesus that the Conflict will end in our present age --- and this Mixing of the Kingdoms is part of the reason. For now, the Kingdom of Heaven is Mixed in with the Kingdom of this World. Righteousness and Wickedness exist side by side.
According to Scripture, this MIXED BAG will last until the Day of Judgment. In fact, a lot of the suffering in our world comes from people who try to establish some sort of Utopia on Earth --- apart from God. A Perfect Kingdom on Earth is what Marxism and Nazism, and Socialism and Communism all promise. But none of them deliver.
If you understand Scripture, you won’t be naïve about the condition of our World. In fact, you won’t be naïve about conflict within the Church either. In the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds, Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
"The owner’s servants came to him and said, ’Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
’An enemy did this,’ he replied. Matthew 13: 24-26
Not only does the Church exist in a world of Weeds --- the enemy has planted Weeds right there WITHIN the Church. The word used for weeds here refers to a plant called bearded darnel. Darnel looks a lot like Wheat until it’s ripe. That’s why no one noticed until the wheat sprouted and formed heads. These weeds were a serious problem because Bearded Darnel is poisonous. If you eat it, it makes you deathly sick.
In spite of that, Jesus said that for now His Kingdom will continue to exist within that sort of Mixed Bag. However, Jesus also promised that a Day is coming when God will separate the Weeds from the Wheat. That Day of Judgment will be a Day of Division.