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Summary: The parable of the wheat and the tares is not all about hypocrisy; it is also a gospel reading of atonement, full of strength through humility.

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This sermon was delivered to Holy Trinity in Ayr,

Ayrshire, Scotland on the 20th July 2014

(a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

(This is a modification of a previous sermon for a larger congregation).

Today's readings: Isaiah 44:6-8, Psalm 139: 1-11, 22-23, Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.

“Please join me in my prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)

Introduction:

Good morning … that was a real fire and brimstone reading that, Eh! … Being “thrown into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. … Well, talking about gnashing of teeth … my wife, Christine always has an answer for me … always … you know, those answers that cut right through you. … The other week there, I said to her … “that’s it I am not going back to that church”, and she said “why”, “why because it is full of hypocrites” ... and as quick as a flash she said … “I wouldn’t worry about it, they have certainly made room for you”!

Now I jest, I thought that was funny, but what is not funny, is that I am doing the sermon … and this reading today is all about hypocrisy, … and as always, … I am the last one to speak on such matters, so please forgive me as I muddle my way through todays sermon as I can be the biggest hypo-crypt of all. …

So I will start with the subject of conflict in the church … well, conflict in general, as we do not need to look to hard these days to discover that we are living in a world full of conflict. There is conflict between nations … conflict between our political parties … conflict between towns and cities … between neighbours … between our families … and of course … conflict between our spouses; … so why should the church be any different?

I mean … conflict in the world can be understood … but conflict in the church is a completely different story … aren’t we all supposed to be worshiping the one and only son of God? … Yet there is conflict between all the religious sects … between church leaders, and even between the members of the congregation themselves. … But why should there be conflict between God’s children … the brothers and sisters of Christ?

Well, Jesus tells us why in this Parable … he shows us that there is conflict in this earthly kingdom, and we are not to be fooled. … He even gives us two reasons for this conflict: … the first is the most obvious … yet rarely acknowledged … and that is because there is an enemy called Satan, who is the direct enemy of God himself … and to get at God … he strikes at his children … and there is no better way to do this than by causing conflict in his church, … true?

And the second reason for conflict is because there are false Christians in the various congregations, those whom Satan has no problem in using. Jesus himself said so in, Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but only he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven”. …


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