Summary: The Church is an imperfect organism. There are always going to be people within it who are opposed to Christ. OUr task is to teach people how to think Biblically and theologically; to continually be asking ourselves how the ideas we hear fit with God’s re
It’s interesting that over the past few weeks and months there’s been a huge amount of interest in the economic crisis facing our world, but very little about the moral and ethical state of the world. Yet our state government is about to pass legislation that will allow women to terminate babies well past 24 weeks with the consent of two doctors. What’s more it’ll force doctors who are opposed to abortion to refer women on to doctors who are happy to do them. And the media has greeted this with general applause. In our own Diocesan Synod a motion related to this issue was put aside, I assume because it might cause division in the church or maybe because if it had been put it might not have passed anyway.
You’ll no doubt have seen reports of a series of recent year 12 muck-up days that have shown clearly what a loss of respect for people and property there is among some, at least, of our population. And of course we’re in the middle of the Spring Racing Carnival where going to the races has become an excuse for getting drunk on champagne - all in the name of sophistication!
And it’s not just here. The continuing influx of migrants from war-torn parts of the world, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, is a testimony to the terrible state of the world at the moment.
And not just the world in general. The Church itself is a total mess. The recent conference held by a large group of Anglicans in Jerusalem was called GAFCON: the Global Anglican Future Conference. It was called to discuss what could be done to ensure that the Anglican Church has a future when it’s faced by internal forces that want to dilute the gospel and deny the key elements of the Christian faith, not to mention condoning practices that the Scriptures have always condemned.
Does it bother you or embarrass you to think that the Uniting Church has been ordaining practising homosexuals for the past 5 years? Or that the Anglican Church in America had no problem with consecrating a practising homosexual as a Bishop? Are you ashamed to think that in our own Diocese we seem to have had an endless list of cases of sexual abuse of young boys and girls by priests and other ministers?
And what about the ordinary sorts of ungodliness that seem to go on in most churches: factionalism, gossip, backbiting, etc. Does it make you wonder whether there’s any hope for the church, or whether you even want to be part of a church that behaves like that?
Or do you just wonder why God doesn’t do something about it? Why does God allow such evil to continue in his church? Why doesn’t he get rid of those people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, bishops who don’t believe that he died and rose again so we could be saved?
Well, Jesus knew that this sort of situation would arise. He told the parable we’re looking at today precisely because he knew the sorts of questions that people would be asking. He says to his disciples, "What is the kingdom of heaven like?"
Can you see what it’s like? It’s like someone has just sowed good seed in his field. Notice that the seed is good. It’s not the fault of the seed that things go wrong. If you were here last week I assume you know what the seed refers to. In last week’s parable the seed referred to the word of God, the gospel. When it was sown in good soil it bore fruit a hundredfold. Well here Jesus has developed that idea a bit more. Now he’s thinking a little further down the track. Now the seed has borne fruit and its fruit are the children of God.
So God has sown the seed of the gospel and people have been brought into his kingdom. But then along comes an enemy in the dark of night whose aim is to spoil the work of the gospel. And what does he do? He sows weeds among the wheat.
Now notice that the enemy can’t do anything about the good seed. The wheat is growing naturally and will bear fruit in due course because it’s planted in good soil. But the enemy can confuse the issue by planting weeds in the middle of the wheat. Can you see what this tactic is aimed at? It’s aimed at diverting the workers from their task of tending the wheat. If they’re busy pulling out the weeds they might forget to tend the wheat. Secondly, it’s aimed at discouraging those who tend the fields.
I guess there’s also the chance that the weeds might choke out the wheat, as we saw in the parable of the soils last week.