Text: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
As a young boy I was sent out to do weeding around the house and also went with my dad to a farm that he leased a few acres to have a vegetable garden where we went to … you guessed it … pull weeds! Now, sometimes when I pulled the weed, I also pulled out the plant I was weeding around. Dad was none too pleased with that. That can be very frustrating and at times you might think that you are doing more harm than good.
Last week we discussed the parable of the Sower who sowed seed, throwing it everywhere, on the path, the rocky ground and even in good soil. The parable was explained by Jesus that the seed was the word of God and the Gospel proclamation that went forth transforming hearts of stone to good soil where the word takes root and brings to faith those called by God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s parable builds on that by saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
So in explanation to this parable, Jesus says that He is the one who sows the good seed and that the world is the field and the wheat that grows, which sprouts from the good seed, are those who are the children of the Kingdom by faith. The weeds, we are told, are those who are sons of the evil one which is the devil himself who sows the lies that Jesus is not who he claims to be, the way the truth and the life.
So as is made clear in our text, the world will consist of both those who believe and those who don’t believe. The church also being in the world, we will have its share of believers and unbelievers … or weeds among the wheat. (believers)
So as the church, shouldn’t we look to pull out those weeds among us?
Who’ll be first? What should we use to judge each other?
At Vacation Bible School this past week the children learned in a visit with St. Paul that:
Theme: God’s Love Is A Gift
Text: Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Song: Jesus Loves Me
Theme: God’s Love Changes Us
Text: Romans 12:2
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Song: This Little Light of Mine
Theme: God’s Love Is Always With Us
Text: Romans 8:38
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
Song: What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Theme: God’s Love Saves Us
Text: Romans 5:8
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Song: Father Welcomes
Theme: God’s Love Is Worth Sharing
Text: Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Song: I Want To Walk As A Child Of the Light
We talked about being made good soil by God’s Holy Spirit … washed clean in the waters of Holy Baptism … we are clean. We are wheat. Aren’t we?
But what if we are acting like weeds? What if we avoid God’s word and teaching? What if belief gives way to unbelief?
Paul tells us in Romans 10 how we can know our own belief in Christ.
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
And then he continues:
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
So belief in the heart is what justifies or makes righteous and those who believe will not be put to shame but will be saved. So, as Jesus says to the question of, 28”do you want us to go and gather them?’
29 He says, ‘No, because in gathering the weeds you may pull up the wheat as well. 30 Let both grow together … until the harvest, and then I will tell the reapers to Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In other words … the wheat is left behind after the weeds are gathered to be burned and then gathered into the Lord’s barn.
Well it is Christ’s desire that all would be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim 2:4 even those whom we believe are far from the Lord and his reach. This is accomplished by the proclamation of the Gospel in word and sacrament which will bring to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit those who will believe, and by God’s grace, those children at VBS who believed God’s word and were brought to faith by God so that the promised forgiveness by faith in Christ’s finished work was theirs.
We also know from the parable today, that some, those who are called the weeds in the parable are those who are the sons of the evil one, the devil, and that they will reject the saviors blessed call through the gospel message and through this unbelief be destined for destruction – thrown into the fiery furnace … and in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This will be of their own choosing as they reject the work of the Holy Spirit choosing to remain dead in trespass and sin.
43 But you who believe, the righteous … will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!