A Tale of Two Churches :: By Sean Gooding

Matthew chapter 13:24-30 (continued)

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.’

So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.

Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, first gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Last time we discussed the Parable of the Sower. We talked about our responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus in any and all ways possible. We talked about the importance of saturation and the fact that the only part of the equation that we had control over was that amount of “seed” that was sown. We could not control the soil, nor could be control the external forces like birds or thorns that would come up and choke the seed.

What we needed to do was to make sure that we saturated the soil of all kinds so that the good soil would do its job and produce good fruit. Tell people about Jesus. Tell them about their sin, their need for salvation, their Savior and their redemption that has been paid for in the blood of Jesus.

I will remind you that when we began this chapter weeks ago we were told by Jesus that parables were expressly for us in this age to reveal things to us that were hidden from the Jews. This was all done so that they as a nation would reject Jesus and that He would die on the cross. Jesus exposed things to His disciples about the kingdom of heaven that even the Old Testament prophets wished to understand yet these things were hidden from them.

You and I have the power through the words of God (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit living in us to understand the deep and hard teachings of Jesus. The very things that made the Jewish religious leaders scratch their heads will make our eyes widen with excitement.  Today we will look at another parable and see how it applies to us.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, Verses 24-30

This is a sobering parable, one that exposes to us the truth about our advisory the devil.  The kingdom of heaven is like this; two men and one field.  One man owns the field, notice “he sowed good seed in HIS field.”

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).

God owns the earth. God has sowed His good seed in the earth.  He has sent His Son and His Holy Spirit to call men to repentance and billions upon billions have accepted the call but the evil one, the man’s enemy, Satan has also sown seeds in the world.

Tares and wheat look a lot alike. They grow the same way in the same soil. The difference is that wheat always produces a crop. Tares just grow. They use up the resources from the soil that the wheat could have used and they are very hard to tell apart. Notice that the farmer warns the workers not to try to “weed out” the tares because in doing so they can harm the wheat as well.

But once the time of the harvest has come it will be easy to see what the tares are and what the wheat is.  One will bear a crop and the other no crop at all.  This is important to know, the persons who are truly of the Lord, those who have been redeemed and who have honestly accepted Jesus as Savior will ALWAYS bear fruit. There will be traits of their redemption that are clearly visible at the harvest.

The true church and the false church will almost be indistinguishable as they grow together in this the Gentile age. But as with everything in life the true church will be known by its fruit. What is the fruit of the true church? One will be its doctrinal stand; there is no church without doctrine.

What does the true New Testament church believe?

Doctrines like Jesus is God (John 10:30, “I and my Father are one”).

God created the heavens and the earth in SIX literal days (Genesis 1-2).

Jesus actually died on the cross and was buried (Matthew 27:45-61).

Jesus rose from the grave BODILY (Matthew 28: 9-10, they held Him bodily).

That salvation is by GRACE only, no one can work their ways to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9).

That ALL men are born sinners (except Jesus of course, Romans 3:10).

We deserve death and hell (Romans 6:23).

Jesus is the ONLY means of salvation (John 14:6).

Baptism is done on people who are already saved, they accept that Jesus is the Christ and can say so for themselves (Acts 8:34-40).

That one DOES NOT need to be baptized to go to heaven (Luke 23:39-43).

The Bible is without error and inspired breathed by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

In our days a true church should have a stand on marriage (we did not always have to make this stand); Jesus explained what constitutes a marriage in Mark 10:6-7 and in many other verses.

A true church should have a love for God and those around them (Matthew 22:37-40).

We could go on and on, but you have here a basic statement of what a New Testament church should believe and teach. No man in a New Testament church should receive worship; no one should bow to him, kiss his ring or treat him as if he is infallible. Only God is God and He does not give that position to anyone else.

Even the true angels refused to accept worship from men, (Revelation 19:10) and even Peter refused to let men worship him (Acts 10:26), these things are very important as we near the end of the church age. We must be vigilant and not leave the truths that have been handed down to us from the word of God for millennia. We are not to be part of the last day church that “departs from the truth, settling for fables” (1 Timothy 1:4).

Another important fruit of the New Testament church is that we are looking for a return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are engaged in building a kingdom, but not an earthly kingdom filled with the world’s riches and its goods. We are laboring to prepare a people for the Lord to call to Himself soon.

As we approach the Lord’s return the one sobering “fruit” will be that the Lord’s churches will live and lead their people to live expecting the soon return of Jesus to call us to meet Him in the air.  In contrast the “tare” churches will deny the soon return of the Lord 2 Peter 3:3-13:

“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

The true church will be looking to exit this earth; the false church will be looking to save this earth. The true church will worship the Creator; the false church will worship the creation. To which group do you belong?

The Fate of the Two Churches, Verse 30

One will end up in the fire and the other in the Lord’s store house—His barns. One will be destroyed and one will be preserved. God knows who are His and he will make sure that none of His get harmed or hurt during the time of harvesting. But make no mistake the false church will end up in the fire. There are only two ends; one is with Jesus and the other without Him. There is no in between, no purgatory, no reincarnation and no simply dying and lying in a grave. One either goes to heaven or hell:

“And just as it is appointed for people to die once and after this, judgment” (Hebrews 9:29).

In the account of the rich and Lazarus we are told that the rich man died and was in torments in flames.

“The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades” (Luke 16:22-23).

These things are not pleasant to talk about. People without Jesus do not go to a “better place.” We hear these things in the hospital and at funerals as we try to appease the hurting family and friends. Hell is real, just as real as heaven. We need to stop apologizing for warning people about the truth.

People don’t want to hear that hell is real. But that is our job, our mission here on earth to tell them that hell is real and that they are going there without Jesus. They don’t need to do anything to go to hell; they are born on the way there. They need to repent and turn to Jesus to stop the obvious end.

A Real and Deliberate Enemy, Verse 25

The enemy came and sowed tares amongst the wheat. We have been sold a bill of goods about the devil being this comical character with the red suit and pointy horns. Or we have been sold this idea that the devil is some bumbling fool. This is so far from the truth that it is sad really. Notice that he builds a false church that looks just like the Lord’s true church. This takes careful planning and an understanding of the Bible. He needs to be close without being too close.

Too many of the Lord’s people do not understand that our adversary is a formidable warrior against whom even the great angel Michael needed help when fighting over the body of Moses (Jude 9). Lucifer is described as an angel who was very beautiful and was special to God.

“You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked” (Ezekiel 28:17).

This guy had it all. But he became proud and God brought him down. He is a very intelligent creature and his best attack has been to convince the masses that he does not exist or worse, he exists but is a fool. We forget that we are at war. Too many of the Lord’s churches have forgotten that Satan is real and that he is wise. He knows how to bring confusion and division into our churches, our homes and our lives.

He is actively working, never sleeping pushing towards the end while we seem to be on cruise control not really engaged in the battle.  Well folks make no mistake the devil is engaged and will be right to the end.  It will literally take Jesus showing up in the clouds, Revelation 19 to stop him. Take a lesson from the devil, we should we working for the kingdom of heaven with the same fervor that his minions are working for the kingdom of hell. Let us get off our spiritual butts and do the job.

“We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).