The Parable of the Other Sower (Continued)
Sunday, September 15, 2013 -
Matthew 13:24-30 - “He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,  but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?'  He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'  But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  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.' " See also 13:36-43. Last week we looked at points one and two. Today we will consider two more:
3) THIS PARABLE NOT ONLY DEALS WITH WHERE OPPOSITION AND WICKEDNESS COME FROM, IT TELLS THE CHURCH WHAT SHE SHOULD DO ABOUT IT
There’s a lesson in this parable that can be hard for Christians to accept - Matthew 13:28-30 - “He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'  But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  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.' "
“An enemy has done this.” That’s where the opposition comes from. Now the laborers have an idea - a solution to the problem. “We’ll go out and tear up the weeds by the roots!” No, that’s not the master’s solution - “You’ll do more harm than good that way. I’ll deal with this problem at the judgement - at harvest time.” Let me say this in a way that is as striking and rememberable as I can. It is not the role of the church to stamp out all the wickedness in this world. It is not the job of the church to win every debate. It is the job of the church to proclaim the gospel and convert the lost to Christ. Here’s the church’s job description from the lips of Jesus:
Matthew 28:18-20 - “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’"
Or, here is the same idea from the pen of Paul: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 - “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
That’s the mission of the Church. She is to call people everywhere to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our only Redeemer. Then, as people come to Christ, they must lead others to Christ. And these Christians move out into their own worlds. They become Christian police officers, Christian teachers, Christian parents, Christian politicians, and Christians in the media. And they, as individual Christians, become salt and light. People see their good deeds and come to glorify their Father in heaven.
This is always the reminder the church needs to receive. Read you New Testament. Aren’t you surprised that neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor Peter, nor James, nor John says one sentence about the evils of slavery and what the church should do about it. Slavery was the social and moral blemish of the day. And yet, the New Testament, written in an age when this evil invaded every part of society, doesn’t say a word about it.
Why? Wasn’t God against slavery? Yes, He was. But the Bible was never written to be a moral handbook for all people, regardless of saving faith or not, to achieve a more just life in this fallen world. Nor was the church called to eradicate these evils from society at large. The Bible was written to trace God’s saving plan from Old Testament prediction through to New Testament fulfillment. And the Church exists to make sure that same message reaches every person on earth before Jesus returns.
4) CHRISTIANS MUST LABOR WITH FULL CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT AT THE END OF THE AGE
Matthew 13:30 - “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.'”
Then, Jesus explained those words even further: Matthew 13:39-43 - “....and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels.  Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,  and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
The destruction and elimination of the forces of wickedness is clearly taken out of our hands. Some things are our work and some things aren’t. Some things will happen now and some things won’t happen until later. As a Christian citizen I can vote and lobby and protest. And I should make all the difference I can make. But the church has a different role from the Christian citizen.
Ephesians 6:10-20 - “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Isn’t it interesting that with all that wickedness and iniquity in high places, all Paul prays for is boldness to proclaim the gospel? I’ll tell you why. Paul knows there is a day coming when every other evil will be made right. Pick any one you want. God will gather the righteous and burn up the wicked. Jesus said so. You can read about that event in detail in Revelation 11:15-18 - “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."  And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,  saying, ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.  The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth."
The day will quickly come when it will be too late for anyone else to come to Christ. Church, we must labor with that judgement in mind. There are all sorts of good causes in which, as a Christian citizen, you can raise your voice and take your stand. God bless you for it. But as the Church, let’s pour all our energies and resources into our Lord’s calling and commission. If we don’t do it, no one else will. And that’s when the enemy wins.