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The Parable of the Weeds, Mustard Seed, and Yeast

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2021 8:00 am

The Parable of the Weeds, Mustard Seed, and Yeast

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 16, 2021 8:00 am

Next time you hear someone angrily insist that the church is full of hypocrites, take the opportunity to agree with them! While it’s not a justifiable reason to reject Christianity, it certainly is a true statement. Indeed, unbelievers are mixed among true Christians and that’s just the way Satan wants it! On this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour, Dr. Boice will explain why that should really come as no surprise.

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Next time you hear someone angrily insists that the church is full of hypocrites. Take the opportunity to agree with them. While it's not a justifiable reason to reject Christianity. It certainly is a true statement. Indeed, unbelievers are mixed among true Christians and that's just the way Satan wants it on this broadcast of the Bible study are Dr. James Boyce will explain why this should really come as no surprise. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act biblically. Satan will do anything to distract the church from its great mission of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, but he doesn't have to do much in a culture that's already self-serving and so willing to compromise anybody who's ever tried to do something really good knows that you can almost never do it without opposition always comes from some quarter and that's particularly true in the spiritual realm goes in spiritual things we face not only opposition from mere people like ourselves, but we also face opposition from the double who we are told by Peter Prowse around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and is certainly intent on hindering the work of Jesus Christ and building up his church. One thing we're told by Paul in second Corinthians is that we need to be alerted to the devil's schemes. Because emotions able to outwit us now since we have an enemy like this. We shouldn't be surprised to find when we study these parables of the kingdom in Matthew 13 that some of them had to do with our enemy exactly what we would expect Jesus to side with already studying a first parable in which he tells us about the origin of the kingdom. It has to do with the preaching of the word.

He compares it to see his son passed into the ground level of the bears fruit. But much of it does and that's the way the kingdom starts starts to the preaching God's plan set in people's hearts.

He prepares arch to receive it and begins to grow all that's important now.

He says in second in my judgment. Also, the third and fourth always parables, we have to expect opposition now one that is. The second is the clearest, easiest understand the reason for that is that Jesus explains that it's not without its difficult parts, but he does explain that the money says is that the kingdom was like a landing went out so the seed in his field and began to grow. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came along and so leads among the wheat and the enemy went away when we began to come up.

The servants live a darned of the master and said how is this happened explains that an enemy did it. The enemy is certainly the devil and then they say, what shall we do shall he go out and pull up Chloe seven. The master replies no you do that you will end up pulling some of the wheat up to thing to do is let both of them go on growing until the harvest when the harvest comes then will harvest at all.

It will take out the weeds and there will be burns and we will be gathered in the barn.

It's very clear.

It seems to me picture about the final judgment of what's going to happen in the last day I was.

I say that was fairly clear third and fourth are not quite so clear. At least people are disagreed in their interpretation of them and their lazy talks about the kingdom being like a mustard seed mustard seeds a little seated because of the smallest of all the saved certainly the smallest of all the things that they know and he says that when it grows, it becomes very largest of the garden plants and becomes a tree when he talks about the birds of the air coming in purging and its branches is another short little parable. He said yes and also my geese. That woman worked into a batch of dough and it permeated all the use now some people who were looked at that of said is obviously a picture of the steady growth and increasing influence of the church. Start small grows and gets to be big permeates all of life and so all of this world of people that we know was eventually going to be impacted for goodbye Christian church, my judgment, I don't think that's right. I'm going to come back to my reasoning later, but I think the other interpretation is right. At least the certainly needs to be heard and that is that what he's dealing with here are two more strategies of Satan where the church is concerned. When you have difficulties in the Bible. The thing to do is not get all hung up on the difficulties, would you go back to the things that are clear start on firm ground Valencia ferment base you can understand the others in that means here is we certainly need to begin with a sigh comparable because as I say that's fairly clear. Lord explains that in verses 36 to 43, the parable itself is in verses 24 to 30 now I say this not all entirely clearly is not all people mention that great deal has been made of one little detail in the parable that's found in verse 38 in the previous verses Jesus explained that the one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, then he goes on the site and the field that is the field under which he shows it is the world our picked up on math and they've argued that since the field is the world it can't be the church.

So this principle of not reading out the terrace. Weeds are not to weed out the good week can't be applied to church discipline.

This is only concerned with the world so they've approached it that way. Now I need to say that the concerns that are expressed by that of a good one and that's to say we have to be awful careful in this matter of church discipline. Sometimes the church people have used it in the way that of actually harmed believers and requires a great deal of wisdom to know how to proceed.

But when you make a great deal of that seems to me you get off the track and interpreting the parable because you just can't carry it through a little further on Jesus speaks of the Angels weeding out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all that do evil. Verse 41 of God's kingdom is in the world in general.

It's not what it's talking about Sunday interpretation makes a great deal of that phrase the field is the world should be suspect her again look at it this way, what is that point of the devil planting children of his in the world we already are his children and the world gets all backwards anything the world is there all this unbelief we want to talk about anybody doing any planning, it should be Jesus Christ plant his people in the world. So it seems to me that that gets it wrong what I want to say is that the real message transcends all about whether the field is the world or whether the field is the church. The point of the parable is that the devil is going to have people around them look so much like Christians leaving Christian ministers and elders can't tell the difference. At some point I went to summer in the world who have wonderfully good people in the world and you look up the menu site. Great good there doing and have people in the church that are that way become leaders but they are Christians. According to this parable. So the point Along those lines and it's for my kind of the base we have to find our lesson I want to suggest the following applications.

First of all, of the devil is mixing his people and among true Christians and we need to be alert. That fact we shouldn't be caught off guard when we find out that some people who have seem to be Christians or claim to be Christians in the final analysis are not. Or to put it another terms.

We shouldn't be surprised that the devil's people show up in strange places, including the ministry. Raven warned against that second Corinthians, Paul is writing he says what Satan himself.

Sometimes, masquerades as an angel of light comes in disguise as if he were an angel, so it's not surprising, says Paul if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness remains as ministers so we have a problem. We sometimes hear the English language and it goes like this when you're looking for. The devil don't forget the book of the pulpit talked about that in Puerto Rico this past weekend of the ministers thought that was hilarious. I think because they do some of the devil's people so we shouldn't be surprised as well if some who claim to be Christians leave the faith will often become what seem to be apostate because they were Christians in the first place. That's what John says when he wrote to the people of his day. They had experience that he said look, they went out from us, but they didn't really belong to us because they had belonged to us, they would remain with us are going out showed that they actually didn't want to. So this parable of Jesus is very practical and that Wyatt tells us not to expect too much.

When you look at people who seem to be Christians are seem to be good and otherwise so there's a second application. The mixed nature of the Christian assembly should not be an excuse for unbelievers to refuse to come to Christ. Sometimes you hear unbelievers. Sigh. I want to join the church because filled with hypocrites. Jesus never pretended I was going to be otherwise. Church is not a perfect place to place filled with sinners. Hypocrites are among that's no excuse for failing to come to Christ. You know sometimes when people look on and say that sort of thing. They actually are hypocrites themselves because they're pretending that they're better than they are in order to make that judgment of other people. But the real difficulty. Is this anyplace in the church for hypocrites, there wouldn't be any place for them better be glad that the church is in the perfect place because that means it is room for you maintenance an excuse for sending her going on doing things that are wrong. We have to work on matters of growth and discipline, but it does mean that the gospel is for centers is for whoever will may come that invitation is given by Jesus and the nature of the church is indicated clearly in the parable, one other application before we go on to the third and fourth of the stories and simply this, no one should take comfort in sin church is an impure place.

Martin Luther used the freight justice at Qatar that is Christians are at the same time justified, and sinners. But that doesn't mean that where to sit down in sin and be happy with it and the reason for that is the conclusion of the story what the story says is in the final day there is going to be a judgment in the final judgment. It's going to be clear who are the people of God, and who are not, and as a result of that what we need to do is not say well church is full of sinful people. I'm sinful. Therefore, I don't have to worry.

Rather, we need to examine ourselves to make our calling and election sure C we really are Christians on the way of saying it is to say just because you have a good reputation doesn't mean you belong to the family of God. Need to make sure that you really trust Jesus Christ. All of that. It seems to be comes out the second parable, the next two obviously belong together each of them should help us to understand the other. But of all the stories Jesus told these two stories have produced more opposites interpretations than any others like seven one hand, some understand the stories is speaking about the inevitable growth of the kingdom. So when the time comes to fill the whole world and on the other hand, people say them is warning us against two of the devil's devices that will be used to correct the church over time. What would be its abnormal growth rate strength influences marvelous organization but without real spiritual life. The other would be the formation of the permeation of evil in the Christian community to give you some representative teaching hears William Taylor wrote a book about 100 years ago about the parables. It's a good one. When I wrote my own study of the parables I use that a lot, but he takes it in the first way is what he says is talking about the story of the mustard seed great results from a small beginning large growth from a little germ. That's the one thought of the paragraph that the Lord declares that the kingdom of heaven upon earth is an instance when he writes about the East. Great truth here illustrated is that the Lord Jesus Christ by his coming and work introduced in the humanity of element which works a change on that shall continue to operate until the hole was transformed thereby resembling 11 hidden by woman in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened what we think about that well and has a lot to do with your view of eschatology post millennialist millennialist tend to take that deal because it's their eschatology to have a parable of the tells of the kingdom's triumph in the world before Christ's return say it's not just possible and only answer millennialist to take that view others do it simply on textual grounds that often refer to the studies of Matthew to DA Carson I think is the best of the modern commentators and he thinks that's the way it has to be taken because he thinks that that it's in the what Jesus is saying in the flow of events in both parables, he said it's clear that at present, the kingdom of heaven operates not apocalyptic play that is triumph at the end but quietly and from small beginnings as a drink that is the way the church is grown from very small beginnings to something large throughout history.

That's one point of view, here's the other I give is an example or no gable line. He sees the parables is teaching an abnormal and harmful bureaucratic expansion of the church of the devil's work of undermining it by the infusion of sin represented by the East. Quoted all these parables show the growth of evil and or prophecies extending over the entire age in which we live, what we think about those two interpretations that may surprise you to know that I actually go back and forth in my own attempt understand. I have already indicated, I think they have to do with the devil's work in undermining the church but I see the argument on the other side and I begin to think of that what I realizes that whatever our interpretations of these two parables might be, is nevertheless more theological agreement between people on both sides and there really is disagreement or serve as a profound disagreement whether the church is going to be triumphant in this age before Jesus Christ returns on think it is. I think it won't, but both points of view. Acknowledge that Christians are sin of the world with the whole gospel is what the great commission is all about. Both agree that there has been an effective and striking growth of Christianity permit small beginnings of the time of Christ until the day when it's a world religion. Both acknowledge the evils in the church. The second interpretation highlights that you have to begin at that point. Recognizing that most of the points of either one of these interpreters would insist upon would be agreed on the other that we have to think of the stories. Some way, so let me indicate why I see them away I do I get for reasons here. First of all, the growth of the mustard seed into a tree is abnormal mustard seed doesn't grow into a tree. It's a shrub.

Now I know people who tend to counter that argument say was a mind is a very big slump and I guess that's right.

Sometimes I guess some of these plants can grow to be 10 feet high. Guess you could call that a tree, but if what Jesus is trying illustrated here is the victorious church view is a very strange image. The use justification for it would be that the mustard seed is small but you could do just the same by talking about an acorn that grows up to be a mighty oak could've talked about the cedars of Lebanon. That's what Jesus really wanted stress very fact that he talks about it, mustard plant shrub limited grows up to be a tree is rather suspect. Secondly, in the context of this chapter, the birds, who in this parable, rest in the mustard tree's branches verse 32 already in parable one been identified as the devil of the doubles messengers verse 19. Now that's true. One elements in one parable doesn't necessarily have to have exactly the same meaning when you carry it over to another parable and got it would be strange to have two entirely different meanings.

Just 13 versus part approach at this way if the birds are not the doubles messengers somehow roosting in the branches of this tree, what are they a set of one point you don't have to have an interpretation for every detail of the parable in order to interpreted rightly but what would be the point of mentioning the birds if it wasn't to bring into the picture, something which is evil you not to mention the birds all make the point that the church simply grows the other hand, if the birds are the devils followers settlers connection here. Not only the first parable where they represent the works of Satan, but also a connection with the one that follows because Jesus didn't. That story becomes as I think something that is a symbol for evil.

So you have actually flow from one of the stories to the others.

That's a second. Here's 1/3 reason I think as I do in nearly all cases in the Old Testament and Jewish life today. East is a symbol of evil and sacrificial laws of Israel. It was excluded from every offering to the Lord made by fire, the time of the feast of unleavened bread every faithful Jew was to search his home for any traces of yeast and get rid of it is done by Orthodox Jews today. As you well and symbolizes for them as it did for Jews of an earlier generation, the putting away of sin just three chapters.

After this in Matthew, Jesus speaks of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees making their evil influence Matthew 1612, or in a parallel passage in Mark 815. He refers to the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod, usually bad influences and Paul uses the same kind of imagery in Galatians where he talks about a little yeast working through the whole batch of dollar what he has in mind there is legalism, destroys true faith. Some of argument East is not always a symbol of evil, and that is true sometimes it just yeast whatever has a symbolic meaning. It seems almost always still had to do with the will and it seems difficult to me to understand how it can have entirely different meaning here that would be the good influence of the Christian church in the world, symbolized by that which has always been understood by Jewish people as a symbol for evil. And finally, here's the last reason I think as I do a significant in the structure of this chapter that these two parables are bracketed by that of the devils work and sewing tears among the weeks versus 24 to 30 in Christ explanation of that parable versus 36 to 43. You have the parable is clear followed by the two parables aren't so clear, followed by the explanation of the first parable seems to be the logical thing would be to understand the two in the middle of somehow having to do with that larger picture now, let's try to apply some of this in a practical way as Christians we have to be on guard against Satan's tactics were warned seems to may not only against his infusion of his own people into the Christian community but perhaps also against the visible church is bureaucratic growth confuses money size and structure of the spiritual fruit and against the infusion of evil in the lives even of believing people, confuses a loving and forgiving spirit with treason to Christ, so other words, like opponent in terms we would use. We are warned against the church becoming secular as the church becoming a worldly church all the standards ways of thinking of the world around iPod about the secular church have often talked about it in this way I say is characterized by the world's wisdom adopted the world's theology and pursues the world's agenda and uses the world's methods to say that years ago about the liberal church because it seemed to me, that's exactly what's happened to the liberal church in this country so not the Bible, which is always been the authority of Christian people Adopted the wisdom of human beings instead says adopted the world's theology. The people are basically good returns to the agenda even use the phrase the world sets the agenda was one of the slogans so the ecumenical movement some years ago. As far as methodology is concerned, well world methodologies, politics and money so the worldly church tries to get its way done by politics of money yet what it struck me as a thunderbolt. In recent years is that everything that I was saying about the liberal church early in my ministry I find I now have to say about the evangelicals is the same things have happened to us as well talk about the world's wisdom well. Evangelicals are not about to say that the Bible is no longer the word of God say it's inspired we can talk about it being an errant they don't use it Lake Placid by don't think it's sufficient for the tests they fully trust their own wisdom in these matters. Instead of preaching and teaching of the word of God, but rather entertainment and signs and wonders all these things that are supposed to catch the world's attention. Talk about the world's theology. We have a change there as well. Not that terminology course we still want to talk about sin, salvation and faith in Jesus and evangelism and all the lack of sentiment wasn't that much evangelical preaching is essentially dysfunctional behavior and faith is really beginning to see what can be done if you change your way of thinking.

And Jesus becomes not the one died on the cross for sin.

Though evangelicals will deny that. But rather an example for holistic living evangelism is more or less helping people to be all that they really can be as we adopt the slogan of the US Army see how it happens world's agenda. Forget things like ecology and racism the world wants to be happy world wants to have personal peace and enough money to enjoy and we talked that way to Jesus and help you be successful.

You make money in your business to really enjoy life and be happy. We don't have any of that hard demand that used to be present when we would present the missionary called people to go on these things behind in order to carry Christ distant places.

As far as the world's methods are concerned with doing things of exactly what the liberals did in the past generation word, depending upon money and politics we have on lobby group in Washington.

We think we only get enough Christians elected to Congress and possible flaws.

Producer will reclaim America for Jesus Christ never did belong to Jesus Christ as a godless country like all countries are in the midst of which Christian people are to live well when you put all of these perspectives together. You can't help but feel that what Jesus is talking about in these parables is something that we have seen all too visibly and sadly in our day. So I asked this question as we and what can we do if we find that we have been permeated by the yeast of Satan strategies. Under normal circumstances would be anything you could do if you're talking about yeast. And no, you can't get these out of the doll experiment part of the story, but you're talking about spiritual things. So it is possible to have successes because although all things are possible to men and women with God all things are possible ways where we are concerned families and perhaps our churches usually Paul wrote to the Corinthians 1st Corinthians 57 saying to them. Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch against the worst rid of the evil that's within you, Galatians, where he been talking about the yeast of legalism. He mentions that in the fifth chapter verse nine he says luck is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm then and don't let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Verse one of the same chapter, there are things to be done. Fatalistic long as we have the power of the Holy Spirit.

There can be changes. Satan is active yeast of the Pharisees will work. Jesus warned us about that but thanks be to God. God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ will purify his people. One day we will stand before him purified as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ himself. In the meantime, let's work for it. Here, in order that we might be effective as his people in this world. Pray father. We do thank you for these parables of Jesus must be much of it that we don't understand. Maybe we even misunderstand a great deal, but the central thrust is clear dangerous to the church work of Satan and the need to stand with Jesus Christ firm in the gospel faithful, striving for holiness in order that we might serve and serve effectively for the blessings we pray to lata and we give you thanks someone was given us the victory through Christ, you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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