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A World Full of Wheat and Weeds, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2021 7:05 am

A World Full of Wheat and Weeds, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 18, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Kingdom: A Study of Matthew 8–13

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Today, Chuck Swindoll teaches from Matthew chapter 13. Hostile powers are always at work in our world. They play various roles.

Remember we read in verse 41, there are those who cause sin. They harass. They scandalize. They are stumbling blocks. They cause conflict. They bring confusion.

Remember the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one. When teaching his disciples an important lesson, Jesus often employed a story. We call them parables. Well sometimes rather than drive home a point, the disciples found his storytelling mysterious and were somewhat confused. It wasn't the metaphors Jesus used, but the application of those word pictures they found perplexing. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll invites us to examine one of those confounding moments in Matthew chapter 13. Jesus drew from first century agriculture to clarify a spiritual lesson.

Chuck titled today's message, A World Full of Wheat and Weeds. The cosmos stands at odds with the Lord our God and his righteous purposes and plans. And we must be, as we mature, discerning so as to realize the difference between the two, detecting that which is anti-God and anti-Christ. Now back to Matthew 13.

Jesus says the field is the cosmos. Next we read the good seed represents the people of the kingdom, those who know the Lord Jesus. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. Jesus teaches here that the devil is very real, in fact is the one who plants the weeds among the wheat. The world itself is saturated with evil influence.

Perfect illustration of that. I take you back to first John chapter five. If you don't mind turning, look at verse 19. Look at first John 519.

We know that we are children of God and that the world around us, there is a word again, the world around us is under the control of the evil one. The cosmos is his thing. He permeates it.

He works through it. He has his representatives, some of whom, back to our definition, are religious, some of whom are cultured, some are refined, and some are intellectual. One more, I have to take you to 2 Corinthians 11.

I want you to see this as an example of the enemy and what he is able to do and how he is able to appear. 2 Corinthians 11 13. These people are false prophets. Notice they're false, I should say false apostles. They are deceitful workers. They're apostles but they're false apostles. They're workers but they're deceitful workers. They disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.

But I'm not surprised. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Every time I read that, it puts a chill down my back. There are those who come across as workers for good, but in fact, they are representatives of evil.

And you cannot tell the difference by looking. Now back to Matthew 13 and then a few words of application. The enemy who plants the seed is the devil. The harvest represents the end of the world.

The world as we know it, the world which would be at the end of the tribulation, before Jesus comes and plants his feet back on this earth to establish his kingdom. And the harvesters are the angels. Now watch closely. Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be, this is future, at the end of the world, the Son of Man will send his angels, they will remove from his kingdom everything that causes sin.

Note carefully. The Greek says scandalizes. It's the idea of harassing, deceiving, all those that, or everything that causes sin and all who do evil, and the angel will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. That's one side of the story that's the ultimate result of evil. And the righteous will shine like the sun in their father's kingdom, I think is a reference to those who enter into the kingdom age where Christ will reign as king over all who call themselves king and Lord over all who call themselves Lord.

And then he invites anyone who has ears to hear, to listen, and to understand. I've read this over and over more times than I can count, and I've come up with four statements that I think will help put it into perspective and perhaps what I have confused will help clarify this now. Number one, hostile powers are always at work in our world. Hostile powers are always at work in our world. They play various roles.

Remember we read in verse 41, there are those who cause sin. They harass. They scandalize. They are stumbling blocks. They throw up barriers. They cause conflict. They bring confusion. They represent resistance to truth and righteousness. There will always be hostile powers at work in the world as we know it. Remember the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one. Here's the second. It is hard to distinguish the good from the evil.

That's obvious from the wheat and the weeds growing together, looking just alike. It's interesting, you may follow a certain teacher. I want to be careful how I say this. You may follow the teaching of an individual that may be very persuasive, may have a large following, may even use Bible verses in the teaching. But the more you follow that individual and study that life and watch that kind of individual at work, the more you become aware as a child of God of things that concern you. You begin to question the approach to subjects, the motives that seem to be at work behind the scenes. It may be a spirit of narcissism that grows. It's all about the teacher.

The emphasis of the spotlight falls on him or on her. Be careful. Be careful. Because you have heard what you've heard regarding the wheat and the weeds, you know that good and evil grow together. Be discerning. Don't let the visible and the impressive cause you by that alone to follow what you are hearing or the one who appears to be effective. They're often very effective teachers.

They are often very popular individuals. As your discernment grows, the more you will feel the pushback within you. Pay attention to that. The Spirit of God is at work showing you this is not something you should follow or support. It's hard to distinguish the good from the evil. It takes time. The Lord says, let them grow together. Now the third brings up a practical point.

I'm going to give it to you. The tendency on our part is to rush to extremes when dealing with wrong. Our favorite reaction is a knee-jerk reaction. This is wrong. Get rid of it. Stand against it. But you will notice the farmer restrained his workers from rushing to judgment. Patience is needed. By the way, during that period of waiting, you may be able to win the one who is caught up in the cosmos.

Over a period of time, because you didn't jump in and act in a rash manner, there might be the... Remember that Jesus sat with sinners and publicans in those meals he had together with them. They weren't saved people.

They were part of the weeds. As time passes, I'm sure he won many of them over. So it can happen in our case. A big part of wisdom is knowing when to act and when to wait. And will you forever get out of your mind that Satan is this little creature with horns and a pitchfork?

I've talked about this before. He doesn't have a red epidermis, okay? He isn't shouting curse words and representing obvious evil.

That's not how he operates. He is, at least originally, was the most magnificent creature among the angels before he fell. Remember, he masks himself as an angel of light.

Here's the fourth and it's of the great relief. Our God is just. He will ultimately judge.

But let me add that his wheels grind slowly but exceedingly fine. Have you discovered, as I have, being impatient as I am, how slow God seems to be when you want him to work? He is not in a hurry.

He doesn't settle all of his accounts at the end of every month. He lets it be. In the passing of time, the mystery of iniquity continues to work and it is indeed a mystery. And you know what happens during this time?

I will tell you. Because judgment does not fall, immediately evil tends to think, well, there's room for getting worse because judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily. The heart of the sons of men and women is fully set in them to do evil.

Ecclesiastes 8 11. Because the thief isn't caught, he robs more. Because the deceiver isn't exposed, he increases his deception.

Thinking that lack of judgment means the light is green. Keep going. All of this brings me to two questions that you have to answer.

Number one. Have you really been listening? This is the one place where you can look at the source of truth and determine for yourself the way you should think and how you should live. This is the place.

This is not a politically correct arena or gathering. We speak of right and wrong, truth and error, good and evil. Because those are all blurred in our age now that we are in this cosmos which lies in the lap of the evil one.

Now the second question is this. Have you found yourself in the story? Do you see where you are? Are you a part of the growing wheat crop? Serving Christ, loving Christ, believing in Christ, standing for Christ?

Or have you bought into the system and found yourself drawn to that? And even promoting that which is not set forth in scripture. You know what? My great tendency is simply to have prayer and send everybody on their way, but I'm not going to do that today. I'm going to end with another story, and you'll understand why I end with it when I've finished. On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, the well-known evangelist Dwight L. Moody preached to the largest congregation he had ever addressed in the city of Chicago. His text that evening was, What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ? Taken from Matthew 27, verse 22. And at the conclusion of the sermon, Dwight L. Moody said, I wish you would take this text home with you, turn it over in your minds during the week, and next Sunday we will come to Calvary and the cross, and we will decide what to do with Jesus of Nazareth. Then his song evangelist, Iris Sankey, whose hymns are sprinkled throughout most evangelical hymnbooks, began to lead in the singing of the hymn, Today the Savior Calls for Refuge Fly. The storm of justice falls, and death is nigh. But Sankey never finished the hymn, for while he was singing, the rush and the roar of the fire engines whistled by the church on the street outside.

And before morning, much of the city of Chicago lay in ashes. To his dying day, Mr. Moody deeply regretted that he had told the congregation to come next Sunday and decide what to do with Jesus. He said, I have never since dared to give an audience a week to think of their salvation. If they were lost, they might rise up in judgment against me. I have never seen that congregation since that night. I will never meet those people until I meet them in another world. But I want to tell you one lesson that I learned that night, which I've never forgotten, and that is when I preach, to press Christ upon the people then and there and try to bring them to a decision on the spot, I would rather have that right hand cut off than to give an audience a week now to decide what to do with Jesus.

That is a great story, isn't it? So I'm going to take Mr. Moody's advice and I'm going to say to you, you don't dare wait until next Sunday for a decision regarding Christ. What you have read is the truth. Good and evil are at work and you are a part of one or the other. Your roots are deeply in Christ or they are poisonous roots that are yielding a poisonous life. And when you see it in light of the black and white of the scriptures, it's clear. And you must determine what you will do with Christ.

Let's do that now. Please bow. Please sit very quietly as we come to terms with the gospel. This is a moment of decision for some of you. Before this time, you have not trusted in the Lord Jesus.

You know that. You cannot look back to any moment in your life when you turned your life over to Christ. You may have heard this news before, but you've never truly acted on it. This is the moment. God so loved the world he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him, you hear the word whoever?

That's you. Whoever believes in him will never perish, but have everlasting life. Believe in him now. Think of Jesus as the gift of God, for he is that. Not something you must earn, pay penance for, spend money to achieve. He is the gift of God, and he is offered to you now. When he died on that cross, he paid the complete penalty for your sins. Until you trust in him, you remain a part of the weeds.

And you may even look like you're a part of the wheat, but down within, if you do not know Christ, you are not. Trust him now. Do not wait. And if you have done that, today is the day for you to let us help you move toward a life that is a life of change and redirection for you. We're here for that reason, to help you come to terms, if you have not done so on your own, with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Trust him now. Thank you, Father, for the truth of your word, and thank you for Jesus, who spoke it so clearly. I pray that you will use these moments, serious as they are, to arrest our attention, making certain that every person who leaves this building knows exactly where she or he stands. Thank you for Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. I pray that all who have heard this message will come to know him personally. In his name, I pray this, and for his sake alone. And everyone said, Amen. It's exciting to realize, at this very moment, men and women around the world are saying yes to God's call, and in doing so, becoming members of God's family.

At Insight for Living, we celebrate your decision. And if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org. Just a few minutes ago, we heard Chuck tell the story of D.L. Moody, the renowned evangelist, who preached a sermon in Chicago just as the great fire broke out in the city. It's a vivid reminder that our world is on fire, and wise are those who pursue God rather than live in fear. Well, Chuck wrote a devotional book that reinforces this urgency. It's called Finding God When the World's on Fire. Without question, 2020 and 2021 have heightened our respect for mortality, and in our lifetime, we've never witnessed this level of uncertainty and fear. But Chuck reminds us that God knows about our stress, and not only that, God has provided a way to conquer fear with courage and hope.

That's the theme of this inspirational book, Finding God When the World's on Fire, and you can purchase a copy right now by going to insight.org slash offer, or by calling us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Chuck, we often remind our listeners that they're not alone when receiving these daily programs. In reality, we're joined by a multicultural audience and some who speak a different language than our own.

That's true, Dave. Many in our listening family are surprised to learn that insightful living can be heard in eight additional languages other than the English language. Of course, no one is more surprised than I am, believe me. When we started this media ministry back in 1979, I had no clue how God would expand our influence around this world. Gratefully, God has supplied the resources and the expertise of godly colleagues to help us translate insightful living into languages not only in English, Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian. Several years ago, this momentum inspired us to declare an audacious goal that only God could achieve. We called it Vision 195, and it's our dream to cultivate biblical knowledge and application to all 195 countries of our world.

There hasn't been a global pandemic, an economic crisis, a national election that has deterred our determination to proceed with gusto. In fact, I'm pleased to report that we're moving full steam ahead with the course God has set before us in Vision 195. And so today, I'm not hesitant to invite you to join me in this mission by giving generously. Before the financial deadline of June 30th, the largest portion of your gift will be applied to providing this daily program to your station and in this country. A fraction of your donation is all that's needed to provide insightful living beyond your borders and in the heart language of those who listen. Here is our contact information, and I look forward to hearing from you very soon, like today.

Yeah, choose one of several ways to respond to Chuck Swindoll. To give a donation online, go to insight.org slash donate. You can also give a contribution by speaking with someone in our offices. If you're listening in the United States, call us at 1-800-772-8888.

That's 1-800-772-8888. Or go online to insight.org. Music I'm Dave Spiker, urging you to join us again Monday when Chuck Swindoll continues our study in the book of Matthew.

Right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, A World Full of Wheat and Weeds, was copyrighted in 2016 and 2021. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited. Music
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-03 07:57:10 / 2023-11-03 08:05:11 / 8

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