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March 8, 2020 7:00 pm
Last Sunday night, we began to consider this sermon series on the parables and I introduce that series to you last Sunday night as we considered the parable of the sower and as you start into the Gospel of Matthew. You do not encounter a parable until you come to Matthew chapter 13 and is there that we encounter. The first category of parables and those are the kingdom parable, and last Sunday night I showed you that not only does Matthew deal with the same parable of the sower, but Mark does in chapter 4 and Luke doesn't. Chapter 8, but it is at this point that only Matthew carries on with the kingdom parables marks is nothing more about the parables of the kingdom, nor does Luke and its logical that we would have it that way because Matthew is again the first gospel writer in the New Testament and he is carrying on the anticipation of the entire Old Testament that there would be a messianic king who would come in that messianic king who comes is the Lord Jesus Christ and Matthew writes his gospel with that focus that Jesus is the King Jesus is that messianic hope of Israel and that those messianic hopes are fulfilled in him and then he gives us these parables of the kingdom, and there are seven of them last Sunday night, we looked at the nature of the kingdom and the nature of the kingdom is that it consists of those who have been subdued by this king that they are in submission to him that they receive his word. That's the nature of the kingdom. It's made up of people who have who are committed to King Jesus and his cause and are receiving his word and living his kingdom agents and kingdom citizens. But tonight we consider three parables and I want you to notice the way there given to us here in Matthew's gospel there is the parable of the wheat and the tares, there is the parable given to us and then we have beginning at verse 36.
The explanation of the parable.
But in between the giving of the parable in the explanation of the parable are two very short parables, the parable of the mustard seed in the parable of the leaven and obviously because of the nature and the structure. The parable of the mustard seed in the parable 11 are closely related to the parable of the wheat and tares, so our primary focus. Tonight will be the parable of the wheat and tares, but we will also look at those two very shorter ones and tie them together so very simply. Tonight, our focus is going to be looking at parable of the wheat and tares by looking at the parable spoken looking at the parable interpreted and then looking at the parable apply so spoken, interpreted and applied. That will be our approach.
So, let's consider again the parable of the wheat and tares, let me read parable again another parable he put forth that is Jesus 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 servant said to him do you want us then to go and gather them up but he said no less. 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 the 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. So here's the giving of the parable by Jesus and there is wheat that is been sown. But there's also tares that has been sown by an enemy in the tares or some call sometimes called Darnell or bearded wheat was sown alongside the wheat and the nature of this weed is that you can distinguish it as a weed until it grows up and it's developed in to disrupt it would be to disrupt the good weed as well. And that's the dilemma that the farmer encounters I think would be good for me to point out to you that these parables are given by Jesus to describe the mysteries of the kingdom. We were introduced to that idea in the first parable.
The purpose of the parable of the sower in verse 11 of chapter 13, we have these words verse 10 says the disciples came and said to him, why do you speak to them in parables and he answered and said to them, because it is been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not been given, so we are considering the mysteries of the kingdom not meant he didn't say mystery is talking about the mysteries of the kingdom and the mystery is got a completely different definition than what we think of when we hear mystery mysteries in a biblical context is something that was revealed in past times and now has been revealed. It was mysterious.
We didn't know what we didn't understand it, but in the passing of time and in the process of progressive revelation, we understand now something that was hidden something that was Mysterious in the past and that is the nature of the kingdom. So that's quickly the parable spoken, but let's consider again we have the benefit that we don't have with all the parables but we have Jesus explaining the parable and what's different about the explanation here. At least the context of the explanation is that this is given privately. This explanation is not given to the masses but it's given privately and we see that there in verse 36 then Jesus sent the multitude away and he went into the house and his disciples came to him, saying, explained to us the parable of the tares of the field and then Jesus gives this explanation and Gannett sure to let me read and and and will look at it.
He answered and said to them, he who sows the good seed is the Son of Man field is the world the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one the enemy skews me the enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are the Angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire so it will be at the end of this age, the Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire.
There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear very straightforwardly. Jesus gives the explanation, the one who is sowing the good seed is the Son of Man that is Jesus Christ as he sows the seed of the kingdom. He goes on to say the field. This is important. The field is the world many have made a mistake at this point in their understanding and have grossly misapplied this and there have been horrendous ramifications because of a misunderstanding here again Jesus says here the field is the world the field is not the church.
The field is the world and you don't probably understand the implications yet but I will make it in a moment. Field is the world the good seed are the sons of the kingdom, believers now remember back the parable of the sower. The seed was what the seed represented the word of the kingdom. The gospel, but here the seed that Christ is planning in the world is believers any scattering them throughout the world. The tares, Jesus tells us, are the sons of the evil one.
The enemy who does the selling of the tares is the devil Satan himself and then he speaks of the harvest. The harvest is the end of the age. The consummation of this redemptive. In the reapers. Jesus tells us, are the angels now in this parable Jesus is explaining the mysteries of the kingdom. The kingdom of God has come.
It's not the kingdom of God is coming that it's future, there's a sense in which the kingdom of God is among us is calm and the person of Jesus Christ.
What's mysterious about the kingdom is that it doesn't have the appearance that those who understood kingdom language in the Old Testament. It doesn't have that appearance there is in the destruction of evil and there isn't the setting of all things right and there isn't righteousness raining this mysterious and that's because this kingdom is something that's present in something that's also future and were living in this period of the already in the not yet.
And people didn't understand that Jesus is giving these parables to explain this.
This is the mystery of the kingdom. The kingdom has invaded this world in which we live. The prophecies of the Old Testament about the kingdom have in part been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, but there's a mystery component to it and that is the judgment has not yet, judgment is yet future in this mystery kingdom judgment is going to be postponed until the harvest, but there will be a harvest. Make no mistake about it, there will be a sorting out there will be a removing the tares from the wheat there's going to be a main lingo of evil and good in this time that the kingdom is on this earth and its growing. This is important. That delay in judgment is not weakness or failure, but part of the mystery of the kingdom, and while in a holding pattern, as it were, the word goes out manner converted Jesus plants them in the world.
There his kingdom agents he puts them where he wants to put them that they might be salt and light in influence in this world and they're making an impact worries put them the kingdom is not static. The kingdom is not dead. The kingdom is alive and its dynamic.
This delay therefore allows for the growth of the kingdom.
The kingdom is growing, you say well I don't see that that's why we have these other two paragraphs because when the lady needs East End of the dough. Do you see the yeast you see its effect. It's it's so insignificant, it would seem, but it has its effect and it permeates the dough affects everything.
That's what Jesus is saying here's the mistake that some have made in the past that is to miss the fact that Jesus is saying the field is the world and have thought that Jesus is speaking of the church and when you think about that and you apply this to the church. What Jesus is saying is you're going to have bad seed in good seed in the church and not going to be able to remove it just going to have to live with it and Jesus will deal with it at the end of the age.
What that's what row are going to interpret this. We've got a real problem. We don't have a pure church in the language that we have any instructions we have about church discipline and pursuing the purity of the church.
Make no sense if that's what Jesus is teaching you see that's not what Jesus is teaching that this is not the church. This is the world that he's talking about. We need to be vigilant.
We need to be careful, we need to guard the purity of the church. Make no mistake about what Jesus is saying. The fact that judgment is being postponed does not mean that judgment will not come judgment is inevitable, it will be swift and it will be final. The wicked ones will be cast into the lake of fire and the righteous ones will be ushered into the glory of heaven.
Let's think about the application of the parable, there is absolute certainty of final your revocable separation at the consummation of the kingdom. Notice what he says in verse 40 therefore as the tares are gathered and burned into the fire so it will be at the end of this age. At the consummation of this age. Again, the kingdom is common history, but in such a way that society is not uprooted and disrupted the sons of the kingdom, believers have received God's reign, they submitted to King Jesus and yet they must continue to live in a world anger intermingled with the wicked in a mixed society. That's the nature of kingdom life as it exists in our age. And again, let me stress this any conception of the church that disregards its purity and radical distinction from the world is erroneous. Any conception of the church that disregards its purity and its radical distinction from the world is erroneous were to be in the world but not of the world.
The church should not be like the world we should be distinct. We are a holy people we been separated out weird stand as salt and light in our influences kingdom agents is dependent upon that and again are our task is not to uproot sinners from the world. This is one of the things that's happened in church history. When a religion only recognized people as a part of the church in a state religion.
They found liberty to execute anybody who did not submit to the kingly role because they didn't see the distinction between the church and the state to be a member of the stage remember the church. That's the way it was in Roman Catholicism and misapplication of this parable led to the death of many people without warrant. Our task is not to uproot sinners from the world, but to be about kingdom business to be salted to be lighted to be influence and occupy until Jesus comes. That's our responsibility.
Now let's consider these two other paragraphs. The parable of the mustard seed. Let's just read it. It's two verses long. Another parable he put forth to them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds but when it is grown, it is greater then the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air, and nest in its branches nest in its branches. This short parable is given to teach. Essentially one thing, here's the here's the contrast between the small insignificant beginning of the kingdom and its final glorious consummation talks about the mustard seed, the smallest of all the seats in the man took and sowed in his field and again it says there verse 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds and when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air, and nest in its branches. What about this kingdom about its beginnings. What had very insignificant beginnings.
Jesus, son of a carpenter. No claim to fame was that he duly gathered around them. 12 ordinary men fishermen. One of these are out of these one of them was a traitor. One of them was a daughter and one always spoke before when not always, but often spoke before he thought they all had major major weaknesses. Their master was put on the cross yet yet the whole kingdom rests entirely upon these men. Every advance in the kingdom is the result of those 12 ordinary on July uneducated followers of Jesus, so it had a very insignificant beginning just like planning a mustard seed, the smallest of all the seeds how insignificant yet the passing of time, it becomes a tree, the largest of all the herbs the purposes let's apply this to the kingdom it had an insignificant beginning but it has the promise of a glorious consummation. Christ is coming, he's coming in power and great glory in this delay between his first coming in the second coming has given this mysterious dimension to it. It's hard for people to understand, but when he comes. He's going to set everything right. Righteousness will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Christ is coming in glory and is coming with those 12 apostles and is coming with thousands of others and his angels.
What's going to happen at the end what it's it's directly related to what is happening now. That's the mystery of the kingdom that which started out so small and insignificant will in the end be brought to fulfillment. So we shouldn't be discouraged. We should understand the nature of this kingdom.
The Jesus is indeed building his church and the gates of hell are not going to prevail against it. The Jesus is saved and subdued the host of people and they are citizens of his kingdom and he supplanted them all over the world and their shining is light, and they are having influence in and God is building his kingdom. Contrary to what our eyes might tell us that's what is going on now. Again, the parable of the leaven something again very similar verse 33 another parable he spoke to them the kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened out.
Unfortunately, we do not have the benefit of Jesus giving the explanation of these two short paragraphs so were left to study and to trust the spirit of God to help us to understand and what however whatever we do with these two short parables is got to be in my opinion, consistent with how we understand the parable of the wheat and the tares and the explanation that Jesus gave of it, it wouldn't.
It doesn't seem logical that there would be something completely unrelated and different about these two short parables that are given without explanation. It's almost as if Jesus is anticipating that will understand all these two short parables related to the larger parable. They help amplify and help us further understand. So again, the parable 11 is a picture of a small insignificant amount of leaven the causes, what the whole lump of dough to rise at the end the process of the kingdom is like the process of the yeast.
It has a small beginning just showed it to you. These 12 ordinary men. How insignificant could that be. They turn the Roman world upside down. The gospel is coming to us and I am not one who necessarily holds to apostolic succession, but if we could infallibly trace back all of us being in this room tonight have some connection to the those apostles. Those first apostles right that dough that leaven that was sewn has had this kind of effect in much greater and beyond the influence of the leaven is not something that can be seen, but it has a permeating effect on the dough and this is the beauty of the spirit of God at work in kingdom citizens and agents. There is a continuous permeating effect of the kingdom on this world. The word of the kingdom is the yeast which penetrates and saturates the hearts of men bringing the unregenerate to salvation in Christ. Transforming their lives in changing the culture in which they live. So here all three of these parables, the parable of the wheat and the tares, the parable of the mustard seed parable of the leaven.
All three parables have set forth what seems to be a small and insignificant beginning but a glorious consummation is going to come.
Therefore we are encouraged to keep on laboring for the kingdom not to become discouraged not to become frustrated with the appearance of what seems insignificant and what might be happening in your life and the life of people you know, the end will come in the kingdom will return in glory and we are exhorted to wait patiently wait expectantly and await hopefully for that day. Now Paul tells us in first Corinthians chapter 7 first Corinthians.
I'm sorry for first Corinthians chapter 5 verse seven there was sin in the church and the members of the church in Corinth were priding themselves and their tolerance. Paul Clark wrote to rebuke them, and to exhort them to deal with sin in their midst. Verse seven says therefore purge out leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover was sanctified for us.
I don't want to be mixing metaphors here. I want you to understand what the what the leaven means in the kingdom.
Parable here, but as were going to be gathering around the Lord's table leaven is a picture other places in the Scriptures of sin.
That's why we have unleavened bread two pictures the removal of sin.
That's why we have these instructions therefore purge out the old leaven, you may be a new long since you truly are unleavened.
For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. We truly are unleavened. Sin has been dealt with in Christ Jesus our sin has been removed from us as far as the east is from the west and yet were living in a world that's broken were living in a sinful world and sin still has its effects upon us. We had we been route we been delivered from the penalty of sin and we are in the process of being delivered from the power of sin in one day God will deliver us from the very presence of sin. But that's something that that is yet future. So here's the instructions purge out the old leaven is something we ought to be engaged in an ongoing basis.
Purging out the old leaven dealing with sin in our lives that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.
What is Paul saying Paul is identifying those who he's writing to the church. This is for us tonight. We truly are unleavened. Sin has been dealt with.
Finally and fully in Christ Jesus at Calvary for us. There's hope for us in our battle with ongoing sin and therefore here's the encouragement purge out the old leaven, that you may be a since you truly are unleavened.
For indeed Christ, our Passover. He was sacrificed for us. He was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the on leavened bread of sincerity and truth is what God has done. That's the work that he's doing analyses brought a sincerity to us. He is brought truth to us.
God delights that there'd be truth in the inner man that our lives would be characterized by truth and sincerity and not hypocrisy and not a double mindedness. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Let's pray father how thankful we are tonight for Jesus Christ, our Passover who was sacrificed for us and we thank you that in the giving of himself. He's reestablished the new covenant. All the other times that the Passover meal was observed. It was done in observance of their deliverance out of Egypt. But on that night when Jesus inaugurated the Lord's table. He said do this partake of these elements in remembrance not of Egypt, not in the deliverance of Egypt. But do this in remembrance of me. So Lord, we thank you that we have one who has given himself for us has dealt with our sin and is by his spirit living in us and working in us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. Thank you, are God for this ordinance that you have given to your church whereby we are to remember him give us the grace to do that profitably and fruitfully even in these moments as we consider around the table.
Tonight we pray in Jesus name, amen