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A World Full of Wheat and Weeds, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 16, 2021 7:05 am

A World Full of Wheat and Weeds, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 16, 2021 7:05 am

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

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Jesus was a gifted storyteller. In the New Testament we often get to see Him surrounded by curious listeners who were captivated and sometimes puzzled by the parables He told.

Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll illuminates one of those classic moments. To comprehend the spiritual truth, the disciples needed help. Well, in similar fashion, there are times when we read God's Word and scratch our heads a bit. But rest assured, with helpful context, the story is made clear. That is full of stories. They're called parables. They're based on something very familiar to the people who lived in Jesus' day, though they may not be all that familiar to us who live in this 21st century.

But with a little help, we're able to see the value and how it comes from the print on the page into a part of our lives. And today's parable is no exception. It's Matthew chapter 13, beginning at verse 24 down through 30. Then a few verses later, Jesus explains, meaning He gives the meaning of what these simple parts of the story represent. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Matthew 13, 24.

Here is another story Jesus told. The kingdom of heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night, as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. The farmer's workers went to him and said, sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds.

Where did they come from? An enemy has done this, the farmer exclaimed. Should we pull out the weeds, they asked?

No, he replied. You'll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn. Verse 36. Then leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.

Jesus replied. The son of man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The son of man will send his angels, and they will remove from his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their father's kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Our desire is to not only understand the story, but to see the significance of it in light of the day in which we live.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck about a world full of wheat and weeds. Jesus was the consummate storyteller. He loved to tell stories. They are woven all the way through his earthly ministry. 30 of them are recorded in the gospel accounts. They're called parables. 14 of them appear in Matthew's gospel. 15 in Luke's account. One in Mark, none in John. But there must have been many others as well.

Because Jesus knew what all of us realize. There's nothing like a story to capture attention. Not only does it seize our attention, it holds our interest as it builds ultimately through its plot into a climax.

An event or several events that bring it to a head. I remember as a little child saying to my mother, can you tell me a story? My dad could tell great stories. I remember the teachers that connected with me the best as I was growing up were those who could turn the lesson into stories. Often stories that had comparisons, analogies that made something clear that would otherwise not be all that clear. A parable is obviously a story based on a comparison.

The word itself means to place or cast beside. Something familiar is the beginning point and it's set forth alongside something not familiar, with a spiritual lesson that we are to grasp as we understand the comparison. We understand these stories by listening carefully, thinking deeply. They're not to be written down.

They're not to be over analyzed, though that is often a tendency on our part. The main reason Jesus told them was really actually two things. To reveal truth to those whose hearts were open and to conceal truth from those whose hearts were closed. That's why he invites often either at the beginning or ending or both that we listen to what he's saying. I will say candidly that it is a pleasure to preach at this particular church of ours because you are such good listeners.

At least you look like you're really interested and I think you are. I think you care about what this means and how it relates to where you live and to the things that we have that we all are facing. This story is familiar in its beginning to people who lived in an agricultural culture.

We don't, but they did. So parts of it from time to time, even though it's the beginning of the parable, or the part of it that is to be known, has to be explained because it's not clear to the rest of us. And the main part of it that isn't clear would be the weeds. We understand wheat and a crop of wheat. We've seen crops like this, but we don't get the part that refers to the weeds.

Remember what he said? The kingdom of heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. He was 25, but that night as the workers slept, looked closely and listened carefully, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat.

Let's stop there. What are the weeds in this story? You may know this story as the wheat and the tares, but we don't know what tares are either. Let me help explain this. One authority writes, it was a kind of Darnell weed, which is a weedy, dry grass with poisonous seeds which in early stages of growth, don't miss this, looks just like wheat, but can be distinguished easily at harvest.

Another picks up this explanation and goes further. This bearded Darnell is common in Palestine and resembles wheat, except that the grains of the weed are black. In its early stages, it is indistinguishable from wheat. So you must wait until harvest to determine which is which.

You see, not until both come to a head could the difference be determined. And obviously, by then, one has a black seed. The top of the weed is black. It's poisonous.

Obviously different from the result of the wheat stalk that bears wheat that is that color. Now, the great tendency on the part of the workers would be to tear out the weeds during the growth so that only wheat would grow. And this is where the story gets interesting. But before we get there, observe in verse twenty five who plants the weeds. He is called his enemy. Jesus later identifies him.

We'll get to that in a moment. But the workers come and they ask since they were asleep that night when the crop began to grow. Verse twenty seven, they say, sir, the field where you planted the good seed is full of weeds.

Where did they come from? It's interesting that Jesus never explains the reason he and the father allow evil and good to grow together. That's not explained here or in fact elsewhere. It's all part of the mystery of lawlessness that continues to grow. That there is always good and there is always evil and they grow together.

And what's interesting is that we cannot tell them apart until later on. And so they ask the natural question, should we pull out the weeds? And he quickly answers, no, that's significant because most of us, when we see or hear that there is weeds along with wheat, we want to get rid of it.

We want to get rid of the evil, get rid of the wrong, get rid of every bit of it as quickly as we can. But he deliberately says in the story, no, no, let it be. In fact, 30 says, let both grow together until the harvest. Then look at who takes over.

Not you. But the but the master, the farmer says, I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, burn them and to put the wheat in the barn. So there is a time of planting.

There is a period of waiting. And then there is the ultimate climax for the crop, and that is the harvesting of the crop. It's interesting, before Jesus takes the time to explain the parable, which happens in verses 36 through 43, he inserts a couple of other stories. One is the familiar story of the mustard seed. You've heard, if you were in church growing up, you've heard since you were a child, the smallest of the seed is the mustard seed. And this little brief parable, it's another illustration is used where the mustard seed is planted and it becomes the largest of all of the plants.

It grows into a tree, birds come and make nests in its branches. Seems to be saying, while we are on the subject of the growing of wheat or the growing of a crop, that there is the enlargement of that which is good. There is the growth of good ministries. There are the righteous who grow in number. There are those who do good.

There are those who are involved in this process of enlargement of that which is growing and becoming significant. At the same time, he adds another brief story in verse 33, just that single verse, where he talks about leaven or yeast. He says the kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman uses in making bread.

Even though she puts only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeates every part. Throughout the scriptures, almost without exception, yeast or leaven is an illustration of evil. So we have the growth of good, I suggest, in the mustard seed illustration, but the presence of evil in the leaven that appears in this brief single verse statement of Jesus before he tells the meaning of the parable. Before we get to that meaning, observe in verse 34, Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.

Just an aside, it's a good thing to remember as a teacher, if you are involved in that, to fall back on stories, to use illustrations, to rely on analogies to get the point across, you begin with the familiar and you go taking the group you're teaching to the unfamiliar. He says that's what Jesus did. In fact, he says, I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world, as he quotes from a prophet of the Old Testament. Now the explanation.

It's simple, really. I've given you a place in your outline for you to fill it in, if you wish, and here you can have your pen handy as Jesus identifies the various parts of the story we just read. And look for yourself, and again, listen carefully, think deeply.

Leaving the crowds outside, verse 36 begins, Jesus went into the house. Probably this is in Capernaum, and it is a house perhaps where he is often gone for rest and relief, and his disciples are in there with him and there they say, please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field. Notice they're not asking about the wheat. It's the weeds that concern them. The good crop, we understand.

Why the weeds? What do they represent? What is this about? So Jesus takes them through the story one point after another. To begin with, the farmer is identified as the son of man.

So whatever else the story is representing, the main character is Jesus. He is the one in charge of the crop. He's the one watching over the harvest. He's the one who knows the plan for the growth and ultimately what to do with both weed and wheat.

The son of man is the farmer. Now I want to pause at this next one because it becomes extremely more complicated. The field is the world. You and I tend to think at that moment of the globe made up of 195 nations around this world, but it's not about nations. It's not about the globe. This is the cosmos.

K-O-S-M-O-S. We get our word cosmetics from it. Cosmopolitan comes from the term. The field is the cosmos. What is the cosmos? Well, I want you to know ahead of time before I read a 20 minute definition of what I came across.

I mean, it could be. I just took just a little part of it. I've never seen such thorough, careful explanation.

So this will require real concentration. One man writes, the cosmos is the sum total of human life in the ordered world. Alienated from and hostile to God. And of the earthly things which seduce us from God.

Pause right there. Much of what comprises the world is unseen. It is intangible. It has to do with dark powers that are at work. Evil influence that seduces, that attracts, but looks so much like the good, the necessary, the best part of our world. But the definition goes on to describe this which seduces us from God. It is the ordered system of which Satan is the head. His fallen angels and demons are his emissaries in the cosmos. And the unsaved of the human race are his subjects.

Much of the world's system is A, religious, B, cultured, C, refined, D, intellectual. But it is anti-God and it is anti-Christ. Well there's much more we need to discover as we peel back the layers in the story. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, A World Full of Wheat and Weeds. And please keep listening because Chuck is in the studio to share a closing comment with you coming up in just a moment. And to learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at Right now let me point you to one of the most helpful resources offered by Insight for Living. Nothing will accelerate your ability to discern wheat from weeds and good from evil more than spending time in God's Word. As we pour over the Scriptures in our quiet times with the Lord, the Spirit of God is able to saturate our hearts with discernment.

And you likely own a favored Bible for this purpose. But you may not have one that includes insightful commentary from Chuck Swindoll. The Swindoll Study Bible represents decades of personal study by Chuck, preparing for sermons and writing books. And it's all contained in this helpful study tool that belongs in your personal library.

To purchase a copy of the Swindoll Study Bible and to check out the many different options, go to slash offer. Chuck, one of the positive outcomes of this radio program has to do with the instant response we receive from people who hear Insight for Living. Their comments affirm that God is working even beyond our expectations during this season of uncertainty.

That's right, Dave. God uses the feedback from our listening audience to remind me that His Word is alive and powerful. In fact, as the writer of Hebrews put it, the Word of God is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword cutting between soul and spirit.

Think of that. As an example, I was so touched when I recently read the encouraging words from one of our listeners who found his rest in Christ after an agonizing year in 2020. Listen to what he wrote. Chuck, I can't tell you how much your messages have helped me through the storms I have been through, starting in September with the passing of my sister, then my stepdaughter in November, then with the passing of my wife in December. Jesus used your messages to comfort me and love me and give me a peace that words cannot explain.

Thank you. Clearly, the Spirit of God has penetrated that man's heart, providing deep and healing soul care during a painful season of loss all in one year. For that reason, I come to you with a bold request and without apology to help us continue touching lives in this way. You see, when you give a generous donation by the 30th of June, you're enabling Insight for Living Ministries to teach the Word of God without barriers, allowing the Spirit of God to perform spiritual surgery with divine precision. I can assure you that your investment in this nonprofit ministry is yielding fruit. God's Word is alive and powerful.

People are responding daily, and I mean that literally. I am more energized today than ever before to pursue sharing the good news in all 195 countries of our world. Now, here's our contact information, and I look forward to receiving your donation today or certainly by the deadline of June the 30th.

And in advance, let me say thank you so much. And you can choose one of several ways to connect with Insight for Living. The most convenient way to give is to follow the simple instructions at slash donate or use our convenient mobile app. You can also give a contribution by speaking with someone on the phone. If you're listening in the U.S., call us at 1-800-772-8888.

That's 1-800-772-8888 or give online at Join us again Thursday when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe a world full of wheat and weeds 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-04 02:05:57 / 2023-11-04 02:13:58 / 8

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