Sunday, 3 January 2016

Kingdom of Heaven: Wheat and Tares

Continuation of "Kingdom of God : Entrance..."

Why studying about the kingdom of God is important? Because we are living in the kingdom of God now. It clearly talks how God is working in this time period where we live. He will mediate his kingdom through believers. It represents the church age now. I am definitely sure that many of us have questions about this time? Don’t you?

a)Why so many people are rejecting the gospel? b) Why people don’t understand when I share gospel with them? c) He was a very enthusiastic believer now he is showing no interest. What happened to him? d) Why is this brother not involving in church activities more?

These are not answer-less questions but Jesus is giving answer to all of them from the first parable. He who has ear, let him hear. A) Only ¼ accept gospel and ¾ reject B) The seed in roadside C) Seed on a rocky surface D) Seed is in a thorny surface.

Questions do not end there. Why is there so much evil in this world? Why God is not removing the evil ones? Why we have to live with this evil people? When will God end this? Oh this person is causing split in the church, why is it so? He was a good believer, how did he backslide and became a sinner like this?

The answers to these questions we can find in the second parable. The parable of the wheat and tares. Mt 13:24-30: The parable.  Mt 13:36-43: Explanation of the parable.

The field – The world where gospel is shared.
Sower – Son of man.
Enemy – Devil who planted weeds.
Good seeds – Sons of the kingdom.
Weeds – Sons of the evil one.
Harvest – End of the age.
Harvesters – Angels

The parable is about the things that are happening in one person’s field.

Understanding 1: Where kingdom established and our role being part of this kingdom?

The kingdom of God has already commenced. From where do we find it?(v12:28). Jesus casting out demons with the spirit is the proof that the kingdom of God has already come. This is what is happening now, not future events but the present age.  
V13:37,38 – This talks about the who is sowing the seed, where he is sowing the seed and his intention of sowing the seed.
Where? V38 – He is sowing the seeds in the field. What is the field representing? Field is representing the world. Who is the owner of the field? Son of Man. The world is his field. He is sowing seeds in his field. Jesus is still the owner of the field not the devil. Devil is intruding into his field.
The kingdom of heaven is established in this world. It’s not something which is going to start in heaven, or it is not something which will be established in a secluded place away from the world and its influences. Entire world is his field and he is sowing the good seeds in this world. God has spread out the seeds throughout the world. Don’t interpret it as church. The seeds need to grow in the midst of all influences and it should become the wheat. He doesn’t want us to live a secluded life.
1 Peter 5:10: To be matured by the troubles of the world, to make us strong in this world.
John 16:33: Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
James also says it is to mature us.  That’s why we are planted in this world.
Why? What’s our role being part of the kingdom? (v38)
We are planted here in the world by the Son of Man. We are the children of the kingdom. We are his subject. He is sowing the good seeds in the field with the intention to cultivate wheat in the entire field. He is planting seeds with a purpose. Its not that we fell here somehow. But we are planted here. That the seed should get into the soil. It should not perish there but it should sprout, grow up to become wheat. That’s the intention and purpose of the owner to cultivate wheat in his field. He wants the field to be filled with the wheat.
Growth of every believer is compared to that of a seed. Seed is not supposed to be remain as a seed. It grows from the state of a seed with time. It reaches some amount of growth by time. It does not stay as it is. From seed, first the roots come, these roots will anchor the seed and get the nutrients from the soil. Then it produces stem and start growing upwards, it produces leaves, again grows upwards and after sometime it produces fruit (wheat in this case) and then the harvest comes. He has planted us here so that we fill field and not letting the weeds to grow and fill the field.
Application: How is our growth? Are we remaining in the seed state? Do we exhibit growth with time? Did the roots go down and anchored us? Did the stem come up? Is it producing leaves? Is it producing fruit? Are we influencing the weeds?

Understanding 2: Attack on this kingdom

Jesus is establishing the kingdom of heaven in this world and the devil has intruded into his field and put his sons (sons of evil one) to disrupt the establishment of kingdom of heaven. The tactics that the enemy is using to destroy the kingdom is by preventing its members from growing finally it leads to death.
How does the weeds impact the wheat? When weeds are their in the field they also compete for the nutrients from the soil, sunlight, moisture and space. These weeds will outgrow the wheat and finally the wheat plants are choked and finally it is destroyed. That’s how weeds impact the growth of wheat.
That’s how kingdom of heaven will be affected. If the sons of the evil one are there in the midst they will outgrow us, they will prevent us from getting the nutrients and essentials and finally choke us. These sons of evil one can use the social media like facebook, whatsapp, entertainment industry. They are smart enough they can create interesting groups and keep us engaged and we spent time in those things. We will not get the essential nutrients from the Bible, we fail to spent time in prayer. That’s how these sons of evil one can choke us to death. That’s how his kingdom will suffer.
The next major question is how can you identify these weeds? They can be identified by their activities. Their activities are mentioned in the v41. The angels will weed out his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. These are the ones who do evil and causes sin or influence others to sin. If you open your eyes and look around you can easily find those evil ones. Look to your classrooms, to your offices and you will see these kinds of weeds.
If we are living our Christian life without this knowledge that there are sons of the evil ones around you then you are going to be in great trouble. One of the biggest mistakes that today’s Christian youth or adults makes is that they tend to believe their secular friends and classmates than the Christian friends or leaders. Not only youth but every believer who have stronger bonding with the unbelieving friends than with Christian friends. If you does not realize the fact that devil has planted weeds in this world with the purpose to influence the sons of the kingdom, then you are going to be in a big trouble. Never seek counsels or advises about anything from your unbelieving friends or classmates because they are the sons of evil one.
We see there are only two categories in this field either sons of kingdom or sons of the evil one. If you are not in the first group then you are in the second group. No in between group, its true that there is relative evil. One is more evil and other is less. But they are all children of disobedience. This we can see in other parts. Either vessels of mercy or vessels of wrath. Eph 2:2- You are working under devil.

He plant these weeds amoung the wheat(v25). It means that Devil plants the evil one amongst us. Devil will always love to plant the weeds close to where good seeds are. So sons of the evil one will be planted near to the sons of the kingdom. That’s the church. He can plant these evil ones in the church also.

This kind of situation has happened ever since the beginning of the kingdom in the first century churches.
Corinthian church weeds: People with immorality
Roman church weeds: People who supports law based living rather than grace.
Galatians church weeds: Judaizers, works more important than salvation.
Colossian church weeds: Gnostic people, mysterious knowledge more important than Christ
Thessalonians church weeds: Idle people who want to eat without working.

Understanding 3: Motivation and the appointed harvest (v28, 29)

We may think why can’t God immediately pluck those weeds, or is God not aware of the situation? But the parable says, that the owner of the field is aware that the enemy is doing and even his servants are ready to clean out those weeds but the owner of the field fixes and appointed time of harvest. We also often wonder why God is not destroying them? This is the question that many unbelievers ask. Where is God and what is God doing? Why don’t you wipe out the unbelieving world?
The owner of the field or Christ purposefully delays the harvest to an appointed time for the good of the sons of the kingdom or wheat. In the initial stages it is little difficult to identify the weeds from the wheat. After it grows to some stage and produce leaves then only we can clearly identify between the wheat and weeds. Here we see (v27,28) when it just sprouted and formed heads, the servants are asking to pluck out the weeds. But the owner reply – Hold on – (v29,30), while plucking out you may pull out the wheat also, because both may look similar now. Wait till harvest then you can collect the weeds first. Because at the time of harvest, both will be grown and formed the leaves now it will be clearly distinguishable. Then we will separate. God is giving time, He is being patient by not destroying anything which looks like a weed in the early stages. This is an age of grace and actions are taken at the time of harvest.
He knows that if you pluck out the tares whenever it comes up there are chances that the wheat also may come up with that. It can happen some point in our lives we get tangled with this tares, and after some time we realize that this is not good and get separated from that. At somepoint in our Christian life or growth we will not be clearly distinguishable, but will be exhibiting the characteristics of weed itself.  If God decided to pluck those tares early, the sons of the kingdom who were tangled up with the wheat at that time, will also get destroyed that’s why we see God giving time for everyone. He appoints a time for harvest. Only then he will come and separate between wheat and tares. It’s a warning for us to change. Be clearly separated from the weeds.
Our lifestyle, our words and deeds is it exhibiting the characteristics of weed or wheat?
Our motivation and our destiny: All these toils and struggle is not going to be wasted. (v30) At the harvest, the weeds will be first collected and burned and the wheat to his barn. Explanation of that comes in (V42,43). Sons of the evil one are punished in the hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Fire is the word used everywhere in Bible for hell. Dying by fire is one of the most terrible thing that can happen. That’s how it is going to be in hell.
Sons of kingdom the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Jesus says wait, hold on, live together now, be patient with the evil ones, after the harvest the glory will come. You will shine like stars in his kingdom. Still the kingdom of Father is continuing and we will be there in the kingdom. That will be the final consummation of the kingdom. Till that point of time, the kingdom will be mixed with the evil ones. And we have to live among them.

Application of this parable

The application of the parable can be seen in v43. He, who has ears, let him hear. That’s the application. Listen and understand this truth, understand this reality of the kingdom of heaven and live. Are you a weed in the kingdom? Then you are going to be plucked out and burnt in the furnace of fire. Are you a wheat? Then you are asked to co-exist in the world. You are asked to be separated from the weeds, You are asked to grow like a seed and become its final form that’s wheat. You are asked to patient till the time of harvest and not judging others before that. May God help us to understand this reality of the kingdom of heaven and live. 

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