Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I will rejoice and be glad

7/27/11 Wednesday
It’s another day, a day the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it and be glad, for that is what the scriptures say I should do. Some days it is harder to rejoice than others but this is all a matter of choice. When the storms rage around me and it seems that evil runs openly free, I look to the future, to the hope of that day when we shall all stand before the Living God, and receive our reward. So for me and the many who have submitted to God, it will be a good day, but for others, a terrible day as they realize they have fallen short. It’s hard to rejoice knowing that some who I know and care deeply for may fall into that last category. This morning’s devotional that I am sharing with my wife is on the parable of the wheat and the weeds, as found in Mathew 13.

24 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 28 " 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 29 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Jesus explains this parable to his disciples a few verses later, and I will post that as well. Meantime, lets look at some of the keys revealed in this. First of all, we are talking about the Kingdom of heaven, a study of which will require writing a small book. Jesus told a whole series of parables here, starting each one with the phrase “The kingdom of heaven is like”. All of these parables speak of the end results of an activity, of a path to a goal, so clearly the Kingdom of Heaven is something to be strived for. In several of the parables there is a sorting out of good versus bad, with both being mixed together. Jesus started this series of parables with the one about the sower of seeds, where some fell on no soil, bad soil, and good soil. That parable preceded the one about the wheat and weeds and they all relate with each other, together building a picture that is important for us all to see. But let me focus on the one about wheat and weeds.

Verse 25 states “But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds” and that is a critical point. Today, we have a church that is both divided and asleep, very much unarmed and unaware of the dangers assailing it on every quarter. Our enemy is smart, and will take advantage of every weakness we have, in fact has lulled many asleep through false doctrines and complacency, that comes with wealth and comfort.

The next verse says “when the wheat sprouted, and formed heads, THEN the weeds also appeared. I’m a farmer and have grown both wheat and rye grain. When all of them first come up it is difficult to tell the difference between them and other grasses that grow wild out here. It takes a while before they begin forming heads of wheat on them, but even then there are some wild grasses that still look very similar, however it is when someone who knows can tell the difference.

The servants came and told their master about the weeds growing in the midst of the wheat and asked “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”. As a farmer, his answer puzzles me, for he told his servants “No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest”. I spend a great amount of time, just about every day, pulling up weeds, for if I don’t they will grow up and choke out the crops I have. But I must admit, no matter how careful I am, I invariably take out a good plant or two in the process.

So why does the master, and in the reality of our lives and church today, God, allow the weeds to remain, knowing they will cause damage to the wheat? Why do we have, in every church, both good and evil together? Here comes an answer that many will not like or accept. It is because God only wants that which is strong and pure, that which can pass the tests of life, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Time and time again we find Jesus clearly proclaiming this primary principle of truth, Not everyone will make it. "Enter through the narrow gate ; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mathew 7:13)

In addition to this being a purifying process, where only that which can overcome the obstacles and tests set before it survive, we also find the mercy of God. For His concern is that some good wheat may be uprooted along with the weeds and in His love for us, for those who may be uprooted, decides to leave them to grow together. "What do you think ? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying ? 13 "If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Mathew 18:12)

Now it’s time to look at Jesus’ explanation of this parable.

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." 37 He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

This is pretty self explanatory, but I want to point out something. Jesus is plainly referring to the last day, the final day of judgment, as He says in verse 39. How does this fit with the rapture doctrine taught around the world? It doesn’t, not even a little bit. Make note that the angels are gathering up the weeds, all those that CAUSE SIN and all who do evil. In the New American Standard translation it reads The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness. Remember, these are those who are in the church, growing together with the wheat.

How I fear for those in church, who are confident in their religion yet run headlong into error, and in the process drag many others along with them, blinded by their pride and arrogance. That “I’m better than you” attitude is the basis for judgmentalism, for if you understood that we are all sinners, saved by grace, but still full of faults, then you know you have no room to look down on another. Plus, if you truly love that person who’s faults you see, then you reach out to them and try to help them become better and more pleasing to the Lord.

Jesus always says it best “And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea”.

Unlike the rapture scenario, where the good Christians are taken away, and the rest are left behind, here we find that the bad people are gathered up by the angels, and thrown into hell, while the righteous remain. A careful study of the entire bible will find this to be the scenario spelled out again and again, clearly telling of what will come.

I have work to do. God is great and loves us all, no matter how big our faults, but there is a standard He has, a measure He will require us to meet in order to inherit that reward. I strive daily to be that person God desires, to be found acceptable. Only He is the judge and only His opinion matters. Be careful about deceiving yourself, watch and examine your heart.

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If any of you think you are something when you are nothing, you deceive yourselves. 4 Each of you should test your own actions. Then you can take pride in yourself, without comparing yourself to somebody else, 5 for each of you should carry your own load. 6 Nevertheless, those who receive instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. 8 Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6)

I have been told, more than once, that I use the scriptures to manipulate others into doing what I want. It’s part of the written accusations from my pastor. I am a preacher of righteousness, and like all who represent the living God, depend on the scriptures to point out the correct way to live and act. Whether or not these scriptures are being used properly, they are the word of God, and if they apply to your life then pay attention. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)


Anonymous said...

I have been follower of your blog for over a year and my first time to comment. I anxiously await your next post and pray for you daily when I don't see a post for several days.
I am a born again believer, saved by the Grace and actively serve in a Baptist church although just saying that isn’t enough. None of us are active enough. We may darken the doorways every time they are opened and we call that serving when all that should be called is dependable - not servants for His Kingdom.
I have had situations involving my family and different events that have happened, but out of each valley, I have grown in my walk with Jesus. You know we don’t grow on the hill tops as much as we grow in the valleys.
I have read your recent posts and have such a heavy heart for those that have persecuted you.
I will be honest, I do not agree with some of your teachings, or interpretations of them but that is why we study God's Word ourselves and ask for Him to speak His message to us. I believe your heart is open to God’s Word and His teachings and you hunger for a pastor that will nurture you. Even physicians need medical help just as preachers need preaching and teachers need teaching. We never quit growing, no matter how many initials or degrees we have at the end of our names.
I will continue to pray for the people that call themselves righteous and ask for forgiveness for them. They are imposters. They have allowed satan to dominate them and they have become servants of evil but hide behind a church front.
God bless you. I know God will direct you and your wife to another church that will fulfill your fellowship desires.

Bob said...

Thank you very much for your comment. In the Kingdom of God we don't have to all agree on theological points, other than Jesus died for our sins and through that we have eternal life, to get along. We are the family of God, blood brothers through the shed blood of Jesus, and need to love without judgment, working to hold and build each other up in the faith. Welcome brother and thanks again for your comment

Bob said...

or maybe I should have said "welcome sister" because your post didn't reveal your gender. It's not good to assume. Regardless, we love you in the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob.