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Mathew 1:17
Mathew 1: 18-25 Mathew 2: 1-23 Mathew 3: 1-17 Mathew 4: 1-11 Mathew 4: 12-25
Matthew 5:1-12 Part 1 Matthew 5:1-12 Part 2 Mathew 5:13-16 Mathew 5:17-26 Mathew 5:27-37 Mathew 5:38-48
Mathew 6:1-8, 16-18 Mathew 6: 7-15 Mathew 6:19-34 Mathew 6:25-34 Mathew 7:1-12 Mathew 7:15-23
Mathew 7: 24-29 Mathew 8: 1-17 Mathew 8: 18-34 Mathew 9: 1-13 Mathew 9:14-26 Mathew 9:27 - 10:31
Mathew 10:32-42 Mathew 11:1-31 Mathew 12:1-21 Mathew 12:22-50 Mathew 13:1-23 Mathew 13: 24-43
Mathew 13: 44-52 Mathew 13:54 -14:12 Mathew 14:13-21 Mathew 14:22-36 Mathew 15:1-20 Mathew 15:21-31
Mathew 15: 32-39 Mathew 16:13-23 Matthew 16:24-28 Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:14-27 Matthew 18:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20 Matthew 18:21-35 Matthew 19:1-12 Matthew 19:13-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew 20:17-34
Matthew 21: 1-11 Matthew 21:12-17 Matthew 21:18-22 Matthew 21:23-46 Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:15-46
Matthew 23:1-39 Matthew 24:1-31 Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 25:1-46 Matthew 26:1-13 Matthew 26:14-54
Matthew 26: 54-75 Matthew 27:1-26 Matthew 27:27-66 Matthew 28:1-20    
           

 

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Matthew 13:24-43

 

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seek in his field:  But while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.  So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.  The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest:  and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them:  but gather the wheat into my barn.  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:  which indeed is the least of all seeds:  but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.  Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.  All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house:  and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares in the field.  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

Counterfeit Christianity verses the real deal

 

“You know, presently in the world, it’s been true all along, there’s a whole lot of imitation and counterfeiting that goes on.  You can potentially get money that you find out later, you know, you spent a certain amount of your investment to get it, but then find out later it was actually counterfeit, wasn’t worth anything.  You also can buy products that look a certain way, feel a certain way, have a certain brand name on them, but then when it comes to operating them and using them, you find out they didn’t quite meet the standard that they appeared to be, they were a counterfeit, they were packaged one way, looking one way, but when you actually got down to using it, you found out it wasn’t the real deal.  Experts, of course, they’ve got the eye, they can tell when something isn’t a legitimate genuine item, they can spot a counterfeit, you know, when it comes to a watch or maybe a certain brand of clothing, maybe it’s even stones, they can spot, ‘This is genuine, this is manufactured, counterfeit’ [Rockhound, in the movie Armageddon spotted counterfeit diamonds a girl was showing off, thinking they were real ones, as an example.]  Also with money, my wife worked a number of years ago in a bank, and banks, they train the people.  Although, interestingly, when they train you, they don’t so much train you to understand all the different types of counterfeiting there is, and what the counterfeits look like, what they do is they train you to know the real deal, the real money, what it looks like, and get a good feel for it, and look at all the different parts of that real bill.  And then with that, when a counterfeit does come your way, well you can spot that counterfeit, you can tell because you’ve been handling the real stuff a long time, you know what it looks like, then you know ‘This is not real, it doesn’t feel the same, different paper, hold it up to the light, it doesn’t have the items, it’s a counterfeit.’  Now when we come to this part of the Book of Matthew, we find that this aspect of imitation and counterfeit is also something the Devil is up to.  And he’s pretty effective at it.  And the result is that people in the end get ripped off.  The Church can also be hindered through this strategy of the enemy.  And so it’s important for you and I as we go through this, to understand this strategy that he has.  It’s the same way in the banks when they teach you about the real items so that you can be hedged against the counterfeit, the same would apply to us in the Church, when it comes to knowing what the true Church is, or what a true Christian is, what the true Gospel message is, what the true Word of God is.  When it comes to what is the true Christ, well, the same thing applies, that as we study the Word and get to know the real deal, then we’re able to discern.  Without even researching a counterfeit I can tell a counterfeit because I’ve studied the real thing.  I know the real deal, I know the real Jesus.  You bring to me something else, I know what the Church is supposed to be, so when something comes off as different, I can discern that.  And you and I are able to do that through the power of the Holy Spirit.  So, we come to these series of parables and we’re reminded of this strategy.  These parables in one way to me are somewhat encouraging, they’re a little discouraging if you look at it from one way.  Another angle to me there, a little bit encouraging when I consider, when I look at the state of things in the world today, I look at the state of things even in the Church.  [Church, spelled with a capital “C” represents the whole body of Christ here, and is not a reference to the Roman Catholic Church.]  And it can be a little bit disheartening when I look at the things the way they are in the Church today.  But in these parables Jesus gives us some insight, some answers, that in one way equip us, and arm us, and encourage us in the midst of this.  So let’s say a word of prayer, and we’re going to pick up where we left off last week, which is verse 24 of chapter 13 of Matthew.  ‘Thank you Lord that we can just bow our hearts before you right now Lord.  And we pray you’d clear our minds and our heads and clear our hearts so that we can focus.  Give us ears to hear, you’re going to remind us of that again, to those that have ears to hear, let him hear.  And I pray in your grace as we spend this bit of time together, that you would give us ears that hear.  Maybe there are men and women that are here, that they haven’t had that spiritual type of ability where they can really tune in and hear your voice.  Well Lord, use this service to speak to them, real things to them, draw them in a way to you so that it can be true of them too, that they have ears now that hear.  So Lord thank you for your Word, and I thank you how amazingly you can take just a simple step through your Scripture and you can speak right into our lives.  And so Holy Spirit I pray you’d be upon all of us, and even upon myself now as we go through your Word, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

The Parable of the wheat and the tares

 

Chapter 13, beginning with verse 24 of Matthew, “Another parable he put forth 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 servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest 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 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.’  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 than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’  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.’  All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable he did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying:

‘I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.’ [Psalm 78:2; Eph. 3:9]

Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house.  And his disciples came to him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’  He answered and said to them, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of man.  The 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 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, and 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!’”  (Matthew 13:24-43)   Now we saw last week, as we’ve been studying the ministry of Christ, we’re about at that time, the midpoint of his ministry.  And we saw last week that he began to change his style of teaching, he’s done it a little bit in the past, but he really begins now to speak in parables.  And you remember last week, a parable, depending on the condition of the heart, will do one of two things, it’ll either conceal the light, conceal the truth, or based on the condition of the heart, it will reveal the light or reveal the truth.  And so why is Jesus then speaking in parables?  Well partly it’s a judgment against the people that are around him.  There are people that have been standing and listening, their hearts are very hard.  And because of their hearts he’s been speaking in and sharing, and there’s just a dullness, I guess you could even say a depravity that’s there.  And they might like the entertainment, they might like the emotionally powerful way he speaks, maybe they want a touch from him physically, they want something from him.  But their hearts are hard.  And so there’s an apostasy in a sense in the nation at this time.  Isaiah the prophet prophecied that there would come a time where the people would hear but not understand, and they’ll see, but they’ll not actually see spiritually speaking.  So he’s speaking in parables, and in a sense it’s fulfilling that prophecy, it’s a judgment.  But on the other hand too, there are hearts that aren’t quite as hard, but yet are somewhat distracted, maybe a little hard.  And by going to parables, he’s sharing in a way now that it’s pictorial, it’s interesting, and maybe it’ll capture the attention of some of these folks, and they’ll listen long enough, and it’ll get their attention, and maybe some of the light will begin to penetrate in, and they’ll begin to hear the voice of God.  I mean, he loves them, he wants them to receive his Word.  [Comment:  No one, not even his 12 disciples had the indwelling Holy Spirit yet.  So those Jesus is hoping to reach in such a way, is sowing seed for a future harvest, which would be reaped after his death and resurrection, reaped by the apostles, as these folks became drawn into the early New Testament Church, first in Jerusalem, then Judea, then Asia Minor.  Jesus was sowing the seed of his Word, but that seed wouldn’t sprout and bear fruit until after Acts 2:1-4.  Just thought I’d mention that.]  They so much desperately need his Word, and they need him.  So he shares these parables.  Now those that are spiritually discerning, those that have the Holy Spirit working in them, when he shares these things, it might be a little difficult to wrestle through it and discern, but yet the Holy Spirit is our teacher, and the Holy Spirit begins to bring the meaning for it to light, as Jesus shares.  [Like I said, there’s nobody with the indwelling Holy Spirit within them in these crowds, as Jesus is sharing, it won’t be until later that they will come to understand what Jesus is talking about right now.]  Well he shares another parable.  Remember he’s sitting in this boat, he’s got a multitude, he’s got a vast multitude, he’s gone out into a boat off the shore a little bit so he can face these people, he’s got a natural amphitheatre, and he’s already shared one parable.  He shares at least seven, if not ten, when you put the Gospels together.  And the seven together are known as the ‘Kingdom Parables.’  And he’s speaking specifically here, as you see, in verse 24 he says “The kingdom of heaven is like” and then he goes on.  He said that three times in the three parables we read, “The kingdom of heaven is like”.  So he’s sharing with them things about the kingdom of heaven, and what it means, and drawing truth out from that, in seeking to vest light and truth into their lives.  Now, the kingdom of heaven, we know as we’ve studied, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God at this time, remember earlier in Matthew chapter 4 Jesus said, John the Baptist even said, but he said ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’, it’s here now, it’s here upon you.  Now the Jews at the time, they expected a certain thing [they expected the actual kingdom of God to become physically manifested, where the Messiah would come and free them from Roman oppression and usher in a world-ruling government under the leadership of the glorified Messiah.  That will happen at the Messiah’s 2nd coming.  But his first coming sort of threw a curve-ball into all their understanding of all the Old Testament prophecies about the coming kingdom of God.]  He wasn’t speaking so much about a physical, literal Messianic kingdom that the Jews were expecting, they were expecting the Messiah to come and establish his kingdom, which he will in the future physically on this earth.  It wasn’t a physical, literal kingdom in that sense that he was speaking about.  When he said the kingdom of heaven is at hand, he was saying ‘I’m here, and for those who turn to me and receive me, my rule and my reign is now in their lives, and so the kingdom of heaven is there within them [in that sense].  The Pharisees in Luke chapter 17:21, they asked Jesus, ‘When is the kingdom going to come?’.  And he said this, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say ‘See here or see there’, for indeed the kingdom of God is within you.”  [Or ‘The kingdom of God is among you’, as some interpret his meaning being that ‘I, the future King of the kingdom of God, am among you, here, right now.’]  So, the kingdom of God within you.  So now he says ‘This is the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven is like this’, and he goes on to share with them.  They were expecting the literal return of the Messiah, and with that, we even know from the community, the Qum Ran community, that you can go visit the ruins of on our Israel trips, it looks like we’re going to be planning another Israel trip for March next year, something you might want to be interested in.  We’ve had a couple we’ve planned and not been able to go on, but I think this time we probably will be able to go.  But we’ve been a couple times.  But that community that existed at this time, these Jewish zealots, as we’ve been able to read their writings, they believed, they expected the literal coming of the kingdom of God as seen in their writings, but also when it came, immediately there would be a separation of the sons of light and the sons of darkness [and these religious zealots were not far off in that belief, just read what Jesus said in Matthew 25], there would be this division.  And then with the sons of darkness removed, then the Messiah would establish his throne and his kingdom.  So they’re expecting, they’re saying, it says a lot, Jesus is saying ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand, is at hand’. So they’re saying, ‘Where’s the division, where are you setting up your throne for this political, physical, literal kingdom?’  Well, as he shares in this initial parable that we’re looking at here, he does speak of a division between the sons of light and the sons of darkness.  It’s not the way they expect, but there is this division that is beginning, and it’s beginning within the heart.  And when it’s at its fullest extent and fullest expression, there is going to be this point where this is now the establishment of that kingdom, earthly kingdom of light, when it’s fully worked out. [Comment:  The literal Kingdom of God will be established at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, the very kingdom all these Jews were expecting would be established in the time of Jesus Christ’s physical lifetime.  For a Biblical description of this coming kingdom of God, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm .]  Well, as he shares these things, again to me, as we study even further, it’s somewhat encouraging to me.  I look at the state of things, I look at the kingdom, when I say ‘This is the kingdom of God’, and when I look at it, and I say ‘Wow, man, it’s confusing, it doesn’t seem to be quite the way that it’s intended to be, there seems to be compromise, and there seems to be darkness, and a lot of things, when you look at the kingdom.  Well, here we get the answers and reasons as to why.  And so in one way these things are encouraging to me, just to at least know and understand what’s going on. 

 

The interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares

 

Well as he does, in verse 24, he compares the kingdom of heaven, he says it’s like a man who sowed good seed in this field.  So this is what’s commonly called ‘The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares’.  So it’s like a man who sows good seed in his field.  When you look down to verse 37, and that’s why I read all of that in its entirety, we learn--- Jesus interprets this parable, and boy does it help when he gives his interpretation, as he does to the disciples---we learn that the Son of man, or this man that he’s referring to, is the Son of man, the Son of God, Jesus himself.  And then when he speaks of “the field” in verse 38, “the field” we know is the world.  And then we also know in those verses that as he says this man sowed good seed in the field, the world, that “the good seed” represents the sons [and daughters] of the kingdom, Christians, true Christians [and Messianic believers in Yeshua haMeshiach], true believers in Jesus Christ.  Well going from there, he then speaks, God has done this, Jesus has planted this field, he’s got this real life, his people at this time, the church is beginning [realistically, when these parables were given, maybe a year and a half or a little more from this point in time].  “But while men slept” as you see in verse 25, “his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and then went his way.”  The men sleeping would be those who worked for him, those that were in his kingdom that are working for him are sleeping, not paying attention.  The enemy, and we learned a little bit later in verse 39, that the enemy is the Devil, Jesus said that explicitly.  He comes in and sows tares, which are weeds, and we’ll go into these tares in a moment, and he says that those specifically are sons of the wicked one.  So what you have is, you have two groups of people in this parable.  You have this kingdom of God, this kingdom, this kingdom-work going on in the world, and God is working.  And as God is working, the Devil in response does another work, seeking to ultimately create what is an imitation, a counterfeit in seeking to hinder the work of God.  Now, with that, they [the wheat and tares] begin to grow.  You’ve got the good seed, God’s people, and these tares, these sons of wickedness growing.  Initially it’s not readily discernable.  But as you see in verse 27, as they then begin to produce harvest and crop, the servants then as you can tell at that point, ‘Hey, there’s tares in this field!  This isn’t all good stuff, this isn’t all wheat.’  So they then say to the owner, ‘What’s going down here, man?  I thought you planted good stuff.  Look, there’s confusion here, you’ve got tares, man, growing in the midst of your field.  I thought you made a good field, what’s up with that?’  And sometimes we’re like that, like ‘What’s going on?  In the Church, man, why all this other stuff that just gets in the way, muddies the water, and gets all confusing?’  Well, we learn here the answer to that, and what’s going on.  They say to him, ‘Listen, do you want us to pull this up?’  He tells them, ‘This is the enemy that’s done this.  I haven’t done this.’  They then ask him,  ‘Do you want us to go and pull these weeds up, these tares up?’  Well then he responds, ‘No, I don’t want you to do that.  If you go out and start pulling up these weeds at this point in time, you may potentially damage, and even pull up something that is good.’  So it’s kind of a check for us as the Church, let the stuff go, let it continue, in the sense of society, and in the end, he says, when it’s harvest-time then it will be time, I will send forth my reapers, and they’ll go and gather together these weeds, these tares, and they’ll bind them together and they’re going to be used for burning, and the wheat will be gathered together into my barn.  And then as we noticed in verse 39 down to verse 43, he interprets all of that, he says, ‘The harvest time represents the end of the age.  They’re going to continue to grow together to the end of the age, and then the reapers are actually the angels that are going to go, and when they’re sent out at that particular time,’ we read about this in the Book of Revelation, ‘they’re going to be sent out, they will take these tares, they will gather them together, these people that are not the real deal, these people that are not children of God, and will gather them together, and they will be cast into the furnace of fire.’  This is certainly a picture of hell, those that offend, those that practice lawlessness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Those that are the genuine item, those that are really the people of God, they’ll be brought to be with the Father, and the glory of that moment.  [This is all brought out in greater detail in that Revelation commentary I just mentioned.]  All this stuff removed, and just the beauty of the Church, seeing the glory, it will be incredible, it will shine forth as a the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.  So, we have some principles here, where Jesus says in the midst of that, and he says there at the end, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’  ‘If you understand what I’m saying’ is what he’s saying, ‘Is this getting through to you, audience?  What I’m saying here, that there isn’t this universal salvation.  That’s even prominently believed today.  I mean, we have churches in our own community called Universalists, Universalism, believing that everybody in the end, you know, whatever you want to believe, whatever you are, you all get to the same place in the end, you’re all saved.  Very clearly Jesus did not teach that, and Jesus didn’t believe that.  In fact, one of the greatest subjects that Jesus spoke most about was this aspect of judgment and hell.  He spoke more on that than just about anything else.  So he’s saying, ‘Understand, there is this way, there are my people, and there’s this state right now of this age where they exist together alongside the tares, but in the end when it comes down to it, the angels will come and bring those that are mine and separate out those that aren’t, and there be that Day of the Lord.’ [Comment:  This furnace of fire is World War III, often referred to in Bible prophecy as the great tribulation, the Day of the Lord.  I just finished a commentary on the Book of Revelation which explains this period of time which will occur sometime in the near future.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html to learn about this ‘Day of the Lord.]  So, what we learned here though is this important strategy of the enemy, the way he works.  Remember in the parable of the sower last week?  Jesus talked about how the Word is going out, and the Word goes out, and it’s true, it happens right here on Sunday mornings [his second service is broadcast live over three or four Christian radio stations in Massachusetts].  Sometimes the Word will go into a heart, but they won’t understand it.  It’s the Word of God, it’s this life-giving power.  And because they don’t understand it, you remember in the parable of the sower, the birds come, representing the enemy, they come and immediately snatch it up.  ‘I don’t want that to take root in that life, they’re thinking about that truth, and it hasn’t gone in there yet, I want to come and take it away.’  I shared with you about the Billy Graham crusade last week, where people are coming out of this big crusade and just hearing the Gospel so simply given, then come out [the door] and there are all these cults and weird groups waiting to just give you flyers and tell you [in a warped way] what you heard, big signs, “Billy Graham just sends people to hell!”, you know, and I shared that with you last week.  So, the Devil does that, he attacks in that way, when the Word goes out.  But remember, some of the Word [the seed] does go into the soil, into hearts.  And in some instances, as he shared the parable of the sower, some of it will start to grow a little bit, but because it’s not in deep soil, persecution and tribulation, there’s no real root of that Word in that person’s life, the persecution and stuff will cause it to stop growing, and it’ll even start to die.  And some of it will go into a little bit better soil, and it’ll start to grow a little bit more, but because of their hearts being divided, it’ll be like there’s weeds growing around them, representing the cares of the world and deceitfulness of riches, it’ll start to grow, but it won’t get to a mature state because, well, the heart’s divided and they just get into the stuff of the world and that life doesn’t really come forth and bear fruit.  But there is the one group, that he said the seed goes into the soil, and when it goes into the soil, it is good soil, and it begins to bear fruit.  Now, the Devil’s already working, trying to stop that process, but now you’ve got the seed [Word of God] in lives, and it’s beginning to change lives, and it’s really beginning to bear fruit.  The Devil doesn’t just sit back and let that happen.  He doesn’t go, ‘I tried to keep the Word from them, it’s already in there, I can’t do anything about it’, he has a whole another strategy. And right in the midst, as that’s happening, Satan tries the counterfeit thing, the imitation thing.  He goes and implants seeds in the world too, but also in the Church, and stuff starts to grow, and it looks a lot like the real thing.  And it’s intent is it will look the same, it’ll get it all confusing to you, and so that now, when the rest of the world is watching, they’re like you know, ‘What’s a Christian?  What’s the truth?  What’s the power?’.  That’s what he does.  He does this thing of planting the tares, this strategy of coming in and trying to plant just the counterfeit deal and working that way.  Specifically, the point of this first parable is it’s really counterfeit people, counterfeit Christians, isn’t it.  You’ve got two groups of people, the real deal, and then you’ve got what he is doing by his own work.  You’d call them counterfeit Christians, counterfeit believers, counterfeit children of God, people that will appear to be spiritual, people that will appear to be children of God, people that will go to church, wear the suit, speak the church things, religious things, be seen on the media, respected by the world as very spiritual and godly, but yet they’re actually, what’s going on in their lives is ultimately the Devil working, and he’s doing this work to hinder the influence and witness and ministry of the real Church. [Comment:  Church history bears this parable out.  In Revelation chapters 2 & 3 Jesus gave us an outline for his true Church’s history, given in successive era’s.  When matched with actual Church history, you can see the principles of this parable played out in actual history, and it’s fascinating.  Check it out at http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-1-11.html , http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-12-17.html , http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-18-29.html and then http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html for the most recent era’s which most Christians are a part of in our day and age right now, leading up to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  We’re today in the time-span of two era’s that are alive spiritually, Philadelphia and Laodocia, whilst the Sardis era is around, but is almost spiritually dead at this point in time.  Satan has manufactured many counterfeits as well, and the central counterfeit comes out in those researched Church history studies as well.] 

 

How Satan does his counterfeiting work

 

Verse 25, “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.”  Now, as you notice there, verse 25 of chapter 13, Satan does that while the men slept.  Now I think that is certainly the way it works, even today.  It’s while the men sleep, it’s while the Church goes into that sedate type of stage, when the Church in an area, maybe it’s because of prosperity in the Church, just the hearts of people go into the state of no longer on the edge, and they begin to sink back, and begin to coast and become casual, and start to go to sleep.  And when that begins to happen, he has opportunity now, because the Church isn’t on its guard, he comes into that area, into that community, into that very church, and starts planting tares, and tares, that in the end, as they grow, begin to really become a hindrance to that whole declaration of the Gospel message and that whole image of the Church.  I believe this is what’s happened in our nation, if you’re honest about what’s going on in America.  There were times, we call them Awakenings, the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, where there was vibrant, incredibly vibrant, in a large-scale way in society in America, a tremendously powerful Church [Body of Christ], effective in witness, a beautiful Church.  Then you study the Church history in our country, the Church starts to, well, whatever happens, we start to get caught up in the world, that generation dies off, another generation is raised up that hasn’t been discipled in the Gospel, so that you have the state of the Church now in a lethargic state.  [That is what is described about the Sardis era of the Church in America, on that last link in Revelation I gave you covering Revelation Chapter 3:1-22.  Check it out.]  And then all this other stuff suddenly starts to sprout up all over the country, all over the place…appears religious, appears spiritual, in competition, in the world’s eyes, with the Church.  And the world is looking, going ‘What’s right?  What’s a Christian?  What’s the way?’.  That’s the way the enemy works.  And you can even look in the denominations of the Church in America today, and you can see that there are denominations with incredible history, and major denominations where you can look at them today, and big parts of those denominations are so far from where they started, so far from just the simplicity of walking with God.  And the way they’re living and things they’re believing in, and they don’t even believe in the Word of God anymore as being true.  [That last two links I gave you to Revelation  2:-18-29 and 3:1-22 covers what he just mentioned.  Be sure to look them up and read them.  Fascinating, showing the life-death cycle of a church era, denomination.]  No doubt, this is what the Devil does.  I think of the Episcopalian denomination, not be pick on anyone particular, you can speak of any, and we could even speak of Calvary Chapel [ourselves] in the little time it’s been around, already little things that have happened, and given enough time, and it’s just the way it happens.  But you know I have Episcopalian pastor friends in the area, and they’re just beautiful men, godly men, and when this appointment of the bishop in New Hampshire, I can’t think of his name right now, when he was appointed, Robinson, right?  When he was appointed,  I mean, that was a significant moment of crisis, still is, in the Episcopal church.  Now, how did this man get to this place, with the lifestyle that he has, and just all of that that goes with it, where he’s now bishop in the Episcopalian church, the Anglican church in our country, how did that happen?  And to be at that level, well, you talk to my pastor friends, they’ll tell you, it started a long time ago, it wasn’t like a sudden thing.  It wasn’t like suddenly there was a vote and take this guy who nobody knew and put him there.  No,  it was a lot of compromise.  There were sincere, hungry, loving, godly ministers in the Episcopalian denomination who, for whatever reasons, stuff started happening, and they just let it go, and they let it go, apathetic in a degree about it.  And stuff started to move and move, and now we’re at this point, this denomination may very well split, and it’s believed, and I guess, ultimately, we’ll see what happens, it very well may split into two different groups because of that point.  Well that was the strategy of the enemy.  Satan says, ‘There is a group of believers, a Christian denomination, let me get in there, because there’s fruit going on, the Word is already there, let me get in there and plant some tares.  Let me get in there and work from the inside, and I’ll really hinder it.’  And they may actually split today.  Clearly, why did it happen?  How did it happen?  Well, men were sleeping, and the Devil took opportunity, and he went for it, and he was successful.  You know, as a congregation right here, the same principle applies here, we can never, ever, ever get on our heals, we can never, never, as a congregation, as a group of believers, get comfortable with darkness, get comfortable with wickedness in the world.  We can never just, you know, ‘Hey, politically, let’s just go easy on this area, let this stuff ride in the church, this is where we are.’  And you start to do that, and we were looking at this on a Wednesday night, you give over territory to the enemy, thinking, ‘Well that will satisfy the enemy.’  It doesn’t satisfy the enemy, it only gives him a platform now to go for the next place, and it just doesn’t work that way.  And we can’t, we can never, ever, just say ‘OK, hey listen, the battle’s intense, they’re passing laws now, these laws are pretty intense, and we just need to kind of back off in some of these areas.’  You do that, that was the complete strategy of the Devil, and you just gave into the Devil, and it will begin to work its way into this congregation.  And in time, the issue is, we will lose our witness and our effectiveness and our true influence, the power of the Holy Spirit.  And why get together as a congregation, and seek to minister in the community, if there’s no power of God present?  [At that point, it’s just a social gathering, nothing more, which is what many of the older denominations have become.]  It’s of no use, you might as well go to Socks games, that’s social, you know, you can be social at a Red Sox game.  Why do it here, and listen and get bored when I teach?  Why do that?  So, the Devil, when the Church starts to sleep, man he moves, he moves and comes.  And so that’s maybe God even speaking to this congregation, ‘Are you sleeping?  Are you getting tired?’.  You can’t go to sleep, you understand?  The Devil’s out there, man, he’s waiting and he’s moving and he working. 

 

What is a tare, spiritually and in real life?

 

Well, let’s look for a moment and consider these tares.  The interesting thing about these tares, these tares, when they are planted, and by the parable you see this, but also Jesus is using a real-life situation at this time in Judea that they can understand.  The issue with these tares is truly when they are planted, it is awhile before you know that they even exist.  Because the tares are completely unnoticeable and undistinguishable until there’s the harvest.  You’ve got to wait until the harvest to know that it was a tare.  The word “tare” literally, it refers to the “darnel”, which is a false grain [a false, or wild variety of wheat, which is deadly to eat], common today in Palestine, looks just like the real deal except when it comes to crop-time, it doesn’t produce that crop like the wheat does.  And what it does have at all is a different colored seed, it’s a black grain instead of the real grain.  In its early stages you cannot tell them apart---same color, exact same color, same shape stalk, plant, same fragrance.  But it sits there in the soil, occupying space and taking nutrients from the soil, but in the end producing nothing helpful.  In fact, what it produces is actually poisonous.  That’s a tare.  But it takes awhile, and so you go to sleep, you don’t even recognize that he did it, and it’s happening right there in the midst, but in the end it’s got the poison with it, and it’s deadly if it’s digested.  Interesting, to sow a darnel, at this time, at the time of Christ, the Roman Empire, in the Roman law there was actually a law, that if you were to go as an act of vengeance or revenge and go into your neighbor’s field and plant darnel, that was punishable according to the law, that was something that evidently happened or could happen.  So this is a real thing he is sharing to depict a truth to these people [and it would be something his audience would readily understand].  So it’s unidentifiable until it’s harvest-time, but when the fruit is there, now you can tell.  It stands out very clearly, ‘Oh that’s wheat.  And how’d the darnel get in there?’  So they come asking, ‘How’d this counterfeit stuff get in there?’  I remember, being in Venezuela, this is often the illustration that comes to my mind, but I was young, 15, Teen-Missions, went on a trip with 30 teenagers to Venezuela for a summer, not very wise at 15 as you kind of learn in life through the school of hard knocks.  So we’re at a bus station, and you know I had just enough money, spending cash, for the whole summer.  It cost a lot to go to Venezuela Teen-Missions, and I had just enough to, you know.  Now and then I could get that soda on a hot day if I budgeted my money, or maybe an ice cream, as the ice cream guy would come by where we were building this building.  Well, we’re at a bus station, we’re heading somewhere, and as we’re waiting, this guy comes walking over to a few of us teenagers, and he has the long coat on, and he opens his coat, and there are all these beautiful watches, up and down just connected to the inside of his coat.  [Oh man.  I was a new submarine sailor, our boat had just docked in Naples Italy.  I learned about these guys, whose famous refrain was ‘Hey Joe, wanna buy a watch?’]  Just like out of the movies, you know, cartoon.  And I’m looking, they’re sparkling, gold watches, silver watches, these were beautiful, they looked like they were big buck watches, very expensive watches.  So, he begins to tell us, ‘These watches, hey look, this is a $2,000 watch’, and he’s showing you the watch, ‘I want to sell this watch to you, and I’ll give it to you for $25.’  You go to Venezuela at that time, I think it was 1981, you go to a country like that, you know you could get good deals, and so I’m thinking $25 for a $2,000 watch, now’s the time, Venezuela, I won’t be here again, buy this watch.  Now that is all I had, too, you know, for the rest of the summer.  I pulled out my $25, I bought this watch.  We get on this bus and we start going, and I’m showing off my watch, people are passing it around and it’s coming back to me, and I noticed as it came back to me, that the second hand was sticking.  So I started to hit this watch in my hand and fiddle with it, and tried to wind it, and honestly, it never really worked, it never kept any time.  But it did in his jacket somehow, and it looked so beautiful, it was a good looking watch.  But the inside was the problem, and that’s what’s going on here.  The outside looks nice, looks powerful.  These tares get planted, the outside looks legit, but the problem is, the inside, the life of God is not in there.  But, there is another life, the tares actually do grow, there is an influence there, there is this stuff going on.  But it’s not the life of God, it’s not the Holy Spirit.  Hence it’s a tare.  You know, this principle, Paul shared about this counterfeiting power that the enemy has.  2nd Corinthians chapter 11, verse 14, he shared with the church in Corinth, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”  They look real, they look legit, but they’re really his ministers, they’re his tares.  And you’re like, ‘Wow, man, that guy when he speaks’, or ‘This neighbor of mine, ah, just moves my heart.’  But it isn’t the life of God.  And how do I in the end discern, how do I stay on track?  I have to know my Jesus, I have to be in the Word, and I’m kept from being deceived by these workers of iniquity.  [Comment:  Satan was hard at work, even as the early Church was just getting going, sowing tares amongst the wheat of God’s harvest. Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html to view how he was doing this back then, and to see what some of his counterfeits looked like, how they were warping the simple Gospel of Salvation, the Gospel of Christ.  Also this article explains the real from the counterfeit, and what the simple Gospel of Christ, Salvation really is, so you will be able to discern the counterfeit from the real deal.  Best way, as the pastor said, it to know how to recognize the real deal, the real thing.  Then you will spot a counterfeit right off the bat.]  You know, I was reading this, and as a church you know, we seek to be guarded, we want to be true to the Word of God.  And it’s not popular.  We want to address issues as the Bible says to address issues.  We want to teach truth whether it’s politically correct or not.  We want God to bless and we want God to work in our midst.  But at the same time, you know, as we’re working, there are outside of us spiritual battles that we encounter, there are things that happen that you can tell ‘This is outside persecution.’  But one day I was considering, and I don’t remember how I even ended up here, but this parable really came to my mind, and this is a number of months ago.  The strategy of the enemy is to come right into the midst of the Work and to plant tares.  And the way it really, the thoughts got going with me, as I was thinking ‘We’re trying to stay on top of this Lord, we are seeking to honor you.’  I just had this sense in my heart of God saying, ‘You’ve got to understand too, the Devil tries to work from within.  And one of the ways he does is with tares.’ 

 

One example of how a church has to keep its guard up

 

And for whatever reason, the thought came to me, ‘You know, today, I’m not sure if it’s always been like this, I don’t know about you, but it seems this molestation thing is really growing, at least it seems that way.’  And maybe you haven’t been coming here that long, or maybe you have, and you wonder.  But we try to be really on top of that issue with our ushers.  We have ushers standing at the doors, we’ve got an interesting facility here, it’s three floors, we’ve got ushers that are trained in the stairwells, we’ve got ushers at all the different doors, and they go through training for each position, they know exactly what to do.  And I’ve met with them, and Mike works with them the most.  But we do background checks, we get the stuff from the Police department.  And it is true, believe it or not, and it happens in a lot of the churches around the area, in fact, meeting with the pastors is the strength of the Church, because we’ll talk about this, but there are registered offenders that will come into our churches.  Now anybody is welcome at any time, doesn’t matter who you are, you’re welcome.  But God alerts us to it, and we know about it, and when it happens we have a battle-plan.  Last time somebody came, we assigned an escort to him, saying, ‘You can only come to this church, listen, you have a horrible past, and because of that, listen, I know God can heal a life, but the families of this church need to know that we deal with any issue like this.  You can come, but as soon as you come into the parking lot here there will be somebody out in the parking lot to meet you, one of our ushers or one of our leaders, and the entire time you’re within the facility, that person will be with you, and you can never leave their presence.’  And this one particular one last time really had multiple convictions, and yet seemed ‘Hey, I’ve repented.’  ‘OK, this is how we’re going to handle this, we’re not going to turn anybody away, but we’re also going to be very wise.’  That particular situation, I share this with you because that person actually tried to sneak away, one of the Sundays, from the leader they were with, and actually got out of the building.  But thank God we have our system, because they came downstairs, somebody was waiting for ‘em at the door, saying, ‘You ain’t coming in here.’  Very interesting.  I was thinking about this, that is the way the enemy works.  And you may wonder, ‘Why all the ushers, man?’  We try to tell them, smile, shake a hand, don’t come with the black shades like you’re the ‘Men in Black’, whatever.  We’re not going to give you the walkie-talkie’s and whatever.  Maybe we’ll do that a little bit.  But the reason we do that, is that it is a strategy of the Devil, it really is.  I have pastor friends in New England, their own kids have been harmed in the church, because that church wasn’t wise, or even trying to consider that.  So we have windows, we have multiple teachers in the classrooms.  We don’t even let kids in the classrooms alone until there’s an adult in the classroom.  Now I say that, and maybe you think, ‘Man, you’re really serious about that.’  No, it’s as tactic of the Devil.  If he cannot get you from an outside attack, he will sow tares on the inside, and the way it works, is you would never even recognize the tare.  One of the churches locally, and maybe partly hearing the way we try to train here, beautiful church locally, decided to go through some training with the Police department, and the Police officer that was training said to the people as they were training, “Understand, you cannot recognize physically a molester from the outside.”  And he said, “It could be” and he pointed to the pastor, “It could be even me, or somebody else.  And so you have to have a system in place.”  Now, that shouldn’t bring you any fear, because, if it causes you to fear, the only place to be safe is in your own bedroom, really.  Because the community, it’s just everywhere.  There’s hundreds of registered offenders in our community, right here locally.  The thing to do is to know what the Devil does, and to be ready and to be prepared for it.  That’s just one example, so many ways, right, the Devil is working to come in on the inside, to plant tares.  You know, maybe the Lord has me sharing this on the second service which is broadcast on the radio, I didn’t on the first service, maybe somebody’s listening right now that needs to hear that, whose was planning on coming here.  Anyway the tactic of the enemy, I want to know that, I want to understand that the Devil tries to do that, and that helps equip you and I.

 

Don’t try to pull up the tares before the harvest

 

Verses 28-30, “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’  The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest 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 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.’”  Well, you can’t tell until it’s harvest-time, and then that crop comes up, and you can tell.  So before that, as he tells these folks, don’t pull up the tares.  Because the other aspect of this, is if you try to pull up the tares, you being human, in your limited understanding, you’re going to look on the outside and go, ‘Oh that’s clearly a tare, you know, just look, he’s got so many tattoos on him, he’s got to be a tare.’  And this guy just loves Jesus, and you’re going to come over there and go ‘Rip!’, pull up that guy, get him out of here.  But it’s actually a child of God that loves the Lord, and is following the Lord.  So he doesn’t leave the ultimate separation to us.  Yeah, we deal with issues when they come, and they do come, when they’re clearly issues.  But when it comes to discerning the difference in the heart, that’s a God job.  And you can be somebody that on the surface is even today appears very carnal, I mean, you’re struggling with a lot of worldly things, very worldly, and divided, immoral things, and not really overly excited about the Bible.  And people around you might go, ‘I wonder if they’re a believer?’  But you might honestly be a believer, and it’s just a matter of time until that life, I mean, it’s just growing, and it’s going to grow more and more.  So, we’re not to go around and be the tare puller-uppers.  That’s the point, because it’s in the end, God in the end, when we come to the end of our lives, ultimately the day of judgment.  And he speaks in the futuristic sense when the angels are sent out, and he pulls in all that are his.  And all those that aren’t genuine are set aside for judgment, the Day of Judgment. 

 

An interesting thing about real wheat

 

Now, an interesting thing too about the wheat, is the wheat because it has the real grain, when it does produce that crop, it becomes very heavy.  And when it’s very heavy it begins to lay over.  And that also distinguishes it from the tare, because the tare doesn’t have that type of crop [fruit, grain], it stands straight.  So it looks different, type of thing on the top, but also the very reality of that fruit bows it low.  And that is a picture too, some have noted the picture that the real genuine item, another thing that differentiates it from the tare is they’re bowed low, meaning the real believer is somebody who has Christ as their Master.  And maybe it’s a growing thing, but he is my Master, I am bowed low, I worship him.  You don’t just see me come to church carrying my Bible and going to my car and it’s plastered with Christian bumper-stickers, and you can hear my Christian music coming out of my house as I play whatever Christian music very loud, but yet I’m never, ever alone with Christ, he’s not really my Lord and my Savior, there’s no connection intimately with him.  But it’s the ones who are bowed, I worship Christ.  If you were able to follow me with your spyglass, you’re going to see me now and then before my Lord, you’re going to see me now and then all quiet with him, because I love him and I know him, and I serve him, and I seek his face.  [Also, a sign that a person is bowed, he’s spiritually mature, is that life will be one who has godly humility, isn’t proud or boastful, like maybe a new-believer might be.  His life is filled with humility.  Often older believers, who have been believers for a long time, a sign of their maturity will be this humility, humble attitude they have towards others.  Just thought I’d point that out, because it seems to fit the analogy of ripened wheat as well.]  In the end he separates the two.  The darnel, the tares will go to be burnt up.  You know, the darnel, historically, if there wasn’t enough wood, it was useful to be burned.  And so it would be used in that way, if I don’t get enough wood, we’ll use the darnel, we’ll use this weed.  But the real stuff is put into the barn. And you see later in the interpretation he says that the righteous, when you get the darnel removed, the righteous now entering into the Kingdom Age with Christ, they will shine forth as the sun.  The Greek there speaks of the sun now peaking out from a cloud.  You know we’ve had a lot of thunderstorms, and man, those dark ominous clouds come.  I remember at our baptism just last week, you know we were actually doing a baptism, there were lightning bolts coming down, and I didn’t want these folks to get away, so I wanted to dunk them, and it was getting pretty hairy, you know what I mean, so we eventually had to stop.  Too hairy, we got out of the water, and it was dark and ominous.  And we just assumed it would pass by, and it did eventually pass by.  But you could see the sun again, you could see off in the distance that blue sky, and eventually the sun was out and it was beautiful weather again.  We went right back to the baptism.  But he says you get the darnel, you get the stuff muddying the water, clouding the picture, you get it out of the way, and now it’s the Church, beautiful, standing, the glorious Church, the glory of God shining forth in that time.  [And this can be taken both figuratively and literally, for believers right after the 1st resurrection to immortality will shine like the stars of heaven, cf. Daniel 12:1-3; 1st John 3:2; Revelation 1:13-16.] Hey, let’s look briefly at these last two parables, because they tie right in.

 

Last two parables, of the mustard seed, and of the leaven

 

Verses 31-32, “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 than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’”  So he says, ‘The kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of heaven’, here’s the second comparison, it’s like a mustard seed.  A mustard seed would be something that would be proverbially minute.  It isn’t the smallest seed, but it’s such a teeny-weeny little seed.  It is proverbially that you could use as an example of ‘This is something really small’, something that seems insignificant.  The Kingdom of heaven is like that mustard seed.  And you know, when Jesus is standing there, in the eyes of the world at this point, this man standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, it seems that way.  [Except for John the Baptist, who was now dead, Jesus may have been the only other person on earth who had the indwelling Holy Spirit.  So, as a physical representative of the kingdom of heaven on earth, Jesus was that tiny insignificant (to man that is) mustard seed.]  Go back to Bethlehem when he was just a baby in a manger, it seemed really insignificant, the kingdom of God is upon us.  It seems soo insignificant.  But even the whole time Christ was here, his whole ministry, you study the Roman historians, there’s some little references, Josephus, references about Christ.  But by and large there’s little there when they speak about what was significant in the world at the time.  Jesus isn’t mentioned too often.  So it seemed, at that time, insignificant.  But of course, there was incredible life going on, the Word of God, the life of God, and it just multiplied.  You get to the book of Acts, it’s not too long later people are going ‘These Christians are turning the world upside down!’.  So the mustard seed, starting seemingly insignificant.  But then as he mentions there, it becomes a tremendous plant.  You put it in your garden, it’ll be the tallest thing you plant, unless you plant a tree.  But it’ll grow a lot quicker.  It grows to as much as 12 feet tall.  And he says “it’s greater than the herbs and becomes a tree”.  It really literally isn’t a tree, it’s a bush, but it becomes very large, 3 meters, 12 feet tall, tremendous growth.  Now a tree in the Old Testament would represent growing authority and power, kingdom kind of power.  Daniel 4, Ezekiel 17 speaks of these kingdoms, like the kingdom of Tyre, this tree with all these huge branches and influence.  So there’s that picture there as he’s speaking of this mustard seed becoming a tree, a tremendous empire type of growth, starting in a humble manner, but then in time becoming something where all the branches go out and go very far.  But as you see here.  Now people interpret these parables differently, and you may have a different interpretation.  There are two primary ways to interpret this parable.  When I was looking, I looked at eight different commentaries, because parables, they say you shouldn’t teach parables unless you’ve been a pastor for 30 years.  I’m at ten years at this point.  [given in 2005, approximately], thinking ‘I need another 20.’  Some of these parables, Jesus doesn’t give the interpretation.  Like, ‘The meaning’s there, but what are all these things?  What does it mean?’  Again, these are not allegories, so not necessarily everything means something, it might just be there to add color.  But two different ways.  The point here is of tremendous growth, and everybody agrees with that.  But one side will say that’s all it means, it just means the Church is going to grow so quickly, it’ll touch the whole world---end of interpretation.  But now some, for instance, the birds are in there.  We just studied the birds earlier.  Some wonder, ‘The birds, do they have meaning?’.  And the other side says, ‘Yea, the birds do.’  And if the birds have meaning, then the birds always in Scripture represent something that is evil, we just saw in the previous parable [i.e. the parable of the sower, the birds eat up the good seed of the Gospel before it can grow.]. In the parable of the sower, the birds represented the enemy.  So, taking it that way, you have this tremendous growth, but now you have the darkness, because the growth is so great it starts to become abnormal, and the birds come in, and they start to become part of this system.  Interesting thing is, if you’ve studied Church history, that is what’s happened too, a lot of growth, but then birds have come in and weirdness has come in.  I mean, the Church today, in some cases, it’s this political power-house, there’s parts of the Church that are so wealthy, and they own a big part of the world’s wealth, and that’s not the kingdom of God, it’s just this machine, where men have carried their authority and hammer and clearly the enemy has gotten in there, and it’s become abnormal growth.  Personally, that’s the way I take it.  The reason why I do is found in Mark chapter 4, Jesus made a statement there, as he was sharing about the parable of the sower, the disciples came to him and said, ‘Hey, explain to us the parable of the sower.’  And he said ‘If you don’t understand this one, how are you going to understand the other parables?’  And it seems that if you understand that one, it’ll probably help you understand the other ones.  And in the parable of the sower the birds had a significant meaning.  And so it seems that the birds, the field, they all have that meaning.  The seed was the Word there, it was representing life, the seed here is representing life in another sense, of life-giving works.  So, the birds, representing a compromised growth.  And you just study the Church history, you go back to Constantine, Constantine becomes a Christian, very beautiful [I kind of disagree here, I firmly do not believe he became a real Christian, based on actual historic fact.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm, and that’s what this pastor is saying, in a kind of round-about way].  But now politically he makes the whole empire ‘Christian’, and now you’ve got all these things that are ‘Christian that aren’t Christian’.  You’ve got all these rituals today that have been inherited [from pagan Babylonian mystery religious practices], and different parts of the Church in all kinds of rituals and ceremonies, where they’re doing all kinds of things that ultimately go back to paganism, if you study it historically.  So, just as he said, it’s the enemy then that’s come in, and he sees the opportunity of the growth, he gets in there and he begins to make it abnormal, and gets the hearts of men working so that it’s strange. 

 

Last parable, about the leaven hidden in the meal

 

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.’”  So the kingdom of heaven is like leaven.  In the previous parable you have that tremendous growth.  Leaven here, the point is here a lot of influence.  You put little bit of leaven, it doesn’t take a lot, three measures of meal can be a significant amount of meal.  You may be able to feed a hundred people with that much meal, that much flour.  But this lady puts this little bit of leaven in there, and she mixes it together, and in time, that leaven has permeated and influenced that entire lump of meal.  [In a good way, or a bad way?]  So, the point being, the kingdom of heaven is like that influence, where it will go out and influence.  One is the seed, the mustard seed is the outward expansion, the leaven is this inward work.  Now, what does that mean?  Some just take it as that simple, it means the Church is going to have a lot of influence as it goes on, very insignificant, but it eventually has a lot of influence.  But then leaven, we know in the Scripture, often represents sin, every time leaven is mentioned it represents something that is evil.  Right?  You go back to the Old Testament, Passover, man they had to get the leaven out of their houses.  It represented sin.  The sacrifices couldn’t have leaven, only on the Pentecost could the loaves have leaven, and that was because it symbolized the Church, the Jewish believers and Gentile believers together.  Jesus, in Matthew 16, verse 6, leaven was false teaching.  Later, leaven was worldly compromise, leaven, leaven, leaven.  So then, the other side takes it, and this is the way I take it, is that there is this incredible influence, but because there’s the leaven aspect, the influence into the world isn’t always positive, and it becomes a corrupting influence.  And if you study the book of Revelation, that really does seem to happen at the end of the age, in the last days.  And the anti-Christ ties into that, this false prophet and such.  [Satan’s tares, historically got into the Church of God in Rome, and over the first two and a half centuries, created the proto-Catholic church, which 75 years later, under Constantine and Sylvester, squashed the true Judeo-Christian churches in Asia Minor, and became the overpowering so-called Christian church in the world throughout the Dark Ages.  Be sure to log on those links going to Revelation chapters 2 & 3, and that link to the history about Constantine.]  1st Corinthians 5:6, speaking of the leaven, Paul says to the church [in Corinth], ‘You’ve got leaven in your church’, then it was immorality, ‘and it’s going to leaven the whole lump if you don’t do something about it.’ 

 

Jesus has just revealed things hidden from the foundation of the world, since man first appeared on earth

 

Well as we’ve come to the end of our time, verses 34-35, “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable he did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

‘I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.’”

That prophet is Asaph, Asaph twice in the Old Testament is noted as a prophet and a seer.  In Psalm 78 he said “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”  And as Asaph was writing that, you read the first few verses of Psalm 78, it’s clearly Christ, it’s the heart and life of Christ speaking through him, and there’s no other option, it’s a Messianic statement.  And so here Jesus said that, fulfilling that prophecy.  ‘I say these things, I utter these things, it’s in parables.  And they’re secrets that have been since the foundation of the world, mysteries people have never understood, I’m now sharing’, Sea of Galilee, 2,000 years ago.  Some are going ‘Wow, man, I see the light here, that’s wild!’.  Others, these mysteries, it’s not meaning anything, because they’re not spiritually alive, and it’s just not going into their lives.  But incredibly, he’s sharing things about the Church, and the Church Age, this time we’re in, that was never understood, even before.  Let’s close our Bibles, let’s stand together…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Matthew 13:24-43, given somewhere in New England]

 

Related links:

 

How to tell a counterfeit from the real thing---know what the real thing looks like:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html

 

Seven era’s of Church history, as seen through Revelation 2&3:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-1-11.html

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-12-17.html

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-18-29.html

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html

 

The early Church, what was it really like?

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm

 

Constantine & Sylvester, hijack the Church, their history:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm   

 

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