Saturday, June 19, 2021

That Tares It !

Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

This 13th chapter of Matthew introduces us to several “Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.”  We looked last week at the first mystery, the Parable of the Sower. He sowed his seeds broadly, without heed to any specific soil type. Given the diversity of soil types throughout Israel, every sower of plant seed would recognize what they had experienced themselves. Such is the way God spreads His Good News to the world.

The Word of God is to be spread wide and broad, without regard to nation, race or ethnicity. Where the seed falls is important. The spreading of it is what God directs us to do. It is the condition of the “landing zone” which usually determines the success of the seed developing and providing fruit. The point is that all of us need to be exposed to God’s Word. That’s the intention of Evangelism. But not everyone’s heart is prepared to receive it.

The parables of the tares, the mustard seed and the leaven introduce us to problems resulting in compromised doctrine, exposing laxness in the handling God’s Word, and human deceivers who zealously attack the Church and her doctrines that should be zealously defended!

Yet this is how “new” religions are formed: Scraps of God’s truth are mixed with the doctrines of men. This is also why “the church” must be careful in it’s teachings, and why its ministers are held to a high standard (Hebrews 12:17). We are warned of false teachers and prophets repeatedly, and therefore, their false teachings as well.

So Chapter 13 of Matthew serves us as a teaching, and also a warning. How we handle the Word of God is vitally important. The scriptures mention in Judges 5:14 “they that handle the pen of the writer.” Genesis 4:21 speaks of musicians who handle the harp and organ.” 1 Chronicles 12:8 speaks of those “that could handle shield and buckler.” In all these cases, a level of practice and expertise is involved to perform designated tasks well. Should Jesus not expect the same expertise from Christians and ministers when handling His Word? It seems that anything less would be sacrilegious, with judgment to follow!
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  - 2 Timothy 2:15

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 13:23-43 - "That Tares It!"

There are over 100 references in the New Testament which show the necessity of having ears that will hear the message of the Gospel, the message of God’s kingdom. Some address the terrible results of not listening to what God has said. From his prison cell, Paul even told Timothy that “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The majority of passages, however, stress the benefits of hearing the message that has been recorded, promising that the more one listens, the more one will understand Kingdom principles.

The Parables of Jesus are full of symbolism.  To understand the symbolism of a scripture, you need to go back and find where it is used in the scriptures, and if it is interpreted in the scripture, then you're on good ground to know exactly what it is. 

There is in the science of scripture interpretation, or hermeneutics, the Law of First Use, which means how it was used.  There is also the Law of Expositional Constancy, which means that the symbolism is consistent from one parable to the next.   In other words, in the Parable of the Sower, the "seed" is always the Word of God.   The "field" is always the people.  The "ground" is always the condition of the heart and so forth.  This type of expositional constancy is extremely important in the understanding of parables. 

Two vivid illustrations from our Lord’s teaching speak to the way eternal truths are received in the world: the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8). The illustration of the sower identifies the seed as “the word” and gives us the picture of how we can expect the word to be received when it is “sown” throughout the world. Sometimes the word is not understood (Matthew 13:19), and Satan comes immediately (Mark 4:15) and “takes away the word out of their hearts” (Luke 8:12). Clearly, some hearts will not be receptive to the truths of Scripture; their ears will not hear.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares speaks to this same issue from God’s perspective. The Son of Man  sows “sons of the kingdom,” and the devil sows “sons of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:37-39). The earthly aspect of God's kingdom (essentially churches and other organizations participating in the work of the kingdom in the name of Christ) is in view here. This includes both false Christians as well as true believers. From the Parable of the Sower, it seems that both emotional believers and worldly believers may provide the "soil" in which the "tares" sown by the enemy can thrive, the "leaven" of false doctrine can spread, and "birds of the air" that devour the good seed can lodge. 

The "tares"  or false converts grow along side the "wheat" or true believers until the harvest.  Apparently, even the angels of God are unable to tell the difference (Matthew 13:28-29). They are told to wait and let them grow together until the end of the age before they are authorized to gather “those who practice lawlessness” out of His Kingdom and “cast them into the furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:39-42). Evidently, there are those among the children of the Kingdom who are mistaken for “ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15).

Insert included in today's teaching:  A Reader's Digest Article Critical of the Interfaith World...

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