Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


Getting Into The Weeds

Matthew 13:24-33

Today we are going to talk about three parables that give us an idea of the effect of the gospel in the world. Last time we looked at the parable of the sower, which describes how the individual is or is not open to the gospel. Now we turn outward to look at how the gospel spreads. First century Jews would have been familiar with the concept of the kingdom of God. Daniel especially spoke about an everlasting kingdom. God\'s promise to David was that there would be someone always on his throne.

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They looked for a political kingdom, Jesus came to explain that His kingdom would start in ways they did not expect and would be a spiritual kingdom before it was a physical kingdom on this earth, which means it exists invisibly, for now.

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24 - 30

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Darnel (Tares or False wheat) grows in Syria and Israel to a meter in height. It is poisonous and is black when ripe, whereas wheat turns brown. It is very similar to wheat until the heavy heads on the real wheat weigh down the plant-this doesn\'t happen with darnel. To purposefully plant darnel in a field was punishable under Roman law.

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\"An enemy did this.\" Evil comes from Satan, not God.

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Ezekiel 28:15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.

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The presence of weeds does not stop the growth of the wheat.

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31 - 32

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Like a diamond, which you need to turn it around in the light to see all its facets, so too the effect of the gospel must be seen from various pictures. This one tells us that although the kingdom of God starts small, with just Jesus Himself, it will grow into a significant thing, just as a mustard seed starts out as one of the smallest, but grows into a tree 10-12 feet tall in just weeks.

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Normally a kingdom would come into new territory by a massive overwhelming force, but Jesus came alone-His kingdom, as we\'ll see next, grows on the inside but is very powerful and all encompassing. Today there are over 1 billion Christians in the world (www.Christianity.com).

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33

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If you add a small amount of yeast to bread dough it will consume sugar and release carbon dioxide throughout the dough. In the same way, adding a small amount of the gospel spreads invisibly but thoroughly throughout the world. Yeast itself doesn\'t add color or taste but does give texture and lightness to what otherwise would be a hard crusty loaf. Even though you can\'t see that someone is a Christian or not, the character of light that the Holy Spirit gives to each one of us permeates our character and spreads out to others.

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34 - 35

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Jesus is quoting from Psalms 78:2-4 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

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This Psalm was used to remind Israel of all that God had done for them - and the way many rebelled against God. A parable is a story with a spiritual point, and Jesus\' point was to remind people of things they should have known, but were now blind and deaf to based on their own rebellion.

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The stories are simple, perhaps too simple, but if you let them sink in their effect is profound.

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Now Jesus explains the parable of the weeds:

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36 - 43

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I think it\'s important for us to look at the overall flow and what Jesus emphasizes in the story. Essentially the parable seems to be about the infiltration of weeds into an otherwise good field, who is responsible for it, and what and when to do something about the weeds. Let\'s talk about those four things:

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1.????? Evil coexists with good during this in-between time, even inside the church

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2 Peter 2:1-2 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. ESV

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The Bible also describes them as \"ravenous wolves\" that come in \"sheep\'s clothing\" (Matthew 7:15). We should not let evil influence us (as darnel doesn\'t stop the growth of wheat) but should know that it is there.

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2.????? There are good seeds and bad. There are those who belong to God\'s kingdom, and those who do not and will not. Not everyone in the church will be saved. You are saved by knowing Jesus and Him knowing you, not by joining an organization.

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3.????? It isn\'t up to us to determine who is wheat and who is a weed but we can certainly get some hints and perhaps help a weed become wheat

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Matt 7:15-16 \"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep\'s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. NIV

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So look for the fruit-the character of Jesus lived out in their lives. If you don\'t see it, it isn\'t your job to condemn but to encourage and share the truth.

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4.????? There is a distinct difference between the destination for the good seed and the weeds

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What Jesus says is true and should be taken seriously. He says it plainly in chapter 25, that at the end of the age, when He sits enthroned on planet earth, along with the angels, the people will be separated into sheep and goats. Those that knew Jesus, and bore fruit that comes automatically with that relationship, will be ushered into the kingdom, those that did not know him will be relegated to a very unpleasant place outside of all light, comfort, and hope. (Matthew 25:31-46).

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Characteristics of weeds:

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The most successful are the most like the real plant

Appear almost indistinguishable in the early stages of growth

Difference is the ability to produce nutritious fruit, not just more weed seeds

Another difference is the ability of the real plant to withstand environmental difficulties.

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Examples of pretenders:

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Luke 19:11-27 Man who kept the mina but didn\'t do anything with it. He gave it back.

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Luke 19:20-21 Then another came, saying, \'Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in? a handkerchief;? 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are? a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.\'

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How do you tell a true believer? Jesus said (John 10:27-28) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

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Who are they? Sometimes they are \"leaders\"

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Jude 12-13 These are blemishes? on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear,? looking after themselves;? waterless clouds,? swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead,? uprooted; 13? wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of? their own shame;? wandering stars,? for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

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2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

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So what are we to do?

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1.????? Understand that not everyone is a believer just because they call themselves a Christian.

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2.????? Don\'t try yourself to root everyone out of the church who you think is a weed.

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3.????? At the same time, be careful who you trust in terms of modeling and following. Look for sound doctrine in what they say and an example of Jesus in what they do.

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There is also somewhat of an analogy between this parable about the kingdom of God in the world and the kingdom of God in our lives. Is the character of Jesus, though it started small, with just a profession of faith, growing more significant in your life? Is the presence of the Holy Spirit, though invisible to the outside world, spreading to every area of your life? The analogy breaks down when it comes to the weeds. The enemy is at work in your life planting seeds of doubt and temptation. Unlike the kingdom, the Lord wants us to root out that evil now and not let it grow.

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In a way, though, as long as we live in this body we will always have a sinful nature that seeks to bend us toward doing evil. The Scriptures tell us to \"put to death\" that old man:

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Col 3:5-10 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.? 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away:? anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

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And thanks be to God, in Jesus Christ we have the power to do just that more and more each day!