DON’T PULL THE WEEDS- YET
This week we are talking about the parables of Jesus found in Matthew 13.
There are some common threads that run thru most of them.
Jesus taught about planting seeds- some make it- some don’t.
Yet- the sower [planter] starts the process with this in mind- that yes- some will fail.
But that’s part of life- chalk it up- mistakes will be made- learn from them- and move on.
Last week I was teaching the wisdom literature- it said ‘plant in the morning- cast your bread upon the water- give out many portions- who knows- maybe one or the other will make it’.
If you never try- then for sure nothing will make it!
Jesus said the kingdom was like a fisherman who cast a wide net- it caught all types of fish- when you pull the net to shore- separate the bad from the good- there does come a time of ‘separation’ when the cup [net] is full.
A man planted a crop- but at night when he was asleep- an enemy came and planted weeds- bad seeds.
When the field started producing- they saw the weeds too.
The servants said ‘do you want us to pull out the bad stuff now’?
He said no- because if you try and get the bad seed out now- it will harm the good.
But wait until the harvest- at that time you can pull out the bad- and then the good wheat will get harvested.
Jesus explains that these parables are about the end of the age [world] and at the judgment time God sends forth his angles [also can mean messengers- preachers- etc.] and they will discern between good and bad.
A common theme in these teachings is there comes a time of judgment- there comes a time when the bad stuff gets removed.
But it’s not our job to try and ‘remove’ it before the time.
The church is in the word to be a light for all nations- to preach the good news about Gods love and forgiveness.
Too often we try to pull out the bad- spend a lot of time focusing on what we perceive to be the bad stuff in others.
Now- that time will come someday- but it’s really not our job to go and pull out the bad weeds before the time- because we can harm the good stuff in the process.
In one of the meetings I did this past week- one of the guys brought up Islam- he asked ‘are they right- or wrong- that’s a yes or no answer’.
Now- like Colin Powell said once ‘you can ask the question- but I’ll decide how to answer’.
I told my friend that it’s not a ‘yes or no answer’.
I explained that there are good parts found in the Islamic religion- that the teaching about giving to one’s neighbor is practiced- many times it is done more in line with the teachings of Jesus then what many Christians practice.
I got into the history of Islam- told my friend I taught it in the past- and yes- I did say that in the area of Jesus as God’s Son- they have it wrong [according to Christian belief].
But- I prefer to have a dialogue with all people- all religions- all back grounds- that I might have some positive influence in the end.
If we simply bash the other guy- then they will never stick around long enough to hear the good stuff.
In these parables there is a process to things- we plant- we water- we wait.
We do it in love- with patience- we warn people that there is coming a judgment day- but for those who believe in Christ- that day has already happened.
He took the judgment of God for sin- nailed sin/law to the Cross- and wiped away the ‘handwriting of ordinances that was against us’ [Ephesians].
In the teaching of Jesus we see a simple understanding of the End Times- the resurrection of the just and unjust- and a final judgment- and reward/penalty for those who have done good- and those who have done evil.
The End Times teaching of Jesus is not as convoluted as the many scenarios we see in the modern day prophecy teachings.
Recently I have had people say ‘John- some of the guys you are trying to help- they have burned you [true] they have done you wrong [true] yet- I know you believe that Jesus wants you to forgive them- but they take advantage of you’.
I see stuff- I realize that I have in some ways bent over backwards with some of these guys- yet- I believe that some will change, some will make it.
I try and cast a net that does not discriminate- I try not to pull out the weeds before the time- because I don’t always know for sure who are the good seed- and who are the bad.
In the time of harvest- when the crop is full- yes- God will indeed make a separation- but for now- I’m letting both grow together.
In the parables about the kingdom – we see in ‘seed’ form Jesus himself.
One of the early church fathers used to say that ‘Jesus is the kingdom’ in a way I agree.
He is the treasure hidden in a field- he is the pearl of great price- he is the mustard seed- the ‘smallest’ [least] of all seeds- but when it is planted [dies and buried] it becomes this huge tree- the birds of the air nest in it.
Jesus was talking about John the Baptist one day- he said ‘no one born of a woman is greater than John- yet he that is least [small seed] in the kingdom is greater than he’.
Many years ago I had a friend involved in the occult- he studied it- told me ‘John- these things do work’.
He struggled with being a Christian- and then ‘backsliding’ back into the occult.
He told me one time that there was a technique he used- he said ‘you make yourself small’.
Meaning you become less- then the person you are targeting sees you as small- then he said you later come on BIG- it was an intimidation tactic.
Jesus obviously did not use occult methods- but he became small- he took the least place- he was the ‘least in the kingdom’ who was greater than John the Baptist.
Jesus said ‘except a seed fall into the ground- and die- it remains alone [one seed] but- if it die- it will bring forth much fruit’.
The sacrifice of Christ for the world has produced a huge crop- a big tree- the church- the people of God fill the world today.
When we preach- and exemplify the love of God- we are casting the net- we are sowing the seed- we are infiltrating the world.
Not for self interest- for some conservative agenda- no- that’s a big mistake in my mind.
We are preaching the Good News- that God loves us- he gave his Son to be the seed that would become the tree- see?
In these parables of Jesus we see that there is a process to things- there are times when the ‘cup is full’ so to speak- the harvest is ready.
That’s when the good and the bad get separated.
I haven’t commented on geopolitical events in a while.
But there has been lots going on in the world- more than usual.
I believe we are in a sense in one of these time periods- where things are come to a crisis point.
You might say ‘John- haven't these things been going on for years’?
Yes- but if you watch closely- there worse this time around.
Nations have used language [Russia- China] and done deeds- that are reminiscent of the cold war- things that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
The instability in the world is bad- worse than in a very long time.
In the beginning of this year I said I believe that something will happen this year- in the area of judgment- and it will hit in our country.
I still believe this- the cup is full- lots of stuff that is playing out on the world stage right now are signs- things are going to happen.
I am not in any way an ‘end times’ type of guy- getting into all the scenarios of which country will invade the other- many of these ‘prophecies’ are misguided in my view.
They are ancient prophecies we read about- yes- in the bible- but I am not into reading these prophecies as current events.
Most of these prophecies were referring to events- and world issues- at the time they were written [this would take a while to teach- and right now I don’t have the time].
But- having said that- just a cursory view of the news shows us that stuff is getting bad- and there is indeed a timetable to things.
Our job [the church] is to show the love and compassion God has for all ‘sides’- yes- he loves the Palestinian- as much as the Jew.
He loves the Syrians- the Iraqis- yes- those in these nations who are at war with each another- he loves them all.
This is not to say that we condone the actions of violence- aggression- on any side.
No- all killing is wrong- Isaiah says there should be ‘war no more’.
This is not some liberal positon- it’s God’s will.
I’m not naïve- I know we live in a world where stuff happens- but we need to reject the settling of our differences by killing people- that never works.
It just releases a wave of more killing- violence begets violence.
I could write much about all the reasons the world is on fire right now- try and give the viewpoint of ‘the other’.
But- if we can get closer to the biblical mandate- that killing is indeed wrong- for the Christian- for the Muslim- for the Jew- for all the various groups that do profess belief in Gd.
If we can understand that God himself rejects the taking of human life- then we can work from there.
The kingdom that we are talking about this week is headed by Jesus Christ- called the Prince of Peace.
When he was unjustly accused- brought before the courts- sentenced to death- his men would have fought for him- but he already taught them that his kingdom was not about violent action.
One of his disciples was a Zealot- they were guerilla fighters of the first century who wanted to mount a violent overthrow of Rome [Simon was a Zealot- not Peter- he was a disciple of Jesus].
Jesus taught them another way ‘those that live by the sword will die by it’.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the way- not just a mental ascent to belief in him- but following the pattern that he gave us.
Love never fails, love covers a multitude of sins- love does not keep a record of the wrongs that others have done to us.
Love rejects violence- vengeance- choosing the way of the gun/sword in order to accomplish some goal.
Jesus let the authorities kill him- unjustly- and thru this act he redeemed the world.
He was nailed to a tree- Cross- and thru this act became the ‘tree that fills the whole earth’.
Yeah- we see the kingdom in this man- the Son of God.
Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.Matthew 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Matthew 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.