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Matt. 13:24-30 WHEAT OR TARES?
Intro: In this chapter, Jesus gives no less than 8 parables. In these "earthly stories with heavenly meanings" Jesus speaks about God's plan of salvation, the work of Satan, the fickle nature of the human heart and the greatness of the kingdom of heaven. After Jesus had finished telling the first four parables, the disciples came to Him to ask Him a question. Notice verse 36. They didn't ask about the sower, the soils or the seed; they didn't ask about the mustard seed or the leaven. When they asked Jesus to explain a parable, they asked Him to explain the one that is the focus of our attention this morning; the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Why did they choose this one over al the others? Well, the Bible doesn't say for sure, but I am going to venture a guess. My guess is that this parable contained some element or the other that troubled these 12 men. And, I have to honest and tell you ,some of the elements of this parable bother me! By way of introduction, let's examine this parable using Christ's own explanation of it and notice some reasons why this parable, of all the eight He told that day, caught the attention of the disciples.
Ill. The Context. A farmer plants a wheat field. He uses good seed and plants the crop expecting a good harvest. However, while he and his servants slept, his enemy entered his field and planted tares among the wheat. What are "tares"? Basically, they are weeds that go by the name "Bearded Darnel". In the early stages of its development, it looks exactly like wheat. It is only when the plant has matured and the kernels have form in the head of the genuine wheat plant that the 2 plants can told one from the other. The bottom line is this: The wheat has fruit in its head, while the head of the tares is filled with little black seeds. So, the field looks good, the farmer is getting excited about harvesting a bumper crop. It seems that there is more wheat growing than he expected, (Ill. the word "among" verse 25). However, as the harvest grew nearer, it became apparent that there were tares among the wheat. The servants discover the tares and come in to tell the master about the problem. You see, they were able to tell the difference because as the wheat develops, and the kernels grow inside the head of the wheat plant, the weight of the kernels causes the wheat stalk to bend, making the head appear to be bowing toward the earth. The tares, on the other hand, have light heads and they continue to stand straight and tall! The servants see the problem and offer to pull up the tares, but the master, knowing that the roots of the tares have intertwined with those of the wheat, forbids them. He knows that if the tares are pulled up, that much of the wheat will be uprooted along with them. His counsel is to let them grow together until the harvest, then he will send in the reapers to gather the tares first and bind them to be burned. Then the wheat will be gathered and placed in his barns.
In explaining this parable, Jesus gives His disciples, and us, the identities of those involved in this story. The sower os Christ. The good seed is the Gospel of grace. The one who sowed tares is the devil. The wheat are those who are saved. The tares are those who are unsaved, but have the appearance of salvation. The tares are those in the church who look saved, act saved, sound saved, but who are in truth deceived about their salvation. The tares are those who expect to go to heaven when they die, but will, in fact, go to hell! You see, just like tares, lost sinners, even those who act saved, are good for one thing and one thing only, and that is to be burned.
I am almost 100% sure that I am preaching to some today who are tares. Now, you think you are saved. You hope to are saved. You know the lingo of the church, you look saved and act as saved as anyone around you, but you have never really been born again.
I have just one objective in preaching this message, and that is to get each of you to do what the Apostle Paul commanded the Corinthians to do, 2 Cor. 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?", and to do what the Apostle Peter told his readers to do in 2 Peter 1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" The question may come this morning, "Preacher, why are you preaching this message to us?" The answer is: I don't want you to go through life being deceived about your salvation and ending up in hell! I want you to be sure that you are saved by the grace of God!
Are you wheat? Or, are you tares? Someone might say, "Preacher, we're all saved today! There's no need for a message like this!" Friend, you don't know that! You say, "I know that my Mama is saved!" No you don't! "I know my Daddy is saved!" No you don't! "Well, I know my kids are saved!" No you don't! The truth is, you don't know about anyone but yourself, and you may even be wrong about that! Think about this, there are over 200 million Americans who are church members. If they are all saved, then why is there crime, abortion, drinking, drugs, sexual immorality and hellish living in our society? If they are all saved, then why do young people who claim to be saved have premarital sex at the same rate as the world? The truth of the matter is that people often think that they are wheat when they are in fact tares. Allow me to share 3 brief thoughts with you that tell what the wheat and the tares have in common, but which also point out what makes them so different.
While I preach this message, I beg you not to tune me out. Please let the Lord speak to your heart today. If you are saved, this message won't hurt you, but if you are lost, it could be the turning point of your life. Let God speak to you today.
I. V. 24-25 BOTH WERE PLANTED TOGETHER
Both the wheat and the tares shared the common experience of having been planted. The difference in the experience is revealed in 2 very important ways.
I. Both Were Planted Together
II. v. 26-30a BOTH PROGRESSED TOGETHER
I. Both Were Planted Together
II. Both Progressed Together
III. V. 30b BOTH WERE PROCESSED TOGETHER
Eventually the day of harvest arrived. The reapers were sent into the field to gather the tares first, and then the wheat. How could they tell the difference now? It is easy at this stage, because as the wheat matures, the head becomes filled with kernels and the weight of the kernels causes the stalk of the wheat plant to bend toward the ground. The seeds in the head of the tare are light. This allows the tare to stand tall. (Ill. The picture here is plain and clear. As a genuine believer grows in the Lord he tends to become more humble before the presence of God. The tare, on the other hand, will stand in his pride and go to hell clinging tightly to his false beliefs and foolishness.) When harvest time came, they were both gathered, but they had vastly different ends.
Conc: As we try to bring all of these thoughts together, I would like to close with something of a warning to you. I want to ask you this question: How are tares made? Where do they come from? How do they get into the church? Well, it is the work of Satan, but there are some things that you need to beware of as you walk through life.1. Beware Of Good Works - It is easy to substitute good works for salvation. Often, the tares are not the worst ones we can think of, they are the best. They are busy and active in the church, but they are lost nonetheless. Don't let a seat in the choir, a job in the church, or something good you have done send you to Hell!
2. Beware Of Good Beliefs - There is a real danger in coming to a church like this one. The danger is that we tell you the truth and that so much truth is preached and taught here that it is easy to learn the doctrines and to believe the right things, while never actually believing in the right Person! You see, you can believe the Bible and every word in it, and still go to Hell. You don't believe me? Name me a verse that the devil doesn't believe, James 2:19. He believes it all, and even trembles at it, but he will never be saved. You can believe it and go to Hell! It won't make a difference in your life until you bow before the Lord in repentance for your sins and receive the atoning death of Jesus as your only hope of salvation. You can believe in the blood, the resurrection, the virgin birth and every other fundamental doctrine of the faith and still die lost. They cannot help you until you come to Jesus as a lost sinner and repent of your sins. Some of you need to do that this morning! You have grown up under sound Bible preaching, but you have never been born again. You have never been brought under Holy Ghost conviction and repented of your sins. Oh, you belief right, but you have never acted on those beliefs and been saved. Don't let good doctrine send you to Hell!
3. Beware Of Good People - There are people all around you that wouldn't hurt you for all the money in the world, but who would send you to Hell without even realizing it. My own grandmother almost did it to me. Don't ever let the words and assurances of another serve as the foundation for your salvation! Well meaning people can send you to Hell by trying to assure you that you are right with God.
4. Beware Of Good Feelings - Sometimes we have emotional services around here. There are some pretty intense feelings during those services. It is easy to feel the emotion and maybe cry a little and even give a testimony and tell about that time when you were afraid and went to the altar, or when you had some experience or the other. You just need to know that those emotional feelings cannot save your soul! I like the good feelings, but I am not counting on them to get me to Heaven! I am saved whether I feel like it or not because I am trusting Jesus Christ for my salvation. What about you?
God has spoken to some of your hearts this morning. You say, "Preacher, the devil is trying to make me doubt my salvation this morning." I just want to say, I doubt it! There are times when He may do that. When you are genuinely saved and trying to serve the Lord, he may come to you and tell you that you aren't saved and cannot serve the Lord in an effort to defeat you. But, in a service like this, the devil would be cutting his own throat to tell you that you were lost. If you were and you went to the altar and got saved, he would lose you to God and he doesn't want that. If someone is speaking to your heart and telling you that you are a tare and that you are lost, it's the Holy Spirit. He is calling you to come and get it settled today. Friend, if He is calling you right now, please let nothing or no one stand in your way. Get to this altar and get in nailed down right now. Don't let pride or what others might think about you to hold you back. Don't let you position in the church stop you. If God is calling come to Him today. If there is the slightest twinge of doubt in your heart, get to the altar, get to God and get it settled right now and forever. Others have done it in the past, today, it is your time. You come and honor the call of the Lord in your heart. Allow Him to transform you from a tare into the real deal right now.