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First Church of the Tares Mt. 13:34 - 43

October 4, 2015 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel of Matthew

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 13:34–13:43

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34All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.

35This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES;
I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”

36Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40“So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43“Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Last week we looked at 3 parables. The darnel sown together with the wheat by an enemy, The mustard seed and resultant tree full of the birds of the air, and the leaven.

And we found in each, something pertaining to this great mystery, the church age. Something unimaginable to the disciples. What is the church. Their world was Judaism. God's chosen people. Yet Jesus comes along and says the field is the world.

God will have sons of His Kingdom, world wide. That's brand new. And the disciples, like us, are slow. You don't get your head wrapped around something earth shatteringly different from everything you've ever known in five minutes.

Sons! Who are under the authority of God, and not under the authority of Satan. Everywhere. All over the world. Vast! How? How will that happen?

And Jesus is talking in circles. Meaningless to the people trying to make head or tales out of it. A woman putting yeast into the bread dough doesn't mean anything. Unless someone tells you what it means.

You realize that until this day, there were no parables. Jesus spoke to them in direct communication. The sermon on the mount is very direct. No riddles.

Then, this awful day. The amazement of the masses. A demon cast out. A man made whole. And the rulers of Israel say, He does His tricks because He's complicit with Satan. And it's over for Israel.

The pinnacle of evidence. No one before or after these men ever had this level of revelation that God is in your midst. And they've come up with the wrong answer. They blasphemed the Spirit of God who was giving the evidence via miracles. The pinnacle of evidence was repaid with the pinnacle of blasphemy.

Jesus takes a break. Goes down to the shore. And when the crowds follow Him there, He from this point on, only speaks to them in riddles. No explanation for the riddles is given.

Matthew says; Vs. 34All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.

Satan? Really? The tricks are from Satanic powers? It's like somebody flipped a switch, and it's just over. Later, Jesus, alone, will weep for these people. Not this day, although we don't know what was going on inside His chest.

Heartbreak? God effectively closed the door on His people and opens the door to the whole world. And the next thing out of His mouth is riddles. Meaningless stories with no one to assign any meaning.

And then, Matthew says something very weird. Very weird. This next verses has theologians scrambling for meaning. All kinds of responses. All over the map. But you're in luck. I'm not a theologian.

35This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES;
I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”

The words are from the Psalms. Psalm 78, which is a maskil of Asaph. You say, what's that. A maskil is a Psalm with intent to teach the people. Asaph is recognized by King Hezekiah as a seer. So Matthew's choice to call him a prophet is founded there.

The liberal theologians who want to dice up the Bible into man made pieces say, Matthew's just grabbing at straws. He's grabbing anything he wants out of the old testament and saying it's prophetic and that this somehow fulfils it. He's playing fast and loose with the scriptures. Making things fit where they don't fit. Asaph isn't a prophet, and this is a Psalm about the history of Israel.

The words are from Psalm 78. And it isn't prophecy and fulfilment in the normal sense that we think of. Some prophet prophecies judgement on Edom and then 80 years later Edom is judged. Prophecy - fulfillment. That isn't what's happening here.

What is happening here is that Matthew is saying, "I've heard this song before." Parables. Dark sayings. Where was that? Who said that? Asaph did in Psalm 78.

I'll just read you the first couple of verses of that Psalm of Asaph.

Ps. 78:1, 2  1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

Does that sound familiar? Is there an echo in the room. Is that not exactly what Jesus keeps saying non stop. He who has ears, let him hear. Listen! and no one listened.

2I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,

The 78th Psalm is too long to read this morning. 72 verses. If we did the Psalms on Sunday mornings some time, it would take 4 weeks to get through it. But I'd encourage you to go home and read it.

It reads like a re-run of Jesus whole ministry. It's the entire history of Israel up until David. And for 72 verses God tells them to listen to Him and Do what He says and they never do. Asaph recounts all the mighty works God did for them, and they never believe. It's 72 verses of stiff necked rebellion and refusal to believe and obey God.

Let me read you a handful of verses from that Psalm;
31The anger of God rose against them
And killed some of their stoutest ones,
And subdued the choice men of Israel.

32In spite of all this they still sinned
And did not believe in His wonderful works.

33So He brought their days to an end in futility
And their years in sudden terror.

34When He killed them, then they sought Him,
And returned and searched diligently for God;

35And they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer.

36But they deceived Him with their mouth
And lied to Him with their tongue.

37For their heart was not steadfast toward Him,
Nor were they faithful in His covenant.

38But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them;
And often He restrained His anger
And did not arouse all His wrath.

39Thus He remembered that they were but flesh,
A wind that passes and does not return.

40How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness
And grieved Him in the desert!

41Again and again they tempted God,
And pained the Holy One of Israel.

And Matthew is like, it's the same song. This day is Psalm 78 all over again. And that's where he takes us. It's the same bad dream. In that sense, this Psalm of Asaph is prophetic of what has just happened to Israel. Again. And this time, the door is shut until the church age is over.

That in itself is stunning. A seachange. Other than judgement, God will not deal with His people Israel again until the time of Jacob's trouble ushers in the physical Kingdom they were promised.

That isn't to say, jews cannot be saved. But it is to say, they will be saved, individually by coming out of their false religious system in this world and coming into Christ's kingdom the same exact way any of us do.

Now, the disciples are rather like you and me. We like to talk about how thick they are, how slow, but that isn't really any more true of them than it is of us. Maybe less so. Because this same day, Jesus has already answered their questions about, why the parables. They don't ask that question twice. They got it.

Now, Jesus dismisses the crowd and goes into the house. Probably Peter's house. Anyways it's a scene change. The masses are gone. Dismissed. After hearing stories about Mustard trees and horicultural problems, with no further explanation given. Just pointless stories.

But the disciples have been told, their blindness has been answered by a total eclipse. They won't be seeing. Their deafness has been answered by virtual silence. They won't be hearing. But to you it has been given to hear and see and understand.

It still works that way today. Exactly. Hardness is met with hardening that makes the hardness, harder as it were. Deafness is met with further deafness. People who come in with a chip on their shoulder and have the privilege of hearing the truth, but then reject it, leave with a bigger chip. Unbelief compounds itself. Every rejection makes it harder to ever receive.

But to those who are the chosen, the elect, our ears are opened and like Paul who had scales fall off of his eyes, our eyes are opened to see and understand things that God reserves to give to those who belong to Him. We have that access. And that's what the disciples are putting to use here!

36Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.

Finally the crowds are gone and the disciples have Jesus to themselves. In the high Priestly prayer of John 17, Jesus doesn't pray for the unbelievers, He prays for these men, and future ones like them that the Father will give to Him.

He confronted the world, but He gives His life to these. And to us. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. And we go to Jesus just like these disciples did and ask the same question. I ask this and other questions over and over every week as I prepare. “Explain to me the parable of the tares of the field.” If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask . . Jesus is still in the disciple building business. He loves to give us the answers.

And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

37And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.

We know what the good seed is from before, right. It's the gospel of the Kingdom. Repentence from sin. Grace. Forgiveness. Come out of this world, Satan's kingdom and by grace and forgiveness, be a Son of God's kingdom. Jesus will make that happen for you if you just ask, in repentence.

That is Jesus message. And then it was His disciples message. And then it was the true church's message, and now it is our message. We sow the good seed, the same seed, that Jesus sowed

Notice what He calls Himself here. Son of Man. Because we're going to see another song we've heard before in what Jesus says this day to His disciples.

38and the field is the world This throws people a curve. Two of the men I enjoy the most both are adamant that this isn't the church. This is the world. I dis-agree, as I also said last week. If you're interested, I'd encourage you to read last weeks study on the web page. tonopahchurch.org

The reason it's the world is because Jesus just shut the door to Israel and opened the door to what? The whole world. Judaism belonged to Israel. The church belongs to the world.

Kingdom of God vss kingdom of Satan is a world wide battleground. The church is a world wide battleground. If you make this NOT the church, who are the sons of the Kingdom? The other group of people who belong to God besides the church? There is no other group of people besides the church in this age who belong to God!

From last week, I said; Some expositors are adamant that this is not the church! It's the world. OK, but, it's a picture of the authority of God to reign, the Kingdom of God, in the world. And for our purposes, that's the church.

You simply can't make any sense out of two opposing groups, one being
Son's of the Kingdom and the other sons of satan, in this age, world wide, without it being the church.

37And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels

This time there's no discussion of soils. The seeds produce. Good seed, sons of the Kingdom. Bad seed, sons of the evil one.

Good seed is the gospel about the Kingdom. The good news that we were bankrupt, helpless, vile sinners, and God accomplished redemption through the death of His Son in our place, and then freely gives it to us through faith alone. We leave the old world, Satan's world behind. We repent of that world, and embrace the Kingdom. God's rule over our lives.

Bad seed is all the other stuff that sounds religious but falls short of the true gospel. Or adds to it. We could go on for days describing false religious systems.

I will take time to talk about one possibility though. In 2 Timothy Paul speaks about the last times. Final things. We think that we are the generation he was speaking of here. We believe we are in these "last times". Listen to Paul as he describes a time and a place in chapter 3.

2Tim. 3:1 - 5 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

Now, we would stop right there and say, yep, that describes our nation in 2015. Irreconcileably lost folks wandering around in their lusts. But what does that have to do with the church? Listen to the next words . .

5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;

He's talking about people who claim to BE the church. You can be a christian and engage in every kind of sexual pleasure and deviation you want to. You can be a christian and do all of the stuff in that long list Paul just gave us. Jesus has no claim on your life. All you have to do is believe.

The old gospel song says; Only believe, Only believe, all things are possible, only believe.

And I don't want to cast any dispersions on the fellow who wrote that song, but the modern church has turned that into their gospel. Believe is the only thing needed. Believe in Jesus. That's all that's required. Just believe. Believe!

But the modern church has forgotten what James the apostle said in his book. Thou believest in God? Thou doest well . . the demons also believe and tremble.

Demon faith is better than the modern church faith. At least they tremble. The modern gospel has fallen short of being good seed. Believing Jesus is who He says He is and that He did what He said He did is not enough. The demons believe all of it.

The gospel of the kingdom is that you repent of this world and all of it's stuff and step out of this world and into God's world. Through faith in the finished work of Christ, through repentence, God takes ownership of you.

The luke warm church has a gospel. Just believe in Jesus and go ahead and do anything you want. You'll be fine. Jesus will save you. Don't worry about premarital sex. Don't worry about extramarital sex. Don't worry about homosexual sex. Don't worry about lieing and cheating and stealing and whatever else is on that list that describes your life style. Jesus is gonna take care of it for you. You don't need to change. You don't need to worry. It's all good. Don't worry, be happy. Just believe.

Here's what that gospel says. You can stay in Satan's world and keep all of your favorite sins and Jesus will fix it. You can have Satan's world AND Jesus. Only believe. Only believe. Jesus will fix it. Only believe.

Folks, that is the prevalent gospel, and that is a FALSE gospel. That gospel is from Satan, and it is producing a luke warm church full of tares. Sons of the Devil.

You can't be a son of the Kingdom and live in Satan's kingdom too. It's impossible. If you're living that lifestyle described anywhere in Paul's list and it's ongoing, and you think that's OK because you believe something about Jesus, you'd better think again.

If your christianity didn't transfer you out of this world and it's sins, you may be a tare. Listen carefully now to what Jesus says is the end result for people in the church, who hold to a form of godliness, but deny it's power.

39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40“So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.

The tares, the false believers who thought they were OK, who were made drunk by a false gospel, the ones who want to live in both worlds, they love satan's kingdom and it's pleasures and it's pet sins, but they love the idea that Jesus is gonna fix it all, somehow . . . those are tares. And the tares get burned up.

These next verses are devestating.

41“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Bible is music. We here different words that trip a flag in our memory exactly the same as what music does. We here 3 or 4 notes together and our mind goes to the whole song. I already mentioned this phenomenon that God has created in us earlier when Matthew's brain said, I know this song, and it's Psalm 78

Likewise the words stumbling blocks is a trip lever for us. Stumbling blocks, stumbling blocks. Where have we heard that before. We know this song. Where is it. Ahhh. Revelation chapter 2. The letter to the church at Pergamum. The church that got married to the world. Hmmmm. Think there might be some parallels???

Rev. 2:13 - 14…13'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

OK, puzzle pieces. Stumbling blocks. Just like Jesus just mentioned in His teaching to the disciples. And stumbling blocks include eating things sacrificed to idols, that's what the world does, and also committing acts of immorality. also what the world does. And then there's a picture lesson for us. Balaam and Balak.

OK, that's sort of obscure. Who's balaam and Balak and what was the stumbling block that Balaam taught to Balak. Gotta research a bit.

Balaam was a prophet for hire during the time that Moses had the children of Israel camped at Moab. Moab you will recall was the grandson of Lot, by incest with his daughter. They were a nation east of the Dead Sea and God had told Moses not to vex them. So Israel was camped in Moab, sort of minding their business on the way to the promised land.

But Moab had a king named Balak, and Balak wanted to curse Israel. He was afraid of them. So Balak hires a seer from the region of the Euphrates. A prophet for hire. And Balak hires Balaam and agrees to pay him handsomely if he will curse Israel.

But Balaam has a meeting, probably a christophony, he meets the angel of the Lord while he's on his way. You remember the story. It's a tight place and the donkey won't go forward because the angel is in the road. And Balaam beats the donkey. And finally the donkey and balaam have a conversation. Why have you smote me? says the donkey. And Balaam answers. If I had a sword I'd kill you. Then he finally sees the angel.

Balaam agrees with the angel of the Lord that only the words that He puts in Balaams mouth will come forth from him for the people of Israel. So Balaam continues on to Balak, who holds the purse strings, and 3 consecutive time, Balaam blesses Israel, instead of cursing them. Balak is sorely displeased and dismisses the prophet for hire, but Balaam says, even though I couldn't curse them, you can do it by sending the moabite women into the camp to seduce the Israelite men. Bingo.

So Balak sends the smoking hot moabite girls into the camp of Israel and the camp of Israel just about collapses. Fornication. Immorality. Intermarriage. And of course with intermarriage comes idols. She may be hot, but you can't have her without her idols. Idolatry. Israel is effectively stalled.

And that, my friends, is a stumbling block. That's the tune that should play in your head as you read what Jesus says. Does that sound like the modern church? Is this a familiar tune?

they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness those who commit lawlessness. Hmmm. We find this tune all over the Bible. God has a moral law. The 10 commandments. Lawlessness is a lifestyle that continues to ignore any of those commands. They are still binding on believers.

We could go lots of places but Pauls warning to the church at Corinth is hard to ignore. It sounds like an echo in the room of what Jesus just said;

1 Cor. 6:9 - 11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Is your life style somewhere in that list. I'm not talking about the wheat who occasionally fall and do some sin in this list. I'm talking about lifestyle. Folks whose lifestyle is described anywhere in that list of lawlessness will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.

Don't believe that song that says only believe, only believe, it'll be OK in the end if you believe about Jesus, you can still live in the world and commit sin all you please, only believe. That's Satan gospel. Believe Paul. If your continuing life style is lawlessness and sin, you WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.

Paul couldn't say it any plainer. Jesus couldn't say it any plainer than what he says to His disciples.

41“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Yikes! The same folks who preach only believe, only believe, told me there is no such place as a literal hell. These guys that Jesus shows up and gives them a hug while they're shaving, and rides in the back seat of their car while they're driving and sends them all to heaven and back to earth again so they can write a book about it. That Jesus says, don't worry about it. Only believe. Don't let hell ever enter your mind. It's all good. Don't worry, Be happy. Only believe. It'll be OK.

If you're buying into that gospel, beware. The Jesus of this book believes in a literal hell, a furnace of fire where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Eternally.

And then, one final song, and we've hinted at it as we went.

43“Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.

The entire teaching here with all kinds of signals, Son of Man, send forth His angels, a harvest at the end of the age, and these final words, 43“Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.

That music is from the prophet Daniel. And if you are a theologian you might pick a fight with Matthew and say why do you call the obscure stuff fulfilment of prophecy, a Psalm of Asaph, really? and then leave the low hanging fruit, like here, unpicked??

And I think Matthew would say, well, that's so obvious and the music is so loud, you don't need me to send you there. It's obvious Jesus is speaking parallel things to what the Prophet Daniel said.

Anytime you see Son of Man you immediately think of Ezekiel and Daniel. And one of Jesus favorite names for Himself is Son of Man.

Let's look quickly at Daniel 12. 1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.

There is a time, and age, in the future, when all of the Sons of the Kingdom, will reign together, with Christ, “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.

I don't know when. I'll leave the Larkin charts to the experts and simply trust that whether I'm here when Jesus returns, or become dust in the earth, I will enjoy this day. This age. For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that He is able, to keep that which I've entrusted, unto Him until that day.

Beloved. Do an accounting. Have you believed in the right gospel. The gospel that transfers you out of the kingdom of the prince of this world and into the Kingdom, the authority to reign, of God. Does He reign in your life? Do you have the downpayment, the Holy Spirit living inside your heart.

Next week we'll consider the cost of doing that. What would you give up to have Jesus?

He who has ears, let him hear.