The Wheat and the Tares
Matthew 13:24-30, V36-43
The day that Jesus told this parable he was at the seaside and sitting on a fishing boat just off the shore, preaching to multitudes of people on the beach. (Matthew 13:1-2) According to V24, a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. A temporary tale with an eternal message. An illustration in words that are commonly understood to bring a message that is commonly forgotten. This parable is taken from the agricultural world. This parable is commonly known as the wheat and the tares and it is about the kingdom of heaven. Where is the kingdom of heaven? is it big or is it small? how does it grow? what is the value of becoming a part of the kingdom of heaven. This parable is about the kingdom of heaven.
What are the facts? V24 “…the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.” The kingdom of heaven is like a field. a field that has been prepared for sowing. V25 “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” At night, the enemy comes and sows tares among the wheat in the field. Tares are a type of a weed called Darnel. Darnel is a poisonous plant that is related to wheat and it is a plant that is impossible to distinguish from wheat because it looks precisely the same until the ears form for the fruit, and then when the fruit comes it looks very different from wheat. (Here is a link to an article on Darnel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolium_temulentum )That is why it says in V26 “But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.” They couldn’t tell the difference until the fruit came. One is poisonous and one is good. This parable the Lord was teaching was something that really happened, sowing Darnel in the wheat was a crime against a particular Roman law. People did this as an act of vengeance against someone else, they would sow Darnel in their field.
V27,28a “So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this….” It wasn’t the good farmer that sowed the tares, he sowed only good seed, it was an enemy that sowed the tares. V28b-30 “The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” The servants wanted to pull the weeds but the master wouldn’t let them do that. A heavy infestation of Darnel couldn’t be pulled up because the roots of the weeds were stronger than the roots of the wheat. They were tangled together, to pull the weeds up you have to wait until the harvest and pull them up together. There would be a separation of the plants in the future.
What do the facts mean? It’s marvelous that Jesus tells us what these things mean because Jesus interprets the parable. In V36-43 he explains the parable to his disciples. The sower is Jesus Christ, the creator, the one that sows good seed, the head of the church, the King of Kings, V37 “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;” and where does he sow the good seed? in the field, and where is the field? Jesus says that the field is the world. V38 “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;” Cosmos, the world and its inhabitants, the earth. The field in the parable is the world, the field is not the church. Some say that the field is the church but that is not true and that is twisting scripture to fit other traditions, everybody in the parish is the church, believers and unbelievers and that is unbiblical. Jesus says the field is the world. The cosmos. The world that he created. Just like the whole field belongs to the farmer, the whole world belongs to the Lord Jesus. Let Satan rage as he may, he is a usurper. Despite the opposition the Lord Jesus has sown a church and he maintains it. The church is in the world but it is not of the world. What is the good seed? God’s people are the good seed, the children of the kingdom V30 The kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, sown by Jesus. Christian, who saved you? Jesus did. Who planted the church? Jesus did. Who founded and upholds the church? Jesus Christ. Who will come again for his church? Who is the sower? Jesus Christ is the sower of the good seed in this world. This is the person who is saved, this is the wheat. But the wheat is in the world.
Who are the tares? the tares are the children of the wicked one. V38 “…but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” Darnel is a poisonous plant and it is the children of the devil, those who are lost, those who are not part of the kingdom of God, these are the tares. And who is the enemy? V39 “The enemy that sowed them is the devil:…” So why are there unsaved people? why is there sin in the world? Who sowed the tares? Did God sow the tares? some say “why did God do this or that” Who is the author of sin? Why is there death and suffering and so much wickedness in the world. Who sowed the tares, The devil. So don’t blame God for doing something he didn’t do. It is easy to blame God.. people blame God because they are the children of the devil. He is the enemy of God, the hater of Christ. He is the cause of sin and so much wickedness in this world. So many tares. But the good thing is this.. it is not going to last forever the way it is.
What is the harvest? V39b “the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” the harvest is the end of the world, the end of the age. There is coming a day when there will not be one wicked sinner in this whole world. Not one. The harvest day is coming when all the tares will be gathered up. Who are the reapers? V39 they are angels sent by God to gather all things that offend V41 “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;” The tares are not in the kingdom, they are in the field. The harvest is the end of the world. Just before the harvest the whole world becomes Christ’s kingdom and dominion physically. It already is spiritually. Then the angels are sent to come and take the tares out of the physical kingdom of this world, the field.
What is the teaching? The sower is Jesus, the field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom, the tares are the children of the devil, the enemy is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels of God. The teaching is very simple and very important. At the end of the world there will be a harvest and God will send his angels to reap the world and to gather together the children of the devil, those who are not saved, those who do iniquity V41,42 and shall cast them into a furnace of fire. there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Gnashing of teeth is when someone grinds their teeth together from anger, or pain, or suffering. Unbelievers will gnash their teeth for eternity. (If you wish to read a piece on this subject, go here: http://www.gotquestions.org/gnashing-of-teeth.html ) Can you think of anything more terrible than that? You picture the torment that is a description of. It’s then at the harvest when the fruit is ripe that the children of God will shine brightly as the sun. It will be obvious then who are the righteous who will shine as the sun.
Application: The kingdom of heaven is in this world. In the field we know there are two types of plants, mixed and growing together. In the world there are two types of people mixed and living together. They look similar, they are all humans, they all belong to the human race and there is only one way to tell them apart, the fruit they bear. They are almost identical apart from the fruit they bear, the fruit of their life. The fruit of the tares is a poisonous fruit, it kills people eternally. That fruit is Gal 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The tares are them which do iniquity, but the fruit of the wheat is different. Its wholesome and healthy Gal 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:…”
Those who belong to Jesus Christ bear different fruit. The fruit is the life. What they do. But what if the fruit is the same? what if there is no difference? They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, the fruit must be different. Is the difference evident in your life or mine? Is there a difference between us and people who are not saved?
There is a division coming of the two types of people in this world. They will both grow together until the harvest. The harvest will come and this world will end and men and woman need to be saved to enter God’s kingdom. When the harvest comes the destination is one of two places, fire or glory. Its as serious as that. If you are a lost sinner you are in terrible danger, you might not think that but you are. Because the bible is true, Jesus spoke the truth and you need Jesus Christ.
Christians we need to always remember that there are countless millions of people in this world and they are going headlong, ignorantly, blindly, speedily to the furnace. We as the church of Christ are the visible representation of the kingdom of God on earth, and we have the gospel which we are to fling out like a fisherman’s net to catch men and women like a safety net to stop them from going to the furnace of fire. That is what the gospel is. Who will tell people of Jesus who is mighty to save.
If you read this sermon then it is not too late for you, stop and think about what you are doing and where you are going, why would you die by refusing to receive a Savior who loves you. Turn from your sin, confess your sin and the Lord will save you. Place your trust in the Lord Jesus because the harvest is coming and the harvest will divide and the division is permanent. So look to Jesus and live.