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The Farmer and the Weeds


so we're talking about two things during this series we're talking about the way of Jesus which is the way Jesus lived and worked and operated and loved and talked it's the way his way and then we're talking about the way of the kingdom which is the way people who love Jesus live and work and operate and talk and relate to each other and in the Old Testament the people of God were called Israel there was the nation of Israel and it was really easy to tell who was who they were they were a people they looked alike they lived together they acted alike and they lived under the law they lived their code of conduct was six hundred points that were not negotiable they weren't open to interpretation you do it this way this is how you do it and so Jesus now comes to the New Testament introduces a new way and the new way is the kingdom now instead of just Jews it's Gentiles as well it's everyone who wants to be in is in and the new way is the kingdom and the new code the only way we know how to live inside of the kingdom is to watch the life and teachings of Jesus and most of the teachings of Jesus are done through parables and can I tell you I really am annoyed by parables there they're not at all easy to understand they're super mysterious I'm a fan of a good list I'm a big fan of it in fact mostly what Jesus did was teach in these mysterious parables and then theologians spent the last two centuries making them into bullet points like for spiritual laws the Romans Road let's try to make this super easy for people and connect all the dots it really can't be done Jesus gives us parables because we have to wrestle with them we have to lean in we have to try to understand what he's saying and when he gives us a parable he usually answers a big question and raises like 50 more and that's what today's message is gonna do it's gonna answer a question and raise like 50 more and that's how it goes because with parables that the interpretation is up to the listener that the speaker has a primary point but it's up to the listener to figure out what that point is and the listener can get it right or they can get it wrong and the church has a long proud history of missing the point in a grand epic way and so like if I told you the way of my family is to do family dinner every Sunday night and in the fall I always make beef bourguignon because we love French food and it's the right way to start fall and I make it in my blue Dutch oven and I cook it all day and we're so excited about it except this year I burnt it and it wasn't edible and no one could eat it so instead we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we opened a bottle of wine and we had the best night ever so that's my parable that's the way of my family you get to decide what you take home from that you could decide don't use a blue with Dutch oven they burn things you could decide you know maybe you don't make French food it doesn't work it's too fussy for Bend you could decide you could ask me my recipe for peanut butter sandwiches cuz it sounds like they saved the day you know but none of those things are the point that I'm trying to tell you the point that I'm trying to tell you is true about the way of my family is it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you have one it's not that that's not the point not at all the point is it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you have each other right that's the point and so this is the Jesus way as well we get to pick what is his primary point and so today because I'm the speaker I'm gonna give you a parable and I'm gonna pick the primary point and I think I'm right but you don't have to you get to decide you get to decide what you think the point is and if you think I'm wrong go home and say Jesus I think bow blew it and I want to know what is the real point of this parable because it's important that we understand the way of Jesus and this is what he's given us to figure it out so we look at these stories and they show us his core values they show us what he cares about most a lot of times that's a good way to ask a good way to start understanding a parable is to read it and say if I only have this parable what does it tell me Jesus loves or does it tell me something Jesus hates or does it talk what does it tell me so we're gonna do that today we're gonna start with this one and again the point that I'm gonna make is gonna raise a lot of questions and I'm not gonna answer all those questions because Jesus didn't but you can sure go to work on him if you want to here's the parable it's in Matthew 13 it says he put a parable before them saying and we're gonna stop at this line because it's really kind of an audacious introduction that Matthew gives us here he doesn't say Jesus told them a parable he says he put a parable before them he uses a Greek word and the word means to put a meal in front of you or to bring evidence forward to the front and so he's using this kind of elevated language to say Jesus told him something but what he's really doing is reaching all the way back to the Old Testament and he's pulling out a phrase that would make all kinds of sense to these people he's using a phrase that kind of reconfigures what Jesus is about to tell them and in Exodus 19 it says Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words the Lord had commanded him in Deuteronomy it says this is the law that Moses set before the Israelites and so Jesus comes and he sets before then a new way he is a new and better Moses he comes and he says this is the new code this is a new constitution and Matthew phrases it so that his Jewish audience will understand this is how important this parable is this is how important what you're about to hear is so now the parable the kingdom of heaven I can go without decaf or without my glasses I mean without caffeine or without my glasses but not both so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field but while his men were sleeping his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away so when the plants came up and bore grain then the weeds appeared also and the servants of the master of the house came and said to him master did you not sow good seed in your field then does it have weeds he said to them an enemy has done this so the servant said to him then do you then do you want us to go and gather them but he said no less than the gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them let both grow together until the harvest at the harvest time I will tell the Reapers gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn so this is one of those parables that after Jesus tells it later on the disciples come to him and say huh we didn't get it and he gives them an interpretation so we're gonna get to the interpretation later I'll read it so you know that I'm telling the truth but I'm gonna pull from it now as we move through this parable so the kingdom of heaven here is compared to a farmer who sews good seed the distinction that the farmer does good work is really important here and in our story the interpretation will tell us the farmer is Jesus and the seeds are the sons of the kingdom so Jesus is planting people who love him in soil in a field that's us he's planting us in a field maybe you're here and you don't know what you think about Jesus yet that's awesome we love that you're here but if you're here and you've given your life to Jesus and submitted to his government you're one of these good seeds and so he plants good seeds and then an enemy comes at night to sow weeds and this is really mean I mean I was thinking why wouldn't he just rip up the seed and then I realized well cuz the farmer would just plant it the next day this way he invests in it and grows it and waters it and takes time with it and it's not until it comes up that they start to see oh we've got a crop crisis this is not good and the the Greek in this story is in fatik that the enemy who comes is the enemy of the farmer in fact it suggests that this is the only enemy the farmer has that this enemy is after the farmer he's not actually that concerned about the crops he is the enemy of the farmer and this is when we reach back again to Genesis and wait to another garden and we realize there's always been a cosmic battle that good and evil have always fought with one another and this is Jesus the good farmer versus devil ultimate evil all of this war going on over the crops and so the farmer plants weeds and it's pretty much I think this is one of these things where we realize the weeds and the seeds are not at war the farmer and the enemy are at war so this is where we're reminded to that Jesus pulls his disciples together and and they say we don't understand in the farm and their so they are the the role of the farm hands and they come to Jesus and they say did you plant these weeds and isn't that what we often do when we look around and we see evil happening we're like to God do this is this God's - what is your work ethic bad because where is it that these weeds are planted I think where do we see the demonic and the divine clash where do we see this this cosmic battle take place most of all we could throw out a lot of ideas I think we could say you know City Hall or Congress or Capitol Hill we could say public school or the Middle East or we could say the fiercest battle is going on at your average strip club on a Saturday night but really that is not what this verse says it really is not there is a little Greek word little Greek phrase in this verse it's anomie santosa - and it means that the enemy came and he planted the weeds right in the middle of the wheat right in the middle right here where is the greatest concentration of the sons of the kingdom I think maybe not strip clubs I think maybe sanctuaries that's where the divine and the demonic come together that's where we see the most I think display of the war between good and evil and so I and I think we see it all those other places as well but this is what Jesus is talking about here this is what he's dealing with and so the armed hands say what do we do and did you plan this and he says nope I planted good seed an enemy has planted these weeds and then they ask the next question which i think is a really smart question they say you want us to get rid of them because isn't that what you think too we should get rid of the weeds oh they make everything look really messy they make everything hard all the battles that go on okay can't we just get rid of that and have everyone who looks alike together everyone who believes the same together and Jesus answers them so emphatically in the Greek this is such an emphatic ex answer that it's not even a statement it's an exclamation he says oh no if you pull out the weeds you just might pull out the wheat as well he doesn't want them messing with the weeds because he so loves the wheat and is so protective of the life of the wheat and apparently he knows something we don't that the weeds can actually kill the wheat even if the weeds can kill the wheat you know I'm saying he knows ultimately the weeds won't kill the wheat and so and and you can argue with me over whether or not this is the primary point of this parable but what you can't argue with is the fact that of all the words in this parable this is the only thing that applies to you and me this is the only instruction we receive from this parable everything else has to do with Jesus and the devil and the weeds and we here we are saying okay what what is our to-do list from this leave the weeds alone let them grow together with the wheat it's gonna be okay it all sorted out in eternity we'll figure it out then and it doesn't seem like a good practice it really doesn't why wouldn't he want us taking care of of the wheat why wouldn't he want us getting rid of weeds in the middle of the kingdom in the middle of the church all the people that are doing it wrong and believing wrong and anti God why wouldn't he want us to do that I think because the way he says it to them is if you pull out the weeds you just might pull out the wheat too I think Jesus knows we're extremely unqualified to determine whose seed and whose wheat whose seed and whose weeds I think Jesus knows we're gonna get it wrong a lot of the time we're gonna look at somebody and think oh I know their deal I know what they're all about because I saw how they voted or I see their Facebook or I see who they date or I see I can I can totally tell the fruit of their life from that but Jesus says you're not gonna know till the end you're just not in fact he makes it clear a couple of chapters early that sometimes we don't even know what we really really need to know about who's the seed and who's the weak he says not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven many will say to me on that day Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform miracles then I will tell them plainly I never knew you away from me you evildoers this is such an interesting concept to me because we see Jesus saying here's my core value I love the seed I love the field I love every seed that is a soul and and when you look and I remember in Nebraska I planted a garden with my girls but when you put the seed in you don't know what it's gonna become if you just hold seeds you don't know what they are so we plant them and we put the little sign by the thing and then the signs will end up knocked over and then it just grows up and you don't know what that crops gonna be you just have this green something carrot B we don't know and that's kind of how we are I think we are a seed there's something in us what will we become we don't know yeah I was a youth pastor and I promise you I would have written off like 30% of the kids 70 percent of the kids and like oh man there's no way that kid is the Antichrist that kid is never coming back I mean I just would have because maybe that's why I'm not in youth ministry I mean you just you look and you want to judge and you want to figure it out in the bible does give us some criteria of people who grow good fruit and what your life should look like and we should strive to grow that and I think you can it this parable does not prevent us from guessing this parable doesn't prevent us from a lot of things but it does prevent us from yanking anybody out it does it doesn't allow us to label someone too far-gone ever because there's still a chance that they're gonna become wheat so the interpretation is this then he left the crowds and went into the house and his disciples came to him saying explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field he answered the one who sowed the good seed is the son of man the field is the world and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom the weeds are the sons of the Evil One and the enemy who sowed them is the devil the harvest is the end of the age and the Reapers are angels just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire so will it be at the end of the age the Son of Man will send His angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers and throw them into the fiery furnace in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth then the righteous who shine like the Sun in the kingdom of their father will shine like the Sun in the kingdom of their father he who has ears let him hear it's really tempting to look at this passage and think the main point is the wicked are gonna burn in hell I think that's tempting to say that that's it but really I don't think that's the point I think Jesus point his whole point his whole to-do list for us here is leave them alone you're gonna get it wrong and remember we said that he is unteach acai bowls here his disciples have been raised in a system of kill the weeds I mean they've been raised in it for centuries they've been killing their enemies hmm they they march into a city to take it and kill everyone this is not the new way this is not the way of the New Testament and this is not the way of the kingdom and Jesus is reconfiguring for them what this new kingdom looks like and it may sound crazy to you that a believer would kill someone they think is an unbeliever but as soon as constantine stepped into power and christian he became the organized religion of the state that's what happened Crusades anyone Charlemagne marching in and demanding the 1400 people get baptized or be killed and they refused and he kills them in the name of Jesus our default as humans is to get rid of anything that doesn't look like we look talk like we talked do it like we do it vote the way we vote it just is that is what we default to if we don't grow up into maturity in Jesus Christ and Jesus is saying you're gonna make so many mistakes and you're gonna hurt so many people if you set yourself up as judge and jury of all the people and where they're at with God you just are so the questions that come from it I mean do we what do we do when people land in the middle of the the church perhaps and intent to cause harm do we confront do we protect do we what you know at the rest of the New Testament deals with all of that what do we do we let our little seed children play with little weed children I don't know I have a story a parenting story that's embarrassing to tell but when it was in high school she had a crush on a guy who was not a believer and we had a little guideline in our home you know what we call guidelines they're their rules we had a rule that you don't date people who are not growing in their relationship with Jesus it's just a bad bad idea for your life it's a bad recipe but she really liked this boy because he was dreamy and kind and all the things and so she was talking to me about and the phone about it one night as I was driving and I was just over it and I was just kind of like I don't know what else to tell her and I finally just said oh you want to date the Philistine date the Philistine oh gosh the parenting things you wish you could go back and take back but since you can't you use them in a sermon that's what you do with them instead what do we do affair what do we do with people who are wicked how do we deal with evil in our planet how do we deal with evil that comes right into the middle of our midst what do we do I honestly am NOT gonna answer the question for you today the rest of the Bible does answer it but I'm not gonna answer it because Jesus didn't do it in this parable he is trying to make one point and I find that when we take off into a 700 other little sub sects of that point we missed the point and the point is leave him alone don't don't kill them don't kill them with your words I mean we can't kill them now that's not how we operate in our society but we kill them all the time we do our words bring death and you don't know I mean Apostle Paul Mary Magdalene Zacchaeus all of the people that we look at in the New Testament who were once bad thief on the cross who Jesus took a chance on we would have written off they were weeds every one of them weedy lives they don't look good Corian come back I don't think there's anything more important in this parable than where we put our energy the parable is telling us put the bulk of your energy into being good seed do that and don't worry about the rest don't try to figure out everybody else's life my my best friend was helping take care of five little Romanian kids for a single dad and they just were all over each other and she was like the thing I say most often in a week's time is worry about yourself you just worried about yourself and I think that's where we become here that we just can't be trusted to figure out who's who I worked at a church in Nebraska for a while and it was a denomination I've never been a part of it was a church I didn't actually tend I was just a secretary and they they didn't want to hire anyone from their church because they wanted someone they could trust so that was a good culture to step right into so they had the church was run by committees and one of these women was the head of one of the offering committees that they took a special offering in and there was an interim pastor working there and he didn't know her well and he was wonderful just a Hynde wonderful man who wore a fedora and made house calls and he was awesome and I loved him and um so he he thought she had missed putting an announcement in the bulletin and so he put it in for her and she came in the next Monday like spitting mad so mad and she was like how did that get in the bulletin and I said Pastor Tom put it in because he thought maybe you had forgotten and she looked at me tears streaming down her face and she said to hell with him and um I think my point is we're not even very good with the seed we don't even take very good care of each other and so for goodness sake we can't figure out who the weeds are because if we're honest we're all gonna look around this room and there's maybe one or two people we dig out you know and so Jesus is like you're just too human for this kind of holy work you just are you just can't do it and I want to be good good good at loving the seed I want to be good at it I want to be good at believing that it's never too late that's why it gets sorted out in eternity because Jesus alone knows there's a split second before eternity he knows and so this week we lost a wonderful man Billy Graham gave his life to the seed he gave his life to it he preached yeah [Applause] using an almost annoyingly simple system since 1949 he preached over 3.2 billion people led people to decisions for Christ over 3 million people I was reading this story about a time when he got to one of his own revival meetings and they had put up a line to for the black people to stand in it was a segregated line and he said the Rope comes down or I go home he invited Martin Luther King jr. to share the stage with him they preached together and then he bailed him out of jail when he was thrown in jail after a demonstration and that was not popular for a white evangelical minister to do in that day that was not cool he loved the seed and he had a really simple system it was preach the gospel Jesus crucified Jesus risen for forgiveness of sin that was his way and sometimes guys I just think we've gotten so complex with church she's gotten so complicated and Jesus is pretty simple Jesus isn't easy but he's simple and so this morning Cory and I were talking last night and we want to just reach back to 1949 a little bit tonight today and we're gonna sing just as I am the way Billy Graham ended averey Chris they did anyone go to a Billy Graham crusade there have been tons of people in every yeah the weigh in at every crusade I'm just with an opportunity for people to bring their life forward to bring the seed of their life bring the weeds of their life bring it all forward we're gonna open these altars and we're gonna sing this really simple really beautiful song and then I'm going to close [Music] Oh [Music] just [Music] [Music] to the [Music] [Music] just [Music] now [Music] come Jesus we're thankful for you we're thankful that God so loved the seed that he sent you for us so today we bring you what we know we have and what we think we have and what we're not sure we yeah we just bring you all of our uncertainty all of our doubts all of our wanders and God we ask that you would meet us in this space meet us in the thin place father for anyone who feels like it's just there's too much darkness to give to you I pray that you would come and shine light through anyone who feels separated far from your love I pray that you would come father would you make us content with some of the unanswered questions so we can know the only things that are certain we love you and worship you and thank you for the great gift of your son Jesus Christ and for the simplicity of the gospel we give you praise in your name we pray amen thanks guys so much for being here this weekend's Thanksgiving remember that the Welcome event is in the lower atrium and as you leave and we'll see you next weekend

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