Friday, July 15, 2011

Pentecost 5 - Proper 11

Proper 11 (17–23 July)
O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your final judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You in perfect joy hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
A harvest of souls awaits us

This parable teaches that we are not to judge who is a true or false Christian. We are not to weed out the weeds because in doing so, we would destroy the wheat. On the Day of Judgment God only will judge and separate the weeds and the wheat. Until that time comes the church needs to have patience and forbearance of the weeds among the wheat.

The wheat (good) and the weeds (bad) are in the kingdom, not in the world. We could understand it if the parable applied to the world where there are all kinds of people. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is God’s realm, God’s people, the church. The church of God consists of good and evil, wheat and weeds.

According to this parable, every church consists of wheat and weeds. Who is to determine who the weeds are? Who are we to judge? Since Jesus teaches that we should allow the weeds to remain, why try to decide who weeds are? Only God knows who are genuine believers, and members of the invisible church. But, should not a weed be converted into wheat? Only the individual can conclude that he is a weed and thus needs to repent. This sermon is to help the worshiper to examine himself in order to learn if he is a weed in need of repentance. Consider the weeds!

1. Weeds look like wheat — hypocrites. You cannot tell the difference between believers and make believers. Both live together in the Kingdom. Their behavior is similar. The only difference – one has faith the other not.

A. The weeds are so much like the wheat that only God can tell the difference. The Church is invisible to us. We can’t tell who has faith and who does not have faith. Only the Father Himself knows the heart of men. Only He knows the difference.

B. Who is to consider who is and who is not a believer? You can’t see faith so you cannot determine who has it and who doesn’t. We can evaluate behavior but even that doesn’t always determine who is living by faith and who is living unto themselves. We are responsible and accountable unto each other. We are part of this Friedheim family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We need and ought to be concerned for one another. But even in our zeal and concern, we cannot tell who is a part of the family of faith and who is not.

Transition: Weeds look like Wheat. There is however a significant difference. Weeds can’t produce.

2. Weeds produce no fruit or flowers — unproductive.

A. Hypocrites can do nothing for the kingdom for they have no faith. Faith is necessary for good works to be active and working. Without faith, works are nonexistent. If faith is not active, there can be no good work active and vibrant.

B. We leave them alone - expulsion does more harm than good. We do need to keep ourselves open however to the challenges that we have in the kingdom even as we live outside of Eden. This leads to any number of challenges.

1. Can we live with false Christians in the church? Can we tolerate false teachers operating within the church?

2. How long can we tolerate their opposition to the progress of the church? We need the church, the body of Christ to grow and each member sees the need and has the desire for the church to grow. However, we need to understand that since we are living in a broken world and are serving in the church militant we will have our share of challenges.

Transition: Weeds look like wheat yet they produce nothing. Weeds are selfish – they choke out the good seed.

3. Weeds are selfish — they choke the good seed.

A. On judgment day, God will destroy false Christians, the weeds. There will be a great reckoning. The Lord will separate the weeds from the wheat. Those who are faithful will go into eternal life and those who are outside will be separated eternally.

B. Consider your station in life. Simply ask, “Who are you?” By your fruit, they shall be known.

Conclusion: Continue to grow in faith, in hope, in love. Communicate Christ’s love as He leads you in your journey and walk of faith.

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