While men slept

The parable of the wheat and the tares, as told by Jesus reveals quite a bit about the church’s current quandary with unrepentant homosexuals or those who comprise the gay christian movement. The major areas of contention within the church are: (a) welcoming/affirming/fellowshipping with unrepentant religious homosexuals-(b) interpretation of scripture dealing with sexual immorality and (c) the influence of unrepentant homosexuals in leadership and music.   Although Greater Mt Calvary Holy Church isn’t the only local church with a serious problem in this area, the fact that God allowed it to be exposed is  more than enough warning for pastors, bishops and overseers to take action and rectify this problem before God comes for an unpleasant visit to his churches.

First, let’s take a look at the parable.

Matthew 13:24-30:  Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.  So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Parables told by Jesus intentionally concealed truths about the kingdom of God from those who opposed him. They were spiritually deep and sometimes confusing even to his disciples, but were also –when understood– theologically rich in practical application.  Jesus’ parables incorporated familiar symbols the listener (of his time) could readily identify with. Some of the stories were outright shocking.  A parable would challenge the hearer to change behaviors, thoughts and beliefs which conflicted with the standards of the kingdom of God. Thus, the challenge to change was the major objective of the parables. Finally, the parable required some action on the part of the hearer. Failure to act meant that there was a disconnect with the wisdom of the story.

Wheat was a significant commodity in Jesus’ day. Thus, the parable of the wheat and the tare typified the most important elements of Jesus’ stories. And it is wisdom to the church of today, like it was wisdom to the hearers of Jesus’ day.

In this parable, the wheat symbolized righteous elements in the church. We must make one distinction between the church and the kingdom. There exists no unrighteous elements in the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:20-21; Eph 5:5) that can parallel the unrighteousness we know exists in the church universal today. Therefore, the parable of the wheat and tare is not a parallel story of the church and the kingdom. When Jesus said that it was “like”, he was referring to the method and not the makeup of the kingdom. The “field” represented the world, not heaven. Since wheat represented righteousness, the tare represented its antithesis or unrighteousness. Wheat also represented people, still designated as good or bad.

The wheat is a product of the seed sown by the sower. Jesus identifies the seed as the Word of God. Please note that many in the contemporary church have incorrectly renamed the seed “money”. Calling money seed (i.e. “sow a seed”) is a distracting designator which reveals the potential danger of the prosperity movement. When the true Word is sown, it produces wheat, when a false word is sown it produces tares.

Who sows good seed? Those who preach truth and righteousness. Who sows bad seed? According to Jesus, the devil who seeks to pollute and poison the church with false disciples.

An intoxicating temptation 

The tare’s fruit, the seeds, is known to contain a poisonous soporific drug. A drug that induces deep sleep, or causes one to become drowsy and lethargic.
Sleeping, in the scripture generally does not have a positive connotation. The church is at war, so we are charged to be vilgilant, sober and watchful (1 Peter 5:8) because our enemy is on the prowl. A sleeping shepherd or watchman is one who’s in dereliction of his duty to safeguard the flock of God and sound the alarm when danger approaches.

In the parable of the wheat and the tare Jesus states that the enemy was able to sow the tare seed because men were sleeping. If the pastor, the bishop or whoever is in leadership is not watching, the tare will be sown among the wheat to the detriment of the body. Our goal is prevent the tare from being sown in the first place by being watchful and sober on the job.
If the tare is sown, it is not a reflection on Christ, it is a terrible error on the part of leaders in the church. What’s more, it does not mean that Christ intended for it to happen. Again, it is a result of failure to do what is right.

Here is where the contemporary church stumbles in regards to the gay christian movement and other false groups. Tare was almost identical to wheat in its appearance, but unredeemable. It grows in the wheat fields, but it was just a weed (its actually a noxious form of ryegass). Its proximity to the wheat make it appear viabile to the untrained eye, but to a person skilled in harvesting, it was no mystery. Not only was the tare different, it was harmful to the wheat. Alone, it could do no harm to the wheat, but the danger came if the tare was yanked out of the ground (the angry, judgmental church?). It caused damage to the wheat as the roots were somewhat entwined. Ancient farmers, in order to separate the wheat from the tare, took it through a process called winnowing during the harvest. Thus, time became THE critical factor in removing the tare. The question isn’t should the tare be removed, but rather when to remove it and how.

As I said in the Charisma article I wrote, the goal isn’t to eradicate homosexuality from the church, but rather to severely restrict its potential influence.

Its important to note that tare was not a “cousin” to wheat. Although some characterize the stuggle in the church over homosexuality a family fight, it is not. Tare or those who serve a different set of beliefs other that taught by scripture are not family, but rather have a different birth parent. As Jesus noted in the parable, satan is the birth parent of the tare. Should a person repent and earnestly turn from their sins, they are supernaturally born again (John 3:5,6), thus freeing them from the satanic connection. This is why Jesus preached with passion “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:14-15).

The end comes and it is terrible

Another erroneous belief in the church is that Christ himself will separate the wheat. The inference is that no one can “judge” another and only Christ can deal with the sin in the church. That’s just not true.

Matthew 13:30 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. (my bold)

As the scripture clearly notes, it will be the reapers, not Christ who will do the actual separating. Who are the reapers? Those faithful to his word and his kingdom. The awesome responsibility will delegated to them in the harvest. The next question logically would be “when is the harvest?”

In John fourth chapter, Jesus actually answers both questions about the identity of the reapers and the time of the harvest. 

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:34-38)

To summarize:

(1) satan can’t sow tare, if the pastor and YOU the member weren’t sleeping. Don’t blame the devil and don’t blame God, you hold the key to the solution. Sleeping while the enemy is on the prowl, is just as dangerous as the seeds he can sow.

(2) This is not something that we are “obsessing” over nor due to so called “homophobia”. The scripture is clear. It is a serious matter that cannot be ignored.

(3) If you are in the gay christian church (or any church) believing that you are justified being a homosexual Christian, you are severely mistaken and your soul is at stake. Unless you repent, your time will end disastrously. Jesus said  “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…”

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10 thoughts on “While men slept

  1. I thought this was well written and well reasoned, exegetically and theologically. However, the biggest problem in the church isn’t the goats among the sheep or the weeds amongst the wheat – but rather the wolves amongst the shepherds.

    I have often wondered, “Why in God’s providence does He allow these wolves in the church?”

    Then I learned something about the way wolves interact with caribou.

    In Canada and the frozen north wolves walk freely amongst the caribou. The caribou do not run and the wolves do not chase them.

    Why?

    Because the caribou know that they can outrun the wolf and the wolves know that the caribou can out run them. Consequently if the wolf chases the caribou he will grow tired, expend too much energy and die.

    So, what does the wolf do when he walks through a herd of caribou?

    He looks for the weak – the sick and vulnerable. These are the ones he goes after.

    The result is that the caribou herd remains strong and free from the spread disease.

    Here is the problem – we are not caribou, we are dumb helpless sheep who need a shepherd to protect us. But when the shepherds are more concerned with filling the pockets with money, of making a name for themselves and the sheep want leaders who will tickle their ears then the flock becomes weak and the wolves easily sneak in and replace the shepherds.

    The result is a whole lot of dead sheep.

    Historically there have always been heretics, wolves, and the church has always had to respond by answering the call to defend the faith delivered to the saints. (Jude 2)

    Gay Theology apologists are just one of the new packs of wolves in the church. It is time for the good shepherds to break out the rod and protect the sheep.

  2. Rik, I agree. The tare among the wheat isnt the biggest problem. It is symptomatic of the delection of the shepherds. They are sleeping. And while they sleep (chase money, positions, sex, perks, status, influence, etc) the enemy has an almost free reign to sow the tare. But wait….!

    I think that the “dumb” sheep portrayal can only be taken so far biblically. Every believer has the same responsibility to watch and pray. To engage the enemy and to take action against sin in the house of God. Additionally, they/we have to study and be ready for what is coming.

    The shepherds have a responsibility, but if that fails, sheep better be prepared to fend for oneself using the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

    I think of Jeremiah 3:15 and wonder if today’s pastors take it seriously or gauge themselves by it.

  3. How do you feel as a sheep when a pastor tells his congregation that his only job is to pray, study and meditate on the word and bring the word to the sheep. He is NOT to counsel nor be in the sheeps face so to say. (He was coming from Acts 6:4)
    While I do agree with this, I also believed that Pastors do have a duty to counsel when needed and operate in some type of discernment concerning the overseeing of the sheep. To just show up to church, preach, pray, and feel that’s the only contact needed with the sheep seems a bit one-sided to me. They are willing to accept “love offerings” from the sheep and “pastor appreciation day MONETARY gifts” but can’t counsel someone who may be going thru hard times in marriage or issues with children (as examples only) Am I wrong, or is this just a pastor that wants the “benefits” of the “title” and not have to adhere to the “full job” behind the title?

  4. To add, I am recently “delivered” from the WOF movement, and I have always relied on my prayer closet and the Holy Spirit to work out ANYTHING I was going through, and He hasn’t failed me yet. I was just wondering in regards to some “not so strong in the spirit” sheep that truly needs wise counsel…The bible does say in the multitude of counselors, there is safety.
    I know that Elders & deacons are set up for the daily functioning of the church and to help relieve the burden off of the Pastor, even Jesus walked amongst the people, and if Jesus could interact with the crowd, what makes a Pastor/Bishop think they are “too high” to interact with the sheep other than from the “pulpit”
    I’m just wondering because I truly think this “celebrity status” in the church has gotten out of hand with armorbearers and all!

  5. Godly1, the tare can also be called “pastor”.

    Jeremiah 3:15 God says he will give us (shepherds) pastors according to his heart and they will feed the sheep with knowledge and understanding.

    It a pastor IS NOT doing this then can we deduce he/she is not of God? If he’s NOT given by God, where did he/she come from?

  6. Hmmm, you know, I didn’t think about a tare being a “pastor” as well…but you are absolutely right, tares, wolves, hirelings…they all are going to be bundled together and thrown into the fire if they don’t REPENT.

  7. A really good book that changed my heart and mind about pastoral ministry, especially in the area of counseling, is by Jay Adams, “Shepherding God’s Flock.” It changed the way I preach as well as counsel and exhort. The biggest problem with pastors who think they aren’t called to counsel is that they associate the term “counsel” with practicing some sort of humanistic psychology. The consequence is that when people come to them with problems they turn them away and send them to wolves who derive their understanding of mankind and solutions to problems from Darwinian-Freudian psychology. This sort of garbage has over run Christian evangelicalism especially in “Christian” book stores and on the radio. Sadly, there is very little alternative for Christians who struggle with SSA. But, I am currently working on a couple books on this subject but it is going to take time to complete them.

  8. Wow! this was a post worth reading, thanks! I have been thinking about it for awhile. Allow me to throw a few thoughts out. Nice job btw pointing out the field is not the church, but the world.

    1. Re: the reapers. I think of them as angles, not God’s children or us. In Matthew 16:27 it says, 27″For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

    Remembering we were once ‘tares” as well. We could not possibly judge with devine eyes. Just like the disciples before hand, they asked Jesus if they should rip the evil ones out and burn them up. We all feel like that at times, we are in fact wheat living among ‘tares’. We could not rightly divide the wheat from the tares. The early Roman Catholic Church attempted as much, and remains a lesson for us all. The reaping will be done at Christ’s return and again it is angels that do the reaping in Revelation.

    2. I think it is also important to consider that taking, for example, the principles of the Sermom on the Mount to the tares is like throwing pearls to swine, no? The wheat are saved and cannot be unsaved, the tares however can be influenced to become wheat by an influnece of Godliness, no? Thus making us (the saved) the sowers, not the reapers.

    3. verse 43 if you are a child of the devil, you better listen! Judgement is inevitable!

    4. The church, not the world, must be a holy place where sin is despised. The call for repentance is not an option, it is required! In addition the church is not a building, but a body of belivers.

    Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. ” Indeed, Christ will build HIS church!

  9. Mark you brought up a lot of great points that probably need to be clarified. Some I wanted to discuss in the article but it was already long enough 🙂

    Please excuse the bullets but let me respond like this to a few points.

    1. You are right on the angels, but isnt it also true (John 4) that Jesus told the disciples they were reapers of the harvest? That Might lead us to question whether the HARVEST has begun already and the angels will doing the Burning of the tare.

    2. I would disagree that we were once “tares”. Tares are defined as being bad seed intentionally sown by the devil into the church. I believe God’s mercy is extended to all, but this is not your average sinner lost in sin. Remember it was the SERVANTS who first noticed the tare, not the owner. They questioned him about it. So yes we can recognize tare, but we are not to “rip it up” because of the damage it could do to the wheat.

    3. Oh and remember that the field is not heaven but the world.

    Would love to hear more of what you see in this. I think this is a fascinating parable.

  10. Brother, this parable is indeed awesome in many ways, thanks!

    Tares are defined as being bad seed intentionally sown by the devil into the church.

    I agree, except it is not the church specifically I believe, it is the world. See Matt 13: 38. The believers / saved have nothing to worry about, no? The tares were sowed to destroy an earthly livelihood, so to speak. Even the men sleeping were probably sleeping because they had been hard at work, no? The King did indeed have HIS men sowing seed in v. 24, and there is really no reason to think these men were lazy. Perhaps a simple fact of living in a fallen world – good vs. evil? saved vs unsaved?

    Verse 25, does indeed also provide a picture of Satan’s children among the children of God in the Church, or even thier workplace perhaps. Additionally, some tares will be obvious and others being like the tares compared to the wheat, not so obvious – until the proper time – the harvest, eh? I think of the Samaratians for example. Lest likely to be saved, but a brush with Christ changes the situation. Perhaps this parable has more to do with those who know God, but willingly avoid God? Two, maybe three types of soil, one that produces fruit, one that produces death, and maybe one that needs? – 1John 2:15-17.

    Since Jesus lived among the ‘tares’, and by tares I mean the look alikes, even in the church, which many are from a worldy sinful human eye perspective. How could we not now contend in our secure faith and be an example and a seed of truth to the weeds? or an example, a knowledge so valuable that life itself is worth giving up to posses it? Is that not what Jesus commissioned us (believers) to do?

    Jesus could have rained fire and lightening down at any time in His ministry upon the tares(children of Satan), but He didn’t. Was it mercy? I think the more Jesus would have given and yet been rejected would have only increased the wrath that awaited them. It’s one thing to break bread with the lost ‘wheat’, it’s another thing to be a servant and reap only what the King / Master can harvest. This parable along with the next two, tell us, most folks will not get it. Salvation is twisted to meet a worldly desire, mind and heart set on the world will not Hear with ears set upon obeying the King. If the word of God has not pentetrated the superficial commitment to Christ, then it has only one path, abandon Christ. Such is those we should be aware of, pulling them back by their soild undergarments if necessary – Jude.

    That’s all I got for now, keep sowing seed brother!

    Blessings!

    🙂

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