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The Parable of The Tares in the Field

(Matthew 13:24-30 and 13:36-43)

The parable that will be considered in this chapter’s teaching is found in Matthew 13:2430.

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.””

For many years, this parable eluded me. I did not fully understand this story about the tares.

It says that the wheat and the tares are growing in the same place. It also says that the enemy sowed the tares. Well, we know that the enemy of the wheat field is Satan. If the wheat and the tares are growing in one place, well then it could be that they are growing in the church. Once the wheat is sown, Satan comes and sows his tares in the church.

In the succeeding verses, Matthew 13:37-43, Jesus provided the explanation of this parable.

The passage says: He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the Kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the Devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

So, there we go. There are tares in the church and the Scripture says that they are sowed by the enemy. So, we must watch out for them—the false brethren in the church. This is true. Certain people in the church have open minds and hearts for the things of God, but they have not come to a level where the Spirit has ministered to them to the point of salvation. Therefore, it’s a good thing to have non-Christians in your church. It’s better than them being down at the beach. It is better than having them in the clubs and bars. People seem to look down on non-Christians, but Jesus loves people who are not redeemed. You’d be surprised that many of them are open to the Gospel. This gives us hope that our time spent on them will not be wasted.

I have a good friend who now comes to my church. She loves singing the songs and the choruses. She is very open to church, but she hasn’t yet opened her heart to Jesus.

But the tares are not necessarily in churches only. Jesus said that the field is the world, and He meant the whole world. That is outside the church, everywhere you go. “The seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one,” verse 38 says. You are the son of the wicked one right up until the time you are saved. Once saved, Jesus comes and bursts His light upon your heart. Consequently, after you have made a confession of faith that you believe Christ has risen from the dead and saved you from your sins, you become a Christian, a child of righteousness.

And it says in Scripture, those that were given to Jesus, He will not lose. Many people (including myself up until eight weeks ago) believe that a Christian can lose their salvation—that one can be saved, then fall away and lose their salvation through sin. I do not believe that anymore. I believe the Holy Spirit is good enough to turn anyone around. I believe that God looks upon the heart of His children.

Anyone who looks at their own works of righteousness or their own personal holiness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is a person who puts little stock and faith in the perfect work that was achieved on the cross of Jesus Christ for us sinners. The righteous are righteous only when they are saved. Jesus Christ imputed His righteousness on them even if they don’t look as though they are righteous. In God’s eyes, they are righteous because He sees His Son’s blood covering them.

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us” 2 Corinthians 5:21 Living New Testament translation.

“And the enemy who sowed the tares is the devil.”

The earth is run by minions of the Devil. What is so powerful about the Devil in the life of a non-Christian is that the unbeliever is not even aware that a good proportion of his thoughts, motivations and temptations come from the evil one. Some Christians have been in the faith for some time, yet they are not aware of how often Satan drops his poisonous thoughts into their mind. We can’t blame the devil all the time: our old sin nature is alive and well! Whenever you are tempted to speak out against someone or gossip to someone—the time you spend on the internet when you are supposed to be working—the times you take pens and stationery home from your workplace—the times that you deliberately ignore your own conscience —all the sins that you commit are temptations of the evil one or are the result of fleshy habits that need to be replaced.

Up until salvation our soul is the boss in our life! However, when the Holy Spirit brings life to the human spirit, the soul must learn to take orders from a new boss! This new authority is called the “renewed born-again spirit.” The process of the human soul being renewed can be a difficult life-time process! The more you surrender day to day decisions to the spirit, the more you will be able to surrender harder decisions to the spirit. The soul is made up of three very strong compartments: the mind or your ability to process information, the emotions or your ability to show love hate, apathy etc and lastly the most deadly – your will: the ability to make good or bad decisions.

Ingrained in every human being is self-centeredness which has at its roots, human pride. If Christians are being tempted, so much more is a person who is not saved. Whilst we are all part of God’s creation, only those who have received Christ are the children of God. All unbelievers are still under the rule and authority of the devil: they by nature resist the things of God and are not aware that it is Satan that they serve.

Ephesians 2:1-3 says: Once you were under God’s curse, doomed forever for your sins. You went along with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air, who is at work right now in the hearts of those who are against the Lord. All of us used to be just as they are, our lives expressing the evil within us, doing every wicked thing that our passions or our evil thoughts might lead us into. We started out bad, being born with evil natures, and were under God’s anger just like everyone else. (Living New Testament translation.)

The enemy has a big campaign to keep people in darkness. For many, many years, I was in darkness about the true righteousness and the finished work of Jesus on the cross. I was born-again and had God’s Holy Spirit residing in my human spirit but my soul was not conformed to the truth of God’s word. If I had died I would have gone to heaven but I was allowing Satan to drop his deadly thoughts into my mind. Therefore, I lived a defeated life and was actually a hindrance to the kingdom of God. There are many Christians that fall in this category.

For many years, I had a spirit of religion and legalism, and I believed that my own good works were making my salvation possible. I believed that if I did not behave—if I did not read the Bible, do good works, go to church and do a whole lot of ministry for the Lord—there was a good chance I was going to go to Hell. I thought certain sins in which I was involved were taking me to Hell. I was bound up. I was a very unhappy Christian.

Since the Lord has resurrected me and opened my eyes, I have become a new man. A gigantic weight has been lifted off my shoulders. This book is something that the Lord has inspired me to write: it’s not me trying to earn brownie points with God!

Let’s go back to the parable, verse 40 says, “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.”

As mentioned in my previous chapter, the book of Revelation speaks of two harvests. Jesus says in verse 41: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness.”

Some disgruntled people complained to Jesus and said: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” Jesus replied, “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).

You see, you can only go to Heaven through the finished work of Jesus Christ. If you try to appeal to God and earn your way to Heaven through your own works or the works of the Law, you fail.

Lawlessness is sin. (1 John 3:4) “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” Practicing lawlessness is doing things contrary to the word of God. The main point here is that the people who offend Jesus are going to be cast into the fire. Matthew 13: 42, “and will cast them into the furnace of fire.” These are people who are not saved: their sin of unbelief keeps them away from God’s Kingdom.

Jesus loves everyone. His blood that was shed on the cross was for every single person. Jesus wants everyone to be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not “slack, concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

God, the Father has so much compassion, love, grace and mercy flowing from His throne towards wicked men. However, He gave man a free will to choose to love Him or not. God will not violate His own word. If He ever did, the whole world would fall apart. The people who do not know God have right up until the time that the angels reap the world for a chance to come to know Him. When those angels come out to reap the earth of the non-Christians, then their time is up. It will be too late to turn to God at that point. But physical death too is a final point for each of us. That is why it says in 2 Corinthians 6:2b – “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

None of us know when death will come! Jesus is the only way to be saved. “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all.” 1Timothy2:5-6. Jesus Himself proclaimed that He was the only way to God and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

So, it’s up to us to share this book with our non-Christian friends. To show them that there is coming a time when, if they do not profess faith in Jesus, and live in the Kingdom of the light, they are going to be gathered up and thrown into Hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The teeth of the unsaved are going to be like that, rubbed together in agony. These people will continually weep in remorse for allowing pride and unbelief to rule their lives.

Verse 43b says, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

That is what it says about the righteous: those who are clothed in Christ’s righteousness! It is an exciting verse! The righteous shall shine like the sun.

Daniel 12:3 confirms it: Those who are wise shall shine

Like the brightness of the firmament,

And those who turn many to righteousness

Like the stars forever and ever.

Christians are the ones referred to here as the “wise” who “shall shine like the brightness of the firmament.” The word “firmament” simply means “the vault or expanse of the sky; the heavens”. The brightness of the skies is the sun.

The verse continues on by saying, “And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.”

Not all of us have the gift of evangelism. Not everyone has the ability to share the Gospel. This book will be available one day on the internet for free. At the back of the book, there will be an internet address where you can send the book to hundreds of your friends for free. So, this is a way you could spread the Gospel and perhaps bring your friends and family to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Also, if you invest money in foreign missionaries, like Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries, or many other ministries in the East, your money can be used to save many souls. Supporting Christian television satellite stations are also a wonderful way for you to share in the spreading of the Gospel. You can become one of those who turn many to righteousness through your investment and shine like a star forever and ever.

So, I hope that you have learned something from the unpacking of this parable.

To read more about Matthew Robert Payne or to know how to book him to speak at your church click on my name Matthew Robert Payne