Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 2 – Matthew 13:24-30 – The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord, 2011 A.D. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost – By Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Discernment Ministries International
Rev. Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
The enemy has sown the tares. The devil roams the earth, going back and forth in it. He sneaks around among those in the Kingdom of Heaven. He sows tares among the wheat. That is to say he lies. His only weapon is falsehood. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. But he can not bite with physical teeth, for in this world he does not have that power. In this time he is chained. God has put limits on his power.
The devil’s mouth is filled not with teeth, but with false teachings. That’s how he attacks. He leads men by deceiving them to firmly believe wrong things about God. The tares that grow up among the wheat are men who believe wrongly, the product of false doctrine sown by the enemy.
You see wrong teaching about God isn’t harmless. There is a relationship between false doctrine and eternal death. Believing wrongly but fervently, men cling to their false beliefs and their superstitions and their own fallen reason. When confronted with the Truth, they reject it because they have come to believe something entirely different. That’s why there are denominations. That’s why there are false religions.
Now, until the harvest, there are tares mixed in with the wheat. Men who believe wrongly and teach false doctrine are mixed into the Church. Outwardly they look like wheat. Some tares wear clerical collars. Many are they that run but have not been sent. Many are they who prophesy to whom God has not spoken. For it pleases the devil that as many shocks of wheat as possible be ruined by the tares he sowed. Tares sap the nourishment from good soil. They compete with the wheat, their roots entangled with good roots. So the church today is beset with strife and conflict. It is the Church Militant. Our Lord Himself prophesied that it would be so.
It is not as if the Lord of the Church has left His Bride defenseless. He has given the Church His Word, the Sword, the Holy Scriptures, the only Truth. It is by the Word that the devils attacks are repelled. It is there that God reveals Himself, and there alone. But many will not study them or hear them. It is a terminal laziness that allows the devil’s bad seed to take root. For absent the Truth, falsehood grows like weeds – like tares. And many will not stand up in the face of false teaching to rebuke those tares that hold or preach false doctrine.
Perhaps you have known this laziness. Perhaps you have skipped the study of the Scriptures. Perhaps you have heard false doctrine from friends and family and co-workers, but because you have not know the Scriptures you have been unprepared to defend the Truth. Perhaps you have doubted, but have been lulled into a sense of complacency, accepting the devil’s lies that false belief and doctrine are not that harmful. So you have felt the tug of the roots of the tares as they have quietly crept in and invaded you. Repent, for on the last day men who believe wrongly will be separated from the Church and cast into the fire. But thanks be to God, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turned from his way and live. God is a God of love. God is a God of life. This is the time of grace. Now the tares are not torn up, in mercy, that men be converted and come to faith. Now the tares are not torn up lest some of the wheat be uprooted with them. That is a demonstration of God’s great love and longsuffering. It is a demonstration of God’s great love for you.
That you be spared the fires of judgment, God gave His only-begotten Son to die for you. Though you were born a tare, in His mercy God came to you and saved you. He took on Flesh and lived a perfect life, a sinless, holy righteous life. And then the Son of God died as a tare, punished by men and by God as the worst sinner of all time. The cross was His threshing floor, as He was torn up and cast into the hell of separation from the Father and death. It is in His death that your sins are removed. It is by His Blood that your transgressions are covered. Believing in Him, believing that in love He died for you, none of the sins which you have committed shall be remembered against you, you shall surely live.
Now is the time of God’s grace. Now is the time when men are called to repentance and salvation. Now is the time when God showers upon fallen men the benefits of Christ’s perfect death and resurrection. Now is the time when He makes Christ’s righteousness your righteousness. For in His great mercy, God delays the harvest that His Gospel be preached to the ends of the earth.
Now God pours out upon you the saving waters of Holy Baptism. Now you hear His Word, and that Word works faith unto salvation. You hear the Gospel Truth that your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and that believing in Him you have life in His Name. Now the Scriptures are taught, that the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. Now the Lord of the Church, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, gives you to eat of His Body and drink of His Blood. In these ways He strengthens you to resist the tug of the tares, to prevail over the devil’s lies, to receive the forgiveness of your sins, and to grow up bearing fruit pleasing to Him.
Soon the Lord will let His angels come. Then they will be no false doctrine. Then the tares will be separated from the wheat. Then the True Church, the Good Seed that God sows, will be known. Then you, elect of God, holy and beloved, who by God’s grace endure faithful to the end, will receive the reward Christ won for you. And you shall not die, you shall surely live.
In the Name of the Faith, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
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Pastor Mark Braden serves at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (English District) in Detroit. It is our local church. The Zion web site has a great deal of information, sermons, links, etc. which are worthy of your consideration. To visit go to: http://www.ziondetroit.org