Sermon text: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
July 20, 2014
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this morning’s (evening’s) sermon is taken from St. Matthew’s gospel account the 13thchapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
Sowing Sons of the Kingdom
Things will not always be the way they are today. Sin will not always infect. Death will not always approach. There will be an end to both and the end of both has already begun. The reign of God is happening, has been happening. The Kingdom of God is now, today, in your midst even. With the advent of Jesus, the Word has become flesh and dwelt among us. He has come unto His own, and though His own do not receive Him, He has called out to others, to any and all who would listen. For the reign of God happens not by hammer or sickle, nor by scimitar or swastika. The Lord our God wills to reign by grace and not by power, through gentleness and meekness in the hearts of men, women, and children rather than by oppression, tyranny, or fear of the sword. He is a God of Love. Love delights in His beloved. Therefore Love speaks, Love calls, Love invites, Love draws near, love forgives and love is fruitful and multiplies.
That we learn of His great love for each of us in the midst of these dark days Jesus speaks once more. His speaking is in parables that those who have ears to hear may hear and believe on His Name. This morning His parable speaks of a sower sowing good seed. And the good seed He tells us are the sons of the Kingdom. The reign of God is manifest in the sowing of the Sons of the kingdom throughout the field of this world. This is His Will for creation; to plant His Christians here and there and everywhere, to the north and the south, the east and the west, as individuals and as communities. Thus wherever there are Christians there are churches and wherever there are churches there are Christians. The two go together. You cannot have one without the other, because the Sower has planted His Christians by His power of His Word. His Word happens in His Church. In His Church the Kingdom of God reigns over the hearts of men, women and children by grace. The Lord of heaven and earth is present with His people, serving His people, nourishing and strengthening His people by giving more of Himself, more of His Word, more of His grace and His love. Like Him, because His Christians are the fruit of His love so also are they to be fruitful and multiply in every way; in the size of their families, the expanse of Christ’s church, and the fruits of the Spirit in the world. This is the reign of our God in the hearts of men, women, and children, and to that end we Christians are to be devoted above all else.
While Men Slept
And so the kingdom of God does look like the kingdoms of men. The reign of God does not govern like the rulers of this world. The Savior plants home His Christians and His Christians are to be a city on a Hill, light and salt, wise like serpents but as innocent as doves. His Christians are planted into the earth, given work to do, tasks to fulfill, fruit to bear. But . . . as the parable goes on to say . . . while men slept an enemy came sowed weeds among the wheat. Yes, beloved the text is clear – while men slept the devil did his evil work. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This is the burden of Adam’s vocation. He, as a man, is given to Eve and their children as their head. So also Christian men are given as Husbands and Fathers to be the head of their household to love as Christ loves the Church, to nurture them in the faith, to protect them from the enemy’s deceit, and if necessary to die for them.
But, as the text says, “good men did nothing.” As has been said before, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” And so, while good men slept, while God’s Christians turned a blind eye, the enemy sowed his weeds on top of the sower’s good seed. And the two sprouted up together. Wheat and weeds side by side, some even joined together at the root. Christians and unbelievers together some even sharing the marriage bed. This is not the will of the sower, this is not the will of the Savior. An enemy has done this! And this has all happened under the less than watchful eye of good men, men who have been called to be salt and light in the world, men who have been given to stand guard and protect against such things. For the enemy’s desire here is to choke out the wheat and harm the sower Himself. The devil wishes to steal away Christ’s redeemed and purports to do so through the believer’s capitulation to the ways of weeds in this world.
The ways of the weeds are all too manifest in the lives of Christ’s Christians, in your lives. Good men have slept in deciding that worship is not important. Good women have allowed them to do it and with them so also their children.
Together we have surrendered the Lord’s day and thus also our witness to the grace of Christ in the divine service.
Together we have grown to love the weeds of this world, naively assuming that such devotion is not harmful to our personal relationship with Jesus – as though we could have Jesus any way we want. As though we could have Jesus while at the same time denying His call to “follow Me.” As though we have the freedom to follow when and where we will.
Together we have allowed the sons of God to marry the daughters of men and vice versa. We’ve given our children to marry unbelievers. Wheat sharing roots with weeds! A capitulation that will not go without consequences!
Together, we have tolerated the enemy’s words in our midst. We have allowed ourselves to be deceived by words scratching our itching ears. We have let false doctrine into the church, the very seed which lead to more weeds. While men sleep, while pastors and elders and husbands distract themselves with the ways of the world the enemy labors in the field of the Lord.
NO! Let them Grow Together (Grace is the remedy – not Judgment)
And what should be done about it? What should we do? Were it my garden I would pull of the weeds. I would poison the weeds. I would destroy the weeds all for the sake of saving those plants bearing fruit. And the same question is put to the sower, “Do you want us to go and gather them?” because that’s what any other sower of good seed would do, gather the weeds and destroy them. But that is not the way of kingdom of God. This parable is about the kingdom of God, the reign of God in our midst.
And God would reign in our midst by grace. Unlike the sowers of this world, unlike the enemy who sows weeds on top of the savior’s wheat, the Sower of the Sons of the Kingdom is concerned for the whole field, the whole world. He has come to give His life as a ransom for the world, come to suffer, die and shed His blood for the world. God so loved the World that He gave His only-begotten Son. Because our God is a God of Love He gives to the object of His love for the saving of His beloved. Not only does the Lord give Himself for the saving of His Christians, He gives Himself for the saving the whole world. What this means is that even the weeds can be cultivated into wheat, even the unbeliever can be converted to Christ.
The remedy for the enemy’s sowing is not wrath but grace and patience. Through such love the Savior offers Himself to the world. This is why St. Paul admonishes believers married to unbelievers to stay married. This is why the church has no political authority to punish sins in the world. In the church there is to be discipline but with the world there is to be patience. For it is only by patiently bearing the cross of Christ in this world that the world is given a glimpse of the grace of Christ and those who are of the enemy’s design are brought to conversion. Thus the Saivor’s patience is given in order to bring about repentance and completely undermine the enemy’s intentions. For “God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
Letting them grow side by side the sower alone suffers the cost. We who are Christians are always His Christians. Any suffering endured in this life is always suffering as His dear children. We are not our own. We are not left to fend for ourselves in a world covered with weeds. We are not left to endure alone. Christ has not forsaken us. We Christians are given to endure as His dear children drawn to the cross receiving from His pierced side blood and water, baptism and communion for the preservation of our souls and the hope of eternal life on the last day.
It is for this reason – that we may endure as His dear children – that the Savior blesses us with His Word and Sacraments here in His church. Through these, in this place, Jesus graciously forgives our sins and strengthens our faith enabling us to suffer under the burdens of world’s unrighteousness.
Through these The Spirit quickens our hearts to the Love of God and cross of His Son.
Through these the Lord washes unclean souls,
binds up bruised hearts,
strengthens week knees,
gives courage to the frightened,
hope to the despairing,
life to the dying,
and mercy to the oppressed.
Through the Word and the Sacraments the Lord of all grace keeps His Christians awake as He calls us back to the cross of Jesus, directs our hearts to the Word of His resurrected Son, and fills us with the Spirit of power and love.
“So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. (1Th 5:6-10 ESV)
Planted in our Vocation
Living with Him, today, tomorrow and forever more is to be our greatest delight. It’s for this reason that we have been planted in the first place. The Lord loves His people. The Lord loves you. He’s given you new life through the planting of His Word in your heart. He’s forgiven your sins and called you by that same Word to follow Him. As His dear Christians you do not follow as you see fit. You do not choose your own destination, nor do you follow when and where it suits you. The Savior has planted you in your vocation, planted you in a particular spot in this world in order that you bear fruit for the day of harvest. He’s planted you right where He wants you to be. He’s planted you there for a divine purpose. You are simply called to follow and be faithful. Faithful – clinging to Christ alone for your salvation, following – through obedience to Him who’s called you. Your obedience happens in your vocation because you believe in Jesus. Husbands and fathers are to be faithful and obedient to Christ. Wives and mothers are to be faithful and submissive to their husbands , their spiritual heads, all of which is out of reverence for Christ. Children are to be faithful and obedient to their parents. Each and every one of us is given to be faithful and obedient within our vocation, each one of us doing the work of love, bearing the cross of Christ, serving the needs of our neighbor, being Christ-like in a world ignorant of Christ’s love for them.
Beloved in the Lord, things will not always be the way they are today. Today is the day of salvation, thus our Lord is patient with us. He is patient with the world desiring the world to repent and believe on this name. Therefore His grace is poured out for all to receive by faith alone. Therefore each of us is given the task of receiving His grace and putting it to good use in the world for His glory. For things will not always be the way they are today. There will be an end to the Lord’s patience. The time for repentance will run out. There will be a harvest. At the harvest there will be a separation. Wheat will be separated from weeds. Believers will suffer no more the works of unbelievers. All distractions will cease and the eyes of the faithful will be cast upon the face of their savior. But that is then. It is not yet. And because it is not yet, because there will be a separation, because those who are unbelieving today, those whom we’ve grown to love will be separated from Christ and also then from us for eternity, we must go to them. We must share with them the gospel. We must invite them to the Lord’s house, even pleading with them to be reconciled to God their savior – that they too may share in the joys of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
God grant us hears for His Word and eyes for our neighbor that weeds may become wheat and Jesus alone is glorified. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!