"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."'" (Matt.13:24-30, NKJV).
Last week we looked at how Satan sows tares in the form of human beings into the local churches when those local churches fall asleep spiritually. We saw how difficult it is to identify this counterfeit wheat until the grain heads have matured and those who are not of the flock of Christ in spirit are seen for who they really are. Once they become visible, their evil works being seen by all, they have to be expelled because these people were not predestined to salvation (Rom.8:29-30; Eph.1:5,11). Their fate, as we have seen in our passage, is to be burned. They are not redeemable. This burning takes places at the time the true believers are gathered together and are fully separated out of the world system.
The wheat, then, are the true, born-again, repenting and overcoming believers, and the tares are those who have never belonged to Christ and never will belong to Him. As it is written:
"For whom He [Yahweh] foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Rom.8:29-30, NKJV).
The elect are gathered and the condemned are burned at the end of the harvest. That day has yet to come even if it is perhaps not very far off now. Yahweh knows who belong to Him even if we do not. He leads us to souls who will respond to the Gospel, whether now or in the future. Some people accept it on first hearing, others may need to hear it many times before the walls of unbelief come tumbling down. Those whom we, in our poor discernment and judgement, believe to be tares may simply be those who are predestined to salvation but who have not responded, whose time is yet to come. For this reason we are to be careful in our judgement of others, not presuming to be God - we are to witness to all until harvest time.
Last week I suggested to you that it is not necessary for tares to be sown into a congregation provided that congregation does not fall asleep. In our day in particular, with so much deception and evil in both the world and the churches, He especially does not want us to sleep. The apostle Peter said:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9, NKJV).
"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." This is a representation of the Kingdom of Heaven, also known as the Kingdom of God. But just what is this Kingdom of Heaven? Where is it to be found? To find out, we must remind ourselves of Yah'shua's (Jesus') own definition which I am reading from the Amplified Version of the Bible:
"The Kingdom of God is within you (in your hearts) and among you (surrounding you)" (Lk.17:21, Amplified Version).
I have chosen this translation purposefully because most English versions only say that the Kingdom is "within" you which does not convey the full sense of the original. The Kingdom is in your heart, but since it is in many hearts, it is in the people who surround you also. Therefore the Kingdom of Yahweh is both inside you and in the physical world that you share with others. It is both the local assembly of believers and the entire Messianic Community internationally, alive and dead. But it is only these things because it is first within people. Thus it was that Yah'shua (Jesus) declared to Pontius Pilate when he was being interrogated that His Kingdom was not of this world (Jn.18:36) which, in the Johannine use of words, means this world's political system of which Pilate the Jewish leaders were representatives. The Kingdom of God is not of this world system, but it is most definitely in the world. How is it then distinguished from the world's kingdom? The apostle John writes:
"For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:16-17, NKJV).
The desires of the fleshy man, the desires of our eyes, and the pride of life are all the diametric opposite of the Kingdom of Heaven which "is like a man who sowed good seed in his field". The Kingdom of the world, is the Kingdom of Satan, the "tares (sown) among the wheat". There are two Kingdoms in opposition to each other, Kingdoms vying for a place in the hearts of men and women everywhere.
In many churches you will be taught that once Christ has been admitted to your heart that you are safe and have nothing to worry about. You're safe, you're going to make it to heaven - 'once saved, always saved'. Implied in this false teaching is that once the Kingdom of Heaven is within your heart, Satan can never displace it. Even if you fall away, it teaches, you belong to Christ, even if you become a Satanist and persecute the faith and never return to active faith to the day you die.
The parable of the wheat and the tares tells us something quite different. It tells us that if, after receiving Christ, we fall asleep, Satan will come and plant his Kingdom in our hearts such that we don't even know it is happening. So many Christians walk through life believing they are fully redeemed whilst all the while an evil crop is growing up alongside the good one in their hearts. If there are two crops in you, then you are a double-minded man, being led by two contrary powers - first in one direction and then the other - leading to great spiritual instability (Jas.1:8).
The parable tells us that when it comes to the Messianic Community or Church as a whole, the infiltrators and the fakes will be separated out and burned. But what of us as individuals? Does it mean that we can just sit back as complacent and lazy believers and think that when it is our turn for the judgement that Yahweh will simply 'burn' the bad tares within us, leaving only the good wheat? Can we extend the meaning of this parable from the general to the particular and simply become inactive in the working out of our own salvation?
Well, we only have to look at various congregations to see whether that is true or not. Are local assemblies supposed to sit idly by and allow infiltrators to destroy them? Of course not. The pastoral epistles make it perfectly plain that those who are evil are to be exposed. The sexually immoral who do not repent are to be cast out. The scriptures say nothing of idleness in the spiritual life but the very opposite. They tells us to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil.2:12, NKJV), to overcome evil in our lives (e.g. Rev.21:7). John said that "whatever is born of God overcomes the world" (1 John 5:4, NKJV) - it doesn't say sit around passively ... idly. Nowhere is the Christian faith ever described as a passive one. It's a dynamic, a struggle, an overcoming, and a series of cumulative victories over "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life".
So how do tares get into the soul? Quite simply, whenever you believe and accept a lie, no matter how small. Yah'shua (Jesus) said that the Kingdom of Heaven was as small as a mustard seed when it is first planted in the soul but when properly nourished grows into the size of a vast tree in which the birds of the air can rest (Mt.13:31ff). The Kingdom of Satan is no different. It starts small but if not checked will grow vast. One little lie, the size of a pinprick, has the ability to grow into something the size of a mountain. If you plant truth in your heart and take care of that truth, it will grow. If you plant a lie in your heart and take care of it, that too will grow. The heart is a living medium and whatever you plant there will grow. And if you plant truth and lies side by side, then they will compete with each other for living space, just as good plants and weeds do in your garden. Every summer you have to weed - if you don't, the weeds will swamp, choke and kill off the good plants. If you don't weed lies out of your mind, they will grow and swamp out the truth. The tares, in the end, choke out the wheat. Until that happens, there will be inner division and spiritual war, as Yah'shua (Jesus) illustrates when He said:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other" (Matt.6:24, NKJV).
You can't have two loyalties. You can't have two masters. You cannot serve both the truth and lies. You cannot be spiritual and fleshy. In the end, you have to choose between them.
And that is just the point. Why allow error, lies, carnality and such enter you in the first place? Is it not better to start pure and keep pure? Why consume vast amounts of your life's energy and time trying to walk a middle path when it doesn't work? You can't, as some people try to do, combine several religions or philosophies. Christianity isn't combinable because it is the truth. You either follow Christ or you don't. You can't have split loyalties. The Gospel is one beautifully integrated, whole and harmonious system that is rooted in 100% truth - not men's interpretations of it, but the way Christ Himself spells it out.
You would be surprised the number of lies your average person believes whether they be Christian or non-Christian. I am constantly surprised. A nasty word spoken by a friend or an enemy when you are a young boy or girl can plant a seed in your soul that can ruin a whole personality. I don't know how many people I have ministered to who have been told by a parent, relative, friend, school teacher, boss or someone else that they are a 'good for nothing' and they have believed that. When you believe that you have no value - that you are worthless, no good, predestined to failure - you believe in a lie and plant a tare in your soul. Satan doesn't have to wait around - he goes away because he knows that one lie will wreck a terrible destruction in you when you grow up. Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) said: "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". The seed of doubt in the value of self is enough to destroy you. It leads people into drugs, sexual immorality, crime and all kinds of different evils as they subconsciously try to demonstrate that they really are unworthy as the person who first told them that lie led them to believe. Self-destructive behaviour in people is often the fruit of some ill-considered remark made by someone. The person making the remark may not even have meant the person was worthless. It may possibly have been said in jest. But a particularly sensitive person can nevertheless believe it. And that is why in the Bible we are strictly warned to be careful what we say. The apostle James said:
"See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell" (James 3:5-6, NKJV).
A harsh word, a manipulative word, a seductive word, a thoughtless word can be enough to set a raging fire called a lack of self-worth going in the soul.
Human beings are so very fragile, men as well as women. Tough men often betray great insecurities in their souls. They may seem like giants on the outside but inside they are spiritual dwarfs. The whole culture of toughness which is being cultivated by our liberal atheist system is founded on hot air - a sense of worthlessness and meaninglessness. Why do people act tough? It is because they can find no meaning in life.
Christians and unbelievers alike rarely take these things into consideration. There are 'Christians' who loathe homosexuals so much that they would even kill them. What they forget is that these are hurting people. What they forget is that somewhere back in their history they got injured deep within their beings and chose to cope by finding expression through a false path laid out carefully by Satan. The solution to homosexuality, and indeed every mental illness, is through simply confronting the lies - the tares - in our lives. We do not need to wait until the end of our lives to have these things healed and removed. All we have to do is face our feelings of rejection to the points where we experienced inner pain and take them to Christ - now, today. He will heal today. Most Christians don't believe that homosexuality can be healed. They have rationalised it away and blamed 'genes'. But do you know, I know of homosexuals who have been instantly healed by dealing with those satanic lies in their lives by letting Christ in to heal them? It requires no exorcism. It requires no Bible-thumping. It requires no accusation. It requires only that the tares be identified and an invitation made to Yah'shua (Jesus) to supernaturally remove them. Moreover, when He removes them, He burns them - the problem never reappears after that.
Now there is no way that you can force people to be healed. There is no way that you can barge in on a person, 'take authority' (as some suppose), and kick out those demons by the sheer power of your will and faith. We, as ministers, cannot, and must not, attempt to heal. Christ is the healer. We cannot rip those tares up whether in others or in ourselves. Yahweh will bring the wounded to ministers for healing when the right time comes - when that person is ready to open, when there is an environment of acceptance and love ready to greet that person, and not one of hatred and condemnation. Nevertheless, the moment you undertake to work for Yahweh in this ministry - the moment you agree with yourself and Yahweh only to admit truth into your life, and expose all lies - the moment you do that, and from then on, you will have opposition. Why? Because you are disturbing the Kingdom of Satan. You are disturbing the rule of the flesh - the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, and the demons behind them. The moment you expose lies you threaten the existence of the tares - that counterfeit darnel, that weed which chokes up the heart and blinds the mind.
We are witnessing wonderful miracles happening in our ministry through this non-violent approach. We are seeing souls healed and delivered. It is easy to cast demons out but you can't stop them from returning, and often in greater numbers, until you have dealt with the lie-based issues that allowed the demons in in the first place.
Looking at a field of wheat and darnel that have matured you might be tempted to think that each was as strong as the other. In the spiritual dimension it is not so. Yes, lies are powerful, and yes, believing in lies is the start of the construction of formidable demonic strongholds in your life. Yes, oppression is terrible. Yes, the pain, loneliness, frustration and hopelessness that often surface when we are at war in ourselves does seem never-ending at times. Satan will build one lie on top of another, robbing you of your hope if he can.
Know this, however - Satan and the entire demonic realm was defeated at the Cross two thousand years ago. They are like specks of dust before the Almighty. They may appear as terrible monsters to you but set alongside Yahweh they are absolutely nothing. It is essential that the believer sees Satan and his demonic hosts as Yahweh sees them - from a position of victory. We, in our own strength, do not need to do battle with Satan. Such is a waste of time. So long as you are in Christ, trusting in Him, obeying the truth of His Word, you have absolutely nothing to fear. All you need to do is ask Yahweh: 'Please reveal to me the lies in my life,' and I guarantee that He will. From then on it is simply a matter of substituting truth for lies. That is done supernaturally by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) who reveals the truth to your heart. The Bible will confirm it in words. Once you have identified the lies - the tares - simply renounce them in the Name of Yah'shua (Jesus) and by the power of His blood, and He will uproot them, together with any pain that may be associated with those lies ... like believing you are worthless. Once you have done that, the demons will have no more legal grounds to be in you - you can simply say to them, 'Go!' And they must.
This kind of thing has become so natural to me personally that I even do it in my sleep. Your dreams may reveal tares - make a note of them. Memories of past hurts are handles to uprooting more tares - hold on to them and pray for deliverance while you have them. Suppressing lies, and their associated pain, just makes things worse.
Let's conclude with a prayer - perhaps you would care to join in with me:
"Dear Heavenly Father, Yahweh-Elohim: I acknowledge Your Son, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as my Lord and Saviour, my only Master. I know, however, that there are lies and hurts in my lies that are giving the enemy a foothold in my life to disturb my peace and torment my soul. I will only seek for the Truth, and will renounce all lies in my life. Please reveal to me, step by step, the lies in my life. Give me emotional handles I can work with so that I can invite your Ruach (Spirit) into my pain to release me and substitute in truth and love. Give me patience as I do this, a keen ear so that I may hear what you want me to do, and faith that my loyalty to Christ may be undivided. I thank you that you will heal me according to the promises in Your Word. Make me undivided and whole, for Your glory's sake. Amen."
My prayer is that the God of all Truth may lead you and guide you to the place He wants you to be within, so that the Kingdom of Heaven takes full root within your souls. May He uproot all your tares so that you may become truly free.