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Matthew 13:24-43

Talks for Growing Christians

The Wheat and the Tares, the Mustard Seed; and the Leaven

Matthew 13:24-43

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Lesson Number 33

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The wheat and the tares may appear the same now.
  2. The wheat and the tares will be separated later.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t misuse the parable of the wheat and the tares for church discipline.

Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the seven parables in Matthew 13?
  2. Why is the kingdom in its present form?
  3. Is the kingdom of heaven the same as the Church?
  4. Who do the birds of the air represent in the parable of the mustard seed?
  5. When will the wheat and the tares be separated?
  6. Does the parable of the wheat and the tares excuse church leaders from exercising church discipline?

Answers

  1. They are given to reveal the form of the kingdom at the present time, between the two advents of Christ.
  2. Since the Jews rejected the King and His offer of the kingdom, during this present time Israel has been set aside while the Gospel goes out to the Gentile world.
  3. No, the sphere of the kingdom is larger than true believers in the Church. The sphere of the kingdom includes false professors as well. The present form of the kingdom could be labeled “Christendom,” which includes the true and the false.
  4. The birds represent the agents of Satan, just as they did in the parable of the sower. The cults of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons nest in the branches of Christendom. Although these cults deny the deity of Christ, they sneak into the category of Christianity
  5. At the harvest time, when the Lord returns at the end of the age.
  6. No, this parable is teaching about the kingdom of heaven, not giving instructions to the Church. Elsewhere in the New Testament church leaders are commanded to carry out discipline in their church.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss the difference between the true Church and “Christendom.” The present form of the kingdom of heaven contains both true and false believers. Remember that the wheat and the tares grow together now, and may even look the same, but when the Lord returns their faith will be revealed. Not everyone involved in Christian activities or Christian ministries is a believer (see Matthew 7:21-23). We must use our discernment when choosing which teachers to study and follow. Apply this to yourself. Are you disguising yourself as wheat, when in reality you are a tare? Believe on the Lord as your Savior, so that you will belong to Him.
  2. Remember the different destinies of the wheat and the tares. The tares will be removed and taken away for judgment. Their destiny is hell, where there will be eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth. The wheat, the true believer, will be rewarded and will shine forth in the glorious kingdom of the Lord. What is your destiny going to be?

Challenge

  1. Jesus taught the multitude in parables, but He was always willing to explain their meaning to the disciples if they would ask. You can ask Him now for help understanding His Word. Remember, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

Key Verses

  • “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables.” Matthew 13:34
  • “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.” Matthew 13:37
  • “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:43

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