Words to Christian Gardeners
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Pastor Brent Whitefield
Introduction: Christ employs yet another agricultural parable to assert his Lordship over both salvation and judgment. The work of the Divine Gardener at the end of the age, not our efforts to “make the world a better place,” will purify the kingdom and confer great hope to those who are his.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Does Jesus suggest that we should not try to distinguish between believers and unbelievers in this age?
2. Jesus makes clear divinity claims in this passage. What are they?
3. Are the weeds referred to in the parable those who are demonstrably outside of the faith or those who appear to be believers?
4. What does this parable tell us about how the evil one operates?
5. What implications do Jesus’ words have for the Christian fight against evil?
6. Does this parable have anything to say about the practice of church discipline?
1. Read Matthew 13:24-30.
2. 01. Believers will always contend with opponents in this world and counterfeits in the visible church. There will be no resolution to this problem in the present age.
It is one of our greatest mistakes to equate the church with the kingdom of God. The kingdom is much broader than the church – it is cosmic in scope. The church is perhaps the primary agent of the kingdom but must not be equated fully with it. We need to be able to see the kingdom activity wherever it expresses itself and join with God in it. – Frost and Hirsch – Re-Jesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church
4. The parable does not address the church situation at all but explains how the kingdom can be present in the world while not yet wiping out all opposition. That must await the harvest. The parable deals with eschatological expectations, not ecclesiological deterioration. – D.A. Carson
5. Read Matthew 13:36-43.
6. 02. Satan is real and he works to sow confusion, division, and destruction – working most powerfully and insidiously within the community of believers.
7. Infiltration is the plan. Satan sows evil beside the good in schools, governments, entertainment, and even churches. Satan’s indirect approach is sensible since frontal assault rarely defeats a superior force and God is the superior force. Therefore Satan relies on treachery and confusion. He sneaks in and sows weeds among the good seed. – Daniel Doriani
8. 03. It is God’s job, not ours, to deal with ‘the weeds’ in His own time and manner.
9. It seems weak of Jesus to forbid this logical next step. To coexist with evil rather than to cancel evil seems compromising, inconsequent, and ineffectual. The great evils we are told must be absolutely wiped off the map. … That Jesus stops short of this consequence, that he dooms us, seemingly, to a kind of perpetual irrelevance by telling us not to fight these evils to the death – this fact constitutes the great offense about Jesus to so many—the scandal, the unacceptable weakness of a Lord who otherwise has so many wise things to say. – Fredrick Bruner