Those who are weeds/tares have chosen to be weeds/tares First St Johns, July 20, 2014

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are the good seed of Jesus said … AMEN! It has become trendy even in the circles of Christian evangelicalism to sort of pooh-pooh the idea of Hell. The “how could a “good/holy/loving God”, take your pick, send someone to Hell. Let’s look at today’s Gospel reading. It’s very simple. How someone can ignore the meaning is Bible “cherry-picking”, that is, “I believe and/or take out of Scripture what I “like”, that tired standard of the world, what I “like” is good, what I don’t like is “bad/wrong” and then I make up my own theology. Jesus straight forwardly answers the disciples question: “’The Son of Man’, i.e. Jesus, sows the good seed which is the sons, and daughters, of the Kingdom. Those who are saved, those who are pre-destined by God’s sovereignty to eternal life in the resurrection. The field is the world, that is Jesus has put those who are saved in the world, those who are baptized in the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who take the Body and Blood of Jesus, who hear the preached Word, those who are part of the church of Jesus. “The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil.” Jesus goes on to say: “The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace.” Now we could construe from this phrase, that it is Jesus who is actually making the decision, I don’t know sort of a Santa Claus, who’s naughty and who’s nice kind of thing. He’s not! He has planted His world, He has decided in His sovereignty, and if you want to discuss that word further ask me after worship, but in His sovereignty He knows who is saved. He has given faith to those who have been chosen, they have faithfully acted according to His will, which does not mean perfectly but in our weakness, but they act faithfully to serve Him, to worship Him, to be baptized. They know that they are saved by virtue of His sacrifice, the propitiation/payment that He has made for them on the cross, His atoning death and they are those who are saved. They are the ones taken out of the world, who are judged before the throne to be saved, not by anything they have done, but entirely by what Jesus has done for us and they are placed into the New World, the New Jerusalem in the resurrection to eternal life in Him. Those who have rejected Him, have chosen to live life according to their will, made themselves their own “god” their own idol, have lived according to the standards of the world, they have made their decision and the angels that Jesus sends are only acting according to their will. The “weeds” of the world have chosen to be outside God’s will and therefore are separated into condemnation.
God tells Isaiah: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” What does that statement remind you of? … The Book of Revelation, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and Omega”. What does He mean by that? He’s just reciting the Greek alphabet? No! Language has letters, everything is contained in the alphabet, and He is everything from beginning to end. Is there anything that exists that God did not have a hand in creating? No! Therefore He is everything. Jesus refers to Himself as Alpha and Omega in three separate passages of Revelation (1:8, 21:6 and 22:13) Jesus does this for emphasis, that is make no mistake, I am all things, I am the entirety of creation, I make the calls, not anyone else. The weeds of the world, however, have chosen to believe, mistakenly, that somehow they have added to that divine alphabet, that somehow they should be added to that all encompassing everything that God truly is. The wheat has been planted by the Son of Man, He knows His wheat. To use another parable He knows His sheep, He is sovereign, in His sovereignty He has chosen those who will be saved, they are right there planted in the world. The enemy, Satan, has sovereignty over those who have chosen to remain outside of God’s will. They have chosen to exclude themselves. Why? Because they think that they are sovereign, that they make the calls, that they should decide how they live, how that wheat field or that pasture of the world should be and they act accordingly. They don’t necessarily do it to undermine God, they frankly don’t care about God, it’s not about Him, it’s about them. Or they reject God, He didn’t play according to their rules, so for some bizarre reason, they think that they should have the right to have things play out according to their will and they make it clear that God is not welcome and they will decide how things should play out. Either way, they live as if God did not exist or did not matter and as if they matter most. Sound familiar? Yea, that’s part of our confession and absolution. Oh sure, we who are saved can act that way and often do. That is sin! What’s the difference between the wheat and the weeds or tares? The wheat knows that they’ve sinned, they know that they have violated God’s will and as we do at the beginning of every worship, lift up their confession to God, acknowledging that we have sinned against Him and we ask Him for forgiveness. The weeds/tares, they’re attitude is “ahhhh”, this is what I wanted, this is the way it should be and I am what is important and so it should be my way. Is that “good fruit” is that God’s will, is that the way it should be in God’s field, in His flock? No! In our salvation we follow God’s will, we turn to Him for guidance and when we don’t do His will, we lift it up to Him in repentance, ask forgiveness and in His graciousness He gives us forgiveness. We are fully forgiven, we are fully sanctified, fully justified, in summary we are fully saved. Why? Because we were all A-J squared away God-wise and we should be forgiven? No! Because in the crucifixion of Jesus who died for the sins of the entire world, we are forgiven in His sacrifice. We are put back into that relationship that the Father intends to have with us. Because we are not, perfect, sweet, little Sally Sunshines who just follow every rule on the playground? No! Believe me, I do not have people describing me as sweet, peaceful and perfect. But what I am is saved in Jesus. I do continue to grow and am guided according to His will, saved in His sacrifice. I do not try to make myself to be the judge of everything. I trust Him to do that. I’m not some naïve cupcake who decides that everything is beautiful, I know perfectly well that I am in the world and among weeds/tares. Jesus tells me in this passage that it’s not my job to rip the weeds out, I don’t even know who the weeds are. He tells me to be faithful to His will “go therefore and make disciples baptizing in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” No doubt, I will reach out to some who are weeds and they have chosen for themselves to make the world what they want it to be and ignore God’s will. I don’t want that, I would never wish anyone to be condemned, to be and I quote; “thrown into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” We’ve talked about that, they are there because they have chosen to separate themselves from God and so they are separated. They are weeping and as I’ve said, really wailing in anger, gnashing their teeth in anger screaming at God. Why? Yes, because they are in pain, but also because the Father refused to let them be God. “I am a jealous God” God refers to Himself that way seven different times. God makes it clear, I AM God, no one else is and the Father will guard His position without compromise.
He is jealous for His people, that’s a good thing. We like to make that word a negative, it’s bad to be jealous, but I think it’s great. Because the Father is jealous of me, the wheat that He planted, He protects me, He saves me. He loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me, so that I can be His possession, a possession that He is jealous of and will not share with anyone or anything else. I’m not a weed, I know who God is and I am His ever lasting child. And so are all of you who know Christ as your Lord and Savior, He is jealous of you. He is God and there is no one besides Him.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

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