Wheat or Tares? By George Stroh, Senior Pastor February 22, 2010
"Jesus presented another parable to them saying, The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also" (Matthew 13:24-26)
The Church began almost 2,000 years ago on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon and filled the Apostles. That same day Peter preached to the people saying; "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." (Acts 2:38-39). About 3,000 souls were saved that day.
You can be sure that our enemy, Satan and his demons, were also working hard on that day and everyday since that first Pentecost. He does everything he can to distort, diminish and discredit the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The result is that many people who think that they are Christians, have been deceived. They are represented as the "tares" growing among the "wheat". These are unwitting counterfeits who will someday stand before the Lord in judgement and hear "...I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness". They believed that they were Christians on their way to heaven, but were in realty on the broad road that leads to hell.
Only the Lord knows for sure who does (wheat) and who does not (tares) belong to Him. In His parable, the slaves of the man who sowed the good seed asked him; "Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?" But he said, "no, for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.' "
It is my understanding that this parable primarily pictures events during the Millennium Kingdom which follows the rapture of the Church and then the seven years of tribulation on earth. But the truth of this parable has application as well during this present Church age. Someday, and many of us think that day is coming soon, one last soul will be added to the Church and then Lord will return for His bride, the church. At the rapture of the Church, there will also be a separation of the wheat (believers) from the tares (unbelievers). There will be people left behind who seemed to be very religious and active in a local Church. Probably some who were even in leadership positions. But they will be exposed, like Judas, as those who never were true followers of Jesus Christ.
As a Pastor, I pray for the discernment and wisdom to know who in our local Church might be tares. If there is little or no evidence of a regenerated life (good fruit or works), it is likely there is no true faith; "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (James 2:26). I pray for the courage to confront those who, based upon the absence of good fruit or works, I suspect are deceived tares among the wheat. Better to be embarrassed that I wrongly question someone's genuine faith, then to wrongly assume someone is a believer who is not.
If your faith is real and you are in Christ, you will have the full assurance and security that nothing or no one can ever separate you from Him. And if there is any doubt; "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 3:5). If you are not sure about your faith, read through the third chapter of John's Gospel; "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36). Are you part of the wheat or the tares? Maranatha!