daily biblical sermons

We must put up with false Christians in the Church until they are cast out at the second coming of Christ
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Sunday, 16th Sunday of the Year, July 19, 2020
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19, Psalm 85, Romans 8:26-27, Matthew 13:24-43


Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“Then he [Jesus] left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father’” (Matthew 13:36-43).



Today’s parable is a picture of the Church as we see it in our own day. Christ has sown good seed, that is, those that believe in him and dedicate their lives to him. But the devil has sown evil seed in the world, while people were sleeping. When the plants begin to sprout and the ear develops in them, the servants report to the householder that dangerous weeds are growing in his field together with the wheat that they planted. They want to uproot them, but the householder tells them not to do so, for two reasons, first of all, when the plants are young, it is difficult to distinguish between the wheat and the weeds, and furthermore this type of weed encircles its roots around the roots of the wheat, and so when you pull up the weed, you also uproot the wheat. So the master has no alternative but to let the weeds grow until harvest time.



At harvest the two plants can be easily distinguished, and also you have to uproot everything anyway – both weeds and wheat – so there is no harm in uprooting the weeds at that time, which will also cause the wheat to be uprooted, since you have to uproot the wheat anyway to harvest it. And at that point with mature plants, you can easily distinguish and a separate the weeds from the wheat and burn the weeds, while taking the wheat into your barn (Merrill F Unger, Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Moody Bible Institute, 1957, 1988), page 1145, in William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 1989), page 1256).



The point of this parable is that the Church is in the same situation today and in every age as this field full of weeds and wheat. At the present time, the weeds and the true wheat look very much alike and it is difficult to accurately distinguish them one from the other, since we cannot read people’s hearts. So it is not at all easy to try to purify the Church of false members. In addition, in trying to uproot false Christians we might also damage and scandalize true Christians in the process so that they might even leave the Church.



So Jesus teaches us that the wise thing to do is simply to accept the fact that there will always be weeds as well as wheat in the Church. There will always be true believers as well as hypocrites in the Church, that is, people that make their home in the Church, but do not really believe in Christ and in the Scriptures, nor do they believe in the Tradition of the Church, whereby she, basing herself on divine revelation in Scripture, teaches us God’s moral law and how he wants us to live.



So what should we do about this situation? One commentator distinguishes between weeds and thorns. The thorns, he says, are open obvious sinners that should be removed from the Church. The weeds, he says, are hypocrites who cannot be easily distinguished from true Christians, and so should simply be put up with until the Parousia (Joseph Benson, 1749-1821).



“This parable teaches us, that good and evil will always be found together in the professing Church, until the end of the world. The visible Church is set before us as a mixed body. It is a vast ‘field’ in which ‘wheat and weeds’ grow side-by-side. We must expect to find believers and unbelievers, converted and unconverted, ‘the children of the kingdom, and the children of the wicked one,’ all mingled together in every congregation of baptized people” (JC Ryle, 1856, emphasis in the text).



“In every age of the Church, the same state of things has existed. It was the experience of the early Fathers. It was the experience of the Reformers. It is the experience of the best ministers at the present hour. There has never been a visible Church or a religious assembly, of which the members have been all ‘wheat.’ The devil, the great enemy of souls, has always taken care to sow ‘weeds’” (JC Ryle).



So we should in a certain sense content ourselves with the Church as it is, for we cannot create a perfectly pure Church, where no hypocrites hide themselves among the faithful. Jesus himself is the one who is teaching us this. He is not telling us to be lax or careless in saying this, but simply to have a certain wisdom and moderation in our zeal for having a perfect Church. There will never be a perfect Church, Jesus tells us in this parable, until the end of the world, when Christ will return in glory. Then, as he tells us in this parable, “The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:41-43).



Our desire and great hope for a perfect Church is a good thing, but it must be moderated with wisdom and look forward to the end of the age for its ultimate fulfillment. We should therefore long for the second coming of Christ in power and glory on the clouds of heaven with all his angels and saints to consummate all things. We should not forget the Parousia. This also should be a living part of our faith perception of the Church and the world, for hope in the Parousia makes us hopeful people, when we realistically look at the present problems in our Church.



Without hope for the Parousia, we would become dejected and discouraged Christians, without the Christian joy that Christ gives us. The Church will be purified, but not right now, Jesus tells us today. This does not mean that we should fall asleep and do nothing to try to purify it. But it does mean that we need to act with wisdom and moderation, guiding ourselves by the words of Jesus himself, telling us not to try to uproot the weeds at the present time. Yet that the weeds will be uprooted and that the wheat will be rewarded is certain.



This teaching also helps us to overcome the temptation that some have to go from Church to Church or from religious order to religious order, always looking for the perfect Church, the perfect parish, the perfect religious order, and never finding it, for the simple reason that a perfect Church, a perfect parish, and a perfect religious order simply does not exist in this world at this time. It will exist in the future that we are all to long for, when the Lord comes again in glory.



“We shall never find a perfect Church. We may spend our lives in migrating from communion to communion, and pass our days in perpetual disappointment. Go where we will, and worship where we may we shall always find weeds” (JC Ryle).



So what should we do in the meantime? We should not just fall asleep and watch TV, but rather work hard as Christians, and if we are priests or pastors, we should work with dedication in our ministry, preaching the gospel of God’s salvation now available through faith in Jesus Christ, because of his atoning death on the cross, whereby he made full reparation for our sins. The more people that we can reach with this message, the more perfect will the Church become, because faith in Jesus Christ enables God the Father to justly declare and thereby make people righteous (justify them).



We should also preach the moral teachings of Christ according to the New Testament and the teaching of the Church. We should preach about the burning moral issues of our own day that are leading many to reject the Church and the Christian faith. We should preach about the evil of abortion as the grave sin of murder. We should preach that homosexual sexual acts are gravely sinful, because they contradict God’s plan for human sexuality, as taught in the New Testament (Romans 1:22-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). We should preach the sinfulness of so-called same-sex “marriage,” which is no marriage at all, but rather a grossly sinful union entered into to live a life of sexual perversion. We should also preach about euthanasia as murder of one’s relatives and parents, and about assisted suicide as well as suicide itself as the unlawful taking of one’s God-given life, which we must preserve until God himself decides to take it from us.



We should also preach today that divorce from a valid marriage and civil remarriage is the grave sin of adultery that separates us from God and bars us from receiving the Eucharist, unless the couple refrains from all sexual activity permitted only to validly married people, as the Church has always taught, in accord with Scripture and Tradition. And we should preach that this is an unchangeable teaching of the Church.



We should also try to live a pious life of prayer and simple eating with a simple lifestyle, avoiding worldly and frivolous entertainments that divide our hearts away from an undivided love of the Lord. Rather we should devote ourselves fully to the Lord with all our heart and soul, mind and strength, and spend ourselves in his service and that of our neighbor.




» 2022-2023 Year A English
» 2021-2022 Year C English
» 2020-2021 Year B English
» 2019-2020 Year A English
» 2018-2019 Year C English
» 2017-2018 Year B English
» 2016-2017 Year A English
» 2015-2016 Year C English
» 2014-2015 Year B English
» 2013-2014 Year A English
» 2012-2013 Year C English
» 2011-2012 Year B English
» 2010-2011 Year A English
» 2009-2010 Year C English
» 2008 - 2009 Year B English
To receive my current daily Biblical sermons by email
Subscribe to DailyBiblicalSermons Free:
Enter Your Email Below and Click Subscribe

See my books!

Desert Living

Desert Living

Desert Living

All books are available and searchable on Amazon and Kindle.

Daily Biblical Sermons
© Copyright 2007-2009 Rev. Steven Scherrer, www.DailyBiblicalSermons.com. All are welcome to use the materials on this site, either via spoken or written form. However, if used in written form or retransmitted via internet or email, please INCLUDE the above copyright indication. Thank you.