Matthew 13:24–30 (ESV) — He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”
Despite all of our efforts, there will be a mixed multitude among us. Simon Maguses will enter. We will not be able to purge them all out – nor should that be our focus. Discipline yes. Witch hunting no. Just as we will not be able to Christianize the entire world, so this mixture will be reflected in the Church. Do not be dismayed. He has told us it will be so.
Warren Wiersbe’s simple take on this passage is that the good seed are genuine Christians sown into the world, and the bad seed are not merely unbelievers – but false Christians sown into the world by the enemy.
This posits several most interesting realities. Sometimes, people come to Church not because the Holy Spirit has drawn them, but because Satan has purposefully sent them for the purpose of disruption. We must be on the lookout. Those who come and disrupt over trifles, are to be rejected after a first and second admonition. (see: Titus ) They will produce great havoc and do much damage if not.
Yet, in His explanation given in vss. 36-43, Jesus seems to draw our eyes to a different focus. Because the “field” referred to here is not the Church, but rather – the world. In this context His point would is different. The idea is – you CANNOT have a pure, “Christian” society. There will always be those who look like Christians but are not, and who will be mingled among all strata of society. In politics, in governments, in nations – it will ALWAYS be a mixed multitude. Nor are we to attempt to produce a pure society by eliminating the unbelieving in some way. We are to co-exist with unbelievers in the world until Christ returns. The Church can exercise proper discipline within its own walls – but never in the world at large. We cannot produce a “Christian” nation by keeping out the unbelievers, nor are we to even attempt such a thing.
Beware of movements within the Church which attempt to create such Christian communities totally separate from the world. They are established on a false notion – that somehow, regardless of what Jesus taught here, we CAN uproot the pretenders before the end of the age, and make sure we have a least some little plot of ground that is pure.
Such uprooting is angel’s work, not ours (vs. 41) . And it will be done at the end of the age – not now (vs. 39).
What are we supposed to do then? Preach and live Christ until He comes. That’s plenty.