Do you know the difference between a cheetah and a leopard? Lucky for me, every zoo I have ever visited has had a clearly marked sign on each habitat. I mix them up all the time when I come across pictures of them. If you look at a cheetah cub it looks almost identical to a leopard cub. There is a distinction but it is very hard to see when they are first born, or very little. When fully grown it is much easier to distinguish them. It’s their spots, as I am sure you have guessed—as you stopped to google them. The spot of a cheetah is a clear, single, black spot separated from the other spots on it’s body. A leopard however, has smaller irregular shaped spots that group together in circles to form a”rosette” pattern on it’s body.
Yes, it is a small detail, but nonetheless, a difference to be noted. Can we agree that once you know how to identify them it would be hard for anyone to convince you otherwise? Good. Now we are ready to jump into some scripture.
As Jesus went from town to town and group to group He often spoke in parables as we have learned. Today we are looking at the parable known as the Wheat and the Tares found in the gospel of Matthew 13:24-30. Let’s read:
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. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to 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.”
The disciples had difficulty understanding the parable so they requested Jesus take the time to explain fully. Here is His explanation:
And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
Jesus spread good seed—redeemed seed, which represented true believers. These believers live in the ‘field of the world.’ His disciples took the gospel out into the world and made more disciples! The enemy, Satan, opposes the gospel and tries to destroy Christ’s kingdom. Satan uses false teachers and even false believers to lead true believers astray. The Wheat – true believers, and the Tares – false believers/teachers, can look very much the same on the outside as they grow.
When Christ comes again, the true believers will be separated from the false ones. While the true believers will be in eternity with Him, all of the false ones will be judged for their sin and unbelief; then they will be removed from God’s presence forever! Are you a True Believer? Do you know the difference between the voice of the enemy and the voice of your Savior? Are you secure as to let nothing convince you otherwise?
We must examine ourselves. In 1 John 4:1 he tells us not to believe everything that is said from someone who appears to be a believer, but test what they teach against the scriptures for yourself. This is a habit we should all engage in. I urge you to check this message for truth. If what is shared, written, or taught by anyone doesn’t match what Jesus taught—walk away.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
As true believers, may we bear the fruit of the Spirit. May our presence on earth help younger believers walk toward Jesus, not the enemy. Because we are on this earth, the Kingdom of Heaven also exits in this world. But, as Paul the apostle wrote, in the book of Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Sisters, we are in this world but we are not of this world. As we grow together, may believers present themselves in such a way as to win unbelievers to Jesus Christ.
Holding Fast to Hope,