Sometimes the truth weeds out tares.
And sometimes it doesn’t.
Post-Christian Western American culture in general has some Christian based roots that permeate our mindset. Good Samaritan laws, the golden rule, democracy, equality of all men, and holding the door open for strangers are all Biblically based ideas that we hold and value and teach to our children as common decency and good manners.
But we do not often teach these values in light of service to God and therefore one who serves another man in need is hailed as a hero and elevated to an esteemed status. And thus the servant is not truly a servant.
One will never truly have a servant’s heart until he is treated like a servant and perseveres in humility and service. One will not earn God’s favor in service unless he serves even the “least of these” with the expectation of only God’s approval (Matt 25.40).
Our culture has taken and warped these elementary teachings. We are creating our own doctrines. We are wanting to have our ears tickled and we are accumulating for ourselves teachers who build us up in “accordance with our own desires” (2 Tim 4.4). We want to serve if we get praised for it. We do not want to serve like a servant.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
2 Tim 4.3-4
The challenge and the call upon the Church is to make disciples: to teach ourselves and others to obey all that Jesus commanded (Matt 28.20). But our Churches are full of people who do not truly believe; people who want to have their ears tickled. People who want to go to Heaven, but who do not want to die to themselves.
So what do we do?
“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’.”‘”
– Matt 13.24-30
We teach sound doctrine (Titus 2.1). And sometimes the Truth weeds out the tares. But sometimes it does not. And Jesus gives a very peculiar teaching on the subject. The parable of the wheat and tares tells us that it is dangerous to weed out tares that are deeply rooted amongst the wheat because in pulling out a tare, the wheat might get uprooted too. It is better, for the sake of the wheat, to leave the tare in place that is entangling it.
What does this look like?
This is specifically speaking of a person. If there is a false doctrine alive and well in your church, it is your duty and Spiritual obligation to teach true and sound doctrine. But if there is a person amongst you who believes himself to be a brother and is not involved in habitual sin for which he should be removed from the Church, leave it alone. Continue to teach sound doctrine, continue to exhort him to obedience and salvation, but do not divide the church over a nonessential because in doing so, you will hurt the body. You will loose some wheat. And perhaps by the washing of the word he will come to faith! Just last month a man in his 80’s who had attended for years came to faith at my church!
We are all on a path to maturation. We must push one another on to Spiritual growth. Let us not grow complacent in our walks, but let us press on to deeper and greater things (Heb 6.1). Let us encourage one another to know and love God more, being fully transformed by the Spirit living within us. And let us guard the purity of the teaching of our Church by teaching boldly and loving selflessly. If the Truth does not push people seeking false teaching away, I would guess that the Spirit is working in their hearts. Let’s pray for them. And in the process, preserve the wheat.
And let us take note of the fact that the sowing of false teachers and nonbelievers in the Church is the work of the enemy. This is one of his very skillful tactics against which we should be warned and prepared!