God's Plan to Produce the Kingdom on the Earth
January 28, 2007 • By Derek Brown
Let’s focus on the parable of the wheat and the tares " Matt 13:24-43. It is an interesting parable - where a man had a field and he went and sowed some seed in the field and looked for a harvest to come. But the thing that's interesting to me is the interpretation of that parable. If you look at verse 36 it says that Jesus left the multitudes and went into the house and his disciples came to him asking him to explain the parable of the wheat and tares.
Jesus answered and said the one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man - himself. This is simple stuff. This is the sort of thing my 9 year old daughter can understand. The one that sows the seed is Jesus. The field is what? What does it say in the bible? It is the world. It is not the church. Can I let that sink in?
What is the field that God is concerned about? It's the world. If you go back to verse 24 - you know what's amazing about that field? Look at verse 24. Whose field is it? It belongs to Jesus. The world belongs to Jesus " but you say I thought Satan was in control. Look what it says - there is an enemy who is trying to stop what Jesus is wanting to do but all he can do is try and frustrate Jesus from producing fruit because the field is not his. The field " the world - belongs to Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the one who then chooses to sow the seed. Here is the challenging part. What is the seed? The good seed are what? The children of the kingdom. That's you and I. So let's put the parable together. Jesus owns the field. He's the one that wants to sow the seed and he chooses to sow the seed where? In the world. Where does God want to sow you? Not in the church. I'm not saying you can't be a member of the church and make a contribution there.
But God wants to sow you in the world because that's the only way the kingdom is going to come to the world. It's not going to come by preaching, by singing, by us declaring things within the confines of the church walls - while they have their place - these things on their own will not produce the kingdom in the field. There's a important place for prayer and worship but God is going to bring the kingdom by sowing seed in the world. It's his world - he owns the seed, he owns the world. He has every angle covered.
He says I want to sow you there. He puts you in the dirt. How many like being buried in the dirt? It's dark, dirty. I don't like it here God! I want to go back where it's comfortable. What am I doing out here in the dirt? There are nasty people out here. It's dark. There are lots of people out here that don't like you. What am I doing here?
God's heart is the field. God knows the only way that he can reproduce who He is in the field is to sow people who know Him and who will be willing to let death work in them so that life will be released to others. Because he is the Lord and master of the field and Lord and master of the seed He can choose where he places you.
You might protest all you like. “God I don't want to be here”. God’s response - who is in charge here? God sows the seed when he wants to, where he wants to. Our responsibility is to produce the kingdom where he has planted us. God is sovereign but we are responsible. One of the most challenging features of the kingdom is that God expects fruit.
You and I will have to give an account of what fruit we produced where He planted us. If God was to come to you now and say, listen, I planted you in this part of the field, how is it going? You might be tempted to say “It's terrible. I can't wait for Sunday to get out of here. What on earth am I doing over here Lord? I'm a lovely Christian. I want to be back with my friends on Sunday.” God says you don't understand the kingdom do you? What's that Lord? He says I want to bring who I am, my heart, my mercy, my compassion, my justice, my sense of right and wrong, I want to bring that into the world into which I have placed you and I want you to produce some fruit.
You remember what Jesus did when he came along to the fig tree and didn't find fruit? Not very nice, is it? God wouldn't do that to us. You know what it says in Matthew 21? I have taken the kingdom away from the nation that won't produce the fruit of the kingdom and I'm giving the kingdom to a nation that will produce kingdom fruit.
God is serious about the kingdom. He will take it away from us and give it to somebody else who will produce the fruit because the main game is to see the kingdom being established on the earth. If he finds that those who should be producing aren’t then he will look for others who will produce.
So let’s go back to the parable. You have a field that belongs to Jesus, seed belongs to Jesus, plants us where he wants to, it's not easy, it's going to be a difficult road - but there's a bottom line and that is can we produce fruit.
So what is the fruit? In simple terms what God is looking for is what's in Matthew 6. God wants to see His will done on the earth. That's what fruit is. Wherever God's will is being done on the earth. That is the fruit of the kingdom.
Fruit would be things like this: reconciliation, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, hope, justice, peace, joy, faith, salvation, healing. How many think the world would be better if some of those things were practised? But the challenge is who is going to produce them?
How can we do this?
• Accept God’s right to plant us where he chooses
• Embrace the message of the Kingdom
• Rely on the Holy Spirit
• Take action
The Kingdom and You
In this passage Jesus explains to His disciples that we are the salt of the earth. Again notice His emphasis " we are to influence the earth. Salt preserves, salt adds taste " this is the effect Christians are to have in the world. However if they lose this quality " they have lost their function and are good for nothing. Strong words but it shows the intensity with which Jesus views our role. He goes on to use another analogy " that we are the light of the world. But again notice the emphasis " let your shine in such a way that men might see your good works. Light = good works. Putting these two together Jesus clearly teaches that our role is to make a practical difference in the world " to produce the fruit of the Kingdom.
This issue of producing fruit is raised by God in His message to us thru Isaiah. In this passage God raises the question " why has my vine not produced fruit after I took such care to look after it? If you look at verse 7 -" this parable is explained. The vine is God’s people and the fruit He was expecting was justice and righteousness " but instead He found only bloodshed and distress.
Jesus takes up this parable and concludes that the Kingdom belongs to those who produce its fruit. To those who don’t produce its fruit the Kingdom is taken away.
Jesus knew that people were caught up with thinking the Kingdom was coming immediately. So he told this parable which showed the real message of the Kingdom to us is personal responsibility. The parable of the talents has to do with using what God has given us productively and having to give an account for what we have done. Each person is judged on their own actions not in comparison with someone else. Those who are not productive suffer loss while those are productive enjoy enlargement.
What has he given us to use?
- Spiritual gifts
Our challenge are we using our talents to produce the fruit of the Kingdom in our market place?