July 3

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 5:1-6:5
     Psalms 132-134
     Isaiah 65
     Matthew 13
''Another parable He put forth to them, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way'."
(Matthew 13:24-25)
            This parable is one of the most powerful and pungent with truth to be found anywhere among the metaphors of our Lord. In this story, the sower of the good seed is the Lord Jesus Himself. (vv 24, 37) The field is the world (vv 24, 38). Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus sowed the good seed in person. Now, He has commissioned His church to proclaim the Gospel to every person and every nation.
            In this particular parable, the good seed is not the Gospel, but rather the Children of the Kingdom. (vs’s 34, 38) Jesus began to sow (scatter the good seed) - the Children of God, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, then Samaria; He continues to scatter His children among all parts of the world. This good seed, as they are sown, are to share their faith with that part of the world in which they have been scattered.
            Now, while it is true that tares are so similar in appearance to the wheat that it is impossible to tell the difference with the naked eye, these tares are the sown by ''sons of the wicked one - Satan." (vs’s 25, 38) Jesus had said to the unsaved religious leaders of His day, “You are of your father, the devil.”(John 8:44) When Jesus sends His children and scatters His seed, Satan also sends his. You will find, in most churches, children of God, and children of the devil. (Matthew 7:21-23) An enemy who has sowed these tares is indeed the devil himself.
            It is important for you to realize that, side by side, you cannot tell the wheat from the tares until you look inside.   This is true of people in the church today. They know all of the religious language; they have made a religious decision, and followed through with religious rituals such as baptism. They know the songs and the vocabulary, and give every appearance of being wheat. Because, however, there has not been repentance and a life-changing New Birth experience, these church members are actually tares. In many cases, they have not only deceived others, but they have been deceived themselves. They believe that because of some religious experience or some denominational affiliation, they must be right with God. It is so important that they know the truth and examine their hearts.
            Many today have a religion without a relationship and profession without possession. Without an initial act of repentance, their names are written on the rolls of the church, but have never been written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
The harvest is the end of the age. (vs’s 30, 39) Christ's Second Coming will conclude this age. He will send His angels to reap the harvest and separate the wheat from the tares. He will rapture the “wheat”, the Children of the Kingdom, and bum the “tares”- the children of Satan.
            Note the contrast in our passage...the children of the devil will be cast into the “furnace of fire”(Hell), while the Children of God will “shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.”(vs’s 30, 40-53) You must consider the issue today. Are you among the wheat or the tares? If there is any question, you should pray this prayer of commitment today.
Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. Thank you for loving me, and for dying on the Cross for my sin. I now turn away from that sin. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Forgive my sin, and save my soul. I give you my life. In Jesus' Name.  Amen
            Wallis and the FutunaIslands only have about 15,000 people. They are seeing rapid growth in the Christian church. Until 1985, this territory was one of the few countries of the world without a congregation of evangelical believers. There is now a small evangelical group on Futuna, and also a little Assemblies of God congregation. Pray for God to give them strength and courage in spite of being in the minority.
“It is well to think well; it is divine to act well.”
Horace Mann