I am preparing to preach on the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-43) in two weeks. As I studied something stood out to me. I have often been told that one point of the parable is that you cannot tell the wheat from the tares. We must be careful. There will always be those among us who look like Christians, but are not. Christ will sort them all out at the judgment day. But until then we must be cautious in assuming too much. However, there are some problems with that interpretation.
First, Jesus plainly says in Matthew7:15-20 that we can tell who is wicked and righteous by what fruit they bear. He says something very similar in 13:18-23. He is talking about false prophets, but the principle applies across the board. (See Luke 6:43-45). The tares may be self deceived (Matthew 7:21-23), but God’s people, and his ministers, should not be. They should use biblical criteria to evaluate whether someone is a wheat or a tare.
Second, and closer to the story, in 13:27 the servants plainly know that the tares are in the field. The servants can see the difference between the wheat and the tares even though the harvest has not yet come.
I am not yet sure what to do with this data as it relates to preaching the sermon. But I do think it undermines the false notion that in this life we cannot tell the wheat from the tares.
A Biblically Sound Worship Ministry
- Will be overseen and preferably led by biblically qualified elders in the church. By the way, the first requirement to be an elder is that they are male. This rules out female worship leaders.
- Will make it a priority to hire a full or part-time music pastor, who could shepherd the church through music and song. This man will be trained theologically, pastorally, and musically. My point is that if a church has the ability to hire more than one pastoral staff member this position should be at the top of the list.
- Will seek to be faithful to God’s Word in content and form.
- Will sing God’s Word, especially the Psalms. And will constantly be searching for more of God’s Word set to music.
- Will study at the feet of God’s people from the past, seeking to use tradition wisely.
- Will not be afraid of contemporary songs or forms, but will use them wisely to convey God’s Word to God’s people.
- Will highlight the voice of the congregation. This means most songs, after they are learned, will be accessible to most of God’s people. It means there should be regular singing without the aid of instruments. It means instruments should support the people’s voices not overwhelm them.
- Will sing songs that have a variety of tempos, moods, lengths, and themes.
- Will express this variety using the God-given resources in the congregation.
- Will be grateful for all they have, but will seek to use all they have to push on to greater Biblical maturity.