Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sermon: Learning to Discern The Truth

I’m told there are only two vegetables that are “perennial” - they don’t have to be replanted to produce on their own- several growing seasons.  All other vegetables must be replanted every year.

Quiz: What are the only two vegetables that don’t have to be replanted?
(Rhubarb/ Asparagus). Now, that’s probably a good thing for those vegetables because if it depended on me, they wouldn’t get replanted gardening is not my strong point in fact I hate it. There is a basic definition of the difference between garden plants and weeds: Weeds are anything you don’t have to plant, water, or fertilize. Weeds just grow up all on their own. Now, here in this parable about the weeds, we find that the weeds didn’t just happen. The weeds didn’t just grow up by chance amongst the good crop.
They were planted by an enemy.

In the parables found in the book of  Matthew in the bible in chapter 13 of Matthew, Jesus is trying to help us understand some of the dynamics we can expect to encounter as Christians in this world. For example: His first parable talked about a farmer spreading seed on four different kinds of soils. I believe that part of what He wanted us to understand was that we shouldn’t get upset when people
1. get angry with us,
2. reject our faith,
3. make fun of our commitment to Christ.

This is important because (just like those different soils) not everybody’s heart was going to be open to our faith or our witness about Jesus. Now, He’s telling us another parable about a farmer that sows “good seed” in the field. But during the night an enemy comes and maliciously sows weeds in the field.

Before we get started let’s revue what Jesus tells us about the parable…
1. The farmer is… “The Son of Man” (Jesus, vs. 37)
2. The good seed stands for… “the sons of the Kingdom” (that’s us, vs. 38)
3. The enemy is… “Satan” (vs. 39)
4. The weeds are… “the sons of the evil one” (vs. 38)
5. And the harvest is… “the end of the age” (judgment day)

Right from the start, there’s something that seems pretty obvious to me. I’m not much of a gardener but even I know – if you’ve got weeds in your garden – you pull them. These weeds are the tool of Satan. They are the “sons of the evil one”. Satan has sown them in this world to undermine God’s Kingdom. So, why on earth wouldn’t God just yank them up as soon as they appear? Well, we’ll get back to that in a minute. But first, I want to tell you a little about the setting of Jesus’ parable. There’s something Jesus’ audience would have understood, that we wouldn’t know about in our culture. And that is the type of weeds Jesus was probably talking about. Most scholars believe that the weeds were something known as the “Bearded Darnel”. The Bearded Darnel looks so much like wheat that it’s called “False wheat” as it grows, you can’t hardly tell the two apart until the ear appears. You wouldn’t want to make bread out of this false wheat because it contains a strong sleep-inducing, hypnotic like POISON. If you prepared bread like this for your family, you’d hurt them. In this parable Jesus is telling us that Satan’s goal is to actively undermine the Gospel by presenting people with a substitute.

To the untrained eye this “false wheat” (these false teacher and preachers) will look just like the real thing If you listened to their ideas/ teachings/ doctrines they’d almost sound like us, but once the full body of what they believe is known there’s a hypnotic poison about them that could drag us in/ and drag us down.

At the last church I was a member of, indeed many in this room were members of there were a couple of families in the church that had gotten into the habit of listening to the teachings of Brigham young. Aside from the many countless wives he had his doctrines didn’t sound that far off… that is until you began reading his written literature in his discourses . he taught the teaching that Cain was the offspring of Eve and Satan! And that Cain was a black man. Thus all black people were offspring of Satan himself and were to be shunned and treated as inferior. It was a new twist on the old racial bigotry interpretation of Genesis. Of course, this was all heresy (not to mention fairly inane), and I tried to tell these families that. But they wouldn’t listen. They’d already been pulled in by the churches slick spiel and revision of history. 

Jesus warned us about these kinds of teachings when he said "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew7-15).

To conclude this sermon I say that we need to be able to distinguish between good things and bad. We cant always have our hand held we must learn discernment through being familiar with the scriptures and through prayer the presence of the Holy Ghost. By being close to the Lord we will be able to see a clear path and avoid these poisons that lie in wait.

In the Lords name, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
Apostle Elder Philip A. Gill

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