Monday, 16 December 2013

Maturity in Christ Part 1

 This is also part of the "Falling Away" series, so I have "apostasy" in the links below this post.

Since I brought up the topic in the last post, I think now is as good a time as any to dive in a little deeper into this aspect of the Christian's life.

In the scriptures (I'm talking about the Bible) there are many word pictures given (by Jesus and by Paul mainly) of what a Christian's spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father and Redeemer is. Often the analogy that is presented is that of a plant/vine or a tree, and it gives us the understanding that it is living and growing. When we read of the wheat and tares, we see that they look very similar in the beginning, so similar in fact that, well....
.I'll let Jesus tell it as it is recorded in scripture ("tares" in KJV is presented as "weeds" in ESV):


Mat 13:24  He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,
Mat 13:25  but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
Mat 13:26  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.
Mat 13:27  And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?'
Mat 13:28  He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'
Mat 13:29  But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
Mat 13:30  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
Mat 13:31  He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.
Mat 13:32  It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."
Mat 13:33  He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened."
Mat 13:34  All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.
Mat 13:35  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world."
Mat 13:36  Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field."
Mat 13:37  He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.
Mat 13:38  The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,
Mat 13:39  and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels.
Mat 13:40  Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age.
Mat 13:41  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,
Mat 13:42  and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (ESV)





This is from this link, regarding a weed that grows alongside wheat and resembles wheat:

 TARES: (Darnel or Cockle) – Lolium temulentum, weed which grows among grain, particularly wheat. The similarity between these two plants is so close in resemblance, that in some regions cockle is referred to as “false wheat.”  Their stalks are the same, they wilt the same, they blow the same, but it is not until they are fully mature that you are able to determine one from the other. Their differences are only distinguished by the head or tips at maturity.




What we learn from this parable is there are two sorts of faith growing side by side, and because they look so similar, it is difficult to see which is the true, and which is trying to pass itself off as true....UNTIL they mature.

This reminds me of:

1Jn 2:18  Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
1Jn 2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
1Jn 2:20  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
1Jn 2:21  I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
(KJV)

There are those who are among us, go to church with us, talk about "faith" and "love of God"...however the love of God is not in them, because if it were, it would remain...and if it does not remain, it was never there. What I see in these false ones is an "appearance of godliness"...but that outward appearance is only to make others believe something good about themselves, not to draw others to Jesus.  I do believe there is still hope (as long as they are here) of them coming to the truth to be changed by the Lord in their innermost parts...but that comes from God only. We can pray for them, and hope that the Lord will convert (change) them truly, and in His time, perhaps He will...and there are also those who will never be converted, but they are the bad seeds that will be burned just as the weeds in the above parable are burned.

 Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (KJV)


2 comments:

  1. Hi Susan,
    Satan, the great deceiver, has his talons everywhere and what better place to hide something then in the open, full view of those who follow Jesus. Like the tares, his people look like Christians, act like a follower of Christ and it can be very difficult to see the difference unless you really know God and His Word.

    I am studying some writings about prayer and Satan from E.M. Bounds. Knowing our enemy and how he works is very valuable in strategic warfare and looking at these verses you shared points to his tactics that can go unnoticed by a Christian who is not working on their maturity in Christ.

    We cannot know the heart, only Father knows this, but we can detect those who are following Jesus and we can know how to pray for them better.

    Blessings,
    <><

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Child of God,

      so true, isn't it? It takes the discernment that the Father provides through His Holy Spirit to be aware of the difference. We cannot tell who isn't saved, although we might have suspicions, but we also cannot tell who won't BECOME saved...so it is always a good idea to tread carefully, because the Lord can change water into wine and tares into wheat if He wants to :)

      I once saw a description of the darnel (and probably could find it if I spend the hours and hours looking...maybe not, lol) but the article I saw a couple of years ago said that the mature darnel seed gets a fungus on it that turns the seed stalk black, and this fungus mixed with wheat is like a drug that makes you sleepy...and if it is mixed with wheat germ oil (getting concentrated in the process) it can even cause death! I thought it interesting that there are so many aspects of this that line up with the warning Jesus gives us here!

      Delete


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