In today's study from Matthew 13:1-9, 18-30, and 36-43, we wrap up the first parable with a look at the last soil and discuss the parable of the Tares and the Wheat.
The Fourth Soil: the Good Ground (v.8)
This soil represents the one who hears the word, understands it and bears fruit (Matt. 13:23). Luke 8:15 adds “which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” So, those with an “honest and good heart” are those who…a. Hear the Word, b. Keep the Word, and c. Bring forth fruit as a result of the Word. Notice that we don’t all produce the same amount of fruit (Matt. 13:23d).
Mat 25:14-15 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. (15) And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
Some have more God-given ability than others. Whatever those abilities are, we will be held accountable for them. 1 Peter 4:10-11 “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Application of the Parable
Now, the question is, “What kind of soil are you?” Are you like “the wayside?” Have you heard the gospel, but you’re still not a Christian? You are in the process of hardening your heart!
2Co 6:2 For He says: "IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME I HAVE HEARD YOU, AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION I HAVE HELPED YOU." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
The captain of the Titanic refused to believe the ship was in trouble till water was ankle deep in the mail room. Only then was it apparent the multi-layered hull had been pierced and the unsinkable ship was going to sink. Ships that could have arrived before the great ocean liner went down weren't summoned until it was too late.
Are you like “the stony places?” Have you responded to the gospel in time past, but you are not being grounded in your faith. You may eventually fall away when persecution and temptation comes!
Are you like the soil “among thorns?” Maybe you’ve responded to the gospel, but now you are too preoccupied with the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life. You will not bear much fruit if you are (John 15:1-6). Your fruit is proof of your salvation!
Are you like “the good soil?” You’ve responded to the gospel and bearing fruit.
The Tares and the Wheat
vv.24-30 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (25) But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (26) But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. (27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? (28) He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? (29) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
vv.36-43 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. (37) He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; (38) The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (39) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. (40) As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (42) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Now this is a parable that we really don’t have to dig too deeply because the Lord Himself gives the interpretation.
The Good Seed – unlike in the first parable, the seed is not referring to the gospel, but those who believe.
1Pe 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
The Wheat – The children of God (v.25).
The Tares – The children of the Devil (v.25).
The tares are apparently so similar to the wheat that many of them will be surprised to find that they are not actually wheat (Matthew 7:21-23). As a matter of fact, only the angels will only be able to tell them apart in the last day (vv.40-43).