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Sermon on the Mount Matthew Chapters 5-7

The Sermon on the Mount describes what our life should be like while we live in faith, in our thoughts, words, and actions. Jesus said six times in Chapter 5, “You have heard it said”, or “But I tell you..” He was calling people to a new life instead of a legal system, that the Pharisees had put upon the people.

There were four main purposes to this study.

1. To expose our sin.

2. To point us to Jesus Christ.

3. Demonstrate a way to happiness.

4. Shows us how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

Lesson 1   Matthew 5:1-16

Jesus teaches us the eight attitudes. These attitudes or beatitudes explain that we are to live differently than the world for Christ’s sake. Blessed means happy. So when these attributes become part of us God is pleased and we are blessed. The beatitudes are to be poor in spirit,  mourn for sin, be meek, and to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We are to be merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers. When we follow Christ in this manner we may become persecuted for our faith, but this too becomes a blessing and we will receive a heavenly reward.

We are called to be light and salt of the world. Salt has two functions. It flavors and it stops corruption. We must not lose our saltiness, because if we do we will lose our ability to be a committed Christian, who does not think or act like the world. Salt also creates a thirst, a thirst for the Lord and His righteousness.

Being light in the world refers to the way you show others in public what being a Christian means. How many of your friends see your personal commitment to Christ? How bright a light are you?

Lesson 2   Matthew 5:17-26

Here Jesus explains the Christian’s relationship to the law, and that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Old Testament continues until all things are accomplished. He warned the disciples to do and to teach all the commandments, and that a better righteousness than the Pharisees’ is needed to enter the kingdom of heaven. And how can we keep God’s laws? We can’t. The Pharisees’ couldn’t, and that is one reason why they created their own set of laws. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that empowers us and convicts us. Where do you need to let the Holy Spirit help you obey what Jesus has taught?

God’s Word does not change over time. His standards for behavior or morality does not change. It does not change from one situation to another or from one century to another.

Jesus gives illustrations of our relationship to the Law. The Pharisees often taught about people’s actions, but Jesus always goes further by raising the bar. He speaks of our thoughts, emotions, and attitudes of our hearts.

So what does He begin with? What is the most condemning sin you can think of? Murder. Jesus expounds on this and says that wrong attitudes and words count the same as murder. How could that be? Murder begins with anger, unforgiveness, hatred, contempt, envy and bitterness. All of it sin. To be full of such things reveals a heart condition that is condemning.

What is the remedy? It is the spirit of love and reconciliation. We must be reconciled with each other, no matter who the fault may lie with. Come to one heart and mind with that person, so that we can have an open relationship with the Lord.

Lesson 3  Matthew 5:27-37,   6:22-23

Here Jesus teaches that lustful imagination counts the same as adultery. Being tempted is not a sin, but we must reject the seed that get planted in our mind, so that sin is nipped in the bud. He said if necessary we should cut off whatever causes us to sin even if this causes discomfort or pain. What causes immoral thoughts in your mind? What books are you reading and what TV shows are you enjoying and what are you laughing and joking about? What do you need to cut out of your life to live a life of pure actions and thoughts?

We are reminded that marriage is a lifelong commitment. God hates divorce but it is a forgivable sin, and he allows it for infidelity. Let’s remember to love and pray for those who have been hurt in abusive relationships and know that God would not want them to stay in this treacherous situation.

Lesson 4   Matthew 5:38-48,   6:14-15

So what does “an eye for an eye mean?

The next topic was retaliation or getting even. Again Jesus quotes an OT command, one that was meant to limit the penalty for a wrong action. The person who was treated wrongly was only to demand repayment that was fair and fitting. And again Jesus asks us to go even further. He says to give to the person who asks, even when that person is asking something that may be unfair. Jesus’ disciples had been taught to love their neighbors and hate their enemies. Once again Jesus wants you and me to go beyond the old teachings. We are to love our enemies and pray for them. Will you ask God to give you His love for those who are unkind or unforgiving to you? What can you pray for them?

Lesson 5   Matthew 6:1-18

Here we learn that our righteous deeds are not so righteous when they are done to impress others. Therefore they are to be done before God and not before people. Jesus was concerned that the people, especially the Pharisees, wanted others to see them give to the needy or pray in public so that they would be noticed. They were pretending to pray with a sincere heart but were more concerned with what others thought of them. To do this is to lose our reward with God because our reward becomes an earthly reward of wanting praise from men.

The Lord’s Prayer was given to the disciples as an example. When we say it we should repeat it thoughtfully and not aimlessly. The point is, that we should pray, and we should have a regular time each day to pray privately. If you do not will you set aside a regular time and place to establish this time to spend with the Lord?

Lesson 6   Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34

Here Jesus teaches that faith is having a trusting heart knowing that He will supply all our daily needs. If we put these worries aside and first seek the kingdom of God all things will be given to us. He knows we need these things. Often in this life especially in the US we are bombarded daily about material possessions. We are told that we need many things to be successful and happy. So Jesus was concerned about people’s attitudes toward their treasures and possessions. He warned them about storing up treasures on earth. They can be lost, stolen, destroyed etc. We can set our eyes on power and wealth instead of God and what really matters. We cannot serve both God and money. We cannot have two masters.

We are not to worry. Worry is a lack of faith in God’s care. Worry and fret lead to sin. Remember to put God first in your life and to live right for Him. Live one day at a time doing your best to please God. He will supply your needs in His timing.

Lesson 7   Matthew 7:1-12

The judge not passage. The person who makes a practice of judging others will be judged with the same measure. Judging ourselves instead prepares us to help others. Also we have to judge between good and evil and we must make determinations each and every day. We have to separate truth from error or we will believe lies. We must pray for wisdom in this area. If we know of sin in our lives, and try not to remove it, yet try to help others with the same sin, then we are hypocrites, like the Pharisees. There is no room for pride or stubbornness when we are trying to help others.

Jesus commanded his disciples to think before giving sacred and precious truths from God to unholy people. Sacred things could be worship or communion or the Bible. These things are not holy to those who do not believe in God and they will ridicule the truths told to them. It is in this way they trample them under their feet….Christians are to be discerning but not condemning.

Prayer comes up again, in that we are ask, seek and knock. He wants us to be persistent in our prayer. And He gives good gifts to his children as a good father gives to his son. He wants our hearts in our prayers and doesn’t want us to give up when we think a prayer has not been answered quickly….Continue to pray. God will give you what is right and he will answer your prayer His way and in His time. What kind of things are you praying for? A car? Fame? Sunshine? Or are you praying for things that will please Him? A good list would be something like wisdom, love, healing, increased faith, boldness to speak for God, the filling of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, etc. If you are persistent in asking for things that please God, He will give them to you.

Lesson 8  Matthew 7:13-29

As we end the Sermon on the Mount Jesus now speaks of our life in faith, and the dangers of not following His teachings.

Those who go their own way will have difficulty discerning that there are two pathways. Jesus only gives us two. There are not many paths to God. False teachers offer a wide gate that welcomes many. It may seem kind and loving to accept all religious teachings, but it is not. The broad road leads to destruction. In fact the way is narrow and constricted and it will not be an easy path…but the end result is well worth it. Everlasting life with Jesus. Which path have you chosen and how are you persuading others to choose?

To ignore biblical teaching puts you in danger of listening to false teachers. Knowing scripture is important so you can recognize a false teacher by their faulty doctrine and bad fruit. Paul commended the Bereans for comparing his words against scripture. We must do the same. Those who say they know Jesus by using the phrase, “Lord, Lord” or even perform miracles may not truly know the Lord. Many will hear from Jesus on judgment day…”I never knew you.” The false prophets will be in the church itself. They will be disguised as sheep, but truly they are wolves.

Finally we are given an illustration of the person who is wise and the foolish person who does not obey the teachings. The obvious teaching is that Jesus is the rock and foundation and this is where we are to start building. This foundation is firm and solid. But there is a condition given in this passage. We must hear Jesus’ words and we must practice them. Then we are able to withstand the storms of wind and rain that will come upon us in this life.

The people were amazed at the authority that Jesus taught with. Whenever God’s Word is presented as it truly is, its power is unleashed. We too should be amazed and astonished with these teachings. God’s standards are high and today we have the Holy Spirit to help us live for God, illuminate scripture and lead us into truth.

 

“..once God has brought him to poverty of spirit and he sees himself damned without Christ, let God propound what articles he will, he will readily subscribe to them: ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

I have been studying and reflecting on the principles taught in the Sermon on the Mount.  My first in-depth study occurred as I taught the book of Matthew in a Bible study program.

Next I read an excellent book by James Montgomery Boice, “Sermon on the Mount.” If you like commentary this is a great resource.

Now I have found the teachings of John MacArthur to also be life-changing. Here is an excerpt from “Happy are the Humble.”

If you apply the principles of the Sermon on the Mount you will be a different person. Many Christians in our day have lost their distinctiveness because they’ve allowed themselves to be molded by the world’s approach to music, sex, marriage, divorce, materialism, food, alcoholic beverages, dance, entertainment, sports, and other things. God wants us to live as a people distinct from the value systems of the world. It grieves God to see corruption among His people.

V. HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM POOR IN SPIRIT?

Thomas Watson gives seven principles we may apply in determining whether we are poor in spirit (The Beatitudes [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1971], pp. 45-48).

A. You Will Be Weaned from Self

Psalm 131:2 says, “Like a child that is weaned of his mother; my soul is even like a weaned child.” A person who is poor in spirit will be weaned from his self- centeredness. All he thinks about is glorifying God and meeting the needs of others.

B. You Will Focus on Christ

When you are poor in spirit, you will focus on the wonder of Christ. Second Corinthians 3:18 implies that believers are focused on Christ, seeing in themselves a reflection of Him. Philip showed that kind of focus when he said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). The psalmist said, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Ps. 17:15).

C. You Will Never Complain

If you are poor in spirit you will never complain about your circumstances because you know you don’t deserve anything anyway. You have nothing to offer to God, yet the greater your needs the more abundantly He provides. So when you lack everything you are in the greatest position from which to receive and recognize God’s grace.

D. You Will See Good in Others

A person who is poor in spirit will see the excellencies of others and recognize his own weaknesses. A truly humble person looks up to everyone else.

E. You Will Spend Time in Prayer

A beggar is always begging. He knocks at heaven’s gate all the time and doesn’t stop until he is blessed.

F. You Will Take Christ on His Terms

The proud sinner adds Christ to his pleasures, covetousness, and immorality. One who is poor in spirit is so desperate that he will give up everything to obtain Christ. Thomas Watson said, “A castle that has long been besieged and is ready to be taken will deliver up on any terms to save their lives. He whose heart has been a garrison for the devil, and has held out long in opposition against Christ, when once God has brought him to poverty of spirit and he sees himself damned without Christ, let God propound what articles he will, he will readily subscribe to them: ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?'” (p. 47).

G. You Will Praise and Thank God

When you are poor in spirit, you will praise and thank God for His grace in the knowledge that everything you have is a gift from Him. The apostle Paul displayed that attitude in 1 Timothy 1:14: “The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant.” Those who are poor in spirit are filled with thanks.

Access Grace to You by using this link:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Study+Guides/40-5201_The-Beatitudes

By Kim Olsen

Oh how often I hear….God is Love…Do not judge others.

In the “judge not” passage in Matthew 7, Jesus instructs us not to judge hypocritically. “Take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” As chapter 7 continues we are further  instructed to judge or determine who is a dog (v.6) a false prophet (v.15) and fruit (v.16). Those who are wise will heed these words and will put them into practice (v.24).

The Bible repeatedly instructs the Christian to examine teachings and to watch for false prophets, IN THE CHURCH. If this warning is not heeded in these last days, then you are on dangerous ground. We are to be wise as serpents because the wolves in sheep’s clothing are ravaging the church. Yet there are those who think this wisdom is hateful and unloving and then trot out the judge not verse out of context.

Now God is indeed love and we are to love others in return. This is a given, the greatest commandment all Christians understand.

But let me ask this…..How much do we love God? The following verses tell us that to love God we must follow His commands set forth in the Bible. If we love God we will obey His Word. That is why we are to study, memorize and learn scripture from cover to cover. Front to back. OT to NT. When we know what God teaches in His Word, only then we can recognize lies when we hear them. Armed with the truth we can compare teachings against the Word just like the Bereans in Acts. We need to warn others of false teachings so they too can obey God’s Word.

If we love God, we will obey His commands. To know His commands we must read and study our Bibles daily. Then we should share this good news with others.

Deuteronomy 11:13

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today–to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul–

Joshua 22:5

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Nehemiah 1:5

Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,

Psalms 119:88

Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.

Psalms 119:167

I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.

Daniel 9:4

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

John 14:15

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

John 14:23

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:24

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

John 15:10

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

1 John 5:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

God loves us and to love Him in return is to obey and follow Him. He loves us, but He is returning as a judge at the second coming. He is coming in wrath.

Revelation 6:17

For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

God’s commands are found all throughout His Word. Do you know them all? Or do you just pick a few of your favorite and easy to follow commandments? Like Nehemiah said, God “keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands.”

See also:

https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/what-the-bible-says-about-judging-contender-ministries/

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False Teachers, False Teachings, & Non-Christian Cults 

Not too long ago it was pretty simple to expose false teachers and non-Christian Cults, but today this task has taken a much deeper level and quite frankly it is becoming more difficult. See, non-Christian Cults such as Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Moonies, and others are for the most part known about today, but there are many within our so-called Christian Churches today that many Christians are not aware of. It is a sad thing to say this, but many of us who are a part of the body of Christ have been deceived from teachers within more so than those outside of the Church.

What is the Big Deal? There are people who simple say: “why are you judging people, who are you to point a finger, just let people be, it really does not matter what people believe as long as they believe in Jesus.” The Bible does speak of not judging another person in the sense of being like the religious Pharisees who lorded over people and were hypocrites.

(Matthew 7) Jesus in Matthew 7 and the other accounts of the same sermon in the Gospels was speaking to the crowds on the issues of how people were be looked down upon in a way of disrespect and contempt, and this we are not to do. However, looking at other places on what Jesus and the apostles taught on Biblical judgment consider the following.”He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:18 NASB)

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”(John 7:24 NASB)

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB)

“in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB)

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NASB)

“to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:15 NASB)

“12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12-13 NASB)

These are just a few Scriptures that speak of the issues of judgment to come and if you don’t like it, well, then you just don’t like the truth of God’s Word. The Bible warns about false teachers and prophets who claim to be of God, and it is very Biblical to be on your guard against being deceived, even from those among us.

“13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:13-15 NASB)”

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)”

28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31 NASB) ”

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”(2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NASB)

“6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:6-9 NASB)

Be Careful of False Teachers in Sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately when it comes to exposing false teachers it is not an issue of feel good mentality but rather on the issues of concern for the body of Christ. Let it be known that it is the purpose of this information and it is important to examines things for yourself. Non Christian Cults are more obvious in certain areas where they have false teachings, but when it comes to those who are supposedly of the Christian faith it is more difficult.

Tommy Tenney is a very common teacher within Christian bookstores and among Churches. However many Christians are not aware of Tommy Tenney’s Church background and affiliation with the UPCI, commonly known as the Oneness Pentecostal movement. Oneness Pentecostals deny the doctrine of the Trinity and teach another theological spin of who God is known as Modalism.

 Now according to the sources Tommy Tenney broke off from the UPCI but nothing has ever been stated on his part in rejecting the Oneness teachings on who God is and accepting the true doctrine of the Biblical Trinity. Along with that Tommy Tenney has connections with the charismatic chaos known as the Toronto Blessing movement. Tommy Tenney is Biblically teaching false things concerning the identity of God, the working of the Holy Spirit, and he endorses false teachers among the Faith Movement and Toronto Blessing. For more in depth information check out http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/ttenney.html & http://www.letusreason.org/Poptea10.htm &

Joyce Meyer? What does Joyce Meyer teach that is so bad? Is Joyce Meyer a false teacher? Is Joyce Meyer a Christian? Why should anyone be concerned? Joyce Meyers does not have all the same false teachings as those in the Faith Movement, but she does have some teachings that are the same with various Faith teachers. Examine this information for yourself and line up the Biblical gospel to the gospel that Joyce Meyer teaches, check out http://www.afcministry.com/Joyce_Meyers.htm

Bishop Thomas D. Jakes is a very popular preacher and writer. The purpose of this examination is to provide people with information concerning T. D. Jakes beliefs & teachings on the Trinity doctrine, his affiliation with the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI, Oneness Pentecostals), and other issues of concern. Our intent is not to be judgmental but to be open to the truth and test all things in light of the Scriptures. The concern is, Is Bishop T. D. Jakes a true or false teacher of God, and What is the evidence? Check out http://www.afcministry.com/T_D_Jakes_Examined.htm

Kenneth Copeland is a popular faith movement teacher. Many say do not attack Kenneth Copeland. I wish to say that I am not attacking at all, but I am sharing information that is needed for the body of Christ to know concerning what Kenneth Copeland Ministries teaches concerning what took place at the cross and what Jesus went through for atonement. I ask all those who read this to be open enough to look at this carefully and decide for yourself whether or not Kenneth Copeland is true or false doctrines on the message of the cross and salvation. For more information check out http://www.afcministry.com/Kenneth_Copeland.htm

Benny Hinn is known by being on TV and his crusades around the world. Is Benny Hinn a true teacher? Is Benny Hinn a false teacher? Is Benny Hinn a false prophet? Is he a true prophet? The following will be actual statements and quotes from Benny Hinn’s teachings on what he believes concerning certain topics and you examine for yourselves whether Benny Hinn is of God or not. For more information check out http://www.afcministry.com/Benny_Hinn.htm

Do not be Deceived! False teachers hide behind things like don’t touch God’s anointed, do not judge, and it is our Biblical Christian duty to expose those who are misleading people with false teachings on who God is, the Gospel message, and the working of the Holy Spirit. Non Christian Cults such as the Mormon Church (Mormons), Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc, all have false teachings on the identity of God, the Gospel, and if you are looking for information on them visit our other sections, and we welcome your questions or comments.

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Secrets of the Kingdom of God and the End Times.

In the Parable of the Sower we learn about the four different soils which represent the condition of our heart, which in turn determines if there is a bounty, or famine from God’s word.

Using the four soils as an example, only one person out of four, will respond to the Gospel and produce fruit.  This is discouraging that only 1 of 4 people may respond when we share the gospel with them, but…we also find out that it isn’t up to us to change or convert anyone, but it is their response that convicts them. If we do our part, the rest is up to God and that person to respond. So…one out of four isn’t bad…is it? When we look at our world today, this is actually encouraging.

So, what secret of the kingdom of heaven, is Jesus trying to explain to the disciples in the case of the weeds.

Matthew 13:24   “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28. ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. ‘The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29. ‘No’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”‘ (NIV)

In Jesus’ day this very thing would occur.  An angry farmer would sow weeds in another mans field. There were strict laws made to prevent this from happening.

So what was a farmer to do when he discovered that there were weeds, (probably darnel which looks like wheat until it begins to mature)growing along side his wheat?

Here is how Jesus explains the parable.

37. He answered. “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38. The field is the world, the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39. and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (NIV)

While studying this passage I was amazed at how much we are told about the end-times. The field is the world, so this passage is not about different types of Christians, it is about unbelievers who are professing to be Christians that are among us. In what we consider to be the church, (the wheat), there will be counterfeit Christians, (the weeds). They will be among us and we will not be able to always discern the difference.  An example of this would be Judas among the other disciples. They had no idea of what was in the heart of Judas Iscariot. Think about how much time they had spent together. They traveled, slept, ate, and preached as a group. Yet…they had no clue.

Jesus said pulling up the weeds may also pull up the wheat, so to let them grow together. The time will come at the end of the world that God will separate the weeds from the wheat.  The judgment for the weeds cannot be misunderstood. They will be thrown into the fiery furnace.

What can this teach us? We cannot judge another persons heart, and we are not to. This will be the job of the angels at the end of the world. In the meantime we will have to abide among the unbelievers who profess to love and follow Christ.  So God’s kingdom has counterfeit Christians and real Christians. While we cannot judge another’s heart, we do have to be alert to the false teaching from those INSIDE the church.  Those who truly walk with the Lord have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit while those professing to know Christ, but do not, are counterfeit.

This is further expressed in the parables about the Mustard Seed and the Yeast.

These two parables are not explained by Jesus. I believe this is so because there is more than one interpretation for each. For the purpose of this study we will  focus on the counterfeit aspect of the kingdom. These verses are from the KJV.

The Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32. Which is indeed the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

I have heard a positive interpretation of this parable that says that the tree is the spreading of the gospel to all the nations, and that the church will become a powerful influence in the world (field). The Bible does say that the gospel will be heard by all before the end comes, and this will happen, but let’s look at another interpretation.

This tiny mustard seed naturally grows to the size of a garden herb plant. In this scenario the plant becomes a huge tree of unnatural proportion. This plant is inflated beyond its normal size. It is so large that birds lodge in the branches. A bird that “lodges” has taken this to be its home. This tree represents an inflated kingdom of heaven. What is it inflated with? All throughout the Bible we are warned of false teachings. Many of these false teachings are full of prosperity, inspiration and feel-good messages. One can see how the kingdom of heaven may be artificially expanded with unconverted Christians.

Could the mega-churches of today be part of this apostate kingdom of heaven with  birds nesting in its branches. The birds from the previous Parable of the Sower depicted the birds as evil. These birds came and devoured the Word of God. Now we have “birds of the air” residing in this kingdom. These birds also symbolize evil. Many of the sermons in the churches are lacking in truth of the Word. The Bible is no longer taught. The birds have come and devoured the seed, The Word.

What about those who are in the process of establishing the five-fold apostolic ministries of prophet and apostles? They are determined to build a kingdom here on earth so that Jesus can return to claim His church, the spotless bride. They say the billion soul revival is just around the corner. There is a problem with this, which will be addressed a bit later. Those deeply involved in Kingdom Now theology are creating an extensive  network that will connect to a world-wide spirituality which will ultimately invite the world ruler to step in. 

The Yeast (Leaven)

Matthew 13:33. Another parable spake he unto them: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Three measures of meal was a common offering in biblical times. In this instance we have a woman hiding yeast in the meal until the whole portion was leavened. The yeast was mixed throughout the flour. We know what happens to dough once yeast is added. It inflates and grows easily to double its original size. The yeast changes the entire texture of the dough. Now in those days yeast was added the same way one keeps a starter of sourdough bread on hand today.  It is kneaded in till it is completely infiltrated into the whole loaf.

So what does this mean?  Yeast is always spoken of in the Bible as an evil influence. Yeast was forbidden in ceremonies (Exodus12:15) and we are told “Take heed and beware of leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16: 6.

So Jesus is telling us about the inflation of the kingdom of God and of its unnatual, bloated,  puffed-up expansion.  The cause? Evil. We have the birds of the air in the tree and the yeast in the dough infiltrating the church before Christ returns.

This kingdom of Christians (the true church) will  have counterfeit Christians among us. The Bible predicts a falling away from the faith. II Thessalonians 2:3 says “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

So… this inflated kingdom He speaks of will not a righteous, holy, god-fearing kingdom. In fact, this kingdom  will be laced with sinful false teachings that will entice believers AWAY from the truth preparing the world for the son of perdition, the AntiChrist. II Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”

When Jesus Christ returns this will end the kingdom of heaven as He speaks of it in these parables. This kingdom of heaven on earth will be misinterpreted by those wanting to advance God’s cause for their own desires. These parables prophesy what God’s kingdom sadly will look like before His return. We have already been told the blind will not understand, but to the disciples the mystery is opened to them. As disciples today, we should see what is happening in our churches, see the mangled doctrine, because we have been forewarned over and over again in the New Testament.

Can you see how the three parables, The Sower, The Weeds and the Yeast, build upon each other? The first parable is explained, with us learning that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven will be understood by disciples but not the world. The world does not comprehend or care, that faith will depart from the earth…not multiply. The gospel will be spread to the ends of the earth but the takers will be few. The seed will not take root. The birds who eat the seed, Jesus explains as the “wicked one”.  Along with the wheat, weeds will grow in the field (world), and live side by side. The mustard seed, the tiniest of seeds, grows into a huge monstrous tree with birds (evil ones) nesting in it. The bread (the kingdom) is also expanded unnaturally by the  hidden yeast (evil). 

Satan himself is introducing false ideas, false gods, and false religion into all of society.  This is nothing new, but can’t you see the change in the church? At first little by little, lies are introduced and the congregations like the lies. But why is it that they cannot see the deception? THEY DON’T WANT TO. People don’t have time to read their Bible, or have time for prayer.

The kingdom of God on earth will be populated by mostly counterfeits by the time Jesus returns. My take on this is that the church will be  totally infiltrated and those who will not accept this new spirituality introduced by the birds, will have to go underground. Why do i believe this? It is happening today.

Now what about the billion soul revival? This is not biblical because of Luke 18:8.  “…when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” In fact, about the end-times, Jesus says in Matthew 24:9 “..and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”  What about Matthew 7: 14? “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  This verse was recently cited to a dominionist who said this was being “nit-picky”.  Today Bible believing Christians are being ridiculed and sneered at, being called uneducated and unenlightened. The derision is rampant.

Weeds & Yeast 

The secrets of the Parables are not secret to those who walk the narrow path, who have committed their life to the Lord, and who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Those who hold to the truths of the Word of God will not be deceived by the hypocrisy and false teachings of the weeds  and their rebellious words inflated by the yeast.

Please….examine yourself and the commitment you have or haven’t made to the Lord Jesus Christ. The future for the weeds is less than promising, indeed. The church, the true believers, are the kingdom of heaven today. The perfect kingdom we still wait for…after the physical return of Jesus Christ.

So take heart, brothers and sisters in Christ. Luke tell us in 21:28,  “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”

“Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

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