God is Dividing the People

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There are two kinds of people in this world and God knows each one of us. I know, you think there is a lot more than two kinds of people. But from God’s view there are only two.

Look at the world around you with an open object mindset and you will see the division. It is obvious. This division has grown in the last decade or more. Violence, hatred, cruel and bitter criticism abounds. The left is even talking now of purging or cleansing the right and putting their kids in reprogramming camps. The left considers the right as a scourge (people who cause great trouble or suffering) who should be cleansed from the earth or put in reprogramming camps.

The right considers the left as those who want to promote the elite few and wealthy while enslaving the masses. They oppose much of the social standards, using race as a weapon, and using racial and sexual identity as the primary qualification for living. As well as the lies and deception as a means to an end, cancel culture, and silencing and persecution of any opposing views

There are two realities today. It seems
those in each reality cannot see the others views as real. They each say the other are liars as much or all of what they say is false.

Jesus told us this would happen. As we get close to the end of this age, the deception will grow stronger. I am not saying the left is one and the right or another, but the stark division of people is a live demonstration of how distinctly people can be divided. God also has made a choice between His two kinds of people.

Jesus illustrated this in a parable. A parable is an illustration or allegory. It says one thing to illustrate another and it’s a story that contains a hidden meaning.

Jesus said he used parables to speak to both kinds of people, one will understand the hidden meaning and the other will not understand it. Why? Because he said the truth conveyed in the parable must be spiritually discerned. Here is what He said,

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’.”  – Mt 13: 24-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Kingdom of Heaven is the subject of this parable. He says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who had a field where he sowed wheat, but when it came up the wheat was among tares. The most common tare in the Holy Land is bearded darnel. It mimics wheat. When the two come up it is difficult to tell which is wheat and which is tares. The difference only becomes apparent after the grain of the wheat has sprouted. Then the difference is quite visible.

When the field workers went to the field to prepare for harvest, they discovered the tares and then went to the owner and asked him what happened. Why do you have tares when you sow wheat? The owner revealed that an enemy had corrupted his crop.

Jesus is using the field, wheat, and tares to illustrate the Kingdom of God. Jesus discussed the parable with his disciples. Here is the hidden meaning. Jesus is the owner of the field and the wheat and tares are two kinds of people. The field is the world of people on this earth.

Here is the blunt message so far in this parable. Here is how Jesus put it.

“He answered and said to them: ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.  The enemy who sowed them is the devil’.” Mt13:26-28 – New King James Version (NKJV)

There are authentic people of the Kingdom of God and people who are in the kingdom of Satan. Jesus said there are no other places to be. You are either wheat or tares.

They Have Two Different Destinations

So, there is a problem, the field is corrupt. There is the good wheat and there are the poisonous tares. The servants asked if they should pull the tares to prepare the field for harvest. Jesus instructed them:

“Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” – Mt 13:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus said let both the good and the bad grow together until the harvest. Then Jesus will separate the wheat from the tares. The wheat will go to the barn and the tares will be burned. Again, Jesus explains the meaning:

“The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Mt 13: 39-43 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus tells us there is an end of this age, not the end of the world, but this age of the world. There is a final judgement that will precede a new age. One of the two people will go into this new age and the other will not. Jesus calls them the righteous. The Greek word used for righteous here means the innocent or holy. In contrast tares are those who offend, and practice lawlessness. They will be incinerated.

Which are you? The wheat or the tares. Are you in sync with God, or are you in sync with evil and the devil? It’s your choice. I urge you to make it wisely.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” – Jesus

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

What Is Faith?

Faith versus doubt, religion or confidence concept

Faith is a precious commodity. Christians today often banter faith around like a ping pong ball. People expect faith to solve every situation and to bring all desires to fruition. Sadly, many are disappointed in its power.

As a pastor, I had trouble with faith. I thought I knew what it was but had a difficult really defining it. It was one of what I call “fuzzy” things in Christianity. It is so commonplace people assume they understand it.

So what is faith?

Faith Is A Difficult Term

Paul said, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) Put another way “Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see. (Heb 11:1 CJB)

Where does faith or trusting come from? How do we become confident? What is okay to hope for? Can we hope for anything we choose and expect faith to make it a reality? How do we become convinced about things we do not see?

I believe this is one of the most difficult and misunderstood words in God’s Word. It is also the most frustrating for many Christians. This single word has driven a huge number of people out the church; people who came in trying to generate enough faith to cure the problem that sent them there in the first place.

Faith Is Not Currency

Faith is not a cure all. It is not magic. I have heard people say faith is the currency of the spiritual world. With it we buy and sell, trade, exchange, and manipulate the grace of God. One soon discovers this is a myth. Faith is not currency.

With faith we can cure someone else’s or our own disease or misfortune. It seems God will heal if we just have faith. God will come through if we stay steadfast in our faith.

But this brings us again to what is faith. Stay steadfast in what? If, as Paul says we are convinced about things we do not see, how do we know what to put our faith in? Can we determine what this thing is we cannot see? Do we define what the faith will do? Are we not then telling God what to do?

It is easy to fall into the currency trap. I will buy my loved one’s cure of disease with faith.

How Do You Maintain Faith in the Face of Disaster?

In this day of Covid-19 we might find a more accurate version of faith and illness. We can take precautions, stay away from other people, do the CDC recommendations of social distance, masks, and hand washing. But will this assure us that we will not contract the virus?

My wife just came back from a pedicure. She explained to me about the technician’s virus precautions and she said, “I just had to take it on faith that the room was safe.” She did not say, “I know the room was safe because I had faith that it was.” She understood the room may be safe and it may not be safe. That was beside the point. Her faith in God’s wisdom allowed her to take the seat and enjoy her pedicure. She could not see the germs or virus in the room. She trusted, not in her decision to go ahead or her conviction that it was clean, but she trusted the workings of God to do his will.

Now the vaccine is out. Can we have faith that is will protect us? No. We can have faith that God can use it if he chooses to do so.

The Secret to Faith

In the words of Paul the Apostle, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb: 11-3 KJV) Again in another translation, “By trusting, we understand that the universe was created through a spoken word of God, so that what is seen did not come into being out of existing phenomena.” (Emphasis mine, Heb: 11-3 CJB)

Something we cannot see created everything we can see. And that same unseen factor continues to hold everything together. That unseen thing is God. Without God nothing exists. John said, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (JN 1:3 KJV)

Faith does not operate on things of this world. This world is only a training ground for the world to come. It is for us to learn to trust God in every fiber of our being. Is not to trust him to do what we wish him to do, but trust that we are okay with what God does.

I believe faith is a developed attribute, not a mental decision. Faith comes from spiritual knowledge and understanding. It is a byproduct of spiritual revelation.

My faith comes from this: Jesus, the son of God through whom God created our physical universe, became a human being just like you and me. Mankind he created crucified him and he died. He laid in the tomb or grave of the dead with the faith that his Father would raise him to his new life as king. That is faith!

That same resurrection he has promised to those who love him and follow his word. I know the result of my physical life and it is not to return to dust, never to see life again. That makes everything else in my life seem trivial except to serve him as he sees fit. To know God will raise me to the same type of life Jesus had when he walked the earth after God raised him from the dead on the third day. What will I be like in heaven? He has shown me by his life.

Yes, faith is an asset in living in this life, but a blind faith that God will affect your situation or your life without spiritual help may lead to a terrible disappointment.