In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus shares a parable with his disciples which dealt with a farmer who had planted a crop of wheat. There arose a problem when an enemy of his came and mixed in what are called tares among the planting of wheat. The wheat and the tares are very similar in appearance as they grow. So it seemed that the enemy had accomplished his goal of destroying the farmers crop.
The passage and parable
Here is the way the King James version tells the parable.
Matthew 13:24-30 (KJV)
24 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.
This parable was Jesus way of preparing His body, the church, for the times that were coming. Let us define what “the church” really is according to the Bible.
The word which is usually translated “church” in the English Bible comes from a Greek word which means “the called out”. Some translators use the term, “the assemblage”, instead of “the called out”, because it fits what they define as the modern church. But the Greek paints a different picture than does the modern concept of the church.
“The called out” defines a situation of one nation that has conquered another nation. The conqueror wishes to assimilate those he has conquered into his sphere of ruler ship. To do this he chooses members of that nation and has them come and learn from him what the laws and traditions and goals of his nation is. These are “the called out”.
“The called out” are then commissioned to go back to their countrymen and teach them what they have learned. They share with their fellow citizens what the King commissioned them to share. That was the job they were to do.
Modern day church
The church in modern day understanding is an institution comprised of people who say they are Christians. It is usually thought of as a gathering of people of like-minded understanding of the Bible. A gathering place such as a cathedral or some other impressive structure is the symbol of its presence in a society.
Is this a true manifestation of the church of Jesus? In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul the apostle speaks of the church as The Body of Christ. He does not even address buildings or gathering places. It is very likely that at the time he wrote that letter “the Called Out” were not meeting in designated buildings but in homes. There were no hierarchies in place and no conventions are headquarters.
The mandate of the Church
In Matthew 28 we find the mandate that Jesus gave to the “Called Out”.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
In Mark 16 we see another rendering of this commission.
Mark 16:14-15 (KJV)
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
In these two passages we find the mandate of the “Called Out”.
What it is not
In the description above there are some things that we do not see which are prevalent in the modern church.
We do not see that we are to have building structures. There is not a special group that is designated to preach the gospel. Nor do we see a caste system by which some are held in higher esteem than others. I do not see where any one person is more important than another. No one is exempt from the preaching of the gospel.
There are many other things which are carried on by the modern church which have no real basis in the Biblical definition of the church.
What “The Called Out” do
A very good description of what “The Called Out” do is found in 2 Corinthians 5.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (KJV)
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray
you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
In this passage we find clearly defined what “The Called Out” do. They are the ambassadors for the King of Kings. They are to share the “Good News” of what the King has done for us. It is the good news of the Gospel. We are reconciled to the King of the universe. Because of that, we want all to know that they can be too.
That is what the Church(The Called Out) do. That is the true church.
Back to the wheat and the tares
The wheat is the true Church of God. They have been called out and have received the “Good news” and are sharing it with their fellow citizens(people).
In Matthew 7 Jesus says:
Matthew 7:15-16 (KJV)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.
There are many who claim to be a member of the church, but are they a part of “The Called Out”. In the passage in Matthew 7, Jesus gave us a criteria by which to discern who are “The Called Out”. That criteria is the fruit that they bear.
The main goal of “The Called Out” is to share the “good news” of Jesus Christ. Therefore,it is not to live a good life, though that may be part of the blessings of being “Called Out”. Achieving fame is not a priority of the “Called Out”. To have plenty of money is not an agenda of the “Called Out”.
The “Called Out” focus on accomplishing the purpose for which they are called out. That purpose is to fulfill the mandate of the King. Their sole purpose is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. That Good News is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, and that He has given us the privilege of sharing that Good News with everyone that we meet.
Now we know the true wheat. Anything else is tares.
From what I see in the church today, we have far more tares than wheat. But, be of good cheer. We serve a God Who is able to separate the tares from the wheat. This is done by seeing the fruit they bear. Tares do not bear the same fruit as wheat.
We have shown one fruit that the wheat always bears. If that fruit is not there, know that it is not wheat.