Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

Option #1: "The Weeds in the Wheat--Then and Now"
Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

OVERVIEW: Jesus tells us today the story of The Weeds in the Wheat. To understand Jesus’ parable, you need to understand these are no ordinary weeds. This kind of weed was the type that was impossible to identify until the heads bear their fruit. These weeds were sown by an enemy and were the only kind of grassy weed known to be poisonous. Birds would swoon if they ate its grain. The crime was common enough in the Roman Empire for there to be a law against it. It has also happened in modern times in Ireland and in the Middle East. The owner’s estimation of the problem is still true today: "An enemy has done this." So many today blame God for evil. But there is an enemy at work. The battle against this enemy still goes on today. Jesus’ story also explains why the Lord doesn’t take the more radical action that we sometimes expect.

I. The same seed: Matt 13:3ff; text, v37; 1 Pet 1:23

II. The same crime: text, 24-28, 37-39; Matt 13:18-19; Acts 20:30; Gal 2:4; 2 Pet 2:1

III. The same patience: text, 28b-30a; James 5:7-8; 2 Pet 3:9

IV. The same conclusion: text, 30b, 40-43; Mal 3:17-18; 1 Cor 4:5; Mal 4:1-2

Matthew Henry writes: (also vv36-43). This parable represents the present and future state of the gospel church; Christ’s care of it, the devil’s enmity against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad in this world, and the separation between them in the other world. So prone is fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sows the tares, he may go his way, they will spring up, and do harm; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced. The servants complained to their master: "Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field?" No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not from Christ. Though gross transgressors, and such as openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, yet no human skill can make an exact separation. Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and with meekness. And though good and bad are together in this world, yet at the great day they shall be parted; then the righteous and the wicked shall be plainly known; here sometimes it is hard to distinguish between them. Let us, knowing the terrors of the Lord, not do iniquity. At death, believers shall shine forth themselves; at the great day they shall shine forth before all the world. They shall shine by reflection, with light borrowed from the Fountain of Light. Their sanctification will be made perfect, and their justification published. May we be found of that happy number.

Richard Lenski underscores the future of "the righteous" in v43: "The term dikaioi, which is always forensic, denotes those who possess the quality of righteousness by virtue of having the divine verdict in their favor, that verdict pronouncing their acquittal. The glory that became theirs when they were declared righteous shall at last break forth as did the glory of Jesus at the time of His Transfiguration. ‘Like the sun’ portrays what is beyond our experience. Yet we think of the sun’s brilliance and splendor."

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Option #2: "Sonlight!"
Matthew 13:24-30 [36-43]
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Theological Weed-Whacking

       1. Elevating ourselves to field managers, sorters over/of good and evil, determining harvest time(s)

       2. God alone determines the harvest time, the reapers, and the the work to be done

B. Growing Like Weeds!

       1. Jesus allowing Himself to be uprooted, collected and burned on the cross for our sake

       2. Not worrying about who is growing next to us but, instead, focusing our faces toward the Son, "turning" others


1. katheudo (v25): sleep; euphemistically, to be dead; metaphorically, to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one's salvation.

2. echthros (v25): enemy, foe; hated, odious, hateful; hostile, hating, and opposing another; used of people as at enmity with God by their sin; opposing (God) in the mind; the devil, who is the most bitter enemy of the divine government.

3. zizanion (v25): tares; a kind of darnel, resembling wheat except the grains are black.

4. We no longer need scramble to secure our place in the field, but are free to help the ones around us turn their faces toward [God] as well. Together we grow and, though it's not always easy waiting for the fulfillment of the harvest, God is always right on time. (Sabbatheology by the Crossings Community)

5. God is like a teacher who does not care so much about who cheats as He cares about who learns. He bides His time with a classful of smug stinkers just so one struggling under-achiever can pass his test. (Garret Keizer)

6. Can we even comprehend a God that loves the world so much that every grain of wheat is significant? What if we started living our lives as if that were true? (Wanda Copeland)

7. Once upon a time there was an eighth grade football team that inherited a tradition of losing almost all the games of a season. The other parishes in the league provided uniforms, a coaching staff, even summer training. The kids from St. Useless didn't have a coach or uniforms or much parental support. They were a ragtag band of talented but untrained kids. Then one day a young man watched them stumble through practice. "Can I help?" he asked them. The team was ready to accept help from anyone. "You guys are the best!" he said. "There's no reason you can't win the conference. But you have to practice, be confident of yourself, and be good friends. No more fighting among the team or with me if I'm going to be your unofficial coach." The kids agreed. The first thing the coach taught them was how be friends and play together with one another. Then he told them practice after practice how good they were. Finally he made them work, work, work. You know what happened. They went undefeated and won the conference. "He made us believe in ourselves,"
the kids said. The next year the parents hired a "real coach" and the team finished last. (Andrew Greeley)

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