In the Church today there are tares among the wheat. Christ declared: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which 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 blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 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? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 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.
“Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house: and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. 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; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43.
Read this instruction carefully, doing all in your power to understand the parable. The Holy Spirit will impress the minds of those who desire a clear comprehension of this parable.
How the Growth of the Gospel Seed is Hindered
The Saviour said again: “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Matthew 13:18–22.
Those who do not follow true Christian principles, whose natural and cultivated tendencies to wrong have not been changed by the grace of God, have no root in themselves; and therefore they lose the interest which they once felt in the truth. They return to their sinful practices. They may continue to make a profession of Christianity, but they do not honor the truth. They do not go on from grace to grace. For a time they are neither cold nor hot, but they finally become hardened to all good impressions. They grow careless, worldly, inattentive. They hear the truth, but do not receive it. Of this class Christ says: “Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:26, 27.
Of Chorazin and Bethsaida, cities in which so many of Christ’s mighty works were done, which were exalted to heaven by being honored with His presence, the Saviour declared: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” Matthew 11:21–24.
Those who have been favored with great light and many opportunities, but who have not accepted the light nor improved the opportunities, who have not followed correct principles in dealing with their brethren or with unbelievers, will receive punishment in accordance with their sin. They will meet with some sad surprises in the last great day, when every case shall be brought up in review before God. In their record they will see that which will fill them with shame, but nothing can be changed. All is beyond recall.
Christ has made every provision for the sanctification of His Church. He has made abundant provision for every soul to have such grace and strength that he will be more than a conqueror in the warfare against sin. The Saviour is wounded afresh and put to open shame when His people pay no heed to His word. He came to this world and lived a sinless life, that in His power His people might also live lives of sinlessness. He desires them by practicing the principles of truth to show to the world that God’s grace has power to sanctify the heart.
Church Members Are to Help One Another
Christ has given direction for their guidance, declaring that they are to show Christian interest in one another. If one commits sin, do not talk of it among yourselves. Go first to the one who has offended. “Tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” Matthew 18:15. “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matthew 5:23, 24. Do church members obey this word? Suppose that in every institution established among us, in publishing houses, sanitariums, and schools, God’s people had sought to understand and follow His plan, as it is outlined in the Old and New Testaments. Suppose that the instruction given by Christ to the children of Israel had been woven into the life-practice. Would not we as a people stand today on vantage ground?
The instruction given in Matthew presents the work that must be done to keep the Church purified from error and defilement. The brethren in the Church are to be faithful to one another, and this is in every sense applicable to the sisters also. When you bring an offering to God, ask yourself, Am I cherishing wrong feelings toward any of my brethren in the faith? If you are, do all in your power to be reconciled to the one with whom you are at variance.
It is a sin to cherish anger against a brother or a sister in the Church. Christ treats anger as murder. He declares, “I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause”—O, how much there is of this in the Church today!—“shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:22. God has a controversy with that man. He thinks he has occasion for feeling angry, for calling his brother raca, “vain fellow;” but these passionate words are a savor of death unto death. He who utters them is not co-operating with God, but with Satan. In heaven his wicked railing is placed in the same list as swearing.
The Review and Herald, April 1, 1902.