by T. Austin-Sparks
(February 13, 1964 P.M.)
Read: Matthew 13:24-30.
I feel that the Lord has very definitely led me back to these parables of the Kingdom. Therefore, I can only give you what the Lord has told me to say. These seven parables in Matthew thirteen are a prophecy. The Lord Jesus was foretelling things that would happen during this dispensation from the time of His first coming to His coming again. You will notice that the last of these parables ends with THE CONSUMMATION OF THE AGE. The Lord knew that in this dispensation up to His coming again, certain conditions and situations would come about. These conditions which would come about would greatly perplex and distress His servants. Therefore, by means of these parables, He did two things.
Firstly, He made it very clear that these things would happen. He provided a Word which perfectly described what would arise in this dispensation. In these seven parables, we have a perfect description of the things which have really come about in this age.
Then He did the second thing. He showed that, however difficult it would be for His servants to understand, all these things would be within the compass of the Sovereign Rule of God. When He said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto," He meant that all these things which would happen, which would be so discouraging and perplexing, would be within the realm of the Sovereign Rule of Heaven. The name, the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God, simply means the Sovereign Rule of God or of Heaven. It is within that Sovereign Rule that all these things are permitted. We do not understand them. They give us a lot of trouble. They are very discouraging, but they are all under the Sovereign Rule of Heaven. You notice that is how it comes out at the end of every parable. It is the end which matters. It is the end of every parable that we have to take note of. Certain very difficult things would come about, but in the end, GOD WINS. God has the end in His hands. This is the only way in which to read these parables. Sometimes you read a book. It begins very good, and then trouble arises. Everything seems to go wrong. And some people, when the trouble begins, turn over to the end of the book and see how it ends. And, of course, it always ends all right. Well, that is how it is with these parables. Things began very well, soon trouble arises. But when you look at the end of the story, it is all right.
We were thinking the other day of the parable of the sower. The sower went forth to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side. Well, when he started, it was all right. Things have gone wrong. Some seeds fell by the way side, some seeds fell on the rocky soil, some seeds fell among thorns. All three of those seem to be wasted. That is very discouraging. To the workers who go out with the seed, it is very discouraging to see how much of it seems to be wasted. A lot of people do not seem to bear very much fruit, if any at all. But the end of the parable, some fell ON GOOD GROUND, bringing forth an hundredfold, sixtyfold, thirtyfold. It is the end which matters. All is not in vain at the end. At the end everything is not wasted. However people may react, Heaven Rules. It is all within the compass of the Sovereign Rule of Heaven.
Now we come to this second parable, the parable of the two seeds. Of course, the disciples called it the parable of the darnel. That is the word which is in the original, it is not tares but darnel. We shall see that in a minute. They called it the parable of the darnel. I call it the parable of the two seeds.
Now let us break up this parable in order to get to its message. There are eight parts to this parable, we can pass over them very quickly and come to the message at the end. First of all, there is the field, and here we must get our mentality quite clear. This thing has been very much misunderstood because men have thought that this field was the Church, and that the two kinds of seed were in the Church. That is not the teaching of the parable. The field is the same field as the sower went to sow. And the Lord Jesus said, "The field is the world." No, we are not dealing with the Church now, we are dealing with the world. It is important to recognize that for this reason. This field or this world is the rightful property of the Son of Man. He that sows the seeds, it says, is the Son of Man, and the field belongs to Him by right. It is His property. This world really belongs to the Lord Jesus, and this world is intended to be occupied by His people. The seed that He sows are the children of the Kingdom. And this world which belongs to Him is intended to be inhabited by the children of the Kingdom. It is very important for us to recognize that. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." When we go out to the Lord's work, and come into any place, we have the right to say, this place by right belongs to the Lord Jesus, and we put our feet down there and claim that for the sovereign rights of the Lord Jesus. The field is the world and it by right belongs to the Lord Jesus. The good seed, it says, is the children of the Kingdom which He sows in the world. What the Lord Jesus is doing through this dispensation is sowing children of the Kingdom in this world. We are here in this world as children of His Kingdom to claim His rights in this world.
Then the next thing is the enemy. He comes to sow his bad seed. Jesus says, 'The enemy is the devil.' You notice this devil, this enemy, comes into what does not belong to him. Satan is a trespasser in this world. He is an invader. The world does not belong to him by right. He has come into it as an enemy. It is enemy occupation. He comes to sow his seeds and to sow his seed alongside of the seed which the Son of Man sows. This one hates the Son of Man. Jesus calls him an enemy, and He gives him the name 'the devil', which means, 'the adversary,' the one who just hates this Son of Man, and is determined, as far as he can, to spoil the work of the Son of Man. And so he comes into the field of the world and sows his own seed alongside the good seed.
Now you have got to note a very special thing here. The Lord Jesus is not here saying that all the unsaved people in this world are the children of the devil. There is truth in that. The Apostle John says, "The whole world lieth in the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). There is a sense in which it is true that all unsaved people are in the power of the devil. But that is not what the Lord Jesus is teaching here. He is not here teaching especially that all unsaved and all unevangelized people in this world are children of the devil. If He were teaching that, there is not much point in the parable. Everybody knows that there are children of God, and that there are other children in this world. There are children of the Kingdom and there are those who are not children of the Kingdom. We all know that. We know that the other children are alongside of us every day. We do not need a parable to tell us that. We do not need the Lord Jesus to especially teach us that, we know that.
But you see, here is the point. These children of the devil, of whom the Lord is speaking are a special kind. Jesus calls them darnel. Now, darnel in the east is something that is almost exactly like wheat. It is so much like the true wheat that it is not until it is full grown that you see the difference. This darnel is something that is false. It is something that is an imitation. It is something that is a lie. It is something that pretends to be like the children of the Kingdom but is not.
The enemy comes and sows something that looks very much like the true thing but it is false. It is something that is the devil's lie. This kind of people talk the same kind of language as the children of the Kingdom. They can use the Scriptures. They can use the same phraseology. They can talk about Jesus. They can talk about the Scripture. They can talk about the death of Jesus. But they mean something different.
The Jesus of whom they talk is not God incarnate. They talk about Jesus, but they do not believe in the deity of Christ. They can talk about the Bible, but they do not believe the Divine inspiration of the Word of God. They can talk about the death or crucifixion of Jesus, but they just mean something quite heroic like other men's death. They take out of the death of Christ all the Divine meaning of atoning sacrifice. And in many other ways these children of the devil speak the language but they have not the voice. They are imitation Christians. They have not been born of God. They are not the fruit of a definite work of the Spirit. And the devil brings them alongside of the children of the Kingdom in order to make confusion, to make the children of the Kingdom look something different. It is just this work of mixture amongst people. Very often you cannot on the surface see the difference. So the servants of the householder went to Him and said, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Whence then had it darnel?' And the Lord said, 'An enemy has done this thing.' Remember, this is one of the works of the devil, to imitate Christianity. To set up alongside of the truth something that is false.
Then the servants said, 'Shall we go out and root up these darnel?' The Lord said, 'No. If you do try to do that, you may not be able to discriminate between the true and the false, and you will be pulling up some of the true as well. Let both grow together unto the harvest.' This is the Lord's governing principle in this dispensation. Oh, there is a lot of meaning in this. Our business is not to be always trying to expose what is wrong. Many servants of the Lord had been caught in doing this. They are spending their lives and their energies in trying to track down something that they think is false and to root it out. This world is full of suspicion, suspicion among the people of God. It is almost impossible to go anywhere without somebody saying, 'Now what is wrong with this man? We must find out where he is not sound in doctrine. We must not trust him until we have examined him.' This world is full of that sort of thing, all the time trying to find some error somewhere, to find out the imperfection of this one and that one. And they are using their own judgment about this. The result is, that many who are true children of God are being rooted up by these people. Many a true servant of God has been simply rooted up and thrown away by this kind of suspicion. The Lord Jesus has said very emphatically, do not do that, that is not your business, just let both grow together, and as things grow, you will be able to recognize what they are. The evil will show itself more and more as time goes on, you will be able to recognize that that is not of the Lord. By the process of development it will show its true nature. In the course of time and in the end it will be manifested that that thing is of the devil; it is against the Lord.
But on the other side, and this is the real message of the parable, that which is truly of the Lord has got to grow and grow and grow more like the Lord. It is, of course, true that the Church is in the world, and what is true of the world can be true of the Church. There can be those who are not truly born-again children of God. They mix with the Lord's people. They profess to believe the things that are in the Word of God. My point is that there are a lot of people mixing with the true children of God who are not really born-again. They are not truly children of the Kingdom. The Lord Jesus wants us to understand that the true children of the Kingdom will grow more and more like the Lord Himself. The others will not grow like the Lord. They will just be false professors.
Now the message of the parable is this, when the Lord comes or at the end of the age, those who are His will be perfectly clearly known as His. There will be no mistake in the children of the Kingdom. You will know who are the children of the Kingdom. There will be no doubt about it. They have been growing more and more like the Lord. The true divine nature which He had put into them at the beginning is showing itself more and more. This process of intensification is the law of the Kingdom. The parable raises this big question for us all, 'Am I growing more and more like my Lord? Is there more and more of Christ in me as time goes on?' The great consummation of the age is the manifestation of the sons of God. The word is, 'When He shall be manifested, then we shall be manifested with Him.' In the end, the sons of the Kingdom will be clearly identified, but that is a thing which has got to go on every day. See, these two seeds were growing every day, and as they grew, it was possible to see which was which.
Let me say to the young people here, begin by making very sure that you are a truly born-again child of God, that you are a true child of the Kingdom, that you are not just where you are because other people have said you ought to be there. But it is because of a very real work which God has done in your own heart. And that being your beginning, make sure that you are growing and growing and growing more like your Lord every day. So that those who look on are able to say, there is no doubt about that man or that woman, that boy or that girl. They are the true and genuine things. There is no falsehood about them, there is no hypocrisy about them. They are not pretending to be Christians; they are the real thing. In the end, it will be manifested to all the world who are the sons of God!
One other thing to notice here. What happens at the end? Well, the Lord here says that it is that which is of the devil, which is to first be destroyed. It is all that which the devil has done, which the devil has planted, which will go to judgment first. He says, 'First gather the darnel into bundles and burn it.' All that is false, all that is not true, is going to burn in the judgment. And then the Lord says, 'Gather the wheat into My barn.' It is a long story of the evil work of the enemy. It created great difficulties for us, but in the end the Lord wins. In the end the Lord has the true thing, and all the other has gone. It is the end that matters.
Now, I do not know why the Lord made me say this. I said to the Lord, 'Now if I say this to that company of people, they will all think that I am teaching them like little children. They have got so much teaching. They know so much of the deeper things. If I go right back to this picture book of parables, they will think that I am just regarding them as a kindergarten.' But the Lord said, 'You say what I tell you. We have got to get right back behind all this Christianity. We have got to get right down to [the] foundation. We have got to make sure that everybody knows exactly where they are. The great judgment fires are coming. We are working for a future day, the day when everything will be manifested for what it is, and we must be very faithful, and leave nothing to chance. We must not assume that the people who think they are the Lord's people are really the Lord's people. We must do everything that we can to remove falsehood. The devil has put very much falsehood into Christianity. He has brought very much that is a lie alongside of the truth, and we must be very faithful to see that people know exactly what they are and where they are before God.'
So you must forgive me for being simple in this way, I can only say what the Lord tells me to say. Well, I think that most of you will agree that this is the sort of thing that has to be done. If you are a true child of God, you will not mind being talked to like this. Well, if you are not a true child of God, take a word of warning, nothing that is false or a lie is going to get into the Kingdom. Only that which is the truth. So, may we all be those who are children of the Kingdom, and are growing day by day like Him Who planted us.