The complete text of the message of Sunday, October 25, 2020 for Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, Akron OH:
For the audio of this message, please click here.
My wife and I, up until now, have been working at home since March 17, and it has changed our previous dynamic of work, as we had always known it. It’s been a surprisingly good experience, and it has provided us an opportunity to look around our house and make some important changes and improvements that, under our previous schedules, would be very difficult to accomplish. For the first time this year after fifteen years, we had the house and the roof power washed. We added some plants and flowers in the front and rear of the house, and we purchased some new chairs for our patio. I was surprised how much we were able to, and it was only because our time at home gave us a chance to look around and see the possibilities.
One of the bigger projects that I wanted to solve was the gravel area next to our concrete driveway. It was in place for the parking of an extra car, and it was originally put down by the previous homeowners without a plastic tarp under the rocks and gravel. This allowed grass and weeds to grow up into and through the rocks. It had become so unsightly, that I hired the gentleman who cares for our lawn to bring his backhoe and dig up all of the gravel, grass, weeds and all, and replace it. He dug the entire gravel area up and hauled away the debris, and he laid down a thick plastic covering over the entire bed of dirt before adding some new white rocks. There were some older rocks from the bed that were mixed in to the newer rocks. The end result was a beautiful new pad of rocks and gravel for parking a car to the side of the driveway. All of the work was done in an afternoon, and I’m glad it wasn’t me, because even with a backhoe, there was a lot of digging and edging that had to be done.
When the project was completed, there was no grass or weeds present. It was a very clean and pristine look.
Well, it wasn’t too long after the project was done when we started to see small patches of grass and a few weeds pop up within the new bed of rocks. Even with the new plastic covering, you find that weeds will grow without any real need for soil. The weeds pop up with a little water, and just as they do in any garden, they spoil the appearance wherever they appear.
Weeds not only spoil gardens with their appearance, but they choke off the life of the surrounding plants. Weeds are indeed a nuisance. You can be one of the best gardeners on earth, but you are in a constant struggle to keep the weeds out of your garden. They literally can appear from virtually nowhere in almost no time at all.
When we think of weeds, we want to get rid of them, and we either need to use a weed pulling tool or weed killer to wipe them out. For our purposes here, consider that the presence of weeds is the same as the pervasive nature of sin in our lives.
Scripture references the pervasive nature of weeds in Matthew Chapter 13. Let’s look at Jesus Christ’s Parable of the Weeds:
Matthew 13:24-30 ESV
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
After this statement, the disciples asked for clarification, because as you may remember, the purpose of a parable from Jesus Christ was to tell a story in order to illustrate a truth. It is important to note that Jesus told these stories with a purpose…and there were some who would understand the truth from them, while others, who were not interested in truth, would not learn anything from them. 1
The explanation to the disciples followed the previous passage a few verses down in Matthew 13:
Matthew 13:36-43 ESV
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Look at the truth Jesus expressed about the weeds in the field. The weeds are the enemy of the good seed and the field is the world that we live in. Everywhere that we go, we have to deal with these weeds, which originate from the enemy of Jesus Christ. The enemy is not all powerful, but he is indeed has the ability to mess things up in our lives if we allow him to do so.
Weeds, just as in our gardens, need to be pulled and discarded.
Weeds are another way to refer to the presence of sin in our lives.
Do I need to get specific as to what sins I am referring to that we need to reckon with, or most importantly, those sins that we need to take directly to our Lord and Savior?
Are you ready to pull some weeds? Let’s start with these descriptions of sin types:
These are a list of what is commonly referred to as the “seven deadly sins.” 2 These were first mentioned in the days of Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century. Each of these sins, if you look at this very objectively, should give every one of us pause, because each of these sinful actions are foundational in nature because they can lead to even greater transgressions by man against God. We need to look at what Scripture says about sin and never look at this list as one of exclusivity; however, nearly every sin that we commit may refer back to one of these items from this list.
Here’s an important reminder about sin. God hates sin.
Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
Haughty eyes represents pridefulness—even at a level of utter contempt and condemnation of others.
A lying tongue is directed at those who lie freely—even to the degree that the lie may cause harm to others.
Exodus 20:16 NIV
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
A false testimony is a lie.
Spreading falsehoods and rumors about others is a contemptible act. And you can’t say or excuse that a white lie is acceptable or a lesser offense than a regular lie. I don’t like the terms “white lie” and “black lie” anyway. It implies that there are degrees of lying from a person’s own perspective that is absolutely unbiblical. A lie is a lie. All day long and every day.
Shedding innocent blood refers to murder. It is the sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13), and Jesus expands upon the definition of murder in Matthew Chapter 5:
Matthew 5:21-22 NIV
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Jesus is emphasizing here that it is, without question, a sin to commit murder, but he is also emphasizing that the murder of a person’s character is especially sinful because it is a contemptible thing to do. There is collateral damage that comes with the destruction of a person’s character. It can have a negative impact on the person, but also on the people who know the person. Family members, friends and associates can also feel the sting of one’s character assassination.
A person who makes an effort to deceive others or try to run games on unsuspecting people are especially contemptible to God. These people are detestable before Him.
We’ve made a brief and uncomprehensive lists of sins…the nagging weeds in life, but we need to understand that these listed sins are abhorrent to God because God hates sin and what it does to His people. He wants us to pull the weeds of sin out of our life. He wants us to look to Him as the One to prevent these weeds from coming back.
We know that weed pulling is seldom going to remove the weeds in our garden. It may require repeated efforts of pulling. It may require adding a weed killer of some sort in strategic areas of our garden to get the job done.
We can relate to how these nagging weeds need constant attention by every single one of us. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ needs to be engaged in removing these weeds, but not just with our own tools, but through the power of Jesus Christ.
By the grace of God, the penalty of sin has thankfully been taken care of by Jesus Christ. Praise God!
“…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
“To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Now all that we have to do is use the weed puller in our lives and ask Jesus for His forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 KJV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all righteousness.
We discussed our sins and we may acknowledge them, but the weeds aren’t cleared away unless we pull them. We MUST ask Jesus Christ, in all humility, to forgive our sins.
Humility is the opposite of pridefulness.
Proverbs 11:2 ESV
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
If you live a life of goodness and gratefulness, you don’t have time to be envious and you can easily put aside any tendencies of laziness.
If you practice self-control, you avoid gluttonous behavior, lustfulness and greed.
If you practice love, peace and kindness, you can prevent anger from springing up.
It is as simple as our complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit and the fruits that it produces:
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
The fruits of the Spirit are greater than the weeds in your life, and they can grow abundantly as we remain focused on the ever-working power of Jesus Christ.
© 2020 Melvin Gaines
1 “What is a parable?” (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2020 from https://www,gotquestions.org/what-is-a-parable.html
2 “What are the seven deadly sins?” (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2020 from https://www,gotquestions.org/seven-deadly-sins.html