And we wonder why? Why has the church fractured into so many different denominations? Why have they, in turn, fractured into so many different branches? We have American Baptists, Southern Baptists, General Baptists, Conservative Baptists, Regular Baptists, Missionary Baptists, Reformed Baptists, and I'm just getting warmed up. I grew up Baptist, by the way, so I am one of them.
But why? Why can't we get along? Why can't we have a united doctrine and a united voice? Why do we have to disagree so much? Yeah, I know. Somebody said we are all people. And by that, we mean fallen, sinful people usually too intent upon our own wishes and desires instead of worrying about what God wants. They claim if you put two Baptists in a room together, you'll get three opinions on any given subject. But that's probably true of any denomination.
There is an even more basic reason, though, for why we fracture so much. The answer is found in Matthew 13, in two parables Jesus told. The first is about the wheat and the tares. The second is the parable of the mustard seed. We'll cover the first today.
The parable of the wheat and tares is found in Matthew 13:24-30:
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who 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 grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?" He said to them, "An enemy has done this." The servant said to him, "Do you want us then to go and gather them up?" But he said, "No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest, and at that the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn, but gather the whet into my barn.'"In understanding the parable, the farmer sowing wheat, according to Matthew 13:37-38, is Jesus sowing the sons of the kingdom, or believers, throughout the world. For our benefit, we'll consider this as happening in the local church as well. The enemy is Satan. The tares are a weed, probably darnel, that looks and grows like the wheat. It's really hard to tell them apart, with one major exception - the tares never produce fruit. The tares never produce a crop of wheat. But you can't tell until the harvest. The enemy would sow tares into the field to destroy the crops and the livelihood of the farmer. So this is Satan's way of sabotaging the work of building the church. And he has been quite successful.
While Christ populates the church with born-again believers, Satan populates the church with make-believers who look and act like everyone else in the pews. But they never bear fruit. They take up space. They use up resources. They demand their share of the positions on the committees. But they never contribute anything of value to the life of the church. Yet, they are there, side by side with the true believers within the church. Like tares, they are so intertwined with the root system and so hard to pick out, that it is impossible to get rid of them. Which is why Jesus said that the separation won't take place until the end times judgment when the saved will be taken to heaven and the lost will be cast into hell.
Until then, our churches will always be a mixture of saved and unsaved people within our walls. The better churches may have fewer while the apostates churches may be almost all tares. But unsaved people are always a part of the mix, and they will be until the end. Always there to oppose the work and oppose true doctrine. No wonder there are so many disagreements and divisions within the local church.