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Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Matthew 13:24-30



Will everyone who goes to church go to heaven?  Will every member of FBC make it?  I would like to think that if the rapture occurred on a Sunday morning during our main service, that the room would be completely emptied, but according to this parable that would be highly unlikely.


It’s a simple parable, but carries with it a profound truth.  [read]


It goes like this:  A farmer sowed good seed on good ground, but while he slept an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.  A tare is a poisonous weed which looks a lot like wheat in the early stages.  If eaten by a person or an animal, nausea would occur, convulsions, and in certain circumstances, even death!  This was a spiteful act of malice.  The enemy had nothing to gain, except to ruin the wheat crop of the farmer.


When his workers realized what had been done they asked the farmer if they should begin removing the tares, and he said no, it’s easier to tell the difference at harvest time.  We’ll bring the wheat into the barn, but we’ll separate the tares into bundles and burn them.


The interpretation then is found in vv. 36-42 [read]

        It’s not hard to understand what the Lord Jesus is saying by way of this parable.  But let’s go a little deeper into the ramifications of these things…


3 elements:  The sowing, the growing, and the mowing [reaping]


I.      The Sowing


A.    The sowing of the wheat.

v. 37 says that Jesus is the farmer, and the next verse points out that the wheat are the believers.


Wheat and Christians have some things in common:

  • Wheat doesn’t have a deep root system.  Wheat doesn’t go very deep compared to how high it gets.  It’s easily pulled up and uprooted.  I could say it like this:  wheat is not firmly attached to this world.  The same ought to be true of us when it comes to this earth.

Ill.—a woman lived in the same house for 82 years / war broke out / authorities said she had to leave in 15 minutes / she said, every bit of who I am is in this house…how can I pack up and leave that quickly?

    But one day soon, and it may be today, a summons will sound in the sky and we’ll leave a lot quicker than that…in the twinkling of an eye!  If you have a nice house / car that’s fine, but don’t get too attached, because you can’t take it with you, you won’t need it where you’re going, and you’ll never miss it, and only what we’ve done for Christ will matter!


  • Wheat doesn’t last very long.  Wheat grows and ripens, bears its fruit, and quickly passes off the scene.  And when we get saved we grow in grace, bear what fruit God wants us to bear, and quickly fade away.  I don’t know how long you and I will live, but until God is through w/ us, not a hair of our heads can be touched, and after God is done w/ us, no anchor in the world can hold us here. 

Ill.—in Revelation, even the antichrist cannot bring harm to God’s 2 witnesses until they ‘had finished their testimony.’

    One day I’ll preach my last sermon, and I don’t know when, but then I’ll be out of here…not off to another church, but off to another world!

    One day you’ll get up and do the things you usually do for the last time.  Make the bed, take a bath, brush your teeth…only you won’t realize it until you’re flying thru the air, but you just did those things for the last time!  [some may say, I don’t remember the last time I did any of those things…we’ll pray for you!]


God didn’t leave us here to take up space, but to accomplish specific things for Him, and to bear fruit!


No deep roots, doesn’t last long…


  • Wheat grows upward and dies downward.  And we ought to become more and more alive to things above, and dead to that which is below.  The Apostle Paul said, “set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” 


  • Wheat has a head which when mature begins to bow.  What a beautiful picture!  The head of wheat becomes full of grain and slumps over.  Bearing more fruit for the Christian should not lead to pride, but to humility.  But for many of us, success doesn’t cause the head to bow, but the nose to rise!


A.         The sowing of the wheat…


B.        The sowing of the weeds.

v. 25        The enemy came by night and sowed these tares right among the wheat.

v. 39        Look at the end of v. 38:  “children of the wicked one.”  Remember that the next time you hear someone trying to reconcile Islam with Christianity, making the common statement—“Remember, we’re all God’s children!”  This is a common belief, that all humans on the earth are God’s children.


No!  We’re all God’s creation, but not all His children.  Jesus told a group that they were of their father, the devil.  There are 2 family lines on this earth.  Some have been born once, and others twice.  Ye must be born again.  Jesus is the way.  That sounds narrow and politically incorrect.  I have no desire to be narrow except for where God the Creator is narrow.  And I’d rather be Biblically correct than politically so.

The Sowing…[wheat and weeds]


II.    The Growing


So we’ve got children of God and children of the devil together in the field of the world, and the interesting thing is that they both look very much alike outwardly.  What are we being taught here?


The devil attacks the kingdom of God by infiltration, and by planting imitators in the church.  They may not know they aren’t the real thing, and the others may not know, but Satan surely knows, as does God!  They are counterfeit Christians.  Paul called them “false brethren.”  [II Cor. 11:26]


They are fakes, phonies, but eventually their true colors show thru.  In the meanwhile, they can be poison to a church.  For this reason we are careful when someone wants to join the church.  We need to know their testimony and what they trust in for salvation.  They cannot be members of FBC unless they are true members of the kingdom of God!  There’s 160 million members of churches in America today.  Are they all born again?  I wish!  What a Christian nation we’d truly be, and we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.  Abortion is on the rise, teen pregnancy, cohabitation, divorce, suicide, drug and alcohol use, etc…and I’m talking about the church as well as the world, because the statistics are virtually the same in every category whether you’re looking at the world or the church!


The late Billy Graham said his greatest mission field was the roll books of churches.  He cited that of the many thousands saved under his ministry, 70% were church members.  They were tares among the wheat, but they got saved!


I had friends in Bible College wake up to the fact that they had never been born again and get saved.  One was sitting right beside me and then went forward!  I was surprised, sure, but I so respected it! 

When I was a kid my pastor’s wife in Jacksonville, IL walked the aisle to her husband with tears and made sure. 

I preached in MO and an associate pastor’s grown daughter got saved.  And how respectable it is when a church member swallows that pride and humbles themselves to make sure of such an important thing!

If God speaks to your heart today about your need and you come get saved, some jaws may drop, but it’s the right thing to do.

God has no grandchildren / to be 99% sure is 100% wrong/ the only thing longer than life is eternity!


Sowing, growing…


III.   The Mowing


What good will pride do you in hell?


Remember, the tares look and act like wheat.  They carry their Bible, pray, sing the songs, may even have a job in the church…but what are they trusting in for salvation?  Sadly, in many cases, they trust in their being a good person, or a church member, baptized, etc.


Some walked an aisle but were dealt with very poorly.  Some churches cause confusion when they say come shake the preacher’s hand if you want to be saved.  But does that save them?  I don’t want you to be afraid of me but I assure you shaking my hand is more likely to get you COVID than it is to get you saved!

Some churches just fill out a card on those who come forward, but did anyone open the Bible and counsel?  Does the prospect understand they are lost?  How to be saved?  Do they have a general grasp on faith and repentance, and know how Jesus is qualified to be their Savior?  It’s not even about “did you pray the prayer”, but do you know that you know that you’ve been born again?!


You can shake preacher’s hands from here to Timbuktu.  You can fill out cards at a thousand altars.  But if there’s any doubt as to whether you’ve genuinely been born again then you need to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  Examine yourself whether ye be in the faith!  Do you get saved by asking Jesus into your heart?  No!  He comes in when you trust in Him for salvation, accepting HIS payment for YOUR sins!


I’m not trying to shake anyone’s faith, but rather to proclaim the truth of Jesus’ parable for your sake!  Why did Jesus share it?  Why did He bring you here to hear it today? 

If you have assurance, then who am I to doubt it?  But if you doubt it, who am I to give you assurance?


Ill.—I know a preacher who just tells people to repeat the sinner’s prayer after him, and then when done he looks at them and says, you’re saved now!  How dare he?  I’d rather him ask them if they just got saved, and how!


The Lord may return at any time…you don’t have all the time in the world…the ‘mowing’ is imminent.  God is the reaper and the truth is indeed ‘grim’…he will thrust in His sharp sickle and harvest the earth.  He alone is capable of telling the difference correctly, and on that day it will be too late.  The respectable thing to do is make sure you are saved while there is time!

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