Sunday, February 08, 2009

Weeds and Wheat

Having grown up as a pastor's kid, and now entering my 11th year of ordained ministry, I am seldom surprised anymore by the things that go on in churches. Martin Luther, the great reformer definitely understood that the Church is an imperfect place, and desperately in need of a Saviour. In a sermon reflecting on the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (Matt. 13:25), he said:
The meaning of the parable is that no Christians, especially no preachers, should grow disheartened or despondent because they cannot bring it about that there are only saints in their churches. For the devil does not stand aloof but throws his seeds in, and this is first noticed when they burst forth and shoot up. Thus it happened with the apostles Paul and John and others. Where they hoped to have devout Christians and faithful labourers in the gospel, they got the most wicked rogues and the bitterest foes. And this it happens with us. Those we think godly and righteous do us the greatest harm and cause us the greatest difficulties, because we sleep and fear no evil.

This is the only comfort, that Christ himself warns us that it will happen in such a way. For this reason John comforts himself in the face of such difficulties in his epistle, saying, "They went out from us, but they did not belong to us" (1 John 2:19). For it is the way of the world that what should be best turns out worst. Angels become devils. One of the apostles betrayed Christ. Christians become heretics. Out of the people of God came wicked persons who nailed Christ to the cross.

So it happens still. Therefore we must not be alarmed and must not faint in our ministry when we see weeds shooting up among the wheat. Rather we must confidently go on and admonish our people, that no one be led astray.

--Sermons from the year 1544 WA 52:132f.

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