Matthew 13:49-51 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. "Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes."
Have you understood all of this? Its a small question, it almost looks rhetorical. But it is at its heart a life or death question. You see it would be one thing if the only person who was effected was you, and many people believe it is their choice. It is perhaps half true, but God never tells half truths, so guess where this is coming from?
Have you understood? If not, now is the time for questions, donít wait till later. There is one way to heaven, and that is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, every other way leads to the furnace of fire we speak of as Hell. Its that simple, sinners may not always be punished here and now, but they will be punished, and it will be a never ending punishment.
Its not enough to be better than most, it not enough to live a good life, none of these things will rescue you from the fate of evil come judgment day. Even if you had an argument good enough to convince yourself... not matter what the excuse... Judgment day will come and the evil will pay for their crimes.
But how can we stand, after all, we are all sinners, none of us is perfect, for even our evil thoughts would condemn us, how can we stand? We canít, not by ourselves. And so it is that Lent is a time of self examination, we look at ourselves in the light of the 10 commandments, and when we see sin, we repent, and we repent now. We repent now, because we do not know the day when Jesus will return, we do not know the time when our life will be over, and so we live, always prepared to me the Lord.
And when we come before the Lord, and he asks us why we should be permitted into heaven... we say, it was not what I have done, but what Jesus has done, for Jesus paid for all of my sins by his suffering and death on the cross, Jesus has covered me with forgiveness and taken away all my sins. Oh we understand that all right, ....
But have we understood? We know that God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, we know that Jesus is the only name in which there is salvation, but have we understood? Why are we here? If we have repented, and believed, since we are justified and sanctified by the Spirit working through the word, a word which called enlightened sanctifies and keeps us in true faith, well then why are we still here? Why doesnít God just take us to heaven the instant we come to faith repent of our sins, and are saved?
Why? Because God wants all men saved. Thatís Why! Thatís what all the parables are about this evening. God plants the seed. God appoints the day of harvest. And as tempting as it is for us sometimes to pull weeds, that is now what God had called us to do.
Have you understood? The disciples didnít understand when Jesus asked them. Oh, they said yes, but they didnít understand, because as soon as they saw weeds, the first thing they wanted to do is to pull them. Its that sort of judgment that God reserves for himself. God wants that even things that look like weeds to have opportunity to hear the Word. You see the Word has a transforming power. The Word can turn weeds into wheat, the weeds are, as it were, born again, and are no longer what they once were, but by the power of God, a new creation.
A new creation, weeds into wheat, sinners into saints, mustard seeds into small trees, a little leaven to leaven the whole, these arenít merely nice heavenly stories, this is rather God explanation of what we, as Christians are to be. Or, we are to be the leaven that leavens the whole lump, and when the lump is leavened, there will be no more weeds, only wheat. Leaven doesnít give up because it is so small and the lump of dough so large. Leaven doesnít say, what difference could I possibly make, but it is what God created it to be. That is all God is asking of us, and at the same time he is say, do you understand, this is what I have made you to be.
So we share law, which convicts of sin, and Gospel which shows our savior, confident that God through the Word will be working a change in all around us, for Jesus sake.