马太福音 13:36-43 当下，耶稣离开众人，进了房子。他的门徒进前来，说：“请把田间稗子的比喻讲给我们听。” 他回答说：“那撒好种的就是人子； 田地就是世界；好种就是天国之子；稗子就是那恶者之子； 撒稗子的仇敌就是魔鬼；收割的时候就是世界的末了；收割的人就是天使。 将稗子薅出来用火焚烧，世界的末了也要如此。 人子要差遣使者，把一切叫人跌倒的和作恶的，从他国里挑出来， 丢在火炉里；在那里必要哀哭切齿了。 那时，义人在他们父的国里，要发出光来，像太阳一样。有耳可听的，就应当听！”
如果我们感觉到有人可能不是信徒，或者不愿意遵行神的道的时候，或许我们可以做一件事，问他们一个神学相关的问题: “如果你今天死了，站在上帝面前，上帝问你为什么允许你进入天堂，你会回答什么? ” 或许人们会说他们相信耶稣，或者他们会说他们是好人所以配得进入天堂诸如此类的话。换句话说，他们相信他们自己，而不是耶稣。如果你听到了这样的答案，那就和他们一起坐下来，把上帝的拯救计划教导分享给他们。我问过许多教会成员这个问题，我很惊讶竟有很多人的答案是错的!同样也令我惊讶的是，有些看似没什么信心的人，却正确而坚定地回答对了这个问题。我很高兴我不用把他们当成稗子一下清除出去了。我所要做的就是宣扬律法和福音。
Matthew 13:36-43: Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Here Jesus explains the parable of the weeds. Again, remember what we learned earlier when we looked at the parable. There is the invisible Church, which is the sum of all true believers. Then there is the visible church, which are all those people who profess to be Christians, but who may or may not be. In every church there will always be hypocrites who put on the face of being Christians, but who are not. On the last day, Jesus will weed out the hypocrites and send them to the judgment they deserve. The righteous, those who believe in Jesus and are clothed with his righteousness, will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
But how do we serve people here if we don’t know if they are actually believers? That’s why we preach both law and gospel in all of our sermons. Christians need to hear the law because of their sinful nature, and they need to hear the gospel because that’s the only thing that gives us comfort and grows our faith. The pretender sitting in the pew needs the same thing, law and gospel, to change their hearts. That’s why we preach law and gospel in all our sermons. And that is why we should read our Bibles the same way, looking for law and gospel.
But there is something we can do if we sense someone may not be a believer or who is not walking with Jesus. Ask them the evangelism question. “If you died today and stood before God, and he asked you why he should let you into heaven, what would you say?” People will either say that they believe in Jesus, or they will say they think they are good people, or something to that effect. In other words, they believe in themselves and not in Jesus. If you hear that answer, then sit down with them and teach them God’s plan of salvation. I have asked that question of many of my church members and have been surprised at how many had the answer wrong! And sometimes I have been surprised when someone who has not been faithful in hearing the Word has answered the question correctly and with conviction. I am glad that I don’t have to weed them out. All I have to do is proclaim law and gospel.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make me bold to proclaim both law and gospel, the law with compassion and the gospel with a passion. And give me courage to ask even those close to me the question about what they believe, lest I assume they are believers when they are not. I ask this in your name. Amen.