Trust The Process (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43, 47-50) by Deacon Neil De Arroz

Good morning everyone, good morning. So in the NBA, there is this phrase which goes like this: “trust the process.” And so this became popular particularly in the team the Philadelphia 76ers as this was a term that they have used to describe their rebuilding process of the entire structure of the team which started probably around 10 years ago. The idea is that through seemingly odd strategies, they would want to acquire and develop players that would be the key in hopes to build a team that would make them the NBA champions. So basically, even if it seems that they are nowhere near the goal of being champions, they will not change the strategy and stick to the plan. Hence, trusting in the process. Now in the Christian life, we sometimes experience the same. It feels like nowhere near the goal we are. Sometimes it feels like we are far from it, like we are so far off from man chief end to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It feels like in every turn, we’re facing nothing but trials brought about by the situations and people around us and it seems like we’re failing every step of the way. The process we envision, our Christian walk would be like it seems like it’s so far from what we are currently experiencing and is what’s happening in our lives. It would make us feel like we are not progressing at all. Now in our text this morning, we will see that it is normal to have a disconnect between our plan and God’s plan. After all, God’s ways are higher than ours. There are times when we won’t fully understand God’s ways but we have to trust the process. So we have to.. if you have your Bibles with you, please turn with me to our text this morning. We will read from Matthew Chapter 13: 20.. we have three portions: so the first one is in Matthew chap 13: 24- 30. So let’s start from there. Matthew 13: 24-30 this is the parable of the weeds or in other translations the Tears and Wheats He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[c] among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants[d] of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” Now if you can jump to verse 36, we’ll read verse 36- 43. This is the parable explained. Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son ofMan. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. And to emphasize on the warning that we have just read, please turn to verse 47 to 50. This is a different parable which shows us the same warning.

This is the parable of the net. Verse 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 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 fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Brothers and sisters and friends, this is the word of God. Now I want us to first focus on the what I would want to say. The main parable in the sermon this morning because we had two, right. So let’s focus on the parable of the weeds. As we can see from the parable, the master is not the source of the weeds. He sold only good seeds in the field. Kaya gulat na gulat ang kaniyang mga tauhan. They were puzzled. They were startled in seeing that other than the grain, there were weeds that grew among them. Kaya nagtanong sila doon sa kanilang master and they said: “bakit mayroong mga weeds na tumutubo doon sa iyong field? Hindi ba yung mga tinatanim lang natin ay yung mga good seed na tutubo dapat ay wheat?” But the master was not surprised. The master knows where it came from and the master said that the source of the weed is the enemy. Makikita natin that the the style of the enemy was not through direct confrontation with the one who owns the field, but rather the enemy schemed. And while everyone was sleeping, he infiltrated the field and that was the time and the opportunity where he planted the weeds to grow along with the wheat of the owner of the field. And so as the good seeds were growing, the weeds grew alongside them. But however, even if the servants have seen that it is so, makikita natin dun sa ating text that the action plan of the servants is different from that of the master. The master’s plan unlike the servants, was to let both the weeds and the wheat grow for the time being. The servant’s plan was tara! Alisin na natin yung weeds, since hindi naman sila sa atin, it was planted by the enemy.

But the master had different plans. And the master had his reasons. The master didn’t want the wheat to be pulled out in an untimely manner because of hastily wanting to remove the weeds. The master wanted to wait for the harvest time. Then from harvest time, the master’s plan is that the weeds will be separated and burned and then the wheat will be kept in his barn. So just as the weeds did not come from the master, the explanation of that parable also had… goes like this: the son of the evil one obviously does not belong to Christ or the Son of man just as the master sold only good seeds, only the sons of the Kingdom belong to Christ. The sons of the evil one obviously by the term itself, came from the evil one who is as Christ mentioned, the devil. Now, just to be clear: God created all things. The field is the world, and the master owns the field; thus God owns the world. The devil has no power to create. But when sin entered the world through the fall of Adam, technically because of sin, all of us became sons of the evil one. Now borrowing from the Apostle Paul by the grace of God he said Christ shows us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. Meaning even though all of us are sinners, by the grace of God through the person and work of Christ, those who will respond in repentance and faith are His chosen, identified as sons of the kingdom. And thus we have it now in the picture of the parable. There are sons of the evil one because we have fallen in sin. But there are also the sons of the Kingdom because of God’s choosing them through Christ. Now, just as the master allows for the weeds and the wheat to grow together, God also allows the wicked and the righteous to grow alongside one another. And we will dig into this a little deeper but for now, understand that God has plans. God’s plan is to wait for the end of the age before gathering all people. The wicked will be for the time being co-existing with the righteous. But at God’s given time, they will be. thrown in the fiery furnace and the righteous in Christ will be kept by God. So the coexistence of the wicked and the righteous is temporary. In the end, those who will not repent of their sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness, will be dealt with accordingly. And that leads me to our message this morning that evil is… Evil Temporarily Thrives With The Good, But Will Answer To God In The End. Evil will temporarily thrive with the good but will answer to God in the end. And the question usually that arises is why does God allow this to happen? My first point Growth Of The Wheats. Next question is how do we know that evil will not go unpunished? We’ll tackle that in the second point, the Destruction Of The Weeds.

But let’s consider the first point, Growth Of The Wheats. So notice from our main parable, the the weeds were not removed instantly and the purpose that the master said was for the wheat to grow. Para hindi madamay yung mga wheat upon trying to pull off yung mga weeds. Kasi habang lumalaki sila, their roots have been intertwined. And so the master immediately said no, lest in the gathering of the weeds, you root up the wheat along with them. The master has the growth of the wheats in mind. Now upon seeing the the weeds, the servants proposed to pull them out. Yun yung immediate reaction nila, bunutin na natin. This was their go-to-plan. But the master said no..huwag muna, chill lang. The reason is because again, in gathering the weeds, madadamay pati yung mga wheat, okay. The master didn’t want that to happen ahead of the harvest time.

He wanted the wheat to be fully ready before harvest. Kaya maghihintay na muna sila. Now because of the enemy’s schemes para mangyari yun, well the process has no choice but the wheat must grow together with the weeds.

Kailangan sabay silang tumubo ngayon waiting for the harvest time. Now in the same way, God is also after the growth of His children. And because of the schemes of the devil, for that growth to happen, the wicked and the righteous must grow together. Now we have to be clear on how we use the word ‘grow’ because there are two ways that we can see the word ‘grow’ in this text. Una sa lahat, yung paggamit sa kaniya on let the wheat and the weeds both grow together. There is that growth in that sense that both the wicked and the righteous would take the full course of earthly lives under the common grace of God. Nakatabi na ang both unbelievers and believers ay sabay magkakaroon ng karapatan na mabuhay dito sa mundo. That is the sense in which both the wheat and weeds are allowed to grow together under the common grace of God. Sabi nga sa Scripture, the rain falls both on the just and the unjust. So basically they experience earthly life together. And then there is that second sense of the word growth in the sense of spiritual maturity. Now hindi natin makikita ito explicitly na ginamit sa text, but we can see from the parable na ito yung intention noong sower kaya ayaw nung master of the field, kaya ayaw niya mabunot agad yung mga wheat. Para maging full grown wheat sila before being harvested. The good seeds or we can say the sons of the Kingdom, or the children of God, makikita natin yung spiritual maturity in the sense that by responding in repentance and faith to the gospel, through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, they undergo a different growth, a spiritual growth which in theological terms, tinatawag nating sanctification na hindi ito pwedeng mangyari for anyone who is not in Christ. For those who are not in Christ or for the weeds, of course instead of having their hearts regenerated, para silang si Pharaoh— their hearts will be hardened more and more. Their hearts will continuously harden through their continuous rejection of the gospel and therefore they cannot enter that spiritual growth that we call sanctification kasi in the first place, they are not willing to go through that process, they are not willing to come to God. So can can you see the the difference between the two ways that the word grow needs to be identified? So in comparing the field master and the field master’s intention for the wheat to grow with how God looks after the growth of His people, we can put it this way— God allows the wicked and the righteous to grow together or take the full course of earthly life so that as they do, the righteous or the sons of the kingdom can grow more and more spiritually through sanctification. So God allows them to thrive on earth so that His children would have the opportunity to go through that sanctification process. And at times, sanctification is not pleasant. This is hard for a Christian because even though we have a new life in Christ, we still experience the effects of sin and are living among those who love sin. So it is a struggle for us. At times, we experience trials because we are surrounded by sinful people who love sin and we experience the effects of sin. It is a struggle to the point where sometimes we think like the servants do.. Lord i-pull out Niyo na po yung mga weeds immediately.. Lord, kunin Niyo na po sila. Lord, pwede na po bang i-skip na namin yung sanctification process and just take away this sinful flesh and its effects instantly please Lord. We want this to go away. But again, we have to trust God’s process. Sanctification must take place. This is the natural process that God has chosen by which we become more conformed into the image of His Son because otherwise, we wouldn’t know fully what it means to be conformed into the image of Christ. Just as Adam and Eve had knowledge of sin but didn’t fully understand it until they have actually sinned, we won’t fully understand how much we are forgiven until we are actually given the chance to grow through sanctification. We won’t have that deeper sense of the efficacy or the effectivity of the cross of Christ until we experience that forgiveness that doesn’t run out. That when Christ died on the cross, not only our past sins were forgiven, even the sins that we commit countless times after being a Christian, even those sins that we commit today, tomorrow, the next day, those have been nailed by Christ together with Him on the cross. That is how effective the death and resurrection of Christ is. Now this is not a license to s brothers and papatawarin naman pala ako, mag sin at mag sin na lang ako. All I’m saying is that Christ’s life, death and resurrection is so effective that it extends through lengths that we can’t even imagine. That even if we are in these times that we feel like we have been sinning continuously, and we need to ask God for forgiveness. There should not be a doubt in our hearts that we will be forgiven because Christ has died on the cross and God has accepted that sacrifice because Christ has risen again. We will not have a deeper sense of that if we are not to go through the sanctification process, if we’re not to experience temporary failures, temporary struggles. We may have the idea of what sanctification is but we will not fully know it until we undergo it. And by God’s design, we are to go through that sanctification process. Like the wheat, we are to grow with the weeds. And so the challenge for us knowing this is that Let Us Trust In The Process That God Has Set For Us To Grow. Let us trust in the process that God has set for us to grow. You may sometimes not understand it. It may not be how we have envisioned it. But nonetheless, it is the plan of God and thus, we have to trust.

We have been going through Genesis in our afternoon services. And as we have gone through the life of Joseph, one of the things that we can confirm is that he trusts God in the process, that God has for his life. No matter what he face in life, he was rejected by his brothers, he was betrayed, he got persecuted, he got tempted and then put to jail again. But no matter what happened, he did not forget that there is a God that is by his side. God never left him and in fact is causing all things to happen for good.

In our scripture reading in Genesis 50:20, we can see Joseph’s response as his brothers fell before him to ask for his forgiveness, for the things that they have done to him. Joseph said to them: “As for you, you meant it for evil you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Joseph knew God had a purpose in causing those things to happen to him— good or bad. How about us brethren? Do we trust God’s process for our growth? We may not be experiencing the same things today, but nonetheless, we know that it is something that God has allowed in His providence. Do we trust what God has given us today or when trial comes, we take matters into our own hands with the expense of sinning against God so that we can avoid it? Do we burst out in anger to our spouse or to our children to get them to do what we want and thus committing murder in our hearts? Do we hide things to avoid conversations and being confronted with our sin and thus bearing false witness adding to the sin that we have already committed? When we don’t trust God’s process brothers and sisters, there is only one way to go: we will be sin bound. So remember: trust God in the process that He has set for us to grow. And for Christians, that means that we have to appreciate and go through the sanctification. James said in James chap 1: 2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that in the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. So count it all joy brothers and sisters, as we trust the process that God has set for us to grow.

Now, if you are someone who is hearing this now for the first time or you have been repeatedly hearing this but haven’t really trusted in Christ for your salvation, you know in your heart that you are not a Christian, my friend. Well there is no process for you to trust because you are not putting your trust in Christ. And so I would like to take this opportunity as well to remind you my friend, if there are any, that there is no life after death apart from Christ. Like the weeds, you may grow abundantly in this life, but at the end of the age, you will be thrown in the fiery furnace. So while you are here on earth, this is an opportunity, this is a chance, this is God being patient with you like God had been patient with us. Repent of your sins and trust in Christ who has nailed to the cross every sin of those who will receive Him. Because if you don’t, the Bible is very clear and we have read it twice— unbelievers, you know where you’re headed. And that is my last point to destruction, the Destruction Of The Weeds.

The master’s plan again was to wait, right. Ayaw niyang madaliin yung pag- harvest. The master’s plan is to wait until the proper harvest time to remove the weeds and then burn them. So come harvest time, the master obviously has no plans to keep both the wheat and the weeds. Which means na kung ikaw ay hindi naniniwala sa Diyos, if you’re not in Christ, then there’s no reason for you to believe in life after death. Because God is not planning to keep both believers and unbelievers. When it is time to root them up, the master’s plan is to have his reapers separate the weeds. At this point, he will store the wheat in his barn. And as for the weeds, they will be burned. We can see the same principle in the other parable that we have read, the parable of the net. That as in the parable of the weeds, the bad is alongside the good. The good fish is found to be with the bad ones. They are in the same net. But when it was time to reel in the catch, the fishermen will sort the good ones into containers, the bad ones they will throw away. Now, we can be certain that this analogy is the same exact analogy as the previous parable that we are reading. Because if we look at verse 49 to 50, it says the same. Christ says at the end of the age, the angels will separate the evil from the righteous, and they will be thrown into the fiery furnace. The obvious thing that scripture is telling us is para sa mga wicked, parra sa mga makasalanan who have not trusted in the Lord, wala kayong kawala. There Is no escape. The weeds may grow with the wheat in the field; the bad fish may stay with a good fish in the net. The wicked may live on earth with the righteous, but that will not last. And when the time comes, scripture says, the bad ones will be dealt with and that is the reality of life. That is the reality of life that many would not dare accept because of their love for sin. When in reality, God created the world and He put Adam and Eve in it in the Garden of Eden so that He may dwell with them. He wants to dwell with His people as their God. That was the design. But as the devil schemed to cause Adam and Eve to sin, God put that perfect picture of being of dwelling with His creature to a pause until He is done in completely dealing with the problem that sin has brought. And that’s where we are now. We can’t fully experience really dwelling with God because there is still remaining sin in the world. God is still in the process of allowing us to grow on this earth together until His proper appointed time at the end of the age. But God didn’t leave us alone without any hope and without any promise. That’s why it is very important for believers to be part of the body, to be part of His church because God has provided ordinary means for us to be able to experience Him daily. We can come to God in prayer. God has provided for us His word to reveal to us His promises. God gave us the church where we can gather together corporately on the Lord’s day, a day that He has appointed that even though this is not the perfect idea of God dwelling with us, we have somehow a foretaste of that when we are with brothers and sisters gathering together in His name and He, dwelling with us here, as we come together and worship Him, there is that foretaste and that promise. But the point is that while we are here on earth and while we are living with sinful people, and the causes and effects of sin, we have hope. We still have hope because as the word of God says, the sinners and all causes of sin will not go unpunished. For a Christian this is very reassuring. This is very comforting for us and I can think of two ways why. First is because having a new life in Christ while still being in the flesh, in a sense living today is painful for us; it is painful because we fight daily with our flesh, not giving in to the temptation of sin to sin. It is a struggle because we have tasted sin and sin is good in our palates because it satisfies our flesh. But being in Christ, we know our purpose now is not for our glory but for God’s. And in that sense, we are in pain, we groan. Paul says in Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. We anticipate that time when we will be rid of our sinful flesh and be in our glorified bodies who is not capable of sinning anymore, who is away from the curses of sin. We want to be out of this sinful flesh and well knowing for certain that it will happen, well this is comfort for us. Another way that we are being comforted is that while being in a world under the effects of sin, we suffer because we are not of this world. And therefore what I’m saying is that the world is against us, against our beliefs, against our faith. And now that we are not of the world, well the world will hate us for it. We will be rejected by the world like they have rejected our Saviour and persecutes us in various degrees. Now to know that there is an end to the affliction that we will be facing, the struggles that we will be facing, this is comfort for us. Now the question is are we holding on to God’s promise as a source of our comfort through this sanctification life? If not, or if we have forgotten, then that is our last challenge… that amidst all the pain and afflictions of a Christian, that a Christian will face, Let Us Be Patient And Lean On God For Strength To Endure The Curse Of Sin. Let us be patient and lean on God for strength because apart from God, my friends, well we cannot endure. Apart from God. We will fall into sin because that is where our flesh is inclined to do— to sin.

But through God, through the strength, His strengthening by His Spirit, we are being sustained to fight the good fight and to triumph over the lust of our flesh. Trust in His process because in His perfect time, He plans to put a complete end to everything that sin has brought. Now I say complete, because we know that on the cross Christ has claim triumph over sin. But it is not entirely wiped away yet, but it will be on His return. We may not fully understand it now, it may be confusing for us. But our comfort is that we are not on our own, but we belong to God and as such, we look forward to the day when there is no more pain, no more suffering and all the tears shall be wiped from our eyes.

There is a hymn-writer in the 1700s by the name of William Cowper and we know him for we have sung some of his songs. One of which will be our response song after this sermon. Now, little do we know of William, but one of the things that is known with him is that he suffered what we may call the effects of sin like us. He underwent the depression even though being a Christian. He underwent depression actually to the point of having nightmares. This is on one of the articles that I’ve read, this is one of the challenges that William Cowper faced. He constantly have nightmares to the point where he was sometimes visited by the idea that maybe God had rejected him. Now, apart from God’s strengthening through His Spirit, probably sumuko na si William Cowper. But despite that, he leaned on God, he relied on God for strength and God sustained him. And in sustaining him, he has produced many hymns again including the one that we will be singing later on, where he has put perfectly what I am trying to get across in the sermon this morning. He wrote the song God Moves In Mysterious Ways. Now, in the song, on one of the last… on second to the last verse, it really puts in the idea that we may not understand what God is doing, but it will happen and it is for our good. It says here that “His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; that the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.” The process while it’s still being a bud, while the flower is not yet in full bloom, it may have a bitter taste. But as soon as it is on full bloom on God’s appointed time, the bitter taste will become sweet. We may not see God’s purposes now fully, but we can rely on His word that He is accomplishing His purposes. And it is for our good. The world would usually question.. usual na tanong is why does God allow evil? But as God’s children, we understand that this is part of the process; this is part of the process that God has chosen for us to grow. We may have to endure for a while but God promises that sin and all its causes will be removed from us as we enter the completion of our eternal rest with Him when He returns. But for the time being, brothers and sisters, evil temporarily thrives with the good but they will answer to God in the end.

Let us all pray. Dear God, our heavenly Father, thank you Lord for opening our eyes to the gospel of your Son, Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Thank you for awakening, for resurrecting our spiritually dead hearts, that we may respond to You accordingly in repentance and faith. Thank you Lord that You have been gracious to open our hearts to the gospel which is the only way for us to spend eternity with You. It is the only way for us to not be like the weeds who at the end of the age will be bundled and thrown into the fiery furnace. Panginoon, maraming salamat that by your grace, we trust and have faith in the Person and work of your Son, Jesus. And as such like the wheat, we will be kept in the barn like the fishes, the good fish that will be stored in containers. Lord, we will enter your kingdom, we will spend eternity with You. It is not of our doing Lord but Yours alone, Lord, maraming salamat Lord for we know that is all by your grace. And Lord, while we are in this life that You are currently sanctifying, Lord, we pray that You strengthen our hearts, give us patience, give us the wisdom to always understand your word, to always go to your word when things get tough because all your promises are here. The situations may be unclear to us at the time being, but we know Lord that You are working through them. And so Father, we commit to You the rest of this day that we may continue to glorify You and benefit from this day which you have given for our benefit. Lord, we love you in Jesus’ Name we pray, amen.

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