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 among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants 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.'" - Matthew 13: 24-30 (ESV)
Nothing changed today eternally. I know that is hard to fathom given the usual Christian panic we see whenever the world behaves like the world. It seems we so quickly forget that the Bible expressly teaches us that the things of God are foolishness to them that are perishing. Yet despite this we continue to forget the two lessons of that verse. One, that they do not believe as we do. Two, that they are perishing. It is quite sad actually that we lose focus so quickly. The devil flashes something shiny and we are instantaneously distracted. We are outraged morally even though our own righteousness is the same filthy rags before the Lord as the people we seem so quick to condemn. We start thinking that somehow God was going to relent in His judgment of this country and this world, if only the Supreme Court had forced people to adhere to what we believe. That is because far too many of us worship this country before we worship our God. Despite the fact that the Bible says we are to act as pilgrims and sojourners in this world. But like Lot, we pitch our tent toward Sodom because we like our sin as much as those who do not believe. We just pretend we are somehow better than them when the Bible clearly says we are not.
And what of the fact that they are perishing? According to what the Bible teaches us, there is an eternity waiting beloved. It will either be with God or it will be with suffering. There are no third options. The Prophet Ezekiel teaches us that God does not delight in the death of the wicked. The Apostle Peter teaches us that God does not want anyone to perish. Yet there they are according to our beliefs, walking down the broad path to destruction. What is our response? To blame them for the ills of a country that was never on God's side to begin with? To blame them for a judgment that we are as much to blame for as they are? Are we so poorly taught today by pre-tribology that we think the church has no culpability? Beloved, we are tasked with bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Does that Gospel deal with sin and repentance? Absolutely but we see far too many Christians standing around the world with rocks in their hands, calling her a whore and not enough saying that Christ is willing to forgive if they would go and sin no more. It seems that too often we forget that we are supposed to be representing Jesus in that parable, not the hypocrites who wanted to stone the woman to death. So what changed today? Absolutely nothing eternally. God was not surprised by the ruling. Those that were in sin, regardless of what that sin is, are still separated until they repent. No one graduated to hell number two today because there is none. Jesus is still coming back as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and He will judge everyone in every nation. Until that time however, we are still charged with bringing the Gospel of Christ, not His judgment.
Now temporally there are some considerations for those who make up the "church." I say church as opposed to the Body of Christ because they are two different things in latter day America. I have heard the prognostications of doom regarding what the state might force churches and pastors to do now that this ruling has been handed down. So the first consideration that church must realize is it is time to stop dancing with the world. The precious 501c3 status may need to be relinquished in favor of what we claim to believe. A stand may have to be taken for faith over money. When we take the benefits the world offers we cannot be upset or surprised when they demand something for it. I think this is the first level of testing in these end times. Who is going to side with the world and who is going to be that peculiar yet shining city on a hill? When you look across the Christian landscape you must realize it is pure folly to believe that these mega churches would ever give up their tax exempt boon. Wait a minute preacher! Do you think the world will stop there? No I actually do not because the things we believe are still foolishness to them. I think eventually they would actually come after the churches that give up the statuses before they go after the ones that play ball. Why? Because the Joel Osteen's of the world present no danger to the establishment. The true Body of Christ? We know what the Bible tells us is coming. While others are being entertained and regaled with stories of God wanting them rich and demonic supernatural displays, we are hopefully reading our Bibles:
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. - John 15: 18-19 (ESV)
"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! - Luke 6: 22 (ESV)
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.- 1Peter 4: 12-14 (ESV)
The second test is going to be real persecution. I do not mean the silliness of baking a cake. I mean real persecution. The "church" is not ready for it because it is never taught that it needs to get ready. What we see playing out in the church is exactly what Jesus warned us about in the key verses known as the Parable of the Weeds. The enemy has arisen in the church and has planted his tares amongst the good seed of the Lord. It is exactly what Paul warned the Ephesian elders would happen. That false teachers would arise from among the good seed to lead people away from Christ. This is why hundreds of thousands of people sit under false teachers today. The tares being cultivated alongside the good seed. When forced to make a choice though, the tares will not leave the world they truly love. The first sifting will only result in a mass movement from the organized false church to embrace the world they have fought so hard to be relevant to. The second sifting will see the persecution of true Body of Christ. Yet he who endures to the end will be saved. The third sifting is the final sifting and it is explained by Jesus as He explains the parable from the key verses:
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 of Man. 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. - Matthew 13: 36-43 (ESV)
So what changed today eternally beloved? Nothing. People who were separated from God still are. They do not share what we believe. In fact, it make so little sense to them that they think we are fools. That is OK though because at the end of this day as every other, we are still charged with being foolish enough to continue to love them and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not condemn them and withhold the love, grace and mercy God lavished upon us. Temporally however today is a call to the institution that considers itself the church. A call to realize what lies ahead. To come out from among her. To be the peculiar people we are called to be. To survive the first sifting by refusing to line up at the tax exempt trough the devil offers. To prepare for the second sifting when our stance for that will result in persecution for the namesake of the Lord. Then to look heavenward from where our redemption comes. Until then however. We need to do two things. Preach the Gospel and calm down.