“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
I was encouraged by these words today and thought I would pass them on without commentary and just this paragraph to set the context. As I begin my preparation for next week’s worship service I found these words from J.C. Ryle on the passage I covered last week. Ryle is giving his thoughts on the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus taught that the visible church will always be a mixed multitude of true believers in Christ and those who are false.
The purest preaching of the Gospel will not prevent this. . . .
The most strict and prudent discipline will not prevent this. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents, all alike find it to be so. Do what we will to purify a church, we shall never succeed in obtaining a perfectly pure communion. Weeds will be found among the wheat. Hypocrites and deceivers will creep in. And, worst of all, if we are extreme in our efforts to obtain purity, we do more harm than good. We run the risk of encouraging many a Judas Iscariot, and breaking many a bruised reed. In our zeal to “gather up the weeds,” we are in danger of “rooting up the wheat with them.” . . . .
Are we inclined to look for the conversion of the whole world by the labors of missionaries and ministers? Let us place this parable before us, and beware of such an idea. We shall never see all the inhabitants of earth the wheat of God, in the present order of things. The weeds and wheat will “grow together until the harvest.” The kingdoms of this world will never become the kingdom of Christ, and the millennium begin, until the King Himself returns.
Are we ever tried by the scoffing argument of the infidel, that Christianity can not be a true religion, when there are so many false Christians? Let us call to mind this parable, and remain unmoved. Let us tell the infidel, that the state of things he scoffs at does not surprise us at all. Our Master prepared us for it 1800  years ago. He foresaw and foretold, that His Church would be a field, containing not only wheat, but tares.
Are we ever tempted to leave one Church for another, because we see many of its members unconverted? Let us remember this parable, and take heed what we do. We shall never find a perfect Church. We may spend our lives in migrating from communion to communion, and pass our days in perpetual disappointment. Go where we will, and worship where we may we shall always find weeds.
In the second place the parable teaches us, that there is to be a day of separation between the godly and ungodly members of the visible Church, at the end of the world.
The present mixed state of things is not to be forever. The wheat and the weeds are to be divided at last. The Lord Jesus shall “send forth his angels” in the day of His second advent, and gather all professing Christians into two great companies. Those mighty reapers shall make no mistake. They shall discern with unerring judgment between the righteous and the wicked, and place every one in his own lot. The saints and faithful servants of Christ shall receive glory, honor, and eternal life. The worldly, the ungodly, the careless, and the unconverted shall be “cast into a furnace of fire,” and receive shame and everlasting contempt.
. . . Our Lord Himself explains it in words of singular clearness, as if He would impress it deeply on our minds. Well may He say at the conclusion, “Who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Let the ungodly man tremble when he reads this parable. Let him see in its fearful language his own certain doom, unless he repents and is converted. Let him know that he is sowing misery for himself, if he goes on still in his neglect of God. Let him reflect that his end will be to be gathered among the “bundles” of weeds, and be burned. Surely such a prospect ought to make a man think. . . .
Let the believer in Christ take comfort when he reads this parable. Let him see that there is happiness and safety prepared for him in the great and dreadful day of the Lord. The voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God will proclaim no terror for him. They will summon him to join what he has long desired to see, a perfect Church and a perfect communion of saints. How beautiful will the whole body of believers appear, when finally separated from the wicked! How fine will the wheat look in the barn of God, when the weeds are at length taken away! How brightly will grace shine, when no longer dimmed by incessant contact with the worldly and unconverted!
The righteous are little known in the present day. The world sees no beauty in them, even as it saw none in their Master. “The world doesn’t know us, because it didn’t know him.” (1 John 3:1.) But the righteous shall one day “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” To use the words of Matthew Henry, “their sanctification will be perfected, and their justification will be published.” “When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.” (Coloss. 3:4.)