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The Apostles’ Battle against the Tares
False apostles, prophets and teachers

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine you learned, and avoid them (turn away from them, do not work together with such people.)  For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and by flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Rom. 16:17-20.

One would think that the people who caused divisions and took offense at the doctrine in the time of the apostles would also have spoken openly against it, making it clear to all that they would have nothing more to do with Christendom’s God and His teaching.  However, this is not the case so long as people have religious ambitions and have been sown by the wicked one.  Rather, they are of the opinion that, in spite of their choice to go a broader and easier way, they are still children of God and workers in God’s kingdom, simply choosing to work according to “their own vision” and understanding. 

We see from what Paul writes to the church in Rome that it was the doctrine itself, the life and teaching of Christ, to which they took offence and which caused divisions. This same doctrine had also become the apostles’ life and teaching. They had received it from the Son of Man, and both they themselves and the teaching had now, by the Holy Spirit, been filled with the light of the sun.  In other words, it was the light that shone from the life and teaching of Christ that irritated them to the extent that a division occurred in the wheat field.  The light brought about a separation because of those who would not lay aside all their darkness and by faith in Christ’s work of salvation bring their entire lives into the light.  “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3: 16-21.This is a very serious matter; we cannot live in conscious sins which we will neither acknowledge nor give up and at the same time be forgiven them.  The apostle John says it this way: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  1 John 1:5-7.

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses…”  Here we see the stony hearts – some of these scorched stalks – driven round like chaff before the wind as they try to win souls  and start up their own work. Did you notice what it was they had subtly slipped into the preaching? It was smooth words and flattering speech, according to this scripture.  Of whom do you think they spoke such sweet and flattering words? They no doubt offered some beautiful words to those who would receive them, and, of course, spoke sweetly about God’s Son.  That’s the way they carried on in order to please the people they made contact with. In other words, they altered the Rock. Who did they deceive?  Paul says that they deceived the hearts of the simple. At that time, there were no other fields besides those of the apostles, so they tried to fish in the churches that were already established. 

There were many that took offense and were indignant over the preaching of the apostles; they were offended at the narrow gate they pointed out to them. When the Son of Man was preached in spirit and truth, the Rock became a rock of offense and a stumbling stone for those who would not believe and take up their cross and follow Jesus.  1 Peter 2:1-10.

The vast majority of those who withdrew no doubt withered away and were gone for good once they realized that the goal behind the apostles’ work was not for them.  However, the interesting thing is that not all of them disappeared and went back to their former life with all its busyness.  No, as we have seen before, right there in the sieve of the devil – where they got stuck because of the chaff, and where they were shaken and sown – right there, the evil one got a hold of some of them.  In spite of the fact that they had no desire to bring their lives in line with the apostles’ teaching, the evil one whispered in their ears that they were, of course, still children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, whereupon he sent them out as sowers. Since there was also an opportunity to make a living by the gospel, 1 Cor. 9: 9-14, these people began to travel around and work with God’s word, prophesy, drive out spirits in Jesus’ name, pray for the sick and preach that the kingdom of heaven had drawn nigh, and so on; all this in spite of an inner, hidden apostasy.  Especially strong personalities who actively used their gifts were there in the sieve, and were much sought after by the evil one.  But their activity as sowers was only a camouflage for covetousness.  Actually, their god was their stomach, say the apostles.  2 Pet. 2:3, 2 Cor. 2:17, 1 Tim. 6:3-5, Tit.1:10-14. 

Since the Rock, Jesus Christ, had now become a rock of offense to them, they did not manage to preach Him in spirit and in truth.  So they altered the Rock.  They began to leave out certain things in the preaching.  They continued to preach that Jesus was crucified for us, but the offense of the cross, Gal. 5:11-24, 1 Cor. 1:18-31, and Romans chapter 6, namely, that we were crucified with Him, and that now by faith, this is to be made a reality in our lives, they began to water down or give a different slant.  They did this so as not to cause offense or disappoint those who were converted – just as they themselves had been disappointed. If after some time a little flock were to grow up around them, or if they succeeded in making a living by the gospel, they really could not preach the gospel of the grain of wheat in Spirit and in truth, because then many would take offense.  But they could certainly preach the new birth, the baptism of the Spirit, signs and wonders, and not least healings. They could also speak about Satan’s defeat and destruction in the name of Jesus.  That was a popular theme and still is today.  In this way they sought to attract and draw simple souls to themselves.  They continued to preach the manifestations of the gospel and its promises, but the conditions in the gospel of Christ – to become a grain of wheat and then to be sown so as to become more and more transformed into the image of the Son – that was slowly but surely silenced. “…these do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ…” says Paul. 

The church in Rome must have been an especially good and powerful wheat field since word of their obedience to the doctrine of Christ had spread to all the other churches.  For this reason, Paul exhorted the brothers in Rome with joy.  If the shepherds and prophets kept a close watch on those who caused division and offense, and served in such a way that everyone quite peacefully turned away from such people, it was manifest that they were “wise unto the good and pure regarding evil.”  In that way there would be growth and development in the whole field.  The evil one and his co-workers would not have a chance to sow their seed among them, and the God of peace would be able to come quickly and crush Satan under their feet. 

Paul warned the church in Colosse about these people in the same way as he warned the church in Rome.  He writes: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. …..Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”  Col. 2: 6-8 and 18-19.

A number of their crafty ways of working are specified here. These include: to argue, using worldly and human wisdom, instead of walking in simple faithfulness to the doctrine of Christ; to give the appearance of being a humble person; to flatter, praise and glorify the person whose confidence one would like to win, almost as though he were an angel; or to describe visions from God in the hope of gaining an entrance to a simple person’s heart and winning his confidence. If the disciples in Colosse were to do as they had been taught, they would not lose their footing, but be edified, stand firm in faith, and be full of thankfulness.  The tremendous result, unity and growth in God, is called the battle prize. They would achieve this by resisting these crafty workers through continuing to live according to the doctrine.  Paul warns us not to let the flattery and false humility of such sowers rob us of the prize.

Paul also shows us clearly how we can recognize these workers; we know them by their fruits.  He says that if you take up a battle against them so as not to fall prey to them, or if you avoid them because you do not want to have anything to do with them, they become vainly puffed up in their fleshly minds, although you have actually done nothing wrong.  Before long, you will discover that you have lost their favor, and an unhappy and unpleasant battle in the spirit will develop between you.  If you still will not retreat in your battle, after some time, they will reject you. The people they are looking for are those who are about to take offense, those who have been scorched, and those who fall for flattery.  In this way you will be shown that such workers are not among those who hold themselves to the Head, Christ. Matt. 7:15-20. 1 John 2:27.

Maybe you have not heard of these things before.  But this is indeed what is written, and in all their letters, the apostles testify about these things and very strongly warn about these people and their evil work. 

At the time of the apostles, the tares – weeds – had not yet established their own churches.  The fields of tares alone came later.  So the chaff was blown around by the wind from the one wheat field to the next, making trouble for the apostles. The tares, or the chaff, are the same people who are figuratively referred to as wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They came from the inside. Read Acts 20: 28-35 carefully.
 
Peter writes in his other letter that just as false prophets arose in the old covenant, false teachers will arise in the new.  He tells us that these people will secretly introduce false teachings that lead to destruction. The mark by which we can recognize them is that they deny the Lord that bought them.  When many follow this path, the way of truth will be blasphemed. Another sign, Peter writes, is that they use words that the Spirit has not taught them – deceptive words, or “invented words” Norw.  Such words are spoken because of covetousness, Peter goes on to say, and among the tares today many such unbiblical words and expressions are used.  2 Pet. 2:1-4.

After writing these things, Peter emphasizes the truth that in the new covenant god-fearing men and women can be liberated from sin and temptation.  He prefaced this by using the following examples: …for if God did not “spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell,”… if He did not “spare the ancient world,” …if He “turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes,”…if He “delivered righteous Lot”… When we read about these mighty deeds that God performed in the old covenant, we believe it.  But let’s read on in faith in what Peter writes after this: “Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment, and especially those who are walking according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority.”  These words are just as true!  However, if we are going to resist sin until we are set free from being tempted by it, and if we are going to escape being reserved under punishment for the Day of Judgment, as Peter says here, then we must love the gospel of Christ, the word of the cross, and walk on the way of truth.  Otherwise we do not stand a chance.  2 Pet. 2:4-10.

Think carefully about what you are now reading!  Look around you intently!  Are you in a wheat field where the grains of wheat are working? Are you sure that you are together with God’s true sowers?  Are they working with the gospel of Christ?  Do they proclaim a message that strengthens your heart for a battle against your own sin?  Do they lead you to faith that it will succeed for you to get victory?

Ask yourself: Am I hearing a preaching about a way of faith that leads me to a place where I can rule over all conscious sin in my life through the grace that is in Christ Jesus?  Or am I served up “food” that is of no help towards that end?  Heb. 13:9.  Do I hear preaching about all kinds of things, except the things of which I am reading here? Have I actually entered the assembly of the apostles?  Heb. 10:25.  Am I in an assembly that I ought to depart from? An assembly that is most interested in gifts, signs and wonders, healings, and in driving out evil spirits?  Mark 16:17-18.  Heb. 2:1-4.  An assembly which, if not literally, at least in spirit denies that God gives the god-fearing power for victory over all sin? Tit.1:16; a worldly assembly that struggles with both manifest and hidden sins?  Those who only have an outward form of godliness, and possibly not even that? Have I come among people from whom God’s word says I shall turn away?  Gal. 5:19-21.  2 Tim.3:1-5.

There were some especially difficult problems in the church in Corinth.  They had not attained to the spiritual growth to which, by that time, they should have attained, and they were therefore still carnal, babes in Christ.  1 Cor. 3:1-3. To a large degree they lacked the spiritual sense needed to discern between those who did the work of the grains of wheat and those who sowed tares.  Neither did they understand the seriousness of being involved with those who sowed tares.  1 Cor. 5:1-13.  This is made very clear in Paul’s exhortations and instructions.  Besides, they had to an extent begun to close their hearts to Paul; for this reason, the whole church was in grave danger of turning into a field of tares.  You have to agree that Paul does not mince words in these exhortations: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will dwell with them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ Therefore: ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  2 Cor. 6:11-18, and 7:11.  The “unequal yoke” refers to the way in which tares spread God’s word, and we should have nothing to do with that. 

The word “offense” comes from the Greek word “skàndalìzo,” which means to be disappointed or irritated with something to the point of rejecting it.  It is also translated as the word disbelief as used in the following instance: “…they stumble, in their disbelief of the word…” 1 Peter 2:7-8 (Norw. Translation) 

As mentioned before, a number of people continued to work with God’s word (Phil. 1:12-30) while mocking the apostles and their children, backbiting them and calling them evil workers. This drama is especially portrayed in Peter’s first letter as a specific description of the terrific battle and ensuing division that occurred between the wheat and the tares.  We see here that Peter exhorts his children to good conduct and to abstain from fleshly lusts.  For example, lusts to argue, quarrel and put others down, etc. could quickly rise up when being mocked and backbitten by the tares. Such things would also war against the soul of those in whom the word had been sown, and thereby interfere with the receptivity of those who had a heavenly calling. Yet, through this, they would by their good conduct have the power to even put to silence the ignorance of foolish men – the tares.  1 Pet. 2:9-17.

They were to follow Him who did not sin, and in whose mouth there was found no guile – according to the teaching by which He Himself had lived and preached – He who when He was reviled, did not revile in return, who did not threaten when He suffered, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. This is why, as Peter continues to write, Jesus died for us, so that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.  To engage in contentions, arguments, bickering, disputes, and backbiting means that one has gone astray.  In our former lives we have all gone astray, but now we have returned like sheep to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.  A very different tone must be heard in us now. 1 Pet. 2:21-25.

When this is the case, the word and the Spirit will not be hindered by a person’s own conduct, but it will be able to work freely in people’s hearts.  2 Tim. 2:8-14.  In the footsteps of Christ, thus crucified according to the flesh, they would be a testimony for the witness of the gospel. Matt. 24:14. Those among the nations who had a heavenly calling in their hearts, when they heard the word and saw their pure godly conduct, would praise God on the day of visitation, the day that the gospel of Christ was brought to them.  2 Tim. 2:12.

Paul goes on to say that they should put a stop to all else and in agreement with this, be of one mind! Phil. 3:15-21  If it should take some of the brothers time to come to this, the others were to show them compassion, and be loving, merciful, and humble, not reviling those brothers who reviled the tares because these brothers did not have victory within. Instead they should bless and strengthen them.  They should also refrain their tongues from evil, and their lips from speaking deceit – regarding the teaching – so they would not go astray; for it is better, if such is the will of God to suffer for doing righteousness than to suffer for doing evil.  1 Pet. 3:8-17.

After this, Peter reminds them about the people who had rebelled against the same word or message in Noah’s day (Gen. 4:7) and who are being held until the Day of Judgment. They are the ones who would not believe that they could rule over sin, and who mocked and spoke harsh words against the saints who did believe and suffered, Jude 14-16, the saints through whom the Word itself had made a visit to the kingdom of death! 1 Pet. 3:18-20 (Heb. 11:5-7).

Following Christ would certainly become a tremendous fire for their flesh.  They should not be amazed at this fire as though something strange had happened to them; the sufferings of Christ would come upon them as a test. They would be tested to see if they were genuine grains of wheat, truly willing to follow the Son of Man, the very first grain of wheat: “He who suffered death according to the flesh, but was made alive in the spirit;” He who was the very source of the things they now believed and experienced. 

This is the way, he promises them.  It is the way to joy and rejoicing in the revelation of Christ, the way to shine as the sun in the kingdom of the Father on the coming day! As a confirmation, they would experience that the Spirit of glory and of God would rest upon them, both during and after being reviled.  Moreover, they were exhorted to not be ashamed before people on account of the rumors that the tares would spread about them.  They would not suffer because of their misdeeds, or any such thing, but as Christians.  1 Pet. 4:12-16. 

If the people in whom they had sowed the word were to truly experience a day of visitation from God, then there was no choice but to take up this battle.  If they did not do so, the evil one would destroy both their personal walk in the footsteps of the Son of Man as well as their entire missionary effort.  Through practice, they had to become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and put on the whole armor of God.  Then they would be able to withstand the wiles of the devil, for they did not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Everyone who begins to testify about the mystery of the gospel will discover this.  If a person truly wants to bring a day of visitation to people by testifying about the Son of Man – He who was manifest in the flesh and who sows His children – while surrounded by tares, will find that he has no chance against the wiles of the devil unless he is armed for the battle with the preparation of the gospel of peace. If a person is going to be able to withstand the wiles of the devil, he must not get caught up in wrangling and arguments because then the evil one will destroy everything.  One must have a crucified flesh and a soul that is able to bear suffering, and must also be able to “rest” under pressure from the hosts of wickedness.  If a person has not exercised himself in this, is not alert, and is not familiar with the reproach of Christ, bickering and darkness will soon creep in. He will not be able to work as a light in the world.  It is only as a person walks in the footsteps of Christ, as a grain of wheat in truth and spirit, that he is able to give people the gospel of Christ and at the same time shed light as a personal testimony to it.  Eph. 6:10-20.  2 Tim. 2:24-26. 

In the same way as Paul, the apostle Peter fought a great battle against the tares on account of their deceptive and corruptive power to influence others.  Even if these fields of God – the churches of the Gentiles – had grasped the message in his first letter, and had maybe known it before too, in the Spirit of power and with direct words he still had to call their attention to the tares when he wrote them his second letter. He did this so that they would not be carried away by all these ungodly, deceived people and so fall from their own steadfastness. If this happened, growth in the true grace and the knowledge of Christ would stagnate.  2 Pet. 2:1-22.

The apostle Peter has also written prophetically about the conduct of the tares in the last days.  To conclude his second letter, he writes that the sign by which we will know the tares is their impatience with the coming of Jesus; in other words, they do not understand that they should use God’s longsuffering to obtain a deeper salvation.  They will also be blind to, or lack insight concerning, the creation of this world and concerning the testimony of the water and the fire.  2 Pet. 3:3-9.

We can see that the apostles worked hard, strongly warning against the tares in order to preserve the churches of Christ and spread the gospel of Christ.  They fought hard against these untaught and unstable people  who lacked a root life, who had been offended and fallen away from true grace, and yet continued to work with God’s word.  You can read about this in essentially all the letters in the New Testament.  Warnings are given all over the place against the false doctrines that had slipped in, doctrines which arose from wrong interpretations of the apostles’ writings.  In particular, Peter mentions their erroneous interpretations of the letters of the apostle Paul.  These interpretations will lead to destruction, is the warning given.  In other words, what the tares understood, and how they interpreted the Holy Scriptures would lead both them and their followers into the fiery furnace.  2 Pet. 3:15-18.

The apostle John also issued a powerful warning to his children when it concerned such people, because it did not take long before there were many of them.  The apostles did not gain as many followers as the tares did and were soon in the minority.  2 Cor. 2:17.  So the apostle John had to comfort his children with these words, saying: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He (the Son of Man) who is in you than he who is in the world (the evil one). They are of the world.  Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.  We are of God.  He who knows God hears us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:1-6

So they could come to rest at these words from John; the tares did not gather those who knew God or had a heavenly calling in their hearts, those who suffered under the power of sin and wanted to be freed from it. The apostle John called the tares antichrists, and there were already many of them.  It is also very clear from the apostle John’s letters that these people arose from their midst.  In their work as sowers, we can imagine that they boasted, exalting themselves with references to which fields of wheat they had come from, that they knew the apostles, etc. However, the apostle John gives them this testimony: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”  1 John 2:18-29
 
The reason why the tares multiplied so quickly is that weeds – tares – multiply much, much faster than grains of wheat. Each individual grain of wheat must die in the ground alone, through the power of the gospel of Christ and the Spirit of God, in order to bear fruit, meaning to get followers (new grains), and that takes time. Phil. 3:10-17.  Tares, on the contrary, reproduce all the time, without dying, in their carnal power and zeal.  In general, people think that the majority is always right.  But the tares do not have “The True One” even though they are many in number.  To worship the falsified Jesus – spoken about in the falsified gospel that speaks about falsified grace, where the person concerned is supposed to find propitiation and the blood that is a covering for all sorts of impurity and unrighteousness lived in daily without shame – is nothing but a deception and the idol worship of an “image of godliness” that does not exist.  Jude v. 4; 1 John 5:18-21.  

One almost gets the impression that because of the way the tares spread in the days of the apostle John, he came to the conclusion that the “the last hour” had already arrived and that Jesus’ second coming was imminent.  Some years later, on the Isle of Patmos, the Son of Man made it clear to him that this was not the case.  Rev. 1:9.  In the book of Revelation it becomes apparent that the tares, the chaff, those unfaithful Christians who in this instance are called the harlot, would one day be spread over the entire earth.  They would gain incredible power and deceive the nations until the time of the end. “And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.” Rev. 17:6

This is exactly what has happened! Up through the centuries the tares have developed a special doctrine and interpretation of the words of Scripture.  Today, this is considered to be the true gospel, all over the world.  Since most people would like to get to heaven in the fastest and easiest manner, they receive into their hearts the tares’ twisted interpretation of the gospel.  It is for this reason that various gospels, only slightly deviating from one another, are preached by the tares all over the earth.  The variations are small, the spirit and the essence of what is preached being the same in all the assemblies and church fellowships concerning how Jesus bought us, sin, and grace.

The apostle Paul gives the preachers of such a gospel the following testimonial:  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no wonder!  For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Cor. 11:13-15.

We see that because the tares speak in a different spirit, they present Jesus Christ with a different appearance, a different ministry, and a different nature from what truly belongs to God’s Son.  The result is another gospel, different from the gospel the apostles preached, even though they use the same Bible.  The essence of their gospel is always: How their Savior has hidden them in Himself; they are safely kept in Him; He covers them with His blood and has cleansed them in it; He vouches for them before the Father, because He has taken away their unrighteousness and given them His righteousness instead; in other words, He has taken their punishment on Himself in their place, and God the Father sees them now through the Son as perfect and pure people.  How, then, shall we understand the words of the apostle John when he says: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:6. And “Whoever abides in Him does not sin.  Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.  Little children, let no one deceive you.  He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”  1 John 3:6-7

The tares continually speak as though, each and every day, a person has just repented and received Jesus as the One who has forgiven their sin! They think of and live by the premise that if Jesus could forgive me all my sins the first time I was converted, He can also forgive my sins every day for the rest of my life; just as though it doesn’t matter at all how I live as a child of God for the rest of my life. This directly contradicts the written word.  2 Cor. 11:1-6, Heb. 6:7-8, Gal.5 19-21.

The point of preaching and using Scripture verses is simply to claim the promises and justify oneself.  The Scriptures are not used as a mirror to bring about self-acknowledgement.  As soon as such people are told about the conditions in God’s word they rise in opposition, and make it clear that these things are not to be taken literally.  No, they are pictures, meant to symbolize something and be interpreted.  In this way the tares create a gulf between the words of Scripture and their own lives. What about the promises and the glory then?  Are not those symbolic also? 

The tares use the Scriptures to describe how they are saved, in spite of the thorns and thistles.  They disregard all the unrighteousness they do or live in after their conversion; so long as a person prays to Jesus and “believes in Him,” he is saved and is a child of God.  And that’s that!  It is of no consequence if a person is a little worldly, a bit vain, has a smoke now and again, drinks a bit too much alcohol, divorces his spouse, flirts with others, and what is even worse, lies a little, swears a bit, gossips a bit, marries a divorced person, indulges in envy and covetousness, steals a little, gets angry and impatient, is arrogant, etc. No, Jesus does not turn away anyone who comes to Him.  Of course, it is not good to sin, but God is good, and Jesus has borne our punishment and, He loves us with an everlasting love just as we are.  Actually, He almost admires us!  Thanks and praise to God’s Lamb who has borne all my shame!”  Well, I imagine you have heard all this before!  Each person has a right to his own opinion about it, but it is not very reminiscent of redemption and of being set free from the power of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.  Col. 1:13-14.  Therefore, another typical sign of the tares is that they reckon that all the promises of the gospel will be fulfilled in them one day in heaven – in eternity – and not here on earth.  This is and will remain a foreign teaching when compared to the sound doctrine of the apostles.  If, full of faith and with enthusiasm, you preach the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine according to godliness, you will be sure to suffer under their reactions!  Their obsession will blossom to its full extent and you will experience the second half of this verse: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wrangling of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” 1 Tim. 6:3-5

Paul was willing to go to any length in order to expose the tares, and if possible, win a soul.  This conduct shines through everywhere in his letters, and he preached totally for free!  1 Cor. 9:13-23

I would like to close with these “grain of wheat” words of Paul: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Cor. 4:3-11           

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