Tares or Wheat

I Jn 3:4-18

 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.

13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (NKJ)

This message was preached February 17, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com


In Matthew 13 Jesus tells an interesting parable. There was a certain farmer who sowed his field. But when the crop began to grow, the hired men noticed that along with the wheat there was also a weed growing that was very similar to the wheat. The first assumption was that the owner had mistakenly sown corrupted seed in his field. But after bringing the matter to the attention of the owner, he made them to understand that an enemy had sown the tares among the wheat. The labors then want to know if they would go out and root up the weeds from among the wheat. The master told them that that would not do. Instead they would allow the two to grow together until the harvest when they could gather the tares and burn them and gather the wheat into the barns.


Matt 13:24-30

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;

25 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

26 "But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.

27 "So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'

28 "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?'

29 "But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.

30 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'" (NKJ)


How similar that story is to the one we have in John's first epistle today. There are those he says are the children of God, who purify themselves and practice righteousness and love their brethren while on the other hand there are those who practice unrighteousness, and behave like Cain who killed his brother because his own works were evil while Abel's were righteous.

But how do these stories relate to us today? What is John trying to tell us? How can we apply these teaching to our own day and life?


  1. There are two and only two great spiritual forces in work in the world today?
    1. One is pure v-3, 7; the other evil v-8.
      1. Among the liberals there is no such thing as good or evil just a matter of preferences.
        1. The Christians of the first century faced the same challenges that we do today.
        2. Morality was not even considered.
        3. Right and wrong were up for each persons interpretation and everyone had a live and let live attitude.
      2. Why do you think that President Bush has taken such a hit among the liberals for his remarks on Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
        1. Iran and Iraq fought a ten year war with children as soldiers.
        2. They habitually install military installations next to highly populated areas.
        3. North Korea allows their people to literally starve and they steal the humanitarian food sent to them to give to the military.
        4. It was no different when President Reagan called the Soviets the evil empire, which they were and many people think they still are.
        5. I was listening to the history channel the other day about the bankers and business men in Germany toward the close of the war who began to move the wealth of Germany out of the country so that they could finance another war.
      3. Our generation rejects moral absolutes.
        1. Sex education without moral teaching is like training a child to shoot and not telling him to not shoot his parents.
        2. A recent survey among Christian youth the other day revealed that almost a majority of them do not believe that Jesus lived a sinless life.
        3. Two of the great moral heavy weights were interviewing each other the other day on TV, Bill M. and Larry K.
        4. The real tragedy about the Enron thing is that if they had gotten away with what they were doing and the company had continued to be a success, it think most people would not have saw anything wrong with what they were doing.
    2. The one righteous v-6, 7, 9; the other sinful v-10.
      1. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
        1. Even in John's day it was beginning to be accepted the Christians could live contrary to holiness.
        2. That is why this section is here.
        3. John sees the sins of the world creeping into the church.
        4. So he sets forth that not only is God righteous, but all those who know Him and are born of Him practice righteousness.
      2. Now we must never forget that just as sure as there is God is in heaven, Satan is very much alive and well.
        1. He works even on believers to entrap us and snare us into the lies he has been telling for almost 6000 years.
        2. He is very much the ruler of this world.
        3. He controls the TV, the newspapers, the radio, the businesses.
        4. He is at work in the governments of this world.
        5. Remember John tells us that all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
    3. The one perfect, the other lawless.
      1. God is perfect and by nature could not be anything else.
      2. Satan on the other hand is the opposite of God.
        1. By its very definition to be unlike God is to be lawless.
        2. Satan is lawless, against the law of God and contrary to His will.
  2. Each of these two spiritual beings have a following.
    1. One seeks to purify themselves, and the other seeks out more and more wickedness.
      1. While the world says I just can't help myself, the Christian is in process of removing the things that offend God from their lives and making purity of heart and soul the goal.
      2. The worldly person says what lust can I satisfy today, but the godly person desires to keep themselves pure and clean, in thought and action.
    2. One does not sin, and the other sins and breaks the law.
      1. Now notice that twice in this little section John tells us the those who are of God do not sin. V-6, 7, 9
        1. What he is saying is that we do not practice sin.
        2. We do not continue to live in the sin of our former lives.
        3. That we do not live as do the ungodly.
      2. He is not telling us that they have reached sinless perfection, for no one can achieve that in this life.
    3. The one loves while the other hates.
  3. Everyone lines up under one or the other.
    1. Those born of God.
    2. Those who have the devil for their father.

Where do you line up?