Good Morning! Welcome to this mornings CTS service.
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Our virtual worship leader is Martin Sykes and the Message is from Nigel Adams from Hope Nottingham
God Bless x
Message - Nigel Adams
The parable of the weeds. Matt: Matthew 13;24-30, 36-43
How you read this parable might depend on whether you’re a glass half full or half empty sort of person.
You could say that in every situation, Jesus is always planting good seed, that is, planning Hispeople of the Kingdom. It is often true that in the darkest most difficult situations, that is when the goodness of God’s people shines through.
You could also say that whenever there are good people at work, there will always be someone or something threatening to mess it up.
There have been many times in my work at Hope Nottingham where on the one hand there appears to be really good fruit from our work: seeing people turning their lives around and choosing to follow Jesus, whilst in the background there are really difficult challenges, threatening to cause chaos. We will often say that we shouldn’t be surprised: when we’re doing God’s work, we will come under attack.
Whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, this parable describes every-day life. God is at work through His people … and there is opposition.
Jesus says don’t pull up the weeds, don’t just get rid of the opposition, because you will pull up the good plants too.
This is something that happens commonly in any community or church family. You might be able to think of your own examples. You might have a church group say, a ministry team, who are working well together, blessing people around them and one another.
And then something happens that causes upsetand then everything goes pear shaped.
You’re then faced with a couple of problems… firstly can you identify the root cause. If you’regardening is like mine, you can’t always tell the difference between weeds and flowers. The same can be true in pastoral situations. And its even more complicated because the reality is, all of us are part weed and part flower. Good and bad
Then: even if you can identify the root cause, perhaps even the individual that’s caused the difficulty, how do you deal with them without destroying them and upsetting others.
This is a challenging message. Does this mean that we do nothing when someone is stirring up trouble and getting in the way of the goodness and fruitfulness of God’s people?
Some passages in the Bible would have us recognise that none of us are perfect “God places his treasures in jars of clay.” 2 Cor. 4:7. Judge not, or you will be judged. Matt 7:1
But then Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children and they will give you peace.”
When someone causes strife, if we ignore it, the problems grow… it saps life from otherwise good fruitful communities, it can’t be ignored.
So what can we say? Do we deal with trouble-makers amongst us or not? Based on my own experience in these situations, I can only say that I need to pray for more wisdom. There are no easy answers.
But here is the good news: the good crop does keep on growing, there will be a bountiful harvest. Be encouraged by this, you might have faced, might now be facing, real difficulty, you might feel like giving up. But God will bring the goodness he has planted in your life to a fruitful harvest. This encourages me, I’ve got so many things wrong… but God hasn’t finished with me yet!
In spite of the hardships, the obstructions and the entanglements, where God plants good seed it grows x 2 Even though evil may be at work, God protects and preserves his people and brings them home.
God doesn’t call us to live free from hardship and evil, but he will protect us from it and bring us home to salvation. In John 17:15 Jesus says, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”…17, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” This tells us that Jesus’ sanctification ensures that even though we may be surrounded by evil, we will be sanctified too. God will keep his children holy, even though the world around is not.
The picture this parable paints, is that the life of God’s kingdom people is a struggle. It is, lets not gloss over that.
I’ve been reflecting on the last 10 years of my own life and ministry. Hope Nottingham came into being on 27th July 2010. 10 years. And it has been the hardest, most stressful, anxious, battle… its brought me at times so close to God, in both desperation and joy..and laughter. And its also been the most fruitful.
Like in the parable there have been times when I’ve felt like ripping it all up. But other times I can see that the harvest is coming.
This is the message I want to leave you with. nomatter how hard things may get. The harvest is coming. The Lord of the harvest is coming to bring us home.
May he come soon.