June 12, 2010
Matthew 13:41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness..."
Matthew 16:23 "stumbling block" - one who sets his mind on man's interests rather than on God's interests
Stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness - these are the "tares sown by the enemy" in the parable in Matthew 13. I guess I always assumed that they were those who are "in the world," those who have not accepted Christ, who avoid the church, and so on. But look what the verse actually says: the "tares" are those who "appear" to be members of the kingdom - but actually aren't. Those who "attend church" and who call themselves "Christians" and who even often "appear" very much as those who truly do belong to the kingdom, but do not.
In the epistles the church is repeatedly warned about those who come in, as wolves in sheep's clothing, and disrupt and damage the church. They are the ones who say, "Lord, Lord," but who at the judgement will hear the words, "I never knew you," and who will be cast out. We are warned to be on the lookout for these "tares in the kingdom" and to remove ourselves from assembling with them.
I suppose the "tares" may even consider themselves to be righteous, based on their own "works" or "beliefs" or whatever, but in those cases they have been mislead by the enemy, or are following their own desires instead of following Jesus.