Joyous People Breaking Bread Together in Fellowship

A daily devotion for August 1st

Two Churches

Jesus told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

Matthew 13:24-26

How can the church be both sin-ridden and salt and light? How can the church be both a source of disillusionment and a source of illumination at the same time? The answer, as found in the Bible, is this: What we call the church is really two churches! One is selfish, power-hungry, and sinful. The other is loving, forgiving, and godly. One is a false church masquerading as Christianity, but whose head is Satan. The other is the true church, founded by Jesus Christ, mirroring His authentic character through acts of love, self-sacrifice, courage, and truth.

For some reason, we are surprised when confronted by this counterfeit church. For some of us, a painful encounter with this false church creates so much pain and disillusionment that we actually begin to doubt the reality of God's true church! But we shouldn't be surprised or disillusioned when we bump up against counterfeit Christianity. Jesus Himself predicted that the false church would come. In the parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds), Jesus says that he plants wheat in the field of the world. The wheat represents Christians, whom he calls the sons of the kingdom. But after the wheat is planted, the Devil comes in and plants weeds. These weeds look like wheat but produce no grain. They are, in effect, false or counterfeit wheat. These weeds represent false Christians, whom Jesus calls sons of the evil one. Outwardly, they look like the genuine article. The wheat and weeds grow up together and are indistinguishable from each other.

Soon, workers notice the weeds growing among the wheat and ask if they should dig up the weeds. The Lord's answer: Absolutely not! Uprooting them would destroy the wheat along with the weeds. Instead, let both grow together until the harvest. The harvest will take place at the end of the age when Jesus sends His angels into the field to separate the weeds from the wheat. The weeds will be burned in judgment, but the wheat will be gathered into his Father's barns.

No wonder the church presents such a confused picture to the world! If we insist on viewing these two distinct churches as one and the same, it will leave us baffled. But, you may ask, isn't there any way we can separate the true church from the false? It has been tried many times before, and every attempt has failed because the separation has been attempted on the basis of external factors: doctrinal purity, moral conduct, ritualistic practices, and even affiliation with the government! Roman Catholics insist they have the true church. Baptists scorn such claims and declare that they have the true pattern. Other sects and denominations declare, A plague on both your houses — we are the true church! The battle has raged for centuries. The result of all this confusion has been that the church has been robbed of its sense of identity.

Lord, grant me peace that you know the difference between the wheat and the weeds, and that judging between the two is not up to me.

Life Application

Have I been judging others for not being a part of the "true church"?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Ch 1: The Most Powerful Force on Earth

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