Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall continue to see the outward appearance of the kingdom of the heavens. As the parable of the tares reveals, the constituents of the kingdom are the sons of the kingdom, who have the divine life within them. However, the tares, the sons of the Devil, have come in. Because of these false ones among the constituents, the kingdom in its outward appearance has become Christendom. Formerly it was purely the kingdom of God, but now it has become Christendom with both real believers and false ones. When many people talk about Christianity, they are actually talking about Christendom. The kingdom of the heavens is not as large as Christendom, for the kingdom is smaller than Christendom and seems to be within it. The kingdom is real, composed of the genuine constituents who are the sons of the kingdom, the sons of God. But the tares sown by Satan have caused a mixture among the so-called Christians in the outward appearance of the kingdom of the heavens, which is Christendom.
The Lord arranged the parables in Matthew 13 in a very good sequence. First we have the parable of the sower, who sows the seed to bring forth the constituents of the kingdom of the heavens. Then we have the parable of the tares sown by the enemy, the false ones among the constituents that cause the kingdom of the heavens to become Christendom. Following the parable of the tares, we have the parable of the mustard seed (13:31-32).
Verse 31 says, “The kingdom of the heavens is like a grain of mustard seed.” The fruit, both of the wheat in the first two parables and the mustard here in the third parable, is for food. This indicates that the kingdom people, the constituents of the kingdom and the church, should be like a crop to produce food that satisfies God and man. Both wheat and mustard are good for food. In fact, it is very healthy and nourishing to eat wheat bread with mustard on it. However, in both the second and third parables we see the thought of the evil one, the subtlety of Satan. The evil one came in to sow tares among the wheat. As any farmer can tell you, tares greatly frustrate the growth of the wheat because they exhaust the fertility of the soil which is meant to nourish the growing wheat. Because the soil has been exhausted, wasted, by the tares, the wheat cannot grow properly. We may apply this to our present situation. Many false Christians have frustrated the growth of the genuine Christians. Wherever there are many false believers, it is difficult for the real believers to grow in life. This is the subtlety of the enemy. As we shall see, the subtlety of the enemy with respect to the mustard seed is to cause it to grow into a huge tree that is no longer good for food.
On the one hand, what the Lord has sown is the grain of wheat. But on the other hand, it is a grain of mustard seed. Both the grain of wheat and the grain of mustard seed signify Christ as food to us in different aspects. He is both the wheat and the mustard for our nourishment.
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