Order, Words, & Voices 02.12.23

Order, Words, & Voices

02.12.23 Seeds, Matthew 13:24-43


Pre Worship Music

Opening Song Great Things Lynn

Call to Worship Response/Lord’s Prayer Cricklin

Reading Matthew 13:24-43 Rick

Songs   Tell Me the Story of Jesus Lynn

Message Seeds Rick

Music Your Grace is Enough Lynn

Community/Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Slides Note: There is a blank title slide between each Section

Music (slides)

Come let us worship our King

Come let us bow at His feet

He has done great things

See what our Savior has done

See how His love overcomes

He has done great things

He has done great things


O Hero of Heaven You conquered the grave

You free every captive and break every chain

O God You have done great things

We dance in Your freedom awake and alive

O Jesus our Savior Your name lifted high

O God You have done great things

Verse 2

You’ve been faithful through every storm

You’ll be faithful forevermore

You have done great things

And I know You will do it again

For Your promise is yes and amen

You will do great things

God You do great things


Hallelujah God above it all

Hallelujah God unshakable

Hallelujah You have done great things


You’ve done great things


You have done great things

O God You do great things

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: Jesus said, “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged”

Response: Judged by your standard of measurement

Leader: Jesus asked, “How can you remove a speck from the eye of another person if your own sight is hindered by the log in your eye?”

Response: Take the log out of your eye so you can see as God sees

Leader: “You wouldn’t give a loved one a large stone when they asked for a loaf of bread, nor would you give them a snake when they asked for a fish”

Response: Imagine how much more the perfect God would give

Leader: “Treat others the way you want to be treated”

Response: That is the sum of what God calls us to do

Leader: The narrow gate leads to life

Response: The wide gate leads to destruction

Leader: Beware of false prophets, they look and sound good but they are of evil

Response: Step back and consider, you will know them by their fruits

Leader: Build your house on the rock

Response: Build your house on God

Lord’s Prayer (Slides) ‘Join me in the prayer of Jesus’

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us. And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (Slides)   Matthew 13:24-33

 Jesus presented a parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. While his servants were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. 

When the wheat sprouted producing grain, the weeds also became evident. The servants came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Why does it have weeds?’ 

He said to them, ‘A hostile person has done this!’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ The man said, ‘No; while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 

Let both seeds grow together until the harvest then I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’

Jesus presented another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a person took and sowed in his field; a seed much smaller than all the other seeds, but when it is fully grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.”

And again, Jesus spoke another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid it in a 48 pound bag of flour until it was all leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak anything to them without a parable. This was so that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:

“I will open My mouth in parables; I will proclaim things hidden since the foundation of the world.”

Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 

Jesus said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 

So just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 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, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears, let him hear.   Matthew 13:24-33

Music (Slides)

Verse 1

Tell me the story of Jesus

Write on my heart every word

Tell me the story most precious

Sweetest that ever was heard

Tell how the angels in chorus

Sang as they welcomed His birth

Glory to God in the highest

Peace and good tidings to earth

Verse 2

Fasting alone in the desert

Tell of the days that are past

How for our sins He was tempted

Yet was triumphant at last

Tell of the years of His labour

Tell of the sorrow He bore

He was despised and afflicted

Homeless rejected and poor

Verse 3

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him

Writhing in anguish and pain

Tell of the grave where they laid Him

Tell how He liveth again

Love in that story so tender

Clearer than ever I see

Stay let me weep while you whisper

Love paid the ransom for me

Open our eyes Lord

Open our eyes Lord

We want to see Jesus

To reach out and touch Him

And say that we love Him

Open our ears Lord

And help us to listen

Open our eyes Lord

We want to see Jesus

Message – Seeds (Slides)

‘Do not judge.’ I doubt there is any other command more unhuman-like. It is a command that is constantly in a struggle with the reality of being human. Even as Jesus’ explained – ‘Do not judge so that you will not be judged’ –  it remains a command with a very unlikely hood of success for even the most holy human.

When we want others to live by our rules of behavior, or to make us comfortable, or to agree with our interpretations of God’s truth – we judge. We attempt to justify our judgment by say things like ‘I’m not a racist, but….’, or ‘I’m not homophobic, but…’ we judge. When we separate and divide due to disagreement, when we gather only on lines of agreement, we judge.

Jesus seldom names sins. We do hear him change the classification of hate and lust, we see him; after offering forgiveness, tell the adulterous woman to go and sin no more, but usually his words are positive. Words like love, be kind, practice mercy, and show compassion. But, we cannot deny that Jesus’ words of ‘Do Not Judge’ are given a central place in Jesus’ first public message.

[Slide #1 – Leave up until message to end screen share – pic of 2 different plants that look like wheat, no words]

As we approach Matthew 13 we see the ‘Do Not Judge’ command move from personal and earthly, to big picture eternal. Now, we witness the eschatological –  We are incapable of Judging’. 

In Jesus’ parable of the good and bad seeds we find that God is the God of justice, patience, and ultimate judgment – God does what we cannot do. Matthew reveals to us the foundation of our judgemental tendencies – our very real struggle with evil.

To understand this parable we must first understand the details, the context. Jesus is talking about the work of God’s Kingdom, as in the existence of God’s Kingdom – the work of God that is in process wherever God’s people inhabit and wherever the Spirit resides. It is still a place of limitless grace but it is not heaven, it is not a place of perfection, it is a place where evil still exists and THE place where God in the flesh walked, taught, revealed God, died, and was resurrected. 

Note: Jesus is not teaching about good people vs. evil people – Jesus is talking about good vs. evil, and the ultimate judgment of evil – Jesus is not setting up an Us vs. Them battlefield. When Jesus said ‘Do Not Judge’ in Matthew 7 he was speaking to each individual to not judge others based on who they are, their cultures, religious practices, and all the other factors we commonly use to judge individuals as well as entire groups of people. Now he is speaking to a deeper reality, the evil that nudges/pushes us to judge. In taking judgment to this level, Jesus is providing us with clarification of how we are to be growing and stronger disciples.

In Jesus’ parable, shortly after the weed seeds were planted, the workers were aware. These weeds were common, they were not unusual for this area. Most likely, the weeds were either darnel or cockle, noxious weeds that closely resemble wheat. Darnell, which was thought to have medicinal value, can be toxic if consumed in excess, it can be poisonous, it can kill. The appearance of the weeds would not have been a surprise to the workers – but, they noticed the abundance and disorderly scattering of these seeds and were alarmed. The owner, because the weeds were now mixed in with the wheat, called for the workers to not remove the weeds because doing so would also mean the loss of the wheat sprouts. The difference between darnel and real wheat is evident only when the plants mature and the ears appear. The ears of the real wheat are heavy and will droop, while the ears of the darnel stand up straight. (see slide)

This parable is about evil as a presence that mimics good but in maturity reveals that it is evil.

[end screen share]

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn says “The line separating good and evil passes through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … a small corner of evil.” Solzhenitsyn continues, “I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world is that all humans struggle with the evil inside. It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

(Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956)

Jesus is speaking to the question, ‘why is there evil?’ and, ‘what do we do with evil?’ In the end, Jesus’ answer is that evil is the very real and expected result of free choice and that we are unqualified to eliminate it, but, God can, and will. Our calling is to resist evil, to not allow evil to be our guide. At the same time, Jesus is reminding us that we are all vulnerable to evil, just as those who we are quick to judge.

Let’s look at the parable from a simple perspective:

[Slide #2 – Screen Share until after Slide #6]


Evil still exists in the world and we are incapable of identifying what that evil is. Jesus came to show us how to live in the midst of evil.

[Slide #3] Truth

God is the judge, jury, and executioner of evil, we are none of those things.

[Slide #4] Truth

Sin, evil actions, is the outflow of evil, Not the Evil. Evil is what we allow to guide and influence us – but we humans are not evil – we are incapable of genuinely identifying sin in others because we are unable to adequately recognize and acknowledge our own sin. Mankind can, however, become fully consumed by evil by our own choice to follow evil, this is what scripture calls a ‘hardened heart.’ This was the case in the time of Noah and in the story of Sodom.

[Slide #5] Truth

Evil perverts our vision, our perspective, of what it means to be blessed – leading us to value that which destroys us. This is why Jesus’ first message began with a clarification for the listeners, ‘Blessed are the poor….’

[Slide #6] Truth

The continuous agenda of Evil is to shape and mold our definition of what evil is. Evil seeks to make us comfortable with evil.

[End Screen Share]

Adam and Eve were in the garden, blessed with hunger – for which God provided all that they needed to address that hunger. Evil told them that their hunger would be better addressed by the fruit which was forbidden. Daily they looked at the forbidden fruit, Increasingly, they failed to experience gratitude over the fruit given by God. As they listened to Evil’s justification of how the forbidden fruit was better they eventually began to hear, and see, through Evil’s perspective, evil became righteousness. Wisdom was perverted and disobeying God became acceptable and destructive. They allowed evil to become their guide. Their acceptance of evil’s perspective became their moral compass. Their previous perspective of evil was now ‘not so evil’. Their actions of eating the forbidden fruit was the natural move from rejecting the influence of God to accepting the influence of Satan.

A majority of the early work of political campaigns is to shape the narrative, to define what is the most pressing issue their candidate can capitalize on in order to win. In a sense, they begin to try to redefine evil by making evil what THEY want named as evil. This is usually done by trying to identify something that is an unknown, something that makes people feel threatened and uncomfortable. The campaign works to turn that discomfort into hostility – defining their new definition of evil as being the height of immorality and sin. This is why, especially in more religious areas, specifically majority evangelical Christian communities in the US, politicians seek out amiable religious leaders that are easily swayed to help them in their rebranding of what is the ‘greatest evil’. Real, as well as created, evils such as income disparity, various versions of healthcare and retirement strategies, marriage laws, equal rights, immigration laws, immigrants themselves, women’s rights, religious freedom, religious persecution, religions that are not Christian, public school libraries, public school teachers, the lack of public school teachers, the redirection of public schools money, the character of politicians, the disregard of the importance of the character of politicians, and the list goes on. Right now, those who have declared their intention to run for president in 2024 are already trying to name evil – currently many campaigns have decided that transgenders humans are the evil we all face. Transgender individuals make up less than one percent of the US population and credible studies reveal that as transgenders are increasingly defined as evil, their safety and mental health is at an increasing risk – suicide rates are up, hate crimes are up – still, politicians continue to use them as target practice-trying to figure our what definition of evil will get them more votes.

Yet, our calling is to love God and love all others, but we continue to allow humanly defined Evils to constantly distract us from that calling. ‘Searching, Seeking, and Knocking’ is how we increasingly know God so we can increasingly refine our ability to identify what is of God and what is of Evil.

Now, consider the owner of the field. He, or she, does not reveal surprise or anger about the evil, nor does the owner rush to action, there is little reaction, the response is very calculated – ‘wait until the maturity of the wheat and the weeds, then we will know which plants are evil and which plants are good.’ The workers are instructed to trust the owner. Evil is not removed until proper judgment can take place. Judgment belongs to God not humans.

The owner was offering the workers peace even though every day they could not help but think about the evil growing in the field. Peace is in learning to trust God to eradicate evil. 

So what is the point of Jesus’ parable for us today? If this is an eschatological story that assures us that God will erase the existence of evil – and since eschatology is not given for us to speculate on the details, why then, did Jesus say these words? Because, it is a story told to strengthen us in a world where Good AND Evil both DO exist. We live in a world where, even though Satan has been defeated, His tool of Evil still wrecks havoc. Because our struggle with evil still exists, and will exist until God calls us home. We judge others now because that is evil’s last desperate objective

Jesus gives us these words in order that while we wait for God, while we struggle to trust God, while we strain to keep our eyes open in order to know the God of good, instead of the forces of evil – words give us clarity, strength, hope, and peace. 

We Defeat Evil when we Refuse to let Fear keep us from Recognizing the Breath of God’s Creation in Every Human Being we Encounter.

We Defeat Evil when we Let Go of our Pride and, instead, Listen to Those with Whom we Disagree.

We Defeat Evil when we Release our Resentments of Past Words and Actions Meant to Hurt and Harm Us.

We Defeat Evil when we Release Regret from Past Words and Actions Said by Us Meant to Hurt and Harm Another of God’s Beloved.

We Defeat Evil when we Choose Hope over Despair when the Pain of Grief becomes unbearable.

We Defeat Evil when we Decide to Accept God’s Perspective of Us Instead of the Insecurity of Believing we are Anything Less Than Loved by God.

We Defeat Evil when we Embrace the Discomfort of the Narrow Path of God as the Unknown and the Uncomfortable Threaten to Paralyze us.

We Defeat Evil when we Live our Life Remembering Jesus’ Sacrifice on the Cross on Our Behalf and the Radiant Light Found in the Empty Grave Welcoming us to Come and See that Jesus is Alive.


Grace grace God’s grace

Grace that will pardon 

and cleanse within

Grace grace God’s grace

Grace that is greater than all our sin

Great is Your faithfulness O God

You wrestle with the sinner’s restless heart

You lead us by still waters into mercy

And nothing can keep us apart


(So) remember Your people

Remember Your children

Remember Your promise O God

Chorus 1

Your grace is enough

Your grace is enough

Your grace is enough for me

Verse 2

Great is Your love and justice God of Jacob

You use the weak to lead the strong

You lead us in the song of Your salvation

And all Your people sing along

Chorus 2

Yeah Your grace is enough

Heaven reaches out to us

Your grace is enough for me

God I sing Your grace is enough

I’m covered in Your love

Your grace is enough for me for me


  • Next Sunday, Matthew 16:24-17:8, Tasting Life
  • Wednesdays Noon Bible Study, February 29-April 5, Lenten Season, (Starting Date Change)
  • Spring Gathering, March 26
  • San Francisco Immersion Trip, May 17-22, if interested speak w/Rick
  • Giving Statements Mailed
  • Prayer for our sick (Larry), Prayer for Ukraine, Prayer for Turkey and Syria after earthquake, prayers for our world where evil persists

Benediction (Blank Slide)

May we go with Jesus’ radical words ‘Happy are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are gentle, those who hunger and thirst, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who have been persecuted. May we go, with the challenge to be salt and light, to be a light shining before others and in so doing, may we see with God’s eyes and glorify God.

Closing Peace

Leader: May the Peace of the Lord go with you.  Response: And also with you.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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