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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wheat or chaff?

"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."--Matthew 3:12.  In this passage, we see John the Baptist describing what Jesus would be all about.  He is compared to one who separates the wheat from the chaff. In other words, the good from the bad.  By the time we get into chapter 3, Jesus is now a man and is getting ready to begin His own ministry.  Matthew 3:13-17 is when Jesus comes on the scene in Matthew as a grown man and it is in Matthew 4:12 where He begins His ministry but we are not there yet. Right now, John the Baptist simply tells the Pharisees, whom he called a "brood of vipers" (Matthew 3:7), that Jesus will gather up the wheat but burn the chaff.

Wheat or chaff? There are several different terms for the two groups of people we will see at judgment in the Scriptures.  The two groups of people are those who will spend eternity with God in heaven and those who will spend eternity in hell.  Here in Matthew 3 the two groups are compared to wheat and chaff. 

Wheat or chaff? Before I get too far into this, consider the image above.  Wheat is on the top part of the image and the chaff is on the bottom part.  The chaff is what is separated from the wheat when the farmer separates the two with his winnowing fork (pictured below).  This part of John's words to the Pharisees paint a very real image of what to expect at judgment.  In Matthew 3:10 we are told that the tree that does not bear good fruit is thrown into the fire and in the passage I gave above, the chaff also will be burned with "unquenchable fire."  

Wheat or chaff?  Furthermore in Matthew 3:11, people will be baptized with either the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38-39) or with fire.  Of course the word baptize means to immerse so people would either be baptized with the Holy Spirit or with fire.  They will be either wheat or chaff.

Wheat or chaff?  So what does this mean to us? Well quite simply we need to ask ourselves, which one are we? Wheat or chaff? 

Wheat or chaff?  As Christians we have to realize that our commitment to Christ does not stop when we are baptized into Christ.  Commitment to Christ is just that, COMMITMENT! Today we talked about covenants in one of my classes here at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver.  When we are baptized into Christ, we are entering into a covenant with Christ.  In other words, we are making a promise or a commitment to follow Him for the rest of our lives.  This implies that after we become Christians, we need to make ourselves useful to Christ.  The wheat is what is useful to its consumer whereas the chaff is simply tossed away and burned. 

Wheat or chaff?  So how can we make ourselves useful to Christ so that we can be wheat as opposed to chaff? Well some suggestions are to get ACTIVELY involved in some ministry in the Lord's church or do something as simple as leading a devotional or leading songs such as one of my good friends and brethren in Christ Scott Lucas did at his congregation this last Wednesday night. KEEP UP THE GOD WORK SCOTT! :-).  Way to be the wheat brother! These are just a couple of suggestions for you and for me but there are countless other ways you can make yourself like the wheat and be useful to Christ. See 2 Peter 1:5-11 for more examples of areas you can work on to make yourself like the wheat as opposed to the chaff.  So again I leave you with the same question, which one are we? Wheat or chaff?


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