In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus told a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven with a man who sowed good wheat seed in his field but an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. However the farmer stopped the workers from rooting out the weeds “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” At harvest time then they can first collect the weeds to be burned, and then gather the wheat into the barn.
But His disciples came to him and asked Him to explain the parable. He answered,
“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matthew 13:37—43)
So Jesus explains in his parable that the field is the world, and not the “church” as many wrongly assume.
That “the church” is not in Jesus’ mind here is clear. In fact, there are only two references to “church” in the gospels and both are in Matthew’s Gospel and neither mean what we mean today by the word “church”. And apart from these two, Jesus said nothing about “church”. Rather he spoke continually about the Kingdom of God and our relationship with His Father. How faraway we are in our thinking from Jesus!
Actually, the word “church” has a pagan, not a biblical origin as it comes from the Greek mythological goddess of magic, Circe, (Greek Κίρκη Kírkē). However the Greek word ekklesia which means “assembly” or “gathering” has been mistranslated in most English bibles and consistently rendered “church”, conveying a religious organisation, something not envisaged in the New Covenant scriptures.
So this parable has nothing to do with a local assembly of Christian believers who are “called out” of the world to be different—people of the Kingdom—“shining like the sun”! There, they must deal with a person who refuses to repent from open sinning and exercise discipline, even separation from the gathering, as the apostle Paul taught.