Matthew 19:30B, 20:16
1. Hello our listening friends.
2. What a delight for us to know that you are there tuning in to listen to this program.
3. It is my prayer that God is using this series of messages to bless your life.
4. And to some of you, may discover the Lord Jesus Christ for the first time.
5. Today I want to begin by telling you a true story.
6. A story is told of a simple shepherd who was appointed a prime minister of Persia.
7. The King of Persia appointed the shepherd to that position... because of his faithfulness.
8. The other cabinet ministers were angry.
9. They who came from upper class,
10. they who had higher education,
11. those who were refined and sophisticated,
12. they were master politicians,
13. surely one of them should have been the prime minister!
14. And out of jealously they conspired to bring some sort of accusation against the king’s own choice for a prime minister.
15. They began to watch the prime minister very closely.
16. They watched his movements.
17. They watched his comings and goings.
18. they found nothing objectionable.
19. Except, that once a week he would enter a little room which he had kept locked... and would shut himself in that room for an hour each week.
20. The noblemen saw a sinister reason behind this action... so they informed the monarch of this unusual behavior.
21. They told the king that they were certain that in the room. … the prime minister was hoarding all the king’s precious possessions that he must have stolen.
22. The king doubted their story... but nonetheless he gave them permission to break in... and search the room.
23. To their utter amazement... the only thing they found in that locked room... was a small bundle containing a dilapidated pair of shoes... and an old robe.
24. When he was brought before the king... the prime minister was asked... why he had kept these two items in the locked up room.
25. His reply was very simple.
26. “I wore these things when I was a shepherd.
27. and once a week I go into the room and look at them lest I should forget what I once was...
28. and how unworthy I am of all the kindness and honor that your majesty has bestowed upon me.”
29. What a contrast is this attitude with the attitude of the full day laborer in Jesus’ Parable of the Vineyard.
30. For those of you joining these broadcasts for the first time, we are in the midst of a series on selected parables called “The Point of the Story.”
31. Let’s listen to this parable.
32. In this parable Jesus was talking to his listeners about a common, every day occurrence.
33. Every day, men went out early in the morning and waited in the labor exchange for a land owner... or a herd keeper... to come and hire them for a day.
34. A normal working day was twelve hours...
35. it began at 6 in the morning.... and ended at 6 in the evening.
36. These men made a denarius or a “Drachma”... or an equivalent in today’s money of about one Egyptian pound for a full days work.
37. With that, they fed their children with the most basic food... and that was about it.
38. Jesus said that the vineyard owner came in first thing in the morning... around 6 AM...
39. and hired some of the men and sent them into the vineyard after agreeing on the going price of one denarius.
40. Then about 9 AM he hired more men and sent them on.
41. Then about 12 noon he hired yet more men. … and sent them into the vineyard.
42. And then finally, around 5 PM... with only one hour of work left... he hired more people.
43. Vineyards were mostly planted on terraced hill sides where the land is not as fertile as it is in the valley below...
44. so carrying some good soil up a hill was known to be back-breaking work.
45. But, the big events in vineyards have always been the harvest time
46. which must be done by September... which is still very hot time of the year.
47. Usually laborers who worked the vineyard were near the bottom of socio-economic level.
48. They worked from job to job... and they got paid at the end of each day.
49. And there were no guarantees that they would have a job the next day.
50. Because they were unskilled and desperate for work... they were often vulnerable and taken advantage of by dishonest foremen.
51. I want you to notice something very important in this story.
52. The land owner does not offer a particular amount of money to the men who were hired late...
53. he only tells the first group how much he will pay them.
54. To the rest, he says... “I will do the right thing by you.”
55. So... at the end of the day... pay time comes.
56. The owner pays the ones who worked for one hour first...
57. And he gives them a Denarius.
58. Then he pays all the others exactly the same.
59. The laborers complained.
60. Now listen to what I am going to tell you.
61. Be careful when you begin to feel sorry for yourself like these laborers.
62. Someone said, “Being overcome with envy is like running into the ocean,
63. the deeper you go in... the harder it is to get out.”
64. Let me put this parable in context.
65. In the last few verses of Matthew 19, Peter was displaying the attitude of one of those 12 hour laborers.
66. Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"
67. Jesus makes them a promise regarding rewards... but then he goes in immediately into telling them about salvation...
68. Jesus is not talking about rewards here, but he is talking about salvation.
69. The problem with some Christians who have been believers for many years... is that they: get jaded in their spirits.
70. They begin to take their salvation for granted.
71. They begin to think that there is something special about them.
72. They easily develop a self-righteous pharisaic attitude.
73. Someone once said, “One hour of fretting will drain more of your vitality than a week of work.”
74. “One minute of rankling jealously and gnawing envy... will hurt you more than a drink of poison.”
75. So Jesus says to the ones who have been complaining and murmuring out of jealousy.
76. “Wasn’t it our agreement for you to work for a full day for a Denarius?”
77. “Are you questioning my grace?”
78. “Why do you question my generosity?”
79. So what is the point of this story?
80. The point of the story is this:
81. God is a sovereign God.
82. And, whether a person is saved at the age of 7... or the age of 70... both will go to Heaven.
83. Those who see themselves as deserving more of God’s grace because of their early salvation.... are blinded by jealously and envy.
84. Those early workers were jealous and envious... not because of reason... but because of selfishness.
85. And selfishness is the root of jealousy.
86. At the very core of envy... you will find selfishness and self-centeredness.
87. The accusation of the land owner of unfairness... is not grounded on love for justice...
88. but based on self-serving.
89. What they received was based on the agreement that they made... and the contract they signed.
90. Jealously and envy are very destructive things in the life of a Christian.
91. One way to test this is by listening to yourself and see whom you criticize the most.
92. Because people always criticize the one whom they secretly envy.
93. Envy is the mother of the critical spirit.
94. Ask yourself this question
95. When you see someone who is more blessed than you are, do you rejoice for them?
96. When You see someone saved later in life... do you rejoice with them?
97. When you see someone more gifted than you are... are you glad for them?
98. When you see someone succeed where you have failed... do you give thanks.
99. What Jesus is teaching us in this parable is this?
100. God the Father is the land owner.
101. The foreman is the Lord Jesus Christ.
102. The vineyard is God’s Kingdom.
103. The laborers are all the believers.
104. And the Denarii is eternal life.
105. The work day is the believer’s life of service.
106. Jesus is not asking you to go out and run your business this way!
107. No, but this has to do with salvation.
108. God’s sovereign principle for salvation is very simple.
109. Whoever comes to Him in faith through His Son shall be saved.
110. Whether their sins are big... or small.
111. Whether they have sinned for a long time... or for a short time.
112. Whether they have long dedicated service... or a death bed conversion.
113. Contrast the thief on the cross with John the apostle.
114. The thief on the cross didn’t have one hour to serve Christ,
115. Yet the apostle John lived to serve until he was in his 90’s.
116. Both received eternal life.
117. This is the point of the parable.
118. This parable tells me that as long as a person has a breath, he or she has an opportunity to turn to God through Jesus Christ and be saved
119. Have you prayed for someone and they have not believed yet?
120. Even though they may be living in their eleventh hour.
121. Take heart,
122. Keep on praying,
123. God can bring them to the vineyard even in the eleventh hour.
124. Are you a seeker or a searcher?
125. Who has begun to think that it may be too late for you to turn your life over to the sovereign King?
126. It is never too late.
127. You can do that today.
128. Invite the Lord Jesus to take you into his kingdom.
129. By inviting Him into your life,
130. And after you do that, write to us and let us know.
131. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.