Summary: True obedience is based on action not words.
A Messiah's Story About Obedience
Text: Matt. 21:28-32
1. Illustration: I used to have problems getting my son to clean his room. I would insist that he, "Do it now," and he would always agree to do so, but then he wouldn’t follow through – at least, not right way. After high school, he joined the Marine Corps, which is where he is now. When he and I were on the plane together coming home for his leave after Boot Camp, he said to me, "My life makes sense now, Dad. Everything you said and did when I was growing up now makes sense. I really, really understand." "Oh yeah, Dad," he added. "I learned what ‘now’ means."
2. Immediate obedience is always the preference, but delayed obedience is better than no obedience at all.
3. In our text today, Jesus tells the story of two kinds of obedience...
a. Contrasting obedience
b. Resulting obedience
4. Read Matt. 21:28-32
Proposition: True obedience is based on action not words.
Transition: First, he talks about...
I. Contrasting Obedience (28-30).
A. What Do You Think?
1. Jesus wanted to deal with the spiritual bankruptcy of the religious leaders in Israel. So he does what he does so well, he tells a story to illustrate it.
2. He asks them, “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’"
a. This is the first of three parables that is aimed at the religious leaders. Notice the word "you" in verses 28 and 31.
b. In the first two parables, the vineyard is a reference to Israel, and the problem with the religious leaders was not only the inconsistency of their behavior, but also their failure to fulfill their God-given roles as leaders of Israel (France, 803).
c. This story is about a Father who has two sons and asks them to go work in the family vineyard.
d. Ancient Mediterranean culture demanded that sons honor and obey their parents, especially when they still lived on the father's estate (Keener, 318).
e. The Father had a right to ask his sons to work. It was good work, and as it was a family business, they had a stake in the outcome of the vineyard.
f. In those days they would live in the village, but the vineyard would be a little ways outside of town (Horton, 455).
3. So the father goes to the first son and he "answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway."
a. The first son's response was rude, thoughtless, and self-centered and is typical of all who live in open rebellion against God and His Word.
b. There is nothing here to consider commendable about his response or his attitude.
c. Some people think that God will forgive simply because they are open and upfront about their sin. Yet, a blatant sinner is no less a sinner than a secret one.
d. Both forms of sin will send you to the same hell.
e. However, after thinking about it for a while, the son repents of his sin, and decides to do what his father requested of him.
f. Changed his mind: to change one's mind about something, with the probable implication of regret (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).