Summary: PENTECOST 18(A) - God gives believers what is right in his sight which is not the worst(what sins deserve) but only the best(what we do not deserve).
GOD GIVES BELIEVERS WHAT IS RIGHT IN HIS SIGHT
Matthew 20:1-16 -- October 3,2004 -- Pentecost 18
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, `You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, `Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7" `Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
"He said to them, `You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, `Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12`These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, `and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13"But he answered one of them, `Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
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Dearest Fellow Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Today is another day that you and I are able to rejoice in the love and the grace that God has showered upon each one of us. Actually every day is. And yet maybe we don’t feel like rejoicing every day. Maybe everyday we don’t feel as if it is a day God has showered his grace and love upon us. The Lord tells us why. He tells us that our thoughts are not always his thoughts. Our plans are not always his plans. And sometimes with our small thinking and our small planning, we limit God’s great infinite kindness and mercy. Listen to ISAIAH 55:8,9: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’.” Now this is exactly what our text explains to us today. We are going to examine a divine contradiction. Right at the end of out it states: "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." God gives to believers what is right in his sight. This is our theme for today. GOD GIVES BELIEVERS WHAT IS RIGHT IN HIS SIGHT. I. God gives to you and I not the worst, which we deserve, II. God gives to you and I only the best, which we do not deserve.
I. NOT THE WORST
Our text describes the kingdom of God with a parable. Jesus said, "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner, who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard." And so it was that the men gathered in the market place, waiting for someone to come along and hire them that they may work. The landowner who goes out, and we recognize as God himself. When the landowner sends out the workers they make a contract for their wages. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyards. So the owner got together with the workers and said, "how about a denarius for your work?" They agreed, and he sends them to the vineyards to work. The denarius was generally a days wages, at times, little generous but not unusual. A soldier was paid a denarius. This amount was not much, about a penny--a little more, a little less. So they went out to work.
The owner checks the workers and realizes there is more work to be done. There is a great harvest in the vineyard. So about the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the market place, doing nothing. He told them "you also go and work in my vineyard." So there were still people who were standing idly by. The owner goes and says: "you too can have work. You too will be able to help with the harvest." And we are told he went out again about the sixth hour, the ninth hour and did the same thing. More workers were needed for the harvest. He goes out at these different hours. At nine o’clock, twelve o’clock and three o’clock. It is the third, the sixth and the ninth hour of the day, so the time is getting later. We think he’s got enough workers. But what happens? About the eleventh hour, so getting to the end of the day already, he went out and found still others standing around. And he asked them "why have you been standing around here all day long doing nothing." So these laborers were hired at about 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, the eleventh hour, twelve hours in a day, so they were only going to work an hour. No one had hired them, so he sends them out. The owner said to them: "you also go and work in my vineyard". Nothing is mentioned of a contract here. Nothing is mentioned of a payment, except with the first ones.