Summary: God is patient in his call to salvation and service, but his punishment and discipline will follow when either is rejected.

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Jesus’ Picture of God

Matthew 21:33-46


A. Heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

B. Why do we take pictures?

1. Some are overly zealous about taking pictures.

2. Imagine the people developing pictures, “What in the world did this person take a picture of this for?”

3. Sometimes pictures just don’t come out right, or we accidentally hit the button and end up with a picture of the floor.

4. Take pictures of people in odd situations.

5. Take pictures of our family, friends and other things that are important to us.

6. Fill up albums with pictures.

7. Take pictures with our phones and store them on CD’s, flash drives and memory cards.

C. And what about paintings?

1. Some like abstract art, the kind that doesn’t look like anything.

2. I enjoy being able to tell what something is when I see it.

3. Some like portraits and others like pictures of outdoor life.

D. In this story, Jesus paints a picture of God.

1. Tells what God has done, is doing and will do.

2. Shares some of his characteristics.

3. Gives a warning to look at.

4. Sometimes the pictures we draw of God in our mind are not accurate; they are distorted.

5. Sometimes we get our description of God from another source other than the Bible or we combine sources which distort what the Bible teaches about God.


A. Jesus’ story was familiar to his listeners.

1. Landowner who plants a vineyard, builds a wall around it, digs a pit for pressing out grape juice and builds a lookout tower.

2. Leases it out to tenant farmers and moves to another country.

3. Jesus describes an agricultural scene to people familiar with agriculture.

4. Grape vineyards were vital and important to the economy, and the hills of Palestine were covered with them.

5. The wall was either stone or a wall of briars.

6. Wall provided protection against thieves or wild animals.

7. The grapes were squeezed in the upper basin, and the juice ran down into the lower basin.

8. Juice was stored in wineskins or clay jars.

9. Tower served several purposes: lookout for enemies, shelter for the workers, storage for seed and other implements.

10. Had confidence in the tenant farmers who would pay him rent.

B. The elements explained.

1. God is the landowner, and Israel in the strictest sense is the vineyard.

2. God’s call to Abraham in the OT shows his setting apart of the nation of Israel.

3. Abram was to leave his land and go to what would become the Promised Land.

4. God would give him a son, and through this son all the nations of the world would be blessed.

5. God would later use his servant Moses to deliver his people from Egyptian slavery.

6. Even further in their history, God would deliver them from Babylonian captivity.

C. Isaiah spoke of the vineyard.

1. “My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. And he dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. And he built a tower in the middle of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it. Then he expected it to produce good grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1)

2. “Yet on your fathers did the Lord set his affections to love them, and he chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 10:15)

D. Israel is no longer the vineyard that God is working through.

1. God is now working through the church.

2. Peter, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” (I Peter 2:9)

E. How has God provided for us?

1. Christ died for the church.

2. God equips us to do his work.

3. He also promises to meet our physical needs.

4. God gives his people, the church, everything we need to do his work.

5. So have courage and take risks to do the work of the Lord.

F. I once watched a show on polar bears.

1. Hungry and not much food to eat.

2. Mother shared fish with her cubs even though she needed it.

3. Parents provide for their children.

G. We think of our school systems providing for our children.

1. They learn social skills.

2. We trust the school to give them the skills they need to succeed in life.

3. God will not lead us to do anything he doesn’t in turn provide the means for us to do it with.


A. Demonstrated in the story.

1. At harvest time, the owner sent servants to collect his share of the profits.

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