Summary: The Parable of the 2 Sons - The character quality of giving AND keeping your word, and of genuine repentance to do the right thing. Much needed today! Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.

My Two Sons

Matthew 21:28-32

This parable begins with Christ’s “What think ye?” and is designed to make us think. Some perish for lack of thought, and many more for wrong thinking.

A. What the Father Commanded:

“Son, go work today in my vineyard” (v. 28). The Father’s vineyard needs workers ; who should be more interested than the


Observe the-


“Son,” (v. 28).

Plenty of hirelings may be got for wages, but love ought to constrain a son. “The love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Cor .5. 14). If we are the sons of God, surely our Father has the first claim upon our time and strength and substance. Our Father may hire strangers to serve Him (Isa. 7. 20) but sons are commanded.


“Work” (v. 28).

What a grief it must be to our God to see so much work to be done and so many of His sons idle. Work is pleasing to the Father, good for the vineyard, and profitable for the son. “The idle soul shall suffer hunger” (Prov. 19. 15). Our Father has a multitude of talkative sons, but the labourers are few.


“Today. ”

The time for serving the Lord is always NOW. Some of us younger sons say, “Wait till I get a little more experience.” Some of the older sons say, “It is not worth my while now ;” or they are thinking about retiring from the vineyard. Go, work today, this present day of salvation, for “the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9.4). “Wherefore the Holy Ghost saith, TODAY…” (Heb. 3.7).

So, that’s what the Father commanded, next…

B. What the Sons Said:

In the case of the first we have-


“I will not” (v. 29). His language reveals a spirit of selfish indifference to the Father’s desire. In plain words it is this: “I have something else of my own to look after, and have not time to work in your vineyard.”

Does the selfish Christian care for the perishing millions, or the grieving of the Father’s heart? His language also reveals his open rebellion. “I will not.” His was a life opposed to the Father’s will and out of sympathy with the Father’s purpose.

The other son answered with-


“I go” (v. 30). He speaks with marked respect, “I go, sir.” Judging from his talk he has a great reverence for his father and a great zeal for his work. His words are smoother than butter. The descendants of this oily-lipped professor have not yet ceased from among us. People today are quick to make commitments, or just give what they believe is the ‘right answer’ to get rid of you, but with no intention of following thru. Or, sometimes they have the right intention, but no character to keep their word.

And yet at the same time this son’s instant decision and prompt reply to the father’s urgent command should be copied by every son. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14. 15). Don’t hesitate to make commitments just so you’ll never break one!

A great passage on this is…

Psalm 15:1-4

1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

So, we’ve seen what the sons said, now…

C. What the Sons Did.

There is often a vast difference between a man’s profession and his actions. Talk is quite different than walk. “Whither of them twain did the father’s will? ” It is not the one who talked the best or made the loudest profession.

God’s Word is fulfilled in our doing of it, not in our talking about it.


Repentance always precedes the doing of the will of God. The bold, self-willed rebel is the first son to yield and obey.

So, don’t despair for the restoration of the disobedient backslider, or give up hope for the conversion of the defiant skeptic.

“Afterward, he repented and went…”


“He said, I go, sir, and went not.”

All who ‘go not’ at God’s command into the field of service for Him are disobedient and rebellious children, no matter how nicely they may talk about “the Lord’s work.” Talking about church and religion is not working for God any more than warming your hands at the fire is gathering grapes.

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Howard Strickland

commented on Jun 19, 2007

Well done. Thanks for this word from God! Blessings, Howard

Charles Lewis

commented on Jun 23, 2007

Brother Jerry,thanks for the great out lines on sermon central.I have found them to be very helpful.May God continue to bless you and your labors.

Joe Gratzel

commented on Sep 25, 2008

I always get an interesting and helpful perspective when I look at your sermons. Thanks for sharing them!

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