Summary: We live by God's grace and His generosity. Nothing we do can earn us His favor or qualify us for His blessings. Everything we have and enjoy today are gifts from a gracious and generous God. He gives us what we need, not what we deserve.
Today society taught us that nothing is for free.
• You’ve to work for it, pay for it. If we work hard, we will be rewarded in proportion to our work. If you work less, you’ll get less.
• There’s nothing wrong with that - but we bring that concept into our relationship with God too.
• God’s grace does not operate on the basis of what you do.
This is the reason Jesus tell this parable.
• It all started with His encounter with a rich young man in 19:16ff.
• This man came to Jesus and asked, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (19:16)
• He was good. He kept the commandments. Based on what he has accomplished, he ought to be rewarded.
• Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him (19:16-22). He was not able to do it, and he left.
The disciples were greatly surprised (19:25). This man has done so much and was turned away.
• Peter, reflecting on all this, said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
• Jesus did not rebuke him straightaway, but assures him there will be indeed great blessings for him and His disciples.
• Not only that, everyone who has sacrificed for Jesus’ sake will receive “a hundred times as much” (19:29).
• In order words, Jesus is telling Peter that God’s reward is out of proportion to our service and sacrifice. God blesses us more than we deserve.
Jesus detected in Peter’s heart an attitude that was wrong.
• Was Peter serving the Lord only for what he could get out of it? Were the disciples willing to make sacrifices only because He had promised them a reward?
• Jesus went on to tell this parable, about the workers called to work in the vineyard.
LIVING BY HIS GRACE
The landowner was a very gracious and generous person.
• He was very concerned for his vineyard, as well as the welfare of the workers.
• He agreed to pay them a denarius, which was equivalent to one day’s wage.
• In the culture of that day, workers lived a day-to-day existence. They needed money each day to buy food for their families. That’s why in Deut 24:15, landowners were instructed to pay a hired man “his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it.”
The landowner was not only fair with his workers; he was increasingly more generous with each group of workers that comes throughout the day.
• Each worker, regardless of how long he had worked, received a day’s wages.
• He received not what he had earned on an hourly basis, but what he needed to sustain his family for a day.
• The landowner could have paid them only what they had earned, but he chose to pay them according to their need, not according to their work.
• He paid according to grace, not according to debt. He paid out of love, not merit.
That’s how our God treats us.
• Jesus was not teaching principles about labor rules - that those who work more should be paid more. Jesus was teaching about GRACE - to enlighten Peter and all of us today.
• God deals with us by grace, not by merit. It is all God’s amazing grace that you and I sit here saved.
• Even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags in God’s sight (Isa 64:6). We cannot afford to gain God’s favor, not at the point we’re saved; not today either.
Sometimes, we have this misconception - that having been saved by grace, we must now (at least to some degree) do something to earn God’s love in our lives.
• If we sometimes feel you deserve an answer to your prayer or a particular blessing from God because of your hard work and sacrifice, you are living by works, not by grace.
• If you assume that you can do something to make Him love you more or less, then we have misunderstood His grace again. God loves us the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
• If you believe you’ve been called to serve Him in any areas because of your worthiness or qualifications, then we have undermined His grace again.
Remember the story of the prodigal son (in Luke 15)?
• Elder son said, “Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.” (15:29)
• Father said, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” (15:31)
We actually experience God’s grace far more than we realize.