Summary: The 6th in a series of messages unique to Matthew, this being the third message taken from a series of 9 parables about the kingdom.
Matthew’s Unique Message #6
Your Work in The Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 20:1-16; 21:28-32; 25:1-13
CHCC: August 26, 2007
We’ve been talking a lot about the Kingdom of Heaven this summer … mainly because we’re studying the Gospel of Matthew … and Matthew quotes Jesus using that phrase a lot. We’re going to keep talking about the Kingdom of Heaven all fall because that is the theme of the Sermon on the Mount. So I got to thinking it would be a good time to talk about what The Kingdom of Heaven actually IS.
A lot of people think of The Kingdom of Heaven as being … in Heaven. Well, it’s true that the place where God’s throne is --- the place where the angels worship Him day and night … that place IS The Kingdom of Heaven. But the Kingdom of Heaven is not just the place we call Heaven.
When Jesus talks about The Kingdom of Heaven, the word heaven might be better translated, the heavens, or the atmosphere, or The Kingdom of the Air around you. Jesus said something similar to that in John 3:8: The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. You see, the Kingdom of Heaven is as close by as the air you breathe. It is not visible, but it is all around you, and you often feel its presence.
Someone asked me recently, “Do you think the Church is the Kingdom of Heaven?” Well, the answer is yes … and no: “The church IS the Kingdom of Heaven” But the Kingdom of Heaven is not JUST the church. The church (not the institutional church, but God’s true church) is a collection of all those people who are ruled by the spirit of God. And the Kingdom of Heaven is anywhere that God reigns.
The Church is The Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus rules His church. Every believer’s heart is the Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus rules that life. Jesus offers entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven to everyone who believes. It’s a free gift. … but it’s NOT a free ride. In Jesus’ Kingdom, you are given the privilege to work with God.
Today we’re looking at 3 parables that talk about the work we do within The Kingdom of Heaven. First we’ll look at a story Jesus told to show that your work in God’s Kingdom is custom made for YOU.
1. YOU work with God Matthew 20:1-16
You can look in Matthew 20:1-16 to read the parable. I’m going to quote it from the SAP version. (that’s the San Antonio Paraphrase.) “A certain Property Owner decided to subdivide his prime Hill Country property and build a Golf Resort Sub Division. He ended up needing more laborers, so early one morning he went to the Bunk House to hire Day Labor. He agreed to pay them $100 if they worked until sundown, and they were glad to take the offer since that was a more than fair wage.
He went back around 10:00 and hired some more, then hired more workers again at 1:00 and 4:00. Then the landowner went back one last time at about 6:00 and found some men still standing around. He asked them, “Why aren’t you guys working?” And they said, “Because no one hired us.” So the Property Owner invited them to come finish out the day working for him.
At the end of the day, they laborers lined up to get their pay, and the landowner started by doling out $100 to the men he hired that evening. Well, the ones who’d been there since daybreak got excited. If those guys who only worked a couple of hours got $100, they might get 4 or 5 times that amount! But as they went through the line they realized everyone got the same $100 no matter when they started work.
They went up to the landowner and complained, “Hey! What’s going on here? We worked through the heat of the day, but you gave the same pay to these goof offs who came in right before sunset!” The Property Owner told them, “I’m not being unfair to you. I agreed to give you $100 … and that’s what you got.” Then he said … (and now I’m quoting from Jesus’ words) … Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ Matthew 20:14-15
Now, don’t we all do the same thing those complainers did? Haven’t you ever looked around at someone else and thought, “Why do they get to have such an easy life while I have it so hard? How come they get the easy life while I get hard times?” We don’t see it that way, but what we’re really doing is looking up to Heaven and telling God, “That’s not fair!”