9-20-20 Sermon

Matthew 20:1-16

Gracious Father, we come to You this day seeking to understand the ways in which Your Spirit moves in our lives. LORD, in these moments, may we be moved by love in our hearts and receive wisdom in our minds. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Measurement is fundamental to almost all everyday activities whether it’s work or leisure. We measure ingredients for recipes, we measure how much money we have to spend, and we measure time. We even measure our children as they grow with little marks on the wall.

Well today, Jesus tells us a parable that messes up the way we measure our lives….and our love.

In this parable the owner of the vineyard hired workers four separate times. The first time it was about 9 a.m. and the last time it was around 5 p.m. He paid all the workers the same amount—whether they worked all day or worked only one hour.

Those first hired argued, “Is it fair for you to pay these men that only worked an hour the same thing you are paying us?” The vineyard owner answered, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree to work for the wages I offered you? Don’t I have the right to do as I please with what is mine?"

This is the way God deals with us. God’s reward system is not like ours. God’s system of reward is not based on personal accomplishments or hard work, but based on love. God, in His mercy, promised us a reward and that reward is eternal life. It is not something we earn but it is a free gift by faith in CHRIST Jesus. He set up the system, so that everyone that believes in His only begotten Son will not perish but have everlasting life.

The main reason this reward system seems so unfair is that we have no control over it. CHRIST did it all for us.

He paid the price that we could never pay. He gave up His very life on the cross in order for us to receive all of God’s promised rewards. The greatest being eternal life with God our Father. But God doesn’t stop there. He comes to us. He set up the system so it’s not dependent on us. Just as in this parable the LORD invites us into His kingdom.

Some of us were recruited early. We were baptized as infants and became one of God’s children. For others it took God coming to us later in life. And for others it might be the eleventh hour before coming into the kingdom.

God made us a promise and God never gives up on us. He has called us by His grace to be His own. Whether we are "the first or the last" the result is the same: eternal life. So is this fair?

By human standards, no it’s not. But God’s ways are not our ways. The message of faith is that CHRIST loved us so much that he suffered and died on Calvary’s cross for our sins. God showed us grace in the form of His only Son, who has redeemed us with His own precious blood.

"For it is by grace that you are saved through faith." In the dictionary there are many definitions of grace, charity, pardon, forgiveness. But the one definition that sums up what grace really means is, "undeserved love." Instead of God turning His back on us, He calls us to be His own. He invites us to work in His vineyard… to be a part of His kingdom.

It is like the parent’s with their first child. Once the child is born you’d do anything for that baby. You’re willing to make all kinds of sacrifices to make sure he or she is happy and safe. Has the child done anything to warrant such undeserved love? Nothing at all.

That’s the love that God has for us. He sacrificed His Only Son for us. There is no greater love.

Finally, this parable not only reminds us that God calls us to be His own, and God’s reward system is not like ours, but it also shows us God’s grace is for all.

In our human understanding it’s not fair. We should be thankful God did not give us what we deserve. God sent Jesus to us. God paid the price for sin. God restored each one of us to His kingdom. God shows us "undeserved love" every moment of our lives. "For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus CHRIST."

God does whatever He pleases with that which is His… and He decided to save us.

We should count it as a great privilege to be chosen by to work in His kingdom. Amen

 
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