THE WORKERS †IN THE VINEYARD (Mt 20:1-16)
This morning we are going to be examining the parable of the
workers in the vineyard that was just read. But before we get into the parable
itself lets take a quick look at its background. In Mat.
Matthew 19:23 Then
Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for
a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.†
24 "And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
The Peter who is famous
for speaking out asks the question.
Matthew 19:27 Then
Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You.
Therefore what shall we have?"
Peter wanted to know what
would be their reward for leaving all they had behind and following him.
Matthew 19:28 So
Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration,
when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me
will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.† 29 "And everyone who has left
houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands,
for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.† 30 "But many who are first
will be last, and the last first.
So Jesus tells them they will have great blessing for following him but at the same time in verse 30 he warns them by letting them know their that their position was set in stone because many that are first shall be last and the last shall be first. Those who put themselves last and put God first will truly be blessed. Jesus expounds upon this thought in the parable of the workers of the vineyard.
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the
morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
Now the landowner in our parable was a house master. He has all authority and control over his house. He is responsible for all of its concerns such as the fields and vineyards and everything else involved with taking care of his household. This landowner was desiring workers for his vineyard so he goes out early in the morning seeking those who will work in his vineyard.
†In this parable the vineyard represents the church and the landowner represents God. In the parable the householder wanted people to labor for him in his vineyard. Well the same thing is true when it comes to God. From the establishment of the kingdom/church at Pentecost to the end of time the Lord needs Christians who are willing to work in his kingdom and to go out and spread the good news of salvation to the lost. This is exactly what Jesus told his disciples to do in the great commission.
Matthew 28:18 And
Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me
in heaven and on earth.† 19
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age." Amen.
Jesus disciples did not disappoint God because we can see
throughout the NT the amazing growth of the church and the spreading of the
Gospel. At the birth of the church in Acts 2 3000 souls were added to the
church by God that day. These Christian went from house to house and in the
temple daily preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts
Acts 6:7 Then the
word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in
Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Even when Saul tried to
break up these Christians it just caused them to go new places a spread Godís
Acts 8:4 †Therefore those who were scattered went
everywhere preaching the word.
The good news had been
preached so hard that those Jews who opposed this new message from God said
Acts 17:6 †These who have turned the world upside down
have come here too.
You see the first century Christianís were working hard in Godís kingdom and every knew it. Well I can promise that God need workers just as bad today as he needed them in the first century. Jesus says in,
Luke 10:2 †"The harvest truly is great, but
the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out
laborers into His harvest.
Friends there is a lot of work to be done in Godís kingdom and certainly the harvest is plentiful. Paul tells us that† Christians are to be ready of for every good work in Titu 3:1. By example Jesus said he must do the works of the father while it is still day in John 9:4 and Paul tells us,
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
became Christians we signed up to work in Godís kingdom and we are not to be
idle. Even in the OT God did not want his people to be idle.†
Amos 6:1 he said, woe to them that are at ease in Zion.
You see the kingdom is a place for laborers and it is not a retirement community.
The next thing I want to point out is that the place of the work is in the vineyard which represents Godís church/kingdom. You see, the laborers were hired into his vineyard. They were not given a choice of which vineyard to work in because the Lord has only† one vineyard or one church. Do you Remember when Jesus told Peter in
In this passage Jesus is stating that he will build his church singular
upon the this rock which in reference to Jesus deity. You see the word of God
knows nothing of denominations instead it stress the unity of the faith and
having unity of the mind. There was one church in the first century and this
means that can only be one church today. To further show this lets look at.
Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and
gave Him to be head over all things to the church,† 23 which is His body, the fullness
of Him who fills all in all.
Notice the church and the body of Christ are synonymous and when Paul was
writing to the Ephesians in Eph. 4:4 he states that there is just one body.
Since the is just one body that belongs to God surely we can understand that we
must labor in that one body or else our work in vain. Let me give you an
example if I ask you to mow my lawn and you mow neighbors instead do you think
I am going to pay you? Absolutely not because you did not mow my yard. Well the
same thing is true when it comes to Godís kingdom. Paul makes it clear how we
enter to that one body so that we can began to labor for God.
So you see until a person obeys the gospel call and is baptized into Jesus
for the remission of their sins they cannot enter into the one body and no
matter how many things they do in name of God it will not help them at all
because they are not laboring in God kingdom. I hope that† you let that sink in and realize that† baptism is essential to ones salvation. Now
let continue in our parable.
Matthew 20:2 "Now when he had agreed with the laborers
for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.† 3 "And he went out about the
third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,† 4 "and said to them, 'You
also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they
went.† 5 "Again he went out
about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.† 6 "And about the eleventh
hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have
you been standing here idle all day?'† 7
"They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also
go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.'
The landowner hires laborers to work in his vineyard at different times of the day. The first group he hires agrees to work for a denarius. A Denarius was a Roman coin which was the standard pay for a days worth of work. As the day progressed the householder went out to the market place the 3rd hour, 6th hour, 9th hour and the 11th hour but he did not specify what he would pay them, only that they would receive what was right.
One thing I want to point out is that those that were outside of the vineyard were considered being idle by the Lord. Again this stress the point anything done outside of Gods kingdom is considered as being idle. Now the different hours in this parable represent conversions at different periods in peoples lives. Some are converted at a young age while others are converted at old age. Another thing I want point out is that all the workers accepted the labor as soon as it was offered to them and† they did not delay. So his parable in no way offers support for a delayed obedience to the faith.
However is should be encouraging to
those who are converted late in life, to know that God can still use them in
their short time left on this earth. But no one should every take the risk of
waiting to the end of their life to obey Christ, because you never know when
you may die and certainly donít want to die being idle outside the
Matthew 20: 8 "So when evening had come, the
owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their
wages, beginning with the last to the first.'† 9 "And when those came who were
hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.† 10 "But when the first came,
they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a
denarius.† 11 "And when
they had received it, they complained against the landowner,† 12 "saying, 'These last men
have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have
borne the burden and the heat of the day.'†
13 "But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am
doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?† 14 'Take what is yours and
go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.† 15 'Is it not lawful for me to do
what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?'† 16 "So the last will be
first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen." †
Here we see the landowner† of the vineyard orders his steward to pay the labors starting from the last to the first. Much to everyoneís surprise he paid them all the same, a denarius. This shows the kindness and the generosity of the landowner as he gave those that he hired on at the 11th hour the† same as those at the 1st hour. The reward here represents eternal life. This of course does not suggest that some how we earn a right to heaven because our salvation is a gift from God that we could never earn or merit of by ourselves.
Now those that had hired on the first hour thought that they deserved more than those labors at the 11th hour and complained to the landowner. However, he reminds them that he is paying them exactly what they agreed to and he tells them that its up to him to decide how he uses his possession. If he wanted to pay the 11th hour worker 500 denarius for their one hour of work, it certainly would be his† right to do so. The landowner rewarded these workers according to his will in spite of their complaining of the others.
This teaches us that no one has the right to judge what Almighty God does. He will give his reward based upon his will. Then the parable ends telling us that the last shall be first and the first last. I think there will be some big surprises at the judgment day because some of those that are regarded as pillars of the church might be last and some of those that are hardly known might be first like the little old widow who gave 2 mites Mk 12:42 or Mary of Bethany who poured the fragrant oil on Jesus head in Mat 26:8.
Jesus says in the parable that many
are called but few are chosen. Today we are called by the word of God 2Thes
Matthew 7:13 " Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the
gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many
who go in by it.† 14
"Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which
leads to life, and there are few who find it.
I hope everyone you hear today decides to be one of the few and that you
will role up your sleeves and get busy in Gods kingdom today. I think another
great story that goes along with concept of how we as Christians should labor
for God is found in,
Luke 17:7 "And which of you, having a servant plowing
or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at
once and sit down to eat'?† 8
"But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and
gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will
eat and drink'?† 9 "Does
he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I
think not.† 10 "So likewise
you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are
unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' "
Jesus is letting us know that when we are working in Godís kingdom he
doesnít have to thank us for it and we certainly are not earning anything from
our labor we are simply doing our duty that God has given us to do because we
are his faithful servants.
Now inn conclusion I want to point out some things we learned from this parable on the laborers† in the vineyard.
2 Peter 3:9 †The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,
as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any
should perish but that all should come to repentance.
One of the major points of this
parable is that God, through† his
abundant love and grace will bestow the fullness of his blessing on all those
who enter into† the