Grace is the central theme of this parable. In it, we meet a group of workers whose master wasn’t very happy (in Matthew 20:13 “friend” is used ironically) because they failed to identify the grace he expressed unto them. Likewise today there are Christians in the church who don’t walk in the grace of God. Needless to say, such behavior doesn’t impress God at all. In this parable, I recognized three reasons why we fail to walk in God’s grace and how to overcome them.
1. The spirit of Judgment
A. These wicked workers in their master’s vineyard decided the workers that came late didn’t deserve a full day’s wage. It was none of their business!
B. Jesus was targeting the Pharisees that judged others while pretending to be spiritual powerhouses themselves.
C. Today we are walking around judging our own brothers and sisters, just like those Pharisees who did not know the grace of God.
2. The spirit of Competition
A. It’s interesting because these laborers were not offended by what they received but what was given to others.
B. In the world there’s competition. The church is God’s house of grace in which we find rest for our souls.
C. Sadly, we have turned the local church into a far more competitive place than the world itself.
3. The spirit of Rebellion
A. The workers verbally rebelled against the master simply because his actions seemed very unfair to them.
B. Christians, when fail to live by grace, become rebellious because they tend to believe they are fighting injustice.
C. Their false sense of justice can’t do anything but divide the church, the body of Christ.
Don’t judge: Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. (James 4:11-12)
I. James has three arguments. First, Judging is speaking evil against each other. It is also speaking evil against the law (word of God) and judging the law.
II. He also says that people who judge others are not actually doers of God’s Word.
III. The master asked, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” God alone is the judge and lawgiver.
Don’t compete: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
I. Three-fold advice here. First, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit”. Christian ministry becomes politics when performed out of rivalry or conceit.
II. The laborers in the story counted as the latecomers are less significant. St. Paul says, “count others more significant than yourselves”. This is the antidote against competition not only in the church but everywhere else.
III. Thirdly, don’t be selfish. (Let each of you not look into his own interests…) Where do you think we would be today if Jesus had looked into his own interests?
Don’t rebel: For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance is like idolatry which is evil. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:23)
I. Rebellion is a serious offense. The Bible likens it to witchcraft and rejecting God’s word.
II. When we rebel we seek to manipulate God’s love and grace, (are you envious because I am generous?)
III. How do we rebel against God? By speaking against the authorities. By criticizing, the leaders God has appointed over us.
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