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House Rules

House Rules

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First Last

HOUSE RULES****VERSES ARE IN NKJV NOW****

Matthew 20:1-16 (NKJV), “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 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?’ 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.’

“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.’ 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.”

– Jesus often spoke in stories:

– The truth he would speak plainly. Like the gospel, why he came, who God is, etc…

– The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are hard to understand, so Jesus spoke them in parables.

– Jesus tells this story, right after he talked to the rich young ruler, and talked about how hard it is for a rich man to enter into heaven. This is what Pastor Matt preached on Sunday.

– He use this story to add to the previous one. He Oreos them together as two examples of people’s misconceptions about what status is important in the kingdom of God. These things (wealth, position, and seniority) are important in OUR earthly kingdoms, but not in God’s Kingdom.

– Jesus’ point last time addresses those people who think they have everything they need already (wealth, kept the aspects of the law their whole life). They believe they are “good” and deserve heaven.

– I think the Rich Young Ruler just wanted Jesus to simply confirm that he had done enough to live eternally. He wasn’t looking for any more “to do”s.

– This story expands on that by including those who think that they have earned their “wages” by their hard work.

– Both examples are dealing with the same issue, a prideful heart. Your self-discipline and hard work don’t get you eternal life.

POINT #1

Matthew 20:1-7 (NKJV), “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 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?’ 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.

– These are the details that set up the story:

– The 1st workers were hired early and agreed to their wage, working all day knowing exactly what they would receive.

– All day long, idle men were gathered up and told to work in the vineyard, only knowing that they will receive what the master determines as “right”, at the end of the day.

– When the day was almost done, more men were found idle, saying that “no one had offered them a job”, so the owner gives them work and they finished out the day working too.

– Most of them only knew that they would “get what is right” for their day of labor. They had to trust the landowner.

– A denarius was enough pay to sustain you for a day. One day’s work for one day’s provision.

– The early workers received what was promised. The Late workers had to believe by faith.

– There was no commission, or prevailing wage. No per hour rate. “One day. One pay.”

– The alternative to working was standing idle in poverty, and having nothing to show for it.

This story is a metaphor:

– The work day represents a person’s lifetime. It is short, compared to eternity.

– What your work offers you is provision, meeting your needs for this life.

– Eternity in Heaven is you pay at the end of the day. Weather you worked in the fields for one day, or 70 years. You have received what the Boss has determine is right for your labor.

– God is the landowner, and the vineyard is His church and earthly kingdom.

– This sets up the foundation of those working in the vineyard. Some worked all day, others just in time to clean up. Some made big sacrifices, others did not have the chance to. All came to work.

– So who are the workers?

– The saints, at whatever time of life they were saved? …BUT also, Jews and the Gentiles!

POINT #2

Matthew 20:8-13 (NKJV), “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.’ 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?

The pay scale doesn’t seem fair. Maybe it should have been pro-rated for the late comers?

– I think the last workers got paid first to provide a heart check on the ones who arrived early.

– Do we, as seasoned believers, feel this kind of superiority over the baby Christians?

– We know more, we’ve done more, so we deserve more blessing, right?

– Does it make you mad to see someone who has spent a lifetime sinning, just to get saved then have more favor than you? WHY?! – Because you are prideful! –

 

Pride makes you believe that you’ve earned more.

Eph. 2:4-10 (NKJV), But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

– The workers wage was not determined by their output. It was determined by the owner’s mercy. (Otherwise they all would have received a different amount.)

– Are you worth less, because they are paid more? Who determines the value of your efforts?

Pride makes you believe that you deserve more. You don’t want what you deserve!

Romans 6:23 (NKJV), For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

– “The story of the Lost Son” (Read Luke 15:11-32)

– The son deserved “pigs”, but got the “fatted calf”.

– Why do you care about what someone else is getting paid, when you are receiving what was promised to you?

– God doesn’t need you to accomplish his work. He has other servants. (even the lost son knew that)

– Working in the vineyard is a blessing to YOU! He has called you to this life.

– The church is God’s vineyard. It is planting, watering, and growing fruit, all to His glory.

– The work is still hard, but it is only a day. Hold on to your faith because it will be over soon.

– It is better to work in the vineyard than to clean up after pigs!

Your work doesn’t determine your worth. Your value comes from whom you work.

Col. 3:23-24 (NKJV), And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

– The essence of these two stories is the same. You would much rather live under the blessing and care of the Father, doing his work the whole time. He is just and fair, and merciful.

– Sometimes it’s easy to forget how good you have it, because the work is still hard.

– The early workers and the older son both forgot the blessing they lived under.

– They lived under the grace of the master the whole time!

POINT #3

Matthew 20:14-16 (KNJV), 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.”

– These are the “house rules”.

– God can do what he wants, and bless who he wants. This is His house.

– The early labors and the older son protested the fairness of the situation, but they both received what they were ultimately working for. The received their reward.

– In terms of these stories, WE are the workers in the 11th hour, late to the party.

– WE are the gentile, standing idle until called into service.

– WE are the lost sons who have squandered our Father’s inheritance, yet still are taken back into his care by grace, when we repent and turn towards home.

– WE should never discourage the young, late arriving Christian from beginning their work, or from expecting the reward at the end of the day.

– As the Father said in Luke 15:32, It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

– We should rejoice when others come to the Lord, late in life or not. We will all labor in the fields, together. They are of equal privilege to God’s redeeming grace. Just as we are.

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

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