Columbus Baptist Church

ChurchCast

Series:Matthew
Duration:58 mins 16 secs

Title: Infinite Need Met With Infinite Inheritance – Part 3

Text: Matthew 19:27 – 20:16

FCF: We often concern ourselves with what our reward will be, rather than the greatness of the rewarder

Prop: Because all who desperately need God receive the same great inheritance, we must desperately need God.

 

Scripture Intro:

[Slide 1] Turn in your bible to Matthew 19. When we were here last, we saw how that infinite need is a characteristic of those who are kingdom citizens. We saw a rich man, who was not needy, and was sent away because he did not see his need, even after Jesus tried to show it to him. We saw Jesus talk about how the wealthy cannot inherit God’s kingdom and how actually, no mere human can. Only God makes it possible. In all this we saw our desperate need, is to be desperately needy. And the object of that need, for everything, especially entrance in the Kingdom of Heaven, is God. Only God can do the impossible.

 

Today, we’ll see the disciples of Christ interact with what they just learned. And I will say this now, this sermon is long. I warned you last time it would be. There is so much here. I really wish I could make it easier on you – but I can’t. I have cut what I could. But eventually it stops making sense if I cut more. So I have done my part. You need to do yours. If you have to stand up, stand up. If you have to sit on a pencil, do what you must. But please try to stay with me.

 

Transition:

So let’s not linger. Read with me starting in verse 27 from the NET, if you have another version follow in that. If you need a bible… let someone know.

 

I.)                  All who desperately need God will receive a great inheritance, So we must desperately need God. (27-30)

a.       [Slide 2] 27 – Then Peter said to Him, “Look, we have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

                                                               i.      So after Jesus talks about God making it possible for people to enter the Kingdom, Peter wants clarification.

                                                             ii.      Peter thinks back to the rich young ruler, who was unable to leave all he had and follow Christ.

                                                            iii.      However, Peter realized that this is exactly what Jesus called him and the rest of the disciples to do. Among them some left more than others. And all left less than the rich young ruler was required to leave. But nonetheless, here they were.

                                                           iv.      The statement is emphatic. He says LOOK, WE have left everything to follow you.

                                                             v.      This clues us in on Peter’s meaning. He is probably saying, Hey… remember those treasures in heaven you were talking about for the rich guy – we have done what you told him to do.

                                                           vi.      So what’s our bank? Give it to me in raw dollars Jesus – what have we earned?

                                                          vii.      Now Jesus does not rebuke Peter for his anticipation of a reward. In fact, Jesus is about to detail for us, the reward or the inheritance of the faithful.

                                                        viii.      But, the end of this description of the reward, and the parable that follows, serves as a slight rebuke to Peter, but more on that later.

                                                           ix.      So what is the reward?

b.      [Slide 3] 28 – Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth: In the age when all things are renewed, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

                                                               i.      Of course he begins with his patented – LISTEN UP BOYS – I tell you the truth. I am about to drop some knowledge.

                                                             ii.      Renewed: The word here is only used one other time in the New Testament and it is used of a person’s individual renewing or regenerating Titus 3:5.

                                                            iii.      However, since Jesus goes on to describe this not as an individual spiritual change in a person, but a time in the future, it seems to be referring to an age when all things will be renewed, like the NET translators have put it.

                                                           iv.      And in that age, the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne. What is this referencing?

                                                             v.      Ok. So I want to preface this entire conversation with this simple statement. The rabbit hole is very deep, and very wide. I consulted several passages of scripture in the Old and New Testaments, I have looked at 3 study bibles, 8 commentaries on Matthew, 4 on Daniel, and 4 on Revelation. Those commentaries come from pre, post, and amillennial persuasions. What I am about to show you, has taken several days’ worth of personal study, searching, praying and focus. And I can tell you confidently, that there is not a single person on earth that knows with any certainty, what is to come. Even commentators that agreed on the outcome, would disagree on the why of that outcome.

                                                           vi.      Now because I love you, I have found 1 passage of scripture that I think clearly and safely underscores when Jesus is referencing here in Matthew. Will it answer every question? No. If you want every question answered, I am simply not able to do that. And I’m not even really sure who to send you to for those answers.

                                                          vii.      [Slide 4] So go with me to Revelation chapter 21. Now this will be an extended section that we read, but we will only read it and I will make some passing comments and we’ll move on. So before you complain about how long of a passage it is – remember that I cut about 1000 words out and substituted just reading this text. So… you’re welcome! We will start reading in verse 5 and go all the way through verse 5 of chapter 22.

1.       21:5 - So although we are unsure exactly which person of the Godhead is sitting on the throne, what we do know is that this is a time where all things are being made new. Which is a key point of the when from Matthew 19.

2.       The middle – All that follows is something that I feel is just… worth… reading. Behold the followers of Christ’s glorious inheritance.

3.       22:1 – Here we see the throne of God the Father and of the Lamb is in view.

4.       22:3-4 – There is no more accursed and only worship of God and the lamb on the throne for the servants of God.

5.       22:5 – God’s servants will have no more night, they will wear the name of God on their heads… and they will reign forever and ever.

                                                        viii.      So the when, of Matthew 19 is clearly the eternal state. The new heaven, earth and Jerusalem.

                                                           ix.      [Slide 5] So what about the 12 disciples ruling over the 12 tribes of Israel? What is THIS referencing?

                                                             x.      I have no idea. Now don’t mistake my uncertainty for laziness or apathy. I have my own opinion on what this means and why. But honestly to even tell you my opinion is to be more dogmatic than I’d like to be.

                                                           xi.      The good news is, I don’t think it matters. Because I don’t think Jesus’ primary point is to spell out exactly what will happen. Instead… I think Jesus is saying that…

                                                          xii.      For those who follow Christ, there is a great inheritance. An inheritance that God has hinted at since creation. An inheritance woven to what we were made to be. Mankind was made to rule in dominion over the earth. Adam was given responsibility to subdue the earth, and to work and keep the garden. Woven to these two concepts are the ideas of creating, cultivating, nurturing, facilitating, protecting, guarding and guiding.

                                                        xiii.      Mankind was made to reflect God in this way. To be His image bearer by being worthy of rule. All of which came crashing down when man sinned. The world was infested with sin, because of Adam. Sin and death now reign; perfect beings to rule have now disappeared. God alone is always sovereign but He delegated authority and all who were worthy of that authority have fallen.

                                                        xiv.      And now – Jesus reveals a mysterious truth to His disciples – that one day, that rule, that dominion, that working, that keeping, that creating and protecting role for mankind will be restored. And we will rule over Israel, over angels, over all things – with Christ who is King of Kings, King of Grace, King of Glory.

                                                         xv.      But reigning with Him is only part of this GREAT Inheritance… there is more.

c.       [Slide 6] 29 – And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

                                                               i.      All who follow Christ are at least willing to give up all they have for His name

                                                             ii.      All who follow Christ abandon possessions and relationships for His name.

                                                            iii.      And Christ’s promise is, that ALL who follow Him, will receive back 100 times as much.

                                                           iv.      Of course should probably not be interpreted literally – I don’t think God will give us 100 fathers? Or 100 mothers?

                                                             v.      But the joys of the eternal state, the inheritance of the Kingdom of God, will far surpass the sacrifices of this temporal world.

d.      [Slide 7] 30 – But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

                                                               i.      Now we might be tempted to think that this verse is saying that those who think of themselves last, will get ahead in life and those who think of themselves first will end up poor. Meaning that this is nothing more than cosmic karma. But that is, simply not what Jesus is saying.

                                                             ii.      But perhaps we might also be tempted to think that this verse is saying that those who appear to be first in this world, will end up being last in the next or last in this world first in the next. Which scripturally is a relatively sound interpretation. But… that isn’t what this means.

                                                            iii.      So what does it mean?

                                                           iv.      As I say so often… KEEP READING

                                                             v.      This verse should be chapter 20 verse 1. Because it is the first of two bookends. The second is found in verse 16 of chapter 20, which we will get to in due time.

Transition:

Verse 30 will serve as a guide for us as we enter this parable. Let’s keep it in mind as we look at the parable to help us understand the point of it.

 

II.)                All who desperately need God receive the same inheritance, So we must desperately need God. (20:1-16)

a.       [Slide 8] 1-2 – For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage, he sent them into his vineyard.

                                                               i.      Typically a landowner, or wealthy person with much to offer is an image of God the Father in a story.

                                                             ii.      Here we see a famer who had a need, probably during harvest, to employ other workers desperate for work.

                                                            iii.      Farmers in the room right now may be looking for hired hands the same way they did 2000 years ago.

b.      [Slide 9] 3-5a – When it was about nine o’clock in the morning, he went out again and saw others standing around in the marketplace without work. He said to them, “You go into the vineyard too, and I will give you whatever is right.” So they went.

                                                               i.      Depending on your translation it may not tell you what time in the morning this was. Perhaps your translation says in the 3rd hour.

                                                             ii.      A work day in 1st century Israel was from 6am to 6pm. The third hour would be at 9 am.

                                                            iii.      But why does the landowner come back to the market place in the first place? Did he underestimate how much work there was? Was it harvest and he needed to get all his grapes off in one day? Were the first workers not working hard enough? We cannot be absolutely certain, but a little later we will guess as to why the landowner kept coming looking for workers. And I believe it is the best guess we have.

                                                           iv.      Notice that the landowner does not promise them a wage, as he did the first group. He simply says, I’ll pay you what is right.

                                                             v.      They are desperate for work, so they agree, trusting the landowner to be a man of his word.

                                                           vi.      There were no social systems in place to protect slaves of a landowner, let alone hired hands. If the landowner really wanted to stiff these guys… he could. But their desperate need for work, causes them to risk being cheated.

c.       [Slide 10] 5b-7 – When he went out again about noon and three o’clock that afternoon, he did the same thing. And about five o’clock that afternoon he went out and found others standing around and said to them “Why are you standing here all day without work?”

                                                               i.      Again these divisions in the day are not arbitrary. The work day is divided into four groups of 3 hours.

                                                             ii.      So at noon or the 6th hour – he went out again and at 3 or the 9th hour he went out again.

                                                            iii.      It says he did the same thing, which means it is safe to assume that he offered the workers a fair wage commensurate to their work.

                                                           iv.      And then at 5 o’clock or the 11th hour, he goes out one final time.

                                                             v.      If you are wondering, yes this is where the saying “in the eleventh hour” comes from. Not necessarily from history but from scripture. An 11th hour worker is a worker stepping in when things are almost over to make sure the job gets done.

                                                           vi.      So when we say someone stepped in at the eleventh hour –now you know why we’d say such a thing.

                                                          vii.      Now back to our question about why the landowner would go out looking for workers in the marketplace, at these late work hours. Well the question he asked and their answer is a big clue. “Why are you standing here all day without work?”

                                                        viii.      The question is designed to see if they are lazy workers, or desperate workers.

                                                           ix.      [Slide 11] - They said to him, “Because no one hired us.” He said to them, “You go and work in the vineyard too.”

                                                             x.      They simply say that they were not hired.

                                                           xi.      What could this mean? It is possible that this means that these were undesirable workers. Elderly, handicapped, or simply down on their luck. The outcast of the labor force are the only ones left at the marketplace.

                                                          xii.      So the landowner hires them to work for an hour. And wage – is not even discussed. Reinforcing that they were in desperate need.

d.      [Slide 12] 8 – When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “call the workers and give the pay starting with the last hired until the first.”

                                                               i.      So here, we see our bookend statement coming to fruition.

                                                             ii.      Now normally the first to work would have been paid first, but the landowner flips this on end and pays those who came working last, first.

                                                            iii.      So let’s see what happens.

e.      [Slide 13] 9-10 – When those hired about five o’clock came, each received a full day’s pay. And when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each one also received the standard wage.

                                                               i.      The landowner blesses those who were last to work with an entire day’s wage. A Denarius. Equal in our economy to around $140.

                                                             ii.      Hey getting paid $140 an hour would be an ok wage to me right?

                                                            iii.      This is the final clue as to why the landowner went back to the marketplace for more workers. And the reason, I think, is because the landowner was doing what he could to alleviate the poverty stricken. He did not need the workers, and he was not in a rush due to his error or his worker’s laziness. He simply wanted to help the helpless. Much like our God.

                                                           iv.      He paid them according to what they needed, not how long they worked. And they all needed a day’s wage.

                                                             v.  &nbnbsp;   Now the parable is silent on how much the middle groups got paid. And this parable is exclusive to Matthew’s gospel, so we can’t find the answers elsewhere.

                                                           vi.      It must not be important – but what is important is – what did the group who worked all day get paid?

                                                          vii.      They must have heard how much the last group got paid, because when they came to get their wages, they assumed they would get more since they worked longer.

                                                        viii.      Instead – their pay was exactly the same. A standard wage for a day’s work.

                                                           ix.      I’d be a little… upset. They were too.

f.        [Slide 14] 11-12 – When they received it, they began to complain against the landowner, saying “These last fellows worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the hardship and burning heat of the day.”

                                                               i.      Their complaint is that the ones who worked for 1 hour received the same pay as they did, who worked for 12. 12 long hours, through the heat of the day, they worked – and for what? 1 measly day’s wage?

                                                             ii.      It’s a scandal. It’s a farce.

                                                            iii.      It is… exactly what they agreed upon. Look at verse 13.

g.       [Slide 15-16] 13-15 – And the landowner replied to one of them, “Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage? Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last man the same as I gave to you. Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?

                                                               i.      Whose money is it that is being paid to the workers?

                                                             ii.      Who has the right to determine how much the landowner must pay his workers with the landowner’s money? -- Here’s a hint, they didn’t have a minimum wage in that day ok.

                                                            iii.      It is the landowner’s prerogative to determine who gets paid what, or by what standard a person would get paid.

                                                           iv.      {HAVE AN EMPTY MUG FOR THIS AND PRETEND TO SMASH IT} If I own a coffee mug – and believe me I own several – If I were to grab a coffee mug and smash it on the ground in front of you today… would you cry out to me and say – HOW DARE YOU BREAK THAT MUG!

                                                             v.      Do you have a right to tell me what to do with my mug?

                                                           vi.      We learned last time we were in Matthew that with man, it is impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven, but with God all things are possible. We learned that God is the giver of grace, and that He alone graces people to be saved. We learned that driving people to pray and prayer or trying to convince them to make a decision undermines the idea that GOD ALONE is the provider of grace to the hearts of people so that they may see their desperate need of Him and be saved.

                                                          vii.      And we posited this question – Can God say no to someone who asks Him for salvation? And we answered, shockingly, you better believe He can. He can say no because He is God. In fact in other parts of scripture, like James 4, even when things are promised by God, if the person asking for what has been promised, is asking to spend something on their passions, God has the right to say no. In fact, I’d contend that in James 4, James is not talking about material things at all. The whole context is why do people fight, and the answer is because they are selfish and covetous. Because they are naturally wicked inside. And then he says, “you have not because you do not ask, and you do not receive because you ask to spend it on your passions.”

                                                        viii.      And then James talks about how friendship with the world is hostility toward God, and we are left to wonder what exactly it is that we do not have because either we did not ask for it, or because we asked wrongly. And then he goes on to quote Proverbs 3 and says “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” And his conclusion is – submit to God, resist the devil, draw near to God, cleanse your hands sinners, make your hearts pure, grieve, mourn, weep, despair, humble yourselves and what? GOD WILL LIFT YOU UP. What is it they are seeking? God’s grace friend.

                                                           ix.      Now I ask you… Is this not exactly what Jesus has been teaching this entire time with reference to entry into the kingdom of heaven?

                                                             x.      So what does this mean?

                                                           xi.      It means that God is not obligated to answer the request for salvation from anyone under any circumstances… save one. And who is that? What do they look like?

                                                          xii.      Those who God has opened their eyes to their infinite need. Those whom He has drawn to repentance. Those whom He has given faith to believe. Those whom He has made desperate. Those whom He has shown their spiritual bankruptcy, Whom He has caused to mourn over their sin, those who He has led to meekness toward His position as their judge, Those whom he has made hungry and thirsty for righteousness – it is THOSE kinds of people that God has made an everlasting and binding contract with, signed in the blood of HIS SON, that if they cry out to Him for salvation… HE. WILL. HEAR. THEM.

                                                        xiii.      But here is the thing… that contract has very specific terms. Just because Romans 10 states 1 line item on that contract – whoever calls on His name will be saved (setting aside the fact that this statement means much more than meets the eye) – it does not negate the rest of what scripture has revealed as to what it takes to fulfill the rest of that contract.

                                                        xiv.      A man who arrogantly seeks the kingdom of heaven, convinced he only needs a small amount of help… will walk away sorrowful.

                                                         xv.      And then we have our bookend again…

h.      [Slide 17] 16 – So the last will be first, and the first last.

                                                               i.      Again this phrase comes up.

                                                             ii.      But Jesus has flipped it.

                                                            iii.      In verse 30 the first will be last and the last first

                                                           iv.      In verse 16 the last will be first and the first last.

                                                             v.      What is the reason that he would flip this phrase around?

                                                           vi.      And in light of everything we’ve seen so far… What could this phrase mean? And once we figure that out – what does that mean for the Jews that Matthew is talking to? And what does that mean for us?

 

Transition:

[Slide 18 (blank)] Well in order to figure all this out, I think we need to go back, all the way to verse 13 of chapter 19 and pick up all that we have learned so far. Really, verses 19:13-20:16 are one unit of thought. Can you imagine if I tried to preach all that at once? We’d be here a while.

 

Conclusion:

So going back all the way to the children, Jesus says that those who are infinitely needy as an infant is needy, it is that character quality that is common among all who are citizens of the Kingdom of God.

 

Immediately after that, a rich young man insists that he only needs Jesus’ help to pinpoint exactly the one good deed he is missing to inherit the kingdom of heaven. You see he is not infinitely needy.

 

So Jesus attempts in a few different ways to show him that he is far needier than he assumes he is. All of which are not successful. Finally, Jesus demands that he stop needing his wealth but instead depend on Him alone.

 

Well then the young man walks away sorrowful, because he is desperately needy of wealth.

 

Jesus comments on this, saying that wealth breeds people who are hard to convince that they are needy. In fact even the disciples were convinced that the wealthy are blessed of God. And when Jesus suggests that it is impossible for the wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God – they are shocked. They wonder who could be saved if this was true… since the wealthy are obviously blessed of God.

 

Jesus says that it is not possible for men at all – but it is only possible for God.

 

And today we saw Peter, trying to get all this straight in his head and trying desperately to understand… he says to Jesus – but WE have given up everything to follow you. We obeyed where this rich young man did not. For him you promised treasure in heaven… what will we receive for our sacrifice?

 

And Jesus does not rebuke Peter directly. He answers Peter, with an unexpected and unimaginable mysterious truth. All of you, who have followed me will get a great inheritance, in that you will rule with me in the eternal kingdom. Not only that but all will inherit 100 times what you have lost to follow me and gain eternal life.

 

Then Jesus says – BUT –Peter… remember Peter. The first shall be last and the last first.

 

And then this story, where the workers of the landowner get paid exactly the same amount even though they labor different amount of times and different amount of difficulties.

 

Then Jesus says – so then… the last shall be first and the first last.

 

So what does that mean?

 

It is a soft rebuke to Peter.

 

Peter you are focused on what you will get for following me, and you will get GREAT THINGS, but Peter, you are asking the wrong question. You are always asking the wrong question. You are wondering what you’ll get compared to others Peter…

 

But listen to me.

 

You have been taught since the beginning of your life, that Reward should equal services rendered. And indeed, here on earth, this is just because men are evil. But this is not how the kingdom works. Reward is given by the grace of God alone. And the neediest in the Kingdom, receive greater grace. But here is the good news Peter… All in the Kingdom are needy. And God is infinitely generous to the needy.

 

[Slide 19] The phrases the first shall be last and the last first, and the last shall be first and the first last… all they really mean… is take the word first and the word last, and put an equals sign between them. That’s it.

 

Rewards are not earned by works but given by God’s grace, Payment is according to need not to work. And it isn’t so much about the difference of the reward, Peter… It is about the GREAT AMOUNT of grace that it takes everyone to be saved.

 

Remember Peter – it is impossible for mere men.

 

So stop thinking about this in the context of what you’ll get, because you will get more than you could ever ask or think. Instead, think about all this and be needy of God, who alone is the dispenser of grace. Focus on the Grace Giver, and be infinitely needy of His grace Peter.

 

[Slide 20 (blank)(end)] This is probably not something we need to worry about today right? We don’t need this message?

 

On the contrary… I think. I think this message is so timely.

 

Today there are some branches of Christianity that say things like “Have your best life now” and even would believe, as the disciples believed, that having wealth is a sign of blessing from God. And some of this teaching has even crept into our rather pagan understanding of who God is. We think that when things go badly for us, that God is always trying to show us something we are doing wrong, or when things go well for us that God is happy with our lives. But the truth of the matter is that Jesus tells His disciples that they will be beaten, hunted, maimed, and killed for following Him. Paul says that we ought to expect trouble if we are to follow Christ. Such philosophies that God blesses in this life those who follow Him, are rooted in humanistic and selfish ideologies, and were clearly refuted when Jesus said that it is impossible for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

But I’d say that this prosperity gospel is perhaps the least dangerous of the aberrations of the gospel today. Especially when compared to the other teaching, that focuses on the reward of following Christ and not the Generous Grace Giver.

 

What am I talking about?

 

Wings of Christianity who, probably pure intentioned, want desperately for people to escape hell. They want people to go to heaven. And so what they offer is the contrast between heaven and hell and then ask a person if they want to go to heaven. Only a blithering fool would choose hell, so once a person asks how to go to heaven, the person responds with “call on the name of the lord and you will be saved” But the difficult question remains. What significant way is this different than a prosperity gospel’s teaching?

 

Their teaching is, do you want wealth? Then serve the Lord. Do you want blessing? Than serve the Lord. And this particular wing, that I think even Columbus Baptist Church has been a part of in our recent history, teaches what? Do you want heaven? Then call on Jesus. Do you want to escape hell? Than pray this prayer.

 

Both of these gospels offer man what man wants. Man wants freedom, man wants wealth, man wants power, man wants to avoid catastrophe. And the gospel of each of these is what? You can have what you want.

 

Do you see any particular problem with that?

 

Jesus said, Peter… Peter… Peter… stop focusing on what you will get. Stop focusing on what you will receive. And start focusing on your infinite need. God is generous and He will give abundantly to all His sons and daughters, but all His sons and daughters are needy.

James 4:6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.”9 4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded.10 4:9 Grieve, mourn,11 and weep. Turn your laughter12 into mourning and your joy into despair. 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.”

Stop worrying about what you can get, in this life or the next. And just be humble before your God. See His holiness next to your wickedness. See His Generosity next to your need.

Indeed this is the message of Matthew 18 - 20. Our inheritance is great, but it is only given by God’s grace. And it is only the humble who receive grace.

You want grace? Beg God to humble you.

Infinite Inheritance is only given to those with Infinite Need.

 

But that is the problem, because we don’t naturally recognize our need at all. Mankind assumes they are good. Mankind assumes that they are but 1 decision away from following God.

 

So how do we become infinitely needy?

 

We are back to the Grace Giver… God draws, God breaks, God reveals.

 

Do you see now why it is impossible for men, but only possible for God? He offers a contract binding Himself to save whoever fits that contract and then He gives grace for us to meet the contract stipulations.

 

Is He lavishing grace on you this morning? Are you seeing your infinite need of Him? If your need is truly great – you won’t leave here without desperately trying to meet it.

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