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Laborers in the Vineyard - Matt. 20:13-16

Lesson # Laborers in the Vineyard - Matt. 20:13-16
Study Material - Laborers in the Vineyard - Matt. 20:13-16

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Laborers in the Vineyard
Matt. 20:13-16

13 But [de] he answered [apokrinomai] one [heis] of them [autos] , and said [epo] , Friend [hetairos] , I do [adikeo] thee [se] no [ou] wrong [adikeo] : didst [sumphoneo] not [ouchi] thou agree [sumphoneo] with me [moi] for a penny [denarion] ?
14 Take [airo] that thine [sos] is, and [kai] go thy way [hupago] : [de] I will [thelo] give [didomi] unto this [touto] last [eschatos] , even [kai] as [hos] unto thee [soi] .
15 [e] Is it not [ou] lawful [exesti] for me [moi] to do [poieo] what [hos] I will [thelo] with [en] mine own [emos] ? [ei] Is [esti] thine [sou] eye [ophthalmos] evil [poneros] , because [hoti] I [ego] am [eimi] good [agathos] ?
16 So [houto] the last [eschatos] shall be [esomai] first [protos] , and [kai] the first [protos] last [eschatos] : for [gar] many [polus] be [eisi] called [kletos] , but [de] few [oligos] chosen [eklektos] . KJV-Interlinear

13 'But he answered and said to one of them, '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, but 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 what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?' 16 'Thus the last shall be first, and the first last.' NASB

Though this parable is not intended to be a labor management relations illustration, the principles could be used to demonstrate that when an agreement is entered into, then both parties need to be happy with doing their part for which they have agreed.

The illustration is intended for the spiritual life. God sets the terms. God sets very generous terms, offering far more than that which the laborers (the believers) are entitled to. Remember that all workers (human race) are categorized as unskilled or common laborers, not worthy of much more than extremely low wages. God offers eternal life. Something that will carry them far into the future, and within the setting of heaven.

God is fair. God is more than fair.

Some people believe in Christ early in life (young people). Some believe late in life (older people). Some people believe early in history (Adam and Eve). Some late in history (Church Age). The terms of eternal life are the same for all.

Pay is not based on the ability of the individual worker. Remember that all of us are unskilled and unworthy. The pay is based on the character and generosity of the landowner (God). To be insulted, to be unhappy, to complain about ones wage once you have accepted the terms of a relationship is to be extremely self centered, selfish, and immature.

People who demonstrate selfishness are first envious or jealous of someone else. These sins are the result of their arrogance, presuming that they deserve more than they have received. Though the landowner did not have to hire any of the workers. The landowner did not have to offer so generous a wage (eternal life). The workers (humanity) are unskilled and lack anything that qualifies them for any wage whatsoever. So workers (believers in Christ) have no position to complain. They have every obligation to be grateful for that which they received, but did not deserve.

Heaven does not start and end with eternal life. There is a second consideration in view. The first and last consideration. All who believe in Christ will go to heaven. All who believe in Christ will receive a resurrection body. All who believe in Christ will live with Him in heaven forever. So where is the distinguishing between first and last? That issue has to do with ones spiritual growth. It has to do with the personal sins or lack of them in ones life, 'Or is your eye envious.'

Once saved, a person has a certain amount of time in this world as a believer in Christ, in which to grow up spiritually. God gave us all three elements of capital for which we might invest to our own benefit. Those three elements are - volition, time, and Bible doctrine. We can spend our time here on earth and learn Bible doctrine and grow up spiritually - learning, understanding, applying it to our daily lives. Thus producing assets of value (gold, silver, and precious stones) using Gods criteria. Or we can spend our time here on earth mixing in our own standards of living, with our Christian life, thus producing assets of no value (wood, hay, and stubble) thus expecting more than we really deserve.

In the former those who follow Gods will, subordinate their own wishes and place themselves last in their ego and personal desires. God places them first in His evaluation (Judgment Seat of Christ) in heaven and they receive greater blessings over and above those which all believers, lacking a spiritual life, will receive in eternity.

Those who look to themselves in life and subordinate Gods will to their own, place themselves first in their own minds, and thus God places them last in heaven, in His evaluation (Judgment Seat of Christ), and they lose out on those 'extra' blessings that they could have had for eternity.

Those who are selfish and self centered, those who make 'themselves' an issue in life because of what they 'do' in life, those who complain and whine because they do not get what they think they deserve in life (wages, attention, thanks, recognition), those folks who feel that they can establish their own standards (not authorized by God) and live by them and still be acceptable to God, those folks who justify their habits and beliefs because they 'don't cause anyone else harm,' all these folks are operating under a delusion and are throwing away tremendous blessings both in time and in eternity.

In time they are compromising their own spiritual growth and thus foregoing many blessings that they might receive from God had they advanced to spiritual maturity, and this failure is because they accept their own compromises, and do not advance in their spiritual life. In eternity these same folks will face Christ at His Judgment Seat and will be embarrassed when they do not receive the tremendous 'extra' blessings for eternity. Recall that eternity is a very, very long time, so losing out on something for, forever, is a great loss.

Is holding onto ones attitude, is holding on to ones flimsy standard, worth the loss?

Gods sovereignty initiates and accomplishes salvation. God alone establishes the terms of salvation as well as the terms of ones work (spiritual growth) in the spiritual life. God continues to call mankind into His kingdom. God redeems everyone who is willing (faith in Christ). God is compassionate to those who have no resources and acknowledge their own hopelessness. God has the divine authority and ability to keep His promises. Man does not. God always gives what He has promised. Humility and a genuine sense of unworthiness is the only right attitude in which a person may come to God. From beginning to end, this parable pictures Gods divine and boundless grace.

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End Of Lesson

Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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