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The Two Sons

Parables of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Matthew 21:28-32
Matthew 21:28–32 NASB95
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.
Central idea of the text or main idea of the text:
What we do is more important than what we say we will do.
Homiletic idea: Our actions reveal what is in our heart.
Introduction:
Years ago I had the pleasure of working with Dave, a gentleman who ran the maintenance department at the school district. He did a great job of building a team and I think it was because of one particular trait he had. If Dave told you he was going to do something, he did it. You didn’t have to worry about it. You didn’t have to check up on him. He was going to do it. He made my life much easier.
On the other hand, I have worked with people who will tell you they are going to do something and, somehow, they never get around to it. This is extremely frustrating. I would rather you just tell me, “No.”
The setting for Our story today finds Jesus entering the temple to teach when the chief priests and elders come to question his authority. They were the keepers of the temple, the religious leaders. In their eyes they had every right to question Jesus. However, Jesus puts them on the spot by asking them a question they cannot answer. He asked them, “What was the source of John’s baptism, heaven or men?” If they answered, “from heaven,” they feared Jesus would ask them why they didn’t believe him. If they answered, “from men,” they were afraid of what the people would do because the people believed John was a prophet.
Jesus uses this parable to reveal the hearts of the religious leaders.

Examine the Evidence

1. We are invited to examine the evidence.
a. Jesus doesn’t beg and plead with them to understand.
i. “But what do you think?”
Matthew 21:28 NASB95
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’
The evidence is presented and people must make a decision.
Any time we are presented with God’s Word we must make a decision.

Do I believe it?

Am I willing to follow it?

Will I allow it to change me?

NEED TRANSITION

Some will say, “No” and then do, “Yes.”

a. Defying the father, the first son adamantly refuses to work in his father’s vineyard.
i. Never mind
,
Exodus 20:12 NASB95
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
,
Deuteronomy 5:16 NASB95
‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
.
Deuteronomy 27:16 NASB95
‘Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
ii. The father was not asking his son to do anything out of the ordinary.
By refusing his father, he would be

Refusing to take care of his inheritance.

This was the family business. He would only hurt himself in the long run. But,
b. The son said, “No,” but then regretted it (lit. changed his mind). V29
In the end he did what his father desired of him.

Some will say, “Yes” and then do, “No.”

a. Illustration – Stephanie telling me she would clean her room and then not doing it. I was disappointed and angry that she would tell me, “yes” and then not follow through.
b. This is the second son.
He told his father the words he wanted to hear, “I will.”
c. But, he did not go.
We will sometimes do the same thing.

Intentionally, just to make someone go away.

With good intentions, but we get busy.

With bad intentions, never meaning to do it all.

e. – Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

It is more important to do good than to sound good.

Matthew 21:31 NASB95
Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.
a. Jesus’ listeners agreed with this.
a. Jesus’ listeners agreed with this. The first son was the obedient one. V31
The first son was the obedient one.
b. The religious leaders saw themselves as the ones working in the vineyard, but Jesus did not see it that way.
i. The tax collectors and the prostitutes had a better chance.
1. What an insult. Those on the lowest rung of society’s ladder were higher than the Pharisees and the other religious leaders.
ii. John came and you did not believe him, but the outcasts did.
For the outcasts who were coming to Jesus, everything about their lives said “NO”, until they encountered Jesus and then like the first son, their minds were changed and they became workers in the Father’s vineyard.
iii. The religious leaders didn’t even change their mind later, as the first son did.
Conclusion:
· The religious leaders would have been shocked at Jesus’ words.
o They thought they were working in the vineyard.
o They had said, “yes” to the religious life. (words)
o But they were not doing kingdom work. Even worse, they had rejected it.
o They didn’t believe John and they rejected Jesus.
· In doing this they rejected their offered inheritance from the Father.
Remember, God does not deal in forced labor when it comes His Kingdom. He offers, but He does not force. You cannot force someone into a loving relationship. It just doesn’t work that way.
· I invite you to examine the evidence.
o The evidence of Jesus Christ found in His word.
o This is a call to each one of us. Us. Examine our words and our deeds.
§ Do they match?
· This isn’t about a works based faith. It is about repentance. Only one son repented and turned to his father.
If our works don’t match our words, we still have time to change our minds.
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