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Parables (5)

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Question of Authority

Introduction: have you ever had someone question your authority?
a. When the chief priests and elders question Jesus’ authority in 21:23-27 this sets the context for the next three parables.
Transition: Revealing and exposing their unbelief.

Matthew 21:28-32

In the first parable we find two contrasting sons. One is an example of unbelief, while the other exemplifies genuine faith. Read Matthew 21:28- 32
Observe what Jesus is saying through this parable.
Explain the difference between Willing but rejecting and the Unwilling but repenting.
Luke 15:7
Luke 15:7 ESV
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Transition: In the next parable Jesus goes on to reveal the contrast between unbelief and true faith by telling story about a landowner planting a vineyard. Read Matthew 21:33-41

Matthew 21:33-41

Observe what Jesus is saying through this parable
Explain the difference between Hostile rejection and humble reproduction
What is the fruit of the Kingdom? Jesus has been answering that question through all these parables. Faith, Humility, costly abandonment, global extension, forgiveness, grace, genuine faith
Transition: I think one observation that should be noted about unbelief as revealed in these three parables is the hardening of a heart. Notice how there is a subtle movement form lip service , to hostility, and eventually a total apathy toward the invitation of the Kingdom.

Matthew 21:42-46

Big Pint: Essentially all unbelief is rooted in a rejection of the The Authority of Jesus
These chief priests and elders were the Temple authorities of their day. When Jesus came in cleansing the temple and proclaiming that Matthew 21 :13
Matthew 21:13 ESV
He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
2. They were willing to say that they were interested in the Kingdom, so long as it didn't inconvenience their own authority. That had a profession from their mouth but the did not possess the kingdom in their hearts.
3. They were willing to dress up their outside garments with religious behaviors, but were unwilling to acknowledge their need for an authoritative heart change.
4. They realized their own guilt but rejected the only One with the authority to pay for that guilt. They were offended at what Jesus said concerning themselves, but they totally missed what Jesus was saying about Himself. Jesus answered their original question about His authority, but they missed it.
Transition: In effect the group that jesus is addressing in these parables, and most certainly those to whom He is addressing today are examples of what the apostle Paul explained in II Corinthians 7:10

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Application:
These parables prove to be a great and gracious warning for us today. Perhaps we are being taught for the first time who Jesus really is, and who we are in respect to Him. Perhaps we have been believing some falsehood concerning Jesus and these Scriptures are correcting our understanding. Possibly we are walking in righteousness of Christ today and these truths training and equipping you for further fruitfulness.
Many people today are aware of the authority of Jesus. Aware of his death burial and resurrection. Many would even profess that as truth. However, the kingdom of heaven is only made up of those who genuinely turn from their sin and trust in Christ alone as the authoritative payment for righteousness. In other words, In order for us as sinners to stand in right relationship to a Holy God, there had to be an adequate payment for our sin. Jesus did that with authority as the Son of God. He is as John the Baptist declared the lab of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Said another way, the clearer my view of Jesus becomes so too the clearer view of myself. And when I am aware of myself in view of Christ, then I am prepared to acknowledge my great need for Him.
These religious authorities were missing the gracious invitation of Jesus to repent because they were hardened by unbelief.
We are being graciously invited today to have our unbelief exposed and not only feel the weight of our sin, but also see Christ who is the only authoritative One who has lifted that weight and provided the way for us to repent and humbly produce the fruit of the kingdom.

How am I responding to the authority of Jesus?

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