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Good Morning Early Bird

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Matthew 20:1-16 outline ideas

TITLE: Good Morning, Early Bird!

THEME: God’s grace changes everything. God’s grace is surprisingly generous.

HOOK:

INTRO:

  1. Good morning! I’m glad to be here with you today.
  2. 26 of us spent two weeks enjoying the Holy Land. We visited Egypt (1 slide), Israel (1 slide) and Jordan (1 slide). But Dorothy’s right – there’s no place like home.
  3. Last Tuesday night our group landed at LAX. We got home Wednesday morning and have been experiencing something called “jet lag.” Have you ever had it? It’s a condition somewhat like what happened to our luggage. It turned out that three of us didn’t get our luggage when we got off the plane. Somehow our bags took a different route. So we filled out a claim and waited for our bags to show up. 24 hours later they were delivered to our door.
  4. Jet lag is like that. Your body arrives home, but your brain takes a different route. It takes time to get the body clock synchronized.

TRANSITION: We’re in a “Good Morning” series. Today, we say “good morning early birds.”

The early bird gets the worm. You get what is coming to you. What’s fair is fair. Equal pay for equal work.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

READ: Please stand and join me for the reading of God’s Word.

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?

14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.

15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

We can summarize this text with the saying I heard years ago: I was Behind Before but now I’m First at Last

Jesus is answering a question of Peter that arises in Matthew 19.

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man inquired.

Jesus replied, “ ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’a and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’b”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?

28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, 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. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or motherc or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Peter had a question we all ask: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

This parable is about how God’s methods seem upside down to us. He shows grace to the unworthy.


OVERVIEW:

1. Situation: 1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

harvest time – August-September. Vineyard. Day laborers. Contract – fair wage (denarius = pay for soldiers, workers)

2. For some reason, task isn’t getting done.

9 AM 3 “About the third hour 9 AM he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’

NOON 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour NOON

3 PM and the ninth hour 3 PM and did the same thing.

5 PM 6 About the eleventh hour 5 PM he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

3. Payroll time. Workers paid same day. “Daily bread” some lived day to day.

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

4. Reversal of order. Last hired get paid first. Raises tension of story.

Expectations: last hired would get less. Fair.

9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.

5. Resentment

10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

Understandable reaction: What!? Wait until my union rep hears about this.

Compare

Covet

Complain

Criticize

6. Answer

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?

14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.

15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”



LOOK:

What do we learn about God?


Early workers: None of God’s people will be treated unfairly

Last workers: God is generous

Master: All true disciples are equal in His eyes.


1. Grace gives.

1. God treats His workers fairly. Early workers: None of God’s people will be treated unfairly

All of God’s true people are grape pickers.

Coming to Christ involves being involved in what matters to him. The vineyard is the place of service.

So, how are your hands getting stained with God’s work?

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’


2. Grace surprises.

Last workers: God is generous

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.

Everyone that responded to the invitation to work trusted the owner to compensate them.

The first hired expected to receive a fair day’s pay.

Those hired later were only told I will pay you whatever is right.

Those hired last were not given any specifics.


What did the last hires expect? Probably to receive the minimum. Ponion = 1/12 denar.

Their needs were the same as the rest, and they were hired late through no fault of their own.


Jesus turns our values on end. We expect to be paid commensurate with our effort. American way.

No one lost anything or was shortchanged.

No one was treated unfairly.

No one was underpaid.

Everyone was equal. No such thing as a 12th part of the love of God.

God chooses to give more generously to some.

This parable is about how God’s methods seem upside down to us. He shows grace to the unworthy. I’m OK with that as long as I get more grace than you. After all, I deserve better. I’m less unworthy than you.


14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.

15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Master: All true disciples are equal in His eyes.


Only way last = first is if all tie.


This lesson is repeated throughout Jesus ministry.


#. Jesus offers the kingdom to unworthy ‘tax collectors and sinners’ (9:10–13; 11:19), who respond positively to his message of grace. Matt 9:11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

  1. Jesus calls us to become like a child. Matthew 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,

Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Luke 9:48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

  1. The parable of the unforgiving servant concerns one who had been forgiven an unimaginably huge debt (18:23–35).
  2. ‘Both good and bad’ are invited to the wedding feast, according to the parable in 22:1–10. Matt 22:10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
  3. Prodigal & elder brother Luke 15: 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.a’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

  1. Penitent thief – last minute repentance.

Luke 23: 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.c”

43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”


#. Peter – what about him?

John 21: 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

  1. Kingdom is not a reward for a faithful and just life. No ranking. Gentiles, Pharisees? Young? Old? Pastors, missionaries. There is not “Greatest Generation” in the Kingdom of God
  2. Why? Because of the cross. Jesus paid it all, All to him I owe Sin had left a crimson stain,
    He washed it white as snow.
  3. I serve him because I love him.


TOOK:

1. Grace gives. In a world of failure: You can come. God’s grace is great. He has room for you.

2. Grace surprises. Fresh start. Last first, first last – hope for all of us. In a world of comparisons: Will I accept those God does? No “Greatest Generation.”

God is so good, He’s so good to me.

I was behind before but now I’m first at last.

No “greatest generation” in the kingdom of God but this one.

No - What’s in it for me?

Brian Bill

1. Grace reminds us that God’s favor is a gift. The problem is the scandal of a gracious and loving farmer. Verse 15 asks the question, “Are you envious because I am generous?”
If we want to be rewarded for our merit, if we want to be compensated for our work, then Romans 6:23 spells out how we will be paid: “For the wages of sin is death…” But, if we want to receive what God wants to freely give us, then the last part of this verse offers us something far better then just compensation: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.
Like a gift, the only thing we can do with grace…is to receive it.

2. Grace keeps us from looking down on ourselves. No one is worthier than another to receive salvation because we’re all unworthy. Not worthless, but unworthy.
3. Grace makes us equal to everyone else. God declares that in the economy of grace, we are all equal.
4. Grace offers us a fresh start.


Eph 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


We come by grace.

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.
What’s in it for you? Everything. Like a gift, the only thing we can do with grace…is to receive it.


1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.


Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


! GRACE GREATER THAN OUR SIN

Julia H. Johnston

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Refrain

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Refrain

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?


! FOLLOW ME

Ira Stanfill


I traveled down a lonely road,
And no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back,
Had bowed me to despair,
I oft complain to Jesus,
How folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him say so tenderly,
"My feet were also weary,
Upon the Calvary road;
The cross became so heavy,
I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.


"I work so hard for Jesus,"
I often boast and say,
"I've sacrificed a lot of things,
To walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune;
I'm worth a lot to the Thee,"
And then I hear Him gently say to me,
"I left the throne of glory,
And counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger,
Upon on a cruel cross,
But now we'll make the journey,
With your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.


Oh, Jesus if I die upon,
A foreign field some day,
'Twould be no more than love demands,
No less could I repay,
"No greater love hath mortal man,
Than for a friend to die,"
These are the words He gently spoke to me,
If just a cup of water,
I place within your hand,
Then just a cup of water,
Is all that I demand,
But if by death to living,
They can thy glory see,
I'll take my cross and follow close to thee.


a Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20

b Lev. 19:18

c Some manuscripts mother or wife

a Some early manuscripts son. Make me like one of your hired men.

c Some manuscripts come with your kingly power

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