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Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
January 14, 2022 12:01 am

Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 14, 2022 12:01 am

Is it unfair for God to be merciful to some people but not to others? Today, R.C. Sproul interprets Jesus' parable of the workers in the vineyard.

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Jesus told a parable about a vineyard owner who gives workers the same. For different amounts of work. The workers were protesting against the owner. He said to them, they don't I have the right to do with my stuff.

Whatever I want to if I want to be generous to these people over here and give them more than I offered you a me for less work. Why should you complain, but the one who's doing what I think most if not all of us can relate. We all have built-in fairness detectors were treated unfairly. We tend to put her foot down and demand what we think we deserve. But in this case our furnace detector is inaccurate. Doctors explore and continue now with our study of the parables of Jesus and before we look at the one I've selected for this session. I want to remind everybody that we went over some of the basic principles parables early on, saying that in most cases a parable only has one particular point or meaning, and we have to be careful not to read all kinds of things into it not be said that, I noticed that in the seminaries where we work with interpreting the Scriptures that sometimes there will be people who will try to argue that a text of the Bible has more than one meaning, it might have a multitude of meaning and Orthodox Christianity as she responded that of phenomena. There's only one meaning of the text. It's what the author intended to convey, there may be thousand applications of that single text, but it only has one meaning, and I mentioned that because the parable that were going to be looking at is one that I think has a single meaning but has many, many possible applications and the one I'm going to use tonight is to see its application to the very controversial doctrine of election.

So with that in mind, let's look at what is called in my Bible, the parable of the workers in the vineyard now again when you see these headings in your Bible that are part of the text. That's what the translators have added to help you find different places in the Bible.

And so they've chosen to call this the parables of the workers in the vineyard. I don't think that the parable is about the workers in the vineyard. I think it's about the owner of the vineyard and so I would call it the parable of the owner of the vineyard so having made that quibble with the translator will continue were in chapter 20 of Matthew beginning in verse one, for the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for the various a day, he sent them into his vineyard, and he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace and said to them, you also go to the vineyard and whatever is right, I will give you.

So they went again.

He went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise in about the 11th hour he went out and found others standing idle that said of them, why have you been standing here idle all day.

They said because no one is hard us, he said to them, you also going to the vineyard and whatever is right, you will receive.

So when evening had become the owner of the vineyard said to restored call the laborers, and give them their wages, beginning with the last of the first and when those came in who were hired about the 11th hour, they received the various but when the first came, they suppose that they would receive more, but they likewise received each of the areas and when they received it, they complained against the landowner saying these last-minute worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day the answer. One of them and said friend I'm doing you no wrong.

Did you not agree with me for the nares take what is yours and go your way, I wish to give to this last man, the same as to you, is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things were is your eye evil, because I am good. So the laughably first and the first lasts for many are called but few are chosen. Here we have a parable that deals with such weighty matters. In biblical terms as justice and grace, as well as questions of merit that we encounter fascinated with the way in which language is distorted and twisted in our culture, where the original meaning of terms, not only changes and is morphed into something else.

With so often begins to mean its exact opposite.

For example, when I want the school of the teacher told to to scan the textbook, what would you do, what did you think that he meant well or scan meant to look very carefully at every detail but the word sounds like the word skim and we like the idea of skimming the textbook rather than scanning the textbook so we took the word scan to mean read over lightly gloss over it loosely and Monica you better hope that the airport control tower scanners are not just casually skimming the radar system when you're on your next airplane flight. But this out language changes its fluid. I think of the word justice. I think the word social justice. For example, that label social justice in the hands of Marxists has now been twisted and it really describes social injustice. An example you go to a college class and their 10 students in the class and you have a final exam in five of the students work all week diligently preparing for that final exam.

The other five students party all week and don't even glance of the page of their assignments for the final exam and so the 10 students come and take the exam and then the final grades are posted in the grades are posted where every student gets a C that's what's called equality where you take from the A's and you give it to the F's and you distribute the wealth of the grades in the classroom. How long do you think that teacher would last in higher education and is not a case here where the students who made F's and were given CDs receive grace that was gracious, but the problem is the students who may days got neither grace nor justice. They suffered an injustice at the hand of this arbitrary professor who took from their merit and gave it to those who had none and left no good deed on punished them and I think that simple illustration clearly shows that such a system in a classroom is not just but unjust. You can have a thousand applications that delete culture in which you live, but pay attention to how the words social justice are used in our culture today to justify all kinds of rascally under takings like this, but any case in the parable, he tells a story of a guy who owns a vineyard and as vineyards are owned today in America. If you ever been to California to Napa Valley, Sonoma and UC the hundreds and hundreds of vineyards that are out there in the story is told. It you can make a small fortune by owning and operating your own vineyard.

But what you need to make a small fortune in owning a vineyard is you have to start with a large fortune that say I waited and I was involved with, but because it's a very risky enterprise and if it's risky today with all the sophistication that we have with soil samples and all the rest imagined in the ancient world the planning of the seedlings harvesting of grapes. The harvesting of the grapes was the single most important and most critical element of their product of the vineyard, and once the grapes reach that optimal point of ripening. It was imperative that they got those grapes harvested as quickly as possible to wait one day in the sun would diminish the value of the wine that they were making from the grapes and that's why we have this owner of the vineyard who has come to the point now where the grapes have to be picked from the vine as he goes into the town because there people who were day laborers. They're not on the regular staff of the vineyard, but they have a need for one day. We see this in California, people who were working to pick the fruit in the various places are been out there receive the data masses of people standing coming out of trucks hoping that they will be selected to go work that day. For whatever wage they could make in that single opportunity. This is the way it was in Palestine. Those who were unemployed would come into the marketplace. They would come in early, so they had have the best possible opportunity to be picked for task of so the owner comes in before the sun even comes up and he hires a group of men faces if you'll come and pick my grapes I'll pay you a full denarius, which is a full days wage for your labor.

Would you like to do that yes that's why we're here, they couldn't believe their good fortune that they were able to be selected to work in the vineyard for that money and so they go to work and the man sees after a short period of time that he's going to need more laborers in his vineyard in order to accomplish the tasks I goes back in the third hour they hire some more and then the ninth hour at the 11th hour, and as late as he comes there still men standing there been waiting all day to get just $0.50 if they could and they had been able to secure any employment from anybody that was coming around looking for day workers, and so are vineyard owner hires these men of the enemy doesn't even specify price with them. This is all play a good wage evidently had a good reputation and so they said fine will do it so they come and they go to work and the end of the day.

Although grapes have been harvested and everything works out fine.

But now the owner tell Sue Stewart go to the different groups that we selected during the day and pay the last group 1st and then incrementally down to the first group that we hired.

I want to give all them a denarius for their days labor so the store does that and the guys that were working there all day who held to a Marxist theory of value Marxist theory of labor know the they were outrageously made paying those guys that area said he worked 1/2 an hour we been here in the heat of the sun all day long sweating from Barbara taking your grapes and not pay us a lousy denarius, and given that same amount of these other guys they were to go on strike and civil women dimly have a deal. Then we make an agreement when I hard to back there this morning the marketplace I offered you this job. I told her page 1 the merits we entered into an industrial contract if you will. I so if you give me the labor I pay you the money when the nares and everyone of you jumped at the opportunity to get that denarius pay the rent. You would think that these guys were NFL football players or baseball players who one of their contracts renewed every year when they got there first contract where the owners who had all the risk financially said all hire you for a five year contract to pay X number of dollars, hoping that you'll stay healthy.

Hoping that you'll be productive in I'll guarantee so much of this contract and after two years the player comes back and wants to renegotiate his contract. I'm better than that. I deserve more than this is in this human nature, and you see it in any business, any operation you interview 50 people for an opening and you call the person you select and you say you've been selected for the job there out celebrating on the down they love it. They got the jump, and they agreed that the wage was a good wage and you promise that if they did their work, you would pay them six months later there demanding a race and they're saying that you're exploiting them and then you're not paying them enough. This is human nature. How does that apply to the doctrine of election.

Well first of all when the workers were protesting against the owner. He said to them, they said my own. I have the right to do with my stuff.

Whatever I want to if I want to be generous to these people over here and give them more than I offered you a me for less work. Why should you complain. I was just with you I cave you what I promised I would give you and I just gave these people a generous bonus and if I give it to them what principle obligates me to give to you and often asked people if they believe in the sovereignty of God in our never heard a Christian say no to that question every profession. Christian says of course I believe the sovereign God and if we show that that's already has different applications. If I say, for example, that God sovereignly orders the creation that he made that he rules over the stars and and all of that you agree with that and so you believe it.

That's it will okay how about his law does God have the right sovereignly to impose moral obligations upon as God yes of course I believe God has a sovereign right and everybody's on the same page until you get to the question of God's distribution of his grace. Now you saying that God gives grace to some people that he doesn't give to others.

Yes, the God call Abraham out of paganism and the cub is did not do the same thing for Hammurabi, the Paul receive a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus that came out of the blue. While he was on the way to destroy the Christian church had done nothing to deserve any salvation whatsoever and here Jesus and his glory appears to him on the road of these wonderfully converted Jesus do that for Pontius Pilate or for Caiaphas? When Paul spells out the doctrine of election, particularly in the ninth chapter of his pistol. Romans he said is not the so the word of God is taken no effect, for they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor all children because they are the seed of Abraham, but in Isaac your seed shall be called and he goes on to say, none of this.

But when Rebecca had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac for the children not yet being born, not having done any good or evil, with the purpose of God according to election my sting for God's sovereign purpose for God's pleasure the good pleasure of his will that his purpose according to election might stand, not of works, but him who calls. It was said to her, the owner shall serve the younger. And as it is written, Jacob I have loved Esau I hated up all nose human nature and he anticipates the reaction he said, what shall we say then is there unrighteousness with God to hear the cry that's not fair. They hadn't even done anything in God sovereignly for the purposes of his election to show forth his mercy choses one and rejects the other non-draw little circle here, board, and this circle represents the concept of justice know everything outside the circle can be put in the negative category of non-justice, that which is not justice but is non-justice but for purposes of illustration and informal boundary. There put another circle out here and everything in this circle out here is non-justice.

But there's more than one kind of non-justice. Here we have a non-justice. That is injustice and that is unrighteous and evil, right over here. We have grace or mercy, is there anything evil about grace? There anything wicked about God's being merciful not when God is gracious. He does not commit an injustice.

He does commit a non-justice.

So what happens is for those whom he elects and saves sovereignly receive his grace. Those who do not receive his grace receive what is justice exactly what they deserve and do we really believe that God is sovereign in his grace. Paul goes on to answer this question. Is there unrighteousness and got God for bid by no means did not God said to Moses, I will have mercy over whom I will. God sovereignly has the right to be generous in his mercy to one without being required to give it to the other and we see in this parable that the workers who worked all day long. Got justice, the owner of the vineyard committed no crime against them. He was perfectly just. He fulfilled his half of the bargain. They had nothing about which to complain. The other people on the other hand, received more than they bargained for. They received grace they received mercy. Nobody in the parable received injustice except the landowner who was slandered by these workers who were angry at him for being gracious to some of the people, the kingdom of God is like that and we need to understand God who is the owner has in his ownership, sovereign authority, gracious laborers who complain thought that the master didn't have a right to use his own resources. However, he wanted just as this master wasn't unjust in his treatment of the laborers. God is never unjust. You're listening to Renewing Your Mind as we wrap up Dr. RC Sproul series the parables of Jesus. We look for you to contact us today to request his 12 part series. Just give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. You can find us or if you prefer you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 our president and CEO Chris Larson is jointly here in the studio and the Chris I know you join me in thanking our ministry partners who were listening to us right now. The ministry partners are the ones who are carrying the work of looking your further and further and so were now able to reach millions of people around the world. Everything a month and that's increasing and so many more people are discovering leader ministries Dr. scroll the teaching Fellows and you'll hear that in this next testimony I can't hardly express in words how much Renewing Your Mind program and Dr. RC Sproul and all the teaching Fellows how it's changed my life.

How it's equipped to me. I think sometimes about the parable in the sand where and how even though I was a Christian I think God's word had fallen on shallow soil and through the ministry partners in that expansion of Renewing Your Mind. The program I have had an opportunity myself to have the soil fertilized the truth of God's word in. I can't think of anything more important than this program being able to continue to do that to have even further outreach and to reach more people and more places in the world with the truth of God's work, which is the foundation for everything you hear in that testimony lead is how the word of God came into someone's life and then they want to share that word with more people, and this is the beautiful reciprocity of what were involved in here and so I would say to our listeners. If you've never supported leader ministries, or if you've never taken that step to become a ministry partner, consider doing so today could you tell them how they could do that. Lee led to do that Chris.

Her number is 800-435-4343 but you can also sign up online to become a ministry partner at Renewing Your Mind.Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of leader ministries for joining us today and we hope to see you right back here next week

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