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A Tale of Two Sons

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 22, 2020 8:00 am

A Tale of Two Sons

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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October 22, 2020 8:00 am

Heres the question. Is it better to say you will, but then you dont...or, to say you wont, but then you do? Oh, I know what youre thinking. Youre thinking: Its best to say you will, and then do it. Or to say you wont and then dont do it. But thats not the question Jesus asked!

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Here's the question, is it better to say.

You will then you don't work to say you won't, but then you do, how I know what you're thinking your thinking it's best to say you will. And then do it or say you want and then don't do it, but that's not the question.

Jesus asked confused and keep listening to the Bible study hour is Dr. James Boyce studies. The question then entangles the answers welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. Jesus told more than one parable about a father and two sons. The one we're looking at today in Matthew 21 is not the famous one about the prodigal son. This one is about a father who owned a vineyard and his two sons who had work to do tending the grapes when the father asked the first son to go to work. The son said no way he had better things to do, but he later changed his mind and ended up going to work when the father asked the second son to go to work. The opposite happened. Son said sure dad. Then he slacked off and never showed up. So Jesus asked the Pharisees were listening to his little story which son did what his father wanted. Well even though the question could be a tongue twister. The answer isn't really hard and they got it right away. Of course it was the son who first said no way, but then showed up and did the work and as the Pharisees waited for praise for getting the right answer. Jesus got to the punchline. The tax collectors and prostitutes were the one who were doing the father's will and you guys are the ones who say sure dad would spend the whole day slacking off, let's listen now to Dr. Boyce. There's an obvious connection between the parable of the two assignments that were about to study in the parable of the wise and foolish builders and that earlier parable, the Lord was responding to those so he said came to him with the profession, Lord, Lord, we didn't know what he said and he told the story of the wise and foolish builders in order to show what someone who makes a profession but doesn't practice the profession is like the story is talking about two sons and one of the sons is in exactly that category. Father comes to him to tell them to go work in the vineyard, and he says all yes father I well I certainly well anything you say with any doesn't do it. So when we turn from that earlier parable of wisdom and folly to this particular parable which deals a greater length of the Christian life. We have an obvious action and obvious transition. The story comes toward the end of Matthew's gospel in the same chapter that gives us the story of the triumphal entry on what we call Palm Sunday, our Lord had come into Jerusalem with a great display here. Toward the end of his earthly life, and all of the people had come out to praise him. Hosanna, they said praise the one who comes in the name of the Lord and the religious leaders didn't like this because that meant that attention was being taken away from them and given to someone else and they saw their own little kingdom threatened even more threatened when Lord next went into the temple enclosure and saying that those who were buying and selling the air.

You've made my father's house a den of thieves. See Lucas courage and drove them out and they were very upset because now it was not only their prestige was suffering.

It was their livelihood, so the time came when they came to Jesus and began to question him about what he was doing. They demanded to know on what authority was acting as he was a little exchange with them. When she asked him about the authority of John the Baptist. He said I'll tell you what authority I am operating under. If you'll answer this question, John the Baptist.

Now there was somebody who came before me, tell me John's authority. Where did that come from when John spoke to, he speaks from heaven, or did he speak merely from men. I was very shrewd. He had them on the horns of a dilemma because if they said which is really what they thought well John the Baptist was just a man that he spoke with the authority of a man they be in trouble with the people because the people regarded John as a prophet. He had all of the outward appearances of the prophet and his message was the message of the property suffered the death of the prophet. Most people recognize that and if they said well John spoke as a man they would sigh all here. The religious leaders discounting one who was obviously from God. But if on the other hand, they said well John was a prophet. He spoke with the authority of having a smoke from God. Then they knew perfectly well what Jesus would sigh Jesus would sigh what I did and you believe, and then when he pointed out that I was the Messiah, because if they believed John.

They should've believed John's teachings concerning Jesus and if they believed John's teachings concerning Jesus, they would've believed that Jesus was the Messiah Jesus was the Messiah that he spoke with the authority of God and acted with the authority of God is without authority that he cleansed the temple and enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and they really didn't know what to say they were stock and so I took the coward's way out and they said well we just don't know. And so Jesus said either of my going to tell you by what authority I do these things. I wasn't a dogfish because he went on to tell our parable. He said look I want to tell you story of her two sons was one son and the father came to him and said son I want you to go work in my vineyard and this son said I won't do it. But then afterwords they repented and he went and did what the father wanted. He said there was a second son and the father came to him and said, son, go work today in my vineyard. In this second son, said all right daddy, but he didn't do it and then Jesus said now which of the 20 did the will of his father and perceive the connection at all a mistake.

They said while obviously the one who, although he said at the first, I won't do it actually went and did it and I Lord said in a factor condemned out of your own mouth because that's the very son, you are not like you are the son who goes around saying yes yes yes we are serving God, but you don't do what God says I went John the Baptist. I didn't believe the revelation came through John. I'll tell you there are a lot of people said Jesus were going around saying no no to the father, who in the final analysis are going to repent of their sin and do what he says has this conclusion. I tell you the truth. The tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you because John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. Even after you saw this, he said you did not repent and believe inů Look at this little bit. First of all, let's look at these two sons very important to recognize that, as is often the case in the parables Lord is making a single point are one or two points when he disapproves the wine and approves the other is not necessarily disapproving everything the first wind it or approving everything. The second when did like the second one first. This one is that yes yes but then didn't do it now.

Our Lord obviously is disapproving that kind of behavior does that mean therefore that our Lord is disapproving, making promises to God and all that wouldn't follow as our Lord against profession no is not against profession be simply making the point that it's no good to profess if you don't practice, say, our Lord wouldn't say don't make professions. Although some people go. Some people say well I don't know whether I can keep the promises that I make therefore not going to make any promises to God all is going to go my own way.

Do the best I can let the chips fall where they may.

Jesus would say no that's no good. There is a place for promising God that you're going to follow him and going his way out. Even if you don't that's all right. He knows your frame.

He knows that your dusty understands at all in advance but you make a profession that's very good.

After all, it does say in Romans that we believe in our heart we confess with our mouths. The Jesus is Lord and those who do both are safe so profession goes along with true belief is anything about that second son.

The only thing that is criticizing is that he didn't do what he said he would do and according to this story never did it the same thing in reverse applies to the first son. This is the one who said I won't do what would later did does that mean to say that it's all right to defy God. God says do something so I say I won't do it does mean is all right to sing with your lips as long as in the final analysis, you do the right thing no mean that either you know you do have some people who excuse an unruly tong and that basis, they say well I'm just plain spoken person is going take me the way I am.

I just bought the chips fall where they may. I call them as I see them. If I see something bad I speak right out. Sometimes I make a mistake that just the way I am well Christ isn't justifying that is not saying that rudeness so are intolerance, spirit, or impatience, or any of these things are justified, but he simply saying that what really counts in the final analysis is whether you do the thing or not. You see it's good to disobey God and in the end obey God. But that's not to say that there's not a better way than that which is to obey God in the beginning and then actually doing to say you're going to do it actually do it to be neither one of these camps so the proper kind of Christian services at service, which begins early in life to say yes to God and put that into practice, which grows stronger both in the profession and in the practice as the years go by. The framework of the paragraph.

Let's look now explicitly what it has to say about Christian service, because that's the way our Lord supplying any saying that the tax collectors and the prostitutes, though they had a bad beginning eventually did repent and serve God and those who apparently had a good beginning who professed all the right things, where there is the leaders of the people didn't serve God and so we ask what does really mean to survey what kind of services the Lord, urging on his people.

In this particular story with a clue to what I think is found in the sentence of the father the son defined in verse 28 he went to the first and said son go and work today in the vineyard. I haven't read anything that Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote on this particular verse, but I know how Spurgeon would handle that he get four points that text. I'll tell you what Spurgeon would say first thing Spurgeon would say is that there is an emphasis here upon the need for work because the father says to the son, go and work today in the vineyard. I think we need to urge that upon many people today because we have a lot of people who are lazy and who don't work there is work to be done is lots of work to be done. People are without the gospel and need to hear the gospel of God's grace through Jesus Christ, their Christians understand the gospel but need to be built up in Christian things that are the needy of the world that need to be ministered to. In Christ name all of that is there to be done.

And yet we have kind of laziness and unfortunately that exists in our day as it probably has in other ages as well. On the basis of which people sit back and say well lots of people around the can do that, I'll simply enjoy myself now were a little bit more sensitive to the physical needs of the world today than we were perhaps a generation ago because of the great reporting work being done by the relief agencies and social service agencies were aware that there are perhaps billion people in the world who have an annual income of less than $75 and that there are perhaps 1/2 million people in the world who are dying this moments of hunger.

But you know if the need is great in these physical realms is, indeed, it is even more acute. Spiritually, because those supers and figures in terms of those know the gospel and you don't know the gospel. It was a breakdown something like this.

Of the 4 billion people in the world. Only 1 billion. That is approximately 1/4 of those people profess to be Christians in any sense another 1 billion have perhaps the name of Jesus Christ I know something about Christianity, though they're not Christians, and at least 2 billion, and maybe more, have never even heard the name of Jesus. That's the case, how could we possibly sit back and say there's no work to be done. Yet there are people who do it, and even some of the greatest denominations are telling us that in our day. The missionary task of the church is over no more missionaries are needed and what we should all do is say home and enjoy ourselves or some such thing. I think we need to hear what this father said to the sun when he said, son, go and work today in the vineyard on the second point, I think Spurgeon would make is this not only is there work to be done. There is God's work to be done. The emphasis is there in the vineyard. God is calling us to work in his vineyard to do the work that he has for us to do this I great harvest out there any saying that there should be laborers for the harvest and its divine harvest, that he sending us think that's important because we have two problems in our day. On the one hand we have the problem of laziness. The people to say well I really don't need to do anything because everybody else is taking care of and I'll sit back I will do anything and that's the problem that I engine first, but there's an equally great problem. On the other side by those who say oh yes, we must work and they get out of their working working for God working for themselves either. They're building up their fortune.

Many people do that. They're so busy making money they don't have any time for God or the building up the reputation they don't have any time for Christ's reputation were. I suggest this with a bit more hesitation. There even working in Christian circles, but they're building up their own little kingdoms, rather than the kingdom of Christ. One of the greatest problems of our day. Is that so many Christian workers are building their own kingdom building their own. Following the building their own organization. They're making a great great mark in this world but is for the but really for the sake of the body of Christ in the cause of Christ is a very hard accusation to make it I'd be very reluctant to put names to it. But as I think about it as I look out over so much of the work that's.I'm afraid that's far too true say when the father says to the son, go and work today in the vineyard. He's saying look I want you to work in my kingdom. I want you to work for my church when I want you to do is contribute to that to be part of the body of Christ and build up. This is what I call you to do as 1/3 point here.

That's the urgency of the task you see when the father says son go and work in the vineyard. He doesn't leave it at that. He says son going work today in the vineyard today is the day which we are called to work there people who put it often procrastinate. Isn't it interesting that God, who is the eternal one who has always existed and who will always exist, and from our point of view as an infinite number of years and ages to do his work is the one who says now who presses urgency and we we were the creatures of the day, and go pass boosts life in the span of eternity is like a drop in the bucket. We are the ones who procrastinate. It shouldn't be that way we should hear the voice of God and we should recognize the urgency and we should do what he gives us to do now, say, our Lord prayed for it when he said pray the Lord of the harvest that you will send out laborers into the harvest he was talking about the harvest of his day. He was saying look on every hand. There are men and women who merely need to hear the gospel their hungry hearts, or needy soul. What we need. Men and women who know God and who recognize the responsibility that they have as children of God to minister in God's name and who go out urgently tell those who need to hear it now. We talk about the parable of the Christian life.

We can hardly do better than begin with this one is one last point, not only says going work and he not only says going work in the vineyard, and he not only says going work in the vineyard today. He says son go and work in the vineyard say what is doing is appealing they are to the family relationship.

If you're a Christian was a time when you are not assigned or you are not the daughter you're going your own way you works a member of the people of God who are of your father the devil, and you are doing his will, and walking in his way, and furthermore you were contents to do it is only by the grace of God that he reached down and the power of his Holy Spirit's and made you spiritually alive, bringing forth new life in you quickening you by his grace, so that you became a son or daughter of God. And when that happened. You are the light of God within you and you began to march to a different drummer.

You had different perspectives on things you perceive things differently. The God you hated you. Now the way of God which you had no concern for before now concerns you would you begin to walk in that way. Now all of that is embrace you been brought out of darkness and the light you can run out of no relationship into a family relationship you had no status are now given the status of an aeronautical heir with Jesus Christ. It's on that basis, God says to you, son, daughter of mine go and work today in my vineyard you know Christ you experience that how can you turn a deaf ear to that kind of call. How can you say there's no one to whom I should speak out.

Would you say there's nothing for me to do. I could you focus all your time all your energy on building up your own little kingdom you hear Christ calling can you hear the father he says, son, daughter, go work today in my vineyard. That's not my words. That's the words of Jesus Christ. Speaking of the father.

He saying that you what you need to do is stop search your heart and say, oh Lord God, what is that work. What we need to do that work and give me the courage directly into that work that I might be found faithful in the task of given me to do Elliott one last points in the nature of the conclusion is simply to know and need to spare. You see, our Lord gets to the end and he sums it all up is talking about those laws, those who haven't, and he says I tell you the truth. The tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom I was making a contrast, there is talking to the religious leaders who certainly were not that, and he's pointing out that they gave profession of faith, but they didn't actually calm, they did not actually repent they did not actually believe in Jesus, who was pointed to by John the Baptist and attested to by the father but the prostitutes in the tax collectors did so he saying they are coming and they're coming before you, and God's done that in order to stimulate you as he saying that indirectly he's pointing out that the tax collectors and the prostitutes to come that's the case, no one needs to despair. Anyone can come notice the way he phrases it is not even saying that the hypocrites can't come. Maybe these religious leaders will repent in time they will, some of them were told later in the book of acts that the word members even of the Sanhedrin, the priests who believed on the is saying those whom you think, totally unworthy are coming and they are coming. Anyone can come to applications you say there's the application of those who are Christians and are not working under those who are not Christians who have not believed the application of the Christians is to get to work the applications to the non-Christians us to come.

Jesus is the Lord of grace is the one who died to be our Savior, and he opens wide his arms in order that anyone might come to it. Now is the day of salvation to Gavin come on Chuck you have to confess your sin, you have to turn to Jesus as the Savior you have to go on his way, his strength to do that.

If you haven't done that want to do it in this hour, let us pray our father, bless these truths to us.

Lead us in the way that we should go. Each one of their those listening who heard these things, but who consider themselves to great sinners. The respondents to whom the devil is speaking saying no, you're too sinful to come do speak to them with that quiet, persistent voice of the Holy Spirit and draw them to Christ and let this parable of the two sons to be an encouragement to them as they come. Those are Christians who think that because they believe everything's all right.

There's nothing for them to do. They don't have to worry stir them up and granted by your grace though they have said they won't, they won't work.

May they actually work or if they say yes yes and think they are but they're not me.

They actually work so our father, bless our efforts now and in the future for Jesus.

I you're listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

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