Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Once Upon a Time … In Real Life. Parables of Jesus Kingdom Rewards (Matt 20:1-16) ---- --------------------------------------------------- In the parable of vineyard, only the first worker group was told a wage. The later groups were told that they would be paid what was right. They were all paid the same amount, whether they worked all day or only an hour. The early workers didn’t think that the pay was fair because they bore the burden of the work. This is a worldly view of the situation. This parable is about heaven. We need to be careful not to treat God like unappreciative children (asking “why?”, or saying “This is not fair!”) Consider that the master didn’t need to hire any of them. We can trust God to treat us better than we deserve. He already has, because Jesus bore the burden of our sin. There is ALWAYS an opening in God’s kingdom, even at the final hour. (Do we who came to Christ early in our lives resent those who came to know Him later in life?) We should fall on our faces in awe of His incredible gift. We get to go to heaven and spend eternity with God, where there will be or sickness or dying, The Bible describes heaven as the most valuable things on earth being used for mundane things (like roads of gold). God has better things for us than we can imagine. (I Cor 2: 8) The thrill will never be gone. I Peter 1:3-4 says that we will receive an inheritance that is imperishable, incorruptible and unfading. God is MORE than fair to us. Jesus is the foundation, and nothing else (I Cor 3:11-15). In the parable of the talents, it is obvious that the steward who only had one talent didn’t really know the master. (He was on the outside). His master gave his talent to the one who had done the most with the talents. (to those who handles a lot is given more responsibility). We might not think it is fair, but remember, it was never the stewards stuff. It was always the master’s stuff. Likewise, all we have is God’s stuff. The REWARD is to hear the master say “Well done my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” We want the Lord to smile because He is proud of us. We don’t know exactly what our heavenly rewards will be, but God will do so much more than the best we can imagine. We need to trust God. He is already better to us than we deserve. He has done the most important work, and He isn’t even finished yet! Application Points -- Trust God’s promise of eternal life when you surrender your life to Jesus. -- Rejoice whenever someone does surrender their life to Christ. -- Work for the joy of Jesus; His praise is the greatest reward. We need to enter the joy of our Master.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Once Upon a Time – In Real Life The Parables of Jesus The King’s Judgment – (Mt. 12:1-12; Mt 13:24-30; Luke 13:6-9, 16:19-31) ------------------------------------------------------- These days, we Christians are being called judgmental. All we should be saying is that there is a God who says certain thoughts, actions, and behaviors are wrong, and they are a sin against Him. Those actions separate us from a holy God, and the consequence is death. But the story continues – God is love, mercy, and grace, and He made provisions for us. We Christians are not better than non-believers. Our sin might not have the same immediate consequences, but we are all in the same boat. Jesus’ death and resurrection pays for our forgiveness. He is our ONLY hope. We are not being judgmental when we are trying to tell a broken world the truth. Our deepest offense doesn’t compare with the offense that we have been to God. When we are offended, our first thought is not to give our offender more time, but God’s is. He is patient, wanting all to be saved. Matt 13:24-30 is a parable about the wheat and the weeds in a field. In verses 36-43, Jesus explains how it describes the harvest. By the power of God, weeds (unbelievers) can turn to wheat (believers). God wants to give us every opportunity. Jesus will one day return, and then the weeds will be gathered up and thrown into the fire. God is more than fair. He has waited 2000 years for us. God created a perfect world – we humans rebelled against Him and sided with Satan, but our identity is not about what we’ve done. It’s about what He’s done. God provides a way of salvation. He wants us to know and follow Him, and share Him with others. Change is motivated by faith or fear. We need to follow Jesus to be fruitful, not fearful. Luke 13:6-9 is a parable about a fig tree that didn’t bear fruit for 3 years. God expects fruitfulness from us. He is more than patient, and in His grace, has given us more time. We need to receive it, but not abuse it. There is a judgment if we remain unfruitful. The values of this world are very different than ours, from how we handle money to what we do on Sunday morning. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (who was poor), both men died. The Bible says that the rich man was buried, but it says that Lazarus was carried by angels. The rich man could see those in heaven and wants to warn his brothers. Hell is living in eternal agony. To be fruitful, we need to stop doing stupid things, and stop making excuses for doing wrong things. We need to live our lives connected to Jesus. God will create the fruitfulness. Application points: -- Faith is what God wants; believe Him. -- Focus on growing ad serving; fruit will come. We worry too much about producing fruit. Let God do it through us. -- Make no mistake; heaven and hell are real … and eternal. We need to know where we’re going.