Christ while on earth in most cases, usually illustrated heavenly things using earthy parables and so it is with the story of 5 sets of labourers who worked in the vineyard as recorded in Matt. 20: 1 – 15
The parable analysed (Matt. 20: 1 – 15)
- Settled mind (sure of receiving pay at the end of the day)
The non-engaged were uncertain whether they would be employed at all that day.
- They were fully engaged, therefore no room for idle talks or thoughts. The non-employed were idle and idleness can breed vices.
- Security: Protected from outside attacks while in the farm.Those in the market place, in case of any trouble, would not have any protection.
- In case of any injury in the farm, the affected labourer will get prompt medical attention from the employer.
- Thatat the close of work they would go home happily and satisfied that they deserved the day’s pay.
- That those who started work by 11th hour (5pm) really worked and deserved pay considering work/time ratio.
The Meaning of the Parable
- The vineyard is the Church
- The market place is the world
- The labourers are the Christians
- The husbandman or farm owner is Christ.
- The hours of work represent our years on earth. It does not matter the time you start, but will end by the 12th hour (6pm). That is the time you die.
- The pay is eternal life
The Parable as it affects Christians
- Getting baptized into the Church of Christ gets our mind settled that we are in the right place and that our salvation is assured provided that we work out our salvation with trembling (Phil. 2:12). Though those in denominations may assume that they are in their right places since they are worshipping the same God. Such assumption is illusion.
- We are supposed to be busy toiling in the morning, noon and evening bearing the burden and the heat of the day. We are not supposed to be idle so that we don’t give the devil a chance which may lead the younger ones to abandon the faith.
- We are sanctified and preserved from all forms of danger. Matt. 28: 20; John 17: 15 – 17. Therefore should not be fearful.
- Have a good standing (profile) before God and in case of difficulties in life can easily call on God for intervention e.g. Hezekiah
- The besieging of the city of Jerusalem by Sennacherib, king of Assyria
(II Kings 19:1-37).“This is a day of trouble and of rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children are come to the birth and there is not enough strength to bring forth”Vs 3
- When Hezekiah was sick – II Kings 20:3, “I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth and with perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight …”
- Though one embraces Christ at old age he can still call on God for intervention when he is in trouble, because our God is a merciful one.
Points to note:
- Those who worked in the farm from 6a.m had “borne the burden and heat of the day (hard working) Vs. 12.
Since you became a Christian from your youth, what can you boast of as your contribution in the Church? Is it teaching, preaching, cleaning, security, etc? or do you specialize in coming to Church late? No bible studies for you? No evangelism? Tell yourself anything you have been able to do ever since you became a member of the Church.Not committing adultery or stealing or murder alone cannot fetch you eternal life.
- None of those who worked in the farm was expelled for idleness. Have you ever been disfellowshipped or is your performance in the Church such that you ought to be sent out?
- If you want to voluntarily leavethe farm (Church), remember the fate of the prodigal son. (from grace to grass). Luke 15: 11 – 24. The Church is for the served – Acts 2: 47
- Those converted to Christ at old age must be very committed. How many times have you attended Bible studies, women class if you are a sister? Yes you claim you know but you don’t know all. If work/time ratio is applied, are you sure you are going to have a pass mark? Do not imitate the old members. You must be desperate to work out your salvation. Work to impress Christ who called you in late. Remember you spent the greater part of your life in vanity and pride (SOC 662), verses 2 and 3 “By God’s word at last my sin I learned. Then I trembled at the law I had spurned, till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
- Now I have given to Jesus everything…”
Are you sure you have given to Jesus everything? Your body, time and money?
Chorus: Mercy was great, and grace free, pardon there was multiplied to me
Those outside the vine yard now (non-members): The large batch of labourers said, nobody called them into the farm to work and they persisted till 5pm. I appreciate your coming here today. May be you were here last week. For your consistency Christ is calling you into his vineyard (the Church of Christ) to start work immediately. Remember eternal life awaits you as it awaits those of us who started long long time ago.
Conclusion: Whether you had started work long time ago, or yesterday or today, the shilling pay which is the crown of glory awaits all of you. But you must work to justify why you must be paid. All must work for Jesus now.
May God bless us as we stand to render this hymn – SOC 300 (Efik 62), verses 1 and 2
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST, 20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
SERMON PRESENTED BY BRO. N. U. AKPAN (ELDER) ON JUNE18, 2017