Matt 20:16                             Laborers in the Vineyard                         2/17/2008      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       Works, Wages, and Gifts of Grace (Matt 19:29, Mark 10:30, Psalm 73:18, Rev 21:6-7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Is This a Salvation Issue? (Matt 20:11,15, John 15:16, 1Cor 10:10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Last Shall Be First, and the First Last (Matt 20:16, Acts 13:45, 1Thes 2:16, Luk 13:27-30)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 19:27 (2X). Today we have come to the 20th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Since we are trying to get through the Gospel of Matthew as fast as we can I had to make a decision which of the five topics I should choose for this sermon. And since the first topic, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, is the most controversial in this chapter, I chose to preach on that. And thus the title of this sermon is, Laborers in the Vineyard (2X). But then we discover that the context for this story actually starts in Matt 19:27. And thus, let us read about:

Mt 19:27-29  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?            And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.              And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, ^ and shall inherit everlasting life.

Mt 19:30  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

In other words, Peter asked if there would be any extra rewards for him and the other apostles for they have forsaken all and followed Jesus these three years and six months. What special rewards shall they receive? Then the Lord told them what they would receive. And to understand these rewards we need to dig a little deeper. Actually, in verse 29, the Lord Jesus said much more after the words “an hundredfold”. We do not see that here in Matthew, but we can see that clearly in the Gospel According to Mark. Please put a sticker here in Matthew 20 and please turn to the Gospel of Mark, Mark 10:29 (2X). Our goal is to get to the laborers in the vineyard of Matt 20. But before we get there we need to understand exactly what the context is. Peter asked this question because the apostles were anxious about the end result of their discipleship. We read in a parallel passage in Mark 10:29-31,

Mr 10:29  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

Mr 10:30  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Mr 10:31  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

And here we can see it very clearly. The Lord Jesus promised them “An hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions” He promised them that they would receive in this time hundred times more than they had left in their work for the Lord. When they accepted their assignment three and a half years earlier they began to work as laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, as the first 12 of an army of laborers that the Lord would recruit out of the Jews as well as out of the Gentiles. And what is our pay? What are our wages? Our wages are not expressed in terms of money, but in terms of the love that we will receive from our brethren in Christ. Our brothers or sisters in the Lord will share with us their time, their houses, their mothers, their children and their lands. And please do not forget the persecutions that are coming from the messengers of Satan. These too will be our wages while we are here on this earth. This is our reward until our bodies die. And after that we will receive in the world to come everlasting life as the sons of God and as the Bride of Christ. But this last one will be the common denominator for every saint, for it is entirely a gift of grace. Let us then get a good overview of all these wages and gifts. Please turn again to Matt 19:29 (2X)

#1.       Works, Wages, and Gifts of Grace (Matt 19:29, Mark 10:30, Psalm 73:18, Rev 21:6-7)

There are more than 30 Hebrew and Greek words that have been translated wages, or rewards, or recompense, or gifts, and so on, and they are distributed to the righteous and to the wicked. Let me try to summarize what I see develop here in Matt 19 and 20. #1, there are rewards given on this earth for good works, like in Mark 10:30. #2, there are apparent rewards given on this earth for evil works, like in Psalm 73:18. #3, there are gifts given by Christ to the saints in the life hereafter. #4, there are penalties given to the wicked in the life hereafter. #5, there are rewards given to Christ for His perfect life on this earth and for His atoning work on the cross. These are essentially all the possibilities. Rewards are wages for works done on this earth, where good works are rewarded in this life and evil works are rewarded in the life hereafter. Good works are not rewarded in the life hereafter, for that is confusing the gifts that Christ shall bestow on His saints. And evil works are not penalized on this earth, for that again is confusing the chastenings that Christ shall inflict on His saints. And so, when we read Matt 19:29

Mt 19:29  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

We must understand this verse as if it reads, “shall receive an hundredfold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life in the life hereafter”. We know this to be correct, for that is what Mark 10:30 reads,

Mr 10:30  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Besides, the number hundredfold cannot refer to the life hereafter, for that falls way short of our real inheritance on the Last Day. In the “hundredfold now in this time” is the love of our brethren manifested. This love must be present if we are saved and if the brethren are saved. I spoke about this when we were in Matt 18, but it bears repeating. When our love for the brethren is absent we have nothing else but cold orthodoxy. And pray to God that we may be spared from cold orthodoxy. But Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question reveals also the promise of everlasting life to the saints. What is this everlasting life? Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 21:6 (2X). Here in Rev 21 the Lord showed John in a vision the new universe which is called the NH&NE, and within this new creation He showed John the Bride of Christ, which is represented by a city that is called “New Jerusalem”. The size of this New Jerusalem is astounding. If we would place this city on a map of the United States its length would stretch from Maine to Florida, and its breadth from New York to Colorado, and the city would be as high as its length and breadth, 1500 miles long, 1500 miles wide and 1500 miles high. You can see that such a city can only exist in a new universe, for no city of these dimensions is possible in a universe like ours where gravity exists. The tallest mountain on earth is only 5.5 miles high because the earth’s gravity prohibits mountains that are higher than that. We need to keep in mind that God shows us this gigantic city only as a symbol of our new dwelling place, but as you can see it defies any imagination of what our new mansion in heaven would look like. And now, let us read Rev 21:6-7 (2X). 

Re 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Re 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

What do we read there in verse 6? Did you notice, God says, “I will give unto him”, singular? Do we read that right? Look at the next verse. There the singular person is repeated three times, “He that overcometh”, and “I will be his God”, and “he shall be my son”. Do we realize what God is saying there? God did not say “They that overcome shall inherit all things”, so that we have to divide up that property, but God said, “He, singular, that overcomes shall inherit all things”. In other words, God says that He will give you, one of His saints, all things; He will give you the entire new universe with this gigantic city in it. And then God will give the same inheritance to the next saint. And so on. Do we realize that this is more than we could have expected as a reward for the imperfect works, tainted with sin, that we have done for Him on this earth? Besides, if you would expect to be given a little more, since you have suffered so much for His sake on this earth, the Lord would say, “I do not have a little more, for I have given you everything I have”. Do we also realize that these verses in Rev 21 specify that all the saints shall receive the same great inheritance? Now, this puts in perspective the inheritance of everlasting life that we read about in Matt 19:29. Please turn again to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 19:29 (2X). And so, Peter and the other 11 disciples were wondering if they would be adequately paid for their efforts in following Jesus for three and a half years. Then the Lord Jesus breaks it down in two portions: #1, their reward while they are still alive on this earth, and #2, the gift of eternal life that they will receive in the life to come. And then, concerning their reward on this earth, which is actually their pay for work done, the Lord tells them the parable of the laborers in the vineyard in the next chapter. Let us turn now to Matt 20:1 (2X).

Mt 20:1 ¶  For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

Mt 20:2  And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Mt 20:3  And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

Mt 20:4-5  And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.     Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

Mt 20:6-7 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them,

Why stand ye here all the day idle?         They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

Mt 20:8-10  So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.          And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.  But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

Mt 20:11  And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

Mt 20:12-13  Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.                 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

Mt 20:14  Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

Mt 20:15  Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

Mt 20:16  So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

This parable begins with the word, “For”, which means, “Therefore, because of all these things that I have said to you, Peter; therefore, because you, the twelve, have been at work in my kingdom; therefore I will explain some facts concerning all the workers in my vineyard”. Then the Lord says, “The kingdom of heaven is like”, and with these words we understand that He is referring to the external manifestation of the kingdom of heaven on this earth, which is the church, the congregation as it existed in the OT time and the local church congregations of the NT time. And then the Lord explained from the responses of different people in these congregations that there are internal differences between people in the church. What is the main point of this parable? The main point is that all the workers in the vineyard received the same pay, which was one penny, or one denarius, which was for a long time a laborer’s fair wage for one day. How do we apply this to our century? How would we translate this into the spiritual meaning so that we can apply it to our days? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 8:31 (2X). If all the workers in the church could understand what God has given them, they would be so thankful for all that the Lord has purchased for them, and they would not grumble or be cast down in self-pity. In this passage of Rom 8 the Lord is addressing the saints concerning this present life. He says in Rom 8:31,

Ro 8:31 What shall we then say to these things?If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

God assures us here: “If any saint considers what God has done for us, who then can be against us; for if Almighty God decided to save us by sacrificing even His only begotten Son on behalf of us, how  can we even doubt that God will not give us also all things that we need, in this life, so that we can be victorious in our battle against the Devil and against all his schemes”. God promises us that He will give us all things that we need. And all things includes the love He has given us for Him, and the love He has given us for His Word, the Bible, and the love He has given us for one another, and the love He has given to the brethren so that they love us. And therefore their love is expressed in Mark 10:30 in terms of “houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions”. And notice that these persecutions we experience are given by the Lord for our benefit, and for the benefit of our brethren, and for the benefit of His kingdom, “for all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose”. And so, this is the confidence that we have from Rom 8:31-32, and this is the equal wage that God is giving all His children in this life, so that we can have all the tools to finish our work victoriously. Please turn again to Matt 20 and let us look at a few more details in this parable. If we consider this parable in the context of Peter’s question and Jesus answer to it, we can see that all the workers in the vineyard refer to all the people in the church. Every person in the church, both saved and unsaved, is set apart to work for the kingdom of heaven, like the twelve apostles were. But wait! There was one unsaved member in the apostolic band, Judas Iscariot. He too was appointed as one of the workers in the kingdom of heaven. And there are unsaved people in the church also, and they too have been set apart to serve in the kingdom of heaven. And thus we see differences in their responses to their Master. And so, we can legitimately ask:

#2.       Is This a Salvation Issue? (Matt 20:11,15, John 15:16, 1Cor 10:10)

Does this parable carry a second meaning? Does this parable carry a salvation issue? In fact, there are two more meanings buried in this parable. Let us first apply this parable to people in the NT church. We already know that the vineyard represents the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God on this earth, the church. And thus the householder in verse 1 is God who is seeking laborers for His kingdom. How did God find the laborers for His kingdom? Did they seek for Him, or did He seek for them? The parable clearly states that the householder sought out the laborers for His vineyard, and He appointed them. The householder is absolutely sovereign in all His choices. And this should teach us that time and again the Lord states that He chooses who should serve Him. The Lord stated in John 15:16, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit”. The householder is also absolutely sovereign in all His gifts, for He is infinitely wise, and He knows exactly what He intends to accomplish. And although all His saints are equally eligible to receive all that they need out of their Master’s treasury, the Master knows exactly what we need. And thus He instructed His steward, in verse 8, “Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first”. He knew that if He had first paid a penny to those who were hired first, that they would not have grumbled, but would have carried their penny home, for this is what they agreed to receive in the beginning. Let us now apply this to us. When we become aware, from the Bible, that the sovereign God distributes His gifts to all His people according to His good pleasure, and that He will supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19), then we should be content with what He has given us. For if we are not happy with His gifts toward us, we are in fact opposing the wisdom of God, and we are appointing ourselves wiser than God. The finite creature with the puny mind is telling the creator with the infinite mind how He should run His business. Is this a sin? Of course it is sin. And this is what we see displayed here in verse 11. We read in Matt 20:11,

Mt 20:11  And when they had received it, they murmured <1111> against the goodman of the house,

They murmured. Significantly God uses here the word “murmured”, which has very bad connotations wherever it is used in the Bible. The scribes and Pharisees murmured <1111> against Jesus and His disciples. The Jews murmured <1111> at him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. His disciples murmured <1111> at Jesus, and from that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him. And we read in 1Cor 10:10, Neither murmur ye <1111>, as some of them also murmured <1111>, and were destroyed of the destroyer. And so, we begin to understand that this portion of the laborers in the vineyard displays features that are associated with the unsaved in the church. Could this be true? Please drop down to verse 15, where the Lord says in Matt 20:15,

Mt 20:15  Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

This is a question that can be asked of everyone who holds to an Arminian gospel. They claim that they have been saved because they have taken the initiative to ask the Lord Jesus into their heart. If God would choose to save people who did not ask for salvation, then He treats them unfairly. Only those who have born the burden of searching for God and have taken the action of praying the sinner’s prayer and have let themselves be baptized should be saved. Others who have not done so should not be considered saved. But God asks them, “Is thine eye evil, because I am good to those whom I have chosen unto salvation before the foundation of the world? And likewise here in the parable we can see what was going on. These people were envious of their fellow workers in the church. Where was their love for the brethren? It was nonexistent. And that is a very serious matter. Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 13:1 (2X). The Lord introduced this chapter with the last words of chapter 12, where He said, “And yet show I unto you a more excellent way”. The more excellent way He was referring to was the more excellent way of seeking to love, rather than seeking for gifts of healing, and gifts of speaking in tongues, and gifts of interpretation of tongues. All those have ceased to exist today. And the love that the Lord is referring to here is the Greek word “Agape”, which is a love for those who are the unlovables. It is a love like the love of God for unworthy sinners. And thus, this is the love with which we should seek when we bring the Gospel to those who have never heard. Likewise, when the Lord Jesus commands us in John 15:12 that we must love the brethren as Christ has loved us, He uses the word Agape, which means that we must love the brethren even if they are unworthy of our love. This is an unusual love, full of charity, and therefore the KJ translators used the word “charity” to express this kind of love in many places in the KJV. Let us now read 1Cor 13:1-3 (2X).

1Co 13:1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

1Co 13:3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

What is God saying here? Paraphrased He says in verse 1, “Even though I can converse in many languages of men and even converse with angels, but if I have not charity I am only making noise, but in the eyes of God I am nothing; I am still an unsaved sinner in the eyes of God”. Then God says in verse 2, “Even though I can speak words that come out of the mouth of God, and even though I understand all mysteries and knowledge from the Bible, and even though I have so much faith that I can remove mountains, but if I do not have charity I am nothing in the eyes of God, and God would not consider me one of His children; conversely I am still an unsaved sinner in the eyes of God”. Then God says in verse 3, “Even though I follow Christ in His footsteps, and give all my goods away to feed the poor, and even though I am persecuted and end up being burned at the stake, but if I do not have charity all these sacrifices do not profit me anything; therefore I am still an unsaved sinner in the eyes of God”. And so, if I do not have charity for the brethren in my own congregation, a love that is described by an Agape kind of a love, even if they are unworthy of my love, I am still an unsaved sinner. What do we see here? We see that when God makes us born from above, He also infuses us with the gift of having charity for the brethren. And if we do not have charity for the brethren we simply have not been saved. Now we can return to the parable of Matt 20:1-16, and what we see there is that one portion of the laborers in the vineyard had no charity for their fellow workers, their brethren in the congregation, and therefore this was a big sign that they were not saved. Remember the question: Is this a salvation issue? The answer is a resounding YES! This is a salvation issue. But let us now consider the third application of this parable to the people in the congregation of the Lord. And now we remember that both the beginning and the ending of this parable are characterized by these words:

#3.       The Last Shall Be First, and the First Last (Matt 20:16, Acts 13:45, 1Thes 2:16, Luk 13:27-30)

Matt 20:16  So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

What does this mean? This sentence at the beginning and at the end of this parable is pointing to the nation of the Jews who has been hired first, and the remnant from the Gentile nations has been hired last. The Jews had no love for the Christians. They did not want the Gentiles to share in the same love of God for them. They had borne the burden and the heat of being persecuted for their faith. Moreover, they were envious of the Gentile Christians for they seemed to be so much more joyful than the Jews, who were bearing the burden of obeying the Law. What was the agreement between Jehovah and the nation of the Jews? What was the penny that they would receive after they had done all that was required of them? It was the land of Canaan, a land that flowed with milk and honey, and with these words God intended for them to hear the spiritual meaning of the Promised Land in the NH&NE, and the Gospel that was symbolized by the milk and honey. In Rom 4 we can read that Abraham understood that it was not the land of Canaan, but it was the entire NH&NE that were waiting for him as an eternal possession. But the nation of Israel despised the spiritual meanings of God’s words, and they focused entirely on the physical land of Canaan and on the physical rituals that God gave them, without seeing their Messiah through these Ceremonial laws. And so, paraphrased God said to them, “I do thee no wrong. Didst not thou agree with Me for a penny? Take thy penny and go thy way. Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with those of the Gentiles whom I have chosen to serve Me?”

Now it is an established fact that the children of Israel, who are represented here as those who were hired first, were envious of the Christians from the Gentile nations, for we read in Acts 13:45,

Ac 13:45  But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

They were even blaspheming, to express their discontent with the messages from God spoken through the apostle Paul. And why? It was all because of envy. Let the Gentiles go to Hell. They do not deserve to hear of the love of God. Moreover, we read in the First Epistle to the Thess, 1Thess 2:16

1Th 2:16  The Jews are forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

The wrath of God is come upon them to the uttermost. How can anyone come up with the idea that in the millennium the Jews are evangelizing the world, for God says in 1Thess 2:16 that “The wrath of God is come upon them to the uttermost”? Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 13:27 (2X). This was another occasion when the Lord responded with the sentence, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last”. Let us see what this passage brings. Here someone asked the Lord if there be few that will be saved? The Lord Jesus responded by focusing on the many of the nation of the Jews who will not be saved. We read in Luke 13:27-30,

Lu 13:27-28  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.     There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Lu 13:29  And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

Lu 13:30  And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Who was the Lord Jesus speaking to? He addressed the Jews. Jews who had no use for a Messiah who asked people to repent, and who died on a Roman cross in shame. They were Jews who adhered to the Laws of Moses, and no Messiah was going to draw them away to a new religion. But the Lord Jesus said that their unbelief classified them as workers of iniquity`. The expression “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is pointing to the fact that they will be in Hell. And who will be those present at the great wedding feast of Christ and the church? There will be “Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets”. Joining them will be Gentiles coming “from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south”, meaning from all over the world. And then Jesus said in verse 30, “Behold, there are last which shall be first”, referring to the Gentiles who were Last, meaning under the wrath of God, but who will become First, meaning they will be children of God. And there are those who were First, referring to the Jews, or to the children of Israel, who were supposed to be children of God, but they shall be Last, meaning that they will come under the wrath of God. Not all the Gentiles will be saved; only a remnant. And not all the Jews will come under condemnation; a remnant will be saved, in accord with Matt 7:13-14. And why is it that most Jews and Gentiles will be under the wrath of God? Because:

Please turn again in your Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 8:10 (2X). Here is another example of those who were Last and who became First. And others who were hired First became Last. The Lord Jesus is praising a Gentile and He is prophesying disaster for the Jews. He says in Matt 8:10-12,

Mt 8:10-11  When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.     And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 8:12  But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

When Jesus said, “Many shall come from the east and west” this referred to Gentiles who were coming into the Kingdom of God. But who are those in verse 12 that are called “the children of the kingdom”? These are Jews who historically were supposed to be the Children of the Kingdom, but through their unbelief they were disqualified from this honorable position. Where is their destiny? Again, Jesus used the expression “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” to indicate that they will be in Hell, under the wrath of God. And so, when we think again of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard in Matt 20:1-16, we see that the laborers who were hired First showed by their actions that they were on the road to Hell. They were called Last because that is the label attached to coming under damnation. Those who were initially called Last, bore that name because they were under the wrath of God until the eleventh hour, until the time that they received the special call to work for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Pharisees identify with those who have been hired First, and the Gentiles with those who have been hired Last. The Pharisees were those who had the task of teaching people what the Word of God says. But the Pharisees cooked up their own modifications of the Gospel, and so they ended up with a works gospel. This is exactly what is happening today. Many Pastors teach that special rewards are waiting us when we get to heaven. They have mixed the grace of God with the works of man. Do they not realize that all the fairy tales about special rewards in heaven are a relic from the Roman Catholic era? These are doctrines that are taught in the RC church. We should stay away from these false doctrines as far as we can. And that is the bottom line we have derived from this Parable of the First and the Last.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.