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Lessons From The Vineyard


Matthew 21:33-46

What we are going to do this morning is we are going to study the passage and then at the end I am going to give you 4 practical lessons that hopefully we will all learn.

To begin, I want you to notice the end. Notice verse 45.

But this time is different. Verse 45 tells us here that these religious leaders “understood that He spoke the parables against them.”

And look at their response in vs. 46: And when they sought to seize Him, they feared the multitudes, because they held Him to be a prophet.”

 A lot of people are that way today…they don’t like what Jesus has to say…they don’t want to hear the truth…but the fact of the matter is…the truth is what really matters…and so, as much as we might not like to hear it…lets listen to what Jesus has to say…and for salvation sake, and to be better disciples, let’s learn from it.

 Now, Jesus begins by quoting from Isaiah chapter 5.

And notice what Jesus says. He starts out telling about a “landowner who planted a vineyard, and put a wall around the vineyard…”

Now you need to understand what is being said here.

But what really made this a “first class operation” was the winepress.

This “man” had built a “top notch” vineyard that everyone would be envious of.

Now, what would happen is the “landowner” would build this vineyard and then he would rent it out to some men to operate the vineyard.

So, here they were, set up in this “top of the line” situation and all they had to do was pay the rent from what they produced.

Well, it comes time for the owner to collect his portion of the produce and so he decides to send some of his slaves to collect it.

And so in verse 36 the landowner sends another group of slaves, larger than the first, and the vine growers do the same thing to them.

Now, you need to understand that back then, if you wanted to send a message to someone that “we don’t respect you and we want you to leave us alone, or don’t mess with us”, you would send it through the way you treated their slave.

So when these vine growers treat this man’s slaves this way, they are actually expressing how they feel about the owner! (How they feel about God.)

And yet, the landowner continues to send his slaves until finally, last of all, he sends his son.

Now, at this point Jesus asks these chief priests and Pharisees…these religious leaders, what they think the landowner will do to the vine growers?

 And look at Jesus’ reply starting in vs. 42. He quotes from Psalm 118:22-23 about “the stone which the builders rejected becomes the chief cornerstone.”

 And this whole parable angers these men because they understand it and they know Jesus is talking about them.

In this passage, Jesus condemns these religious hypocrites as well as the Jewish nation.

Now, what does all this mean to you and me?

  1. The hardening of your heart can and often does reach a point of no return.

It is as though at first they still had conscience enough that they could only go so far.

Gradually they harden their hearts to the point that they are completely hardened against any sense of right or wrong.

And what we need to realize is each one of us can do the same.

In 1 Timothy 4:2 Paul spoke of people who were this way.

And it works the same for us…we reject one part of the teachings of Christ and the apostles because it doesn’t agree with what we want….

And when you reach that point, then you are just like these guys that Jesus is talking too…you have gone too far.

We see this in our society.

Now all of these shows are in competition for their audience.

And what you are seeing is the gradual hardening of our society.

In the book of Revelation 16 verses 10-11 in the context of the 5th bowl of wrath it says this….

“And the fifth {angel} poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.”

We need to recognize how easy it is to harden our hearts to God and how dangerous it is.

A second lesson we need to learn out of this parable is this: We had better appreciate the gift that God has given to us.

Well, let me remind you of what Paul says in Romans 11 starting in verse 17.

I do not think the warning could be any clearer.

Two last points…God is incredibly patient.

Go back and look at the OT and see how century after century, not year after year, that God continued to send His messengers to His people imploring them and warning them to come back to Him.

But remember this too.

Just like in this parable, there will come a point when God says, “NO more.”

One other point. Jesus is our last chance.

These people didn’t like what Jesus had to say here in this parable. It upset them to the point that they wanted to “seize Him to destroy Him.”

God has sent the messenger. He sent his Son and He is it. There are only two choices, accept Him or reject Him.

What will your choice be? If you choose to accept Him, won’t you come?