1. Matt. 19:30 - Proverbial expression teaches that human reasoning & man's expectation of reward are not the standards God uses to determine eternal reward! (cf. Rich ruler & the apostles, Matt. 19:16-30).
2. Matt. 20:1-16 - This parable illustrates & explains & this point [19:30 & 20:16 are "book-ends" to the parable].
3. In the disciple's excitement over his heavenly reward is the temptation to begrudge others of their reward (when we judge by human reasoning & appearance rather than truth: we assess that we have done more, etc., & thus deserve more!).
I. GOD IS CONSTANTLY SEEKING THOSE WHO WILL LABOR IN HIS VINEYARD (salvation of souls) - Matt. 20:1-7.
A. God's Eternal Purposes For Human Redemption Confirms This Truth.
1. Before creation - Eph. 1:4-6.
2. In spite of our sinful rebellion - Jno. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Col. 1:19-23; Heb. 2:9.
3. God desires all to be saved - 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9.
4. By the gospel, God is calling all to be saved! (Acts 2:39)
B. Disciples Of Jesus Are To Be Looking For More Laborers! - Jno. 9:4; Matt. 9:37-38.
C. Worker In The Kingdom Will Be Rewarded - Matt. 20:2; 1 Cor. 15:58.
1. Beware! - 19:27 - Reward of eternal life is not strict compensation for labor performed - cf. 19:30; Lk. 17:10. [Tendency to think this way.]
2. Our inheritance is a gracious reward for faithful service - cf. Heb. 6:10.
3. Point: Reward of eternal life is offered by God to all, & it is the faithful laborer in His kingdom who will receive this reward by God's grace.
II. HEEDING GOD'S CALL TO BE SAVED - Matt. 20:3-7.
A. We Must Have A Desire To Enter God's Vineyard (Kingdom) & Work (Live) For Him.
1. Unemployed would go to marketplace to seek work (day-laborers).
2. 20:3, 5-6 - All wanted to work -- They immediately responded when called to work.
a. Man often wants something for nothing (reward w/o effort) -- lottery, gambling, etc.
b. God won't save you unless you want salvation!
3. 2 Cor. 6:1-2 - See God's grace and receive it now!
B. Does This Parable Endorse "Death-Bed Repentance"? - 20:8-9 -- NO!
1. 11th hour man cannot be made to correspond with one who, though called by gospel throughout his life, rejects its salvation, and then on his death-bed wants to the reward!
2. Death-bed scenario often: "No, it's too early, I'll not go now." Then at death -- "Since God pays one hour same as full day, I'll go now!"
3. While God will save whenever we repent & obey, God's grace is not a license to sin! Can be saved near death, but remember Gal. 6:7 (Eccl. 12:1)!
III. THE REWARD OF OUR LABORS - Matt. 20:8-16 (the parable's point)
A. Our Reward Will Not Be Determined By The Labors & Rewards Of Others - 20:8-12.
1. Full-day workers expected more when they saw what others received -- Murmured when they didn't get it! - cf. 20:10-11
2. Tendency: Judge ourselves by others:
a. "If they don't, we dont have to either!"
b. If they receive that, I ought to receive much more because I've done more!" - 20:12
c. cf. 2 Cor. 10:12, 17-18 - Wrong attitude & conduct!
3. Gal. 6:3-4 - Pride and deception!
B. Lesson: Beware Of Jealousy In The Kingdom! - Rom. 12:3-8; Matt. 10:42
1. Never be jealous of the work of others!
2. Rom. 12:15-16 - Rejoice in blessings others have from God!
C. God Is Just & Will Fairly Distribute The Heavenly Reward - 20:13-16.
1. 20:13-14 - Fairness exercised (Rom. 2:6).
2. God's just distribution of His blessings (2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 3:5):
a. 20:14 - Per His will.
b. 20:15 - Lawful (His).
c. 20:15 - Goodness of God.
D. All Laborers In God's Vineyard Will Receive A Reward Far Greater Than They Deserve - Lk. 17:10.
1. None of us deserve heaven! (Rom. 3:10-12; 1 Tim. 1:12-25)
2. Goodness of God (grace applied to all who are saved!).
3. When "the last will be first, and the first last", understanding that we are saved by grace should eliminate arrogant jealousy & complaint against God!
Heed God's call to enter the kingdom (obey by faith) & be eternally rewarded by Him! (cf. Matt. 19:29) - 2 Tim. 4:8