Thursday, 18 August 2016

Matthew 20: The Upside Down Kingdom by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 14.8.16

This sermon is based on Matthew Chapter 20.  Interesting the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard was only recorded in Gospel of Matthew, the others did not record it.  John ony recorded it parabolicaly.  God used earthly story to explain what He wanted to say.  There are two aspects of a parable: 
              a) conceal – cannot be seen
              b) reveal  – can be seen
In chapter 20: 1-16 God had conceal and reveal about the meaning of the parable.
There are 4 parts to chapter 20:1-16:
      1)      Speaking to the individual
      2)      Speaking to the church
      3)      The emphasis on the Cross
      4)      Compassion of Jesus
The Upside down Kingdom
God’s kingdom is different from the worldly Kingdom and sometimes things in God’s kingdom are upside down as compared to the worldly kingdom.  In God’s kingdom, Christian leadership rested upon humility and servant hood.  The labourers in the vineyard considered God being not fair to them.  The world talks about fairness, but the Bible spoke of being just.  Being just is living by the Law, where as being fair is about equality.  This Parable deals with justice as well as equality.
vs 4. Worker was paid what was “right”.  The payment was the same regardless of how many hours of work.  The workers said it was unfair to pay the same amount for different hours of work.  But how dare one question God?  Jesus said He did no wrong for He paid one denarius as agreed by the workers.
vs.16 “so the last will be first, and the first will be last” – upside down kingdom that’s opposite to worldly kingdom.
Parables do not lay down laws unlike commandment.  They were not taught to obey any commandment.  Parables are pictorial illustrations like paintings.  Two aspects of parable: a) person of God B) work of God.
Character of God :
      1)      God is sovereign, He knows what He is doing, He is in charge no matter what happens in this world.
      2)      God is just.  The parable did not go against the justice of God. He is just and He will always do the right things.
      3)      Man looks on the outside, God looks at the heart.
      4)      Man is more concerned with quantity, God is concerned about quality.
      5)      Parable showed the length of time in work was less important than how one did the work.
      6)      Commendations for those who did good.
      7)      God is a generous God.  Like Luke 6:38  “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  The generosity of God is not haphazard and not unfair.  The parable of the workers in the vineyard is about God’s grace.

God did not underpay those who work longer in the fields.  He paid as agreed “on the day’s wage”.  He is always just.  He gave us a great gift of salvation with eternal life.  God is generous and full of grace.  God is just, He is gracious, He is truth.  Whatever He does is of love.