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25 July:     The Wicked Tenants      Lk 20:9-19

 

Lk 20:9-19 (abbreviated) “And He began to tell the people this parable: ‘A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. The owner sent another slave whom they also mistreated as well as a third slave and cast them out.’

‘The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’” “But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others

When they heard it, they said, ‘May it never be!’  But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘What then is this that is written: ‘The Stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone?

“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whom ever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.’ The scribes and chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, but they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them.”

 

  1. So, as we read the Word and particularly as we read the parables told by Jesus we should be constantly looking for how it pertains and “AFFECTS” our lives.
  2. In this parable the owner of the vineyard is God and the vineyard is the Jewish nation (chosen people);          the tenant overseers are the priests, prophets, kings and elders of the people;          the servants sent to collect what is owed to the owner are the prophets of the Old Testament while   the son who was rejected is  Jesus.

 

  1. Wicked Tenants – leaders of God’s people
  1. Solomon – I Kings 11:4,6 “For when Solomon was old, his wives (700 wives/300 concubines) turned his heart away after other gods; and His heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as David his father had done. “   “Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully,”…
  2. Heb 11:32ff speaks of the prophets who were tortured, sawn in half, put to death by the sword, went about in sheepskins – destitute, afflicted and ill treated
  3. Luke 7:29,30  “When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized of John.”
  4. Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”
  5. WICKE TENANTS:  WHAT is FIRST in our lives?      Are there areas in our lives where we are like these wicked tenants and also reject God’s ownership? Do we clutch our finances instead of having a giving spirit? Do we hold our possessions and refuse the opportunities to give to others (food, clothes)? Do we plan our schedules to include serving as God’s children? Are there times and ways in which we are guilty of casting God and His plans for us out the window to follow our own will?        We should not take things/blessings for granted but always give thanks to the Source of all good things. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows,” 1 Chronicles 16:11-12
  1. God’s Response
  1. God is loving/giving – Mt 7:11  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?”  the vineyard is rented out to the tenants – reminiscent of Canaan, land flowing with milk/honey, being given to the Israelites. We saw earlier how God’s leaders reacted and handled those blessings
  2. God is patient – the Owner sent multiple servants to claim His rent; He even sent His Son in order to claim what was His;    2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow… but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance;    I Tim 2:3,4 “God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In our prayers we should continuously recognized His patience and long-suffering attitude as He protects and provides for us. Consider how in the Old Testament God time and again put up with their rebellious and resentful attitudes: Jonah, David, Solomon, kings of Israel, etc….
  3. God is Just – “So the tenants threw out the son and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.”;          Lk 13:27,28 “And He will say,  I do not know where you are from: Depart from Me, all you evildoers. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth …”                Mt 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left (goats), ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”                                                                                             We need to realize that there is a limit to God’s patience. That there will come a reckoning – consider the rich fool in our previous parable and what happened to him; also, the story of Lazarus and that rich man as well. Are we not rich in God’s blessings? How are our lives playing out in God’s plans? Are we willing to stand on Judgement Day and declare with certainty that we are His?

Lk 6:46 “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not what do what I say?”

 John 10:14,15,27  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep… My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”

 

  1. The Son Is Sent into the Situation -
  1. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever should believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
  2. Heb 2:7 “You have made Him (Son of Man) for a little while lower than the angels…”
  3. I John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (appease/reconcile) for our sins.”
  4. Rom 5:8,9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet dinners, Christ died for us. Much more than, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
  5. Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
  6. THIS was the purpose that Jesus came down to earth; His rejection and crucifixion was not a surprise to the Father or the Son. This was in accordance to His plan to redeem us – His children.                                                                              The question arises – HAVE WE ACCEPTED Jesus AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR? If so how far are we willing to go and to sacrifice in order to follow the Will of God???? How often do we pray and live “not my will but Thine be done”????
  1. SUMMARY:  We are tenants –

we have been given an abundant life filled with blessings, talents, responsibilities, roles/jobs, and opportunities in this life.

Let us echo James’ words and ensure that our lives exemplify our faith in the Lord!!!

 

 

18 July: What is the Lord to You?   Consider the SEVEN Great   –   “I AM’s” 

 

In the Old Testament, God revealed His name to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14). Thus, in Judaism, “I AM” is unquestionably understood as a name for God. John 8:58,59 “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am. Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” When Jesus made the declaration of “I AM” they clearly understood what He was implying and reacted accordingly. Whenever Jesus made an “I am” statement in which He claimed attributes of deity, He was identifying Himself as God.

How or why is this important? It means that if we believe and trust in Him then we are trusting – NOT a really good man, NOT a really strong man, NOT a really rich man or NOT EVEN a really “connected” man. We are trusting a “GOD”!!!  We are trusting the ONE  and  ONLY  GOD!!!   So, let’s consider what Jesus told His followers:

The first declaration of Jesus is:  “I am the bread of life (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51). In this instance, Jesus states that He is the bread of life just after He had fed the 5,000 in the wilderness. In John 6:26 “Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.’” He then contrasts what He can do with what Moses had done for their ancestors: “Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die” (verses 49–50).

In other words, He is stating that He is capable of filling them with something that provides eternal life, not just life on this world. When He promises to bring us an abundant life it is one that starts everyday you wake up and extends all the way into our eternal days. Our abundant life is not just a spiritual life in eternity but a spiritual life today in this world. Those who hunger and thirst to know God is promised that Jesus will bring that satisfaction. That is what He told His disciples – that He was leaving and would then send Helper, the Holy Spirit. Our fulfilment in life today and through eternity can only be found through Jesus Christ.

QUESTION:   Do we fill as if we are living a fulfilled and enriched life  with/and through our Lord?

 

The second declaration of Jesus is:  “I am the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). This second of Jesus’ “I am” statements in John’s gospel comes right before He heals a man born blind. Jesus not only says He is the light; He proves it. Can you imagine how much this man’s life was changed and enriched by Jesus opening his eyes. When we allow Jesus to open our eyes and to let His light in – then we too will be amazingly blessed in ways we could never imagine.

Also, Jesus made this statement during the Feast of Tabernacles. At this feast, a huge candelabra was lit in the women’s court of the temple. It reminded the Israelites of the pillar of fire that guided their ancestors during the wilderness wanderings. Light allows us to see what could not otherwise see and know. If we are allowing Jesus to be our light then we will never get off the path that leads to life and find ourselves on the path that leads to destruction.

QUESTION: Are we confident of the direction our lives are going because we are guided by His Word and Teachings?


The third declaration of Jesus is: I am the door (John 10:7 and 9, ESV). This “I am” statement stresses that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven by any other means than Christ Himself. Jesus’ words in this passage are couched in the imagery of a sheepfold. He is the one and only way to enter the fold. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber” (verse 1).

A door acts as a buffer keeping out danger and, at the same time, allowing the sheep to go out to find pasture when it is safe to do so. If we are traveling through the avenues which He as granted us we will find ourselves both protected and blessed.

QUESTION:  Are we relying on the Lord to provide us our requirements, both worldly and spiritually? In the Sermon on the Mount we are told to not be anxious for what we need. This is specifically targeting our lives’ needs but includes our spiritual needs as well.

The fourth declaration of Jesus is: “I am the good shepherd  the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, 14). With this “I am” statement, Jesus portrays His great love and care. He is the One who willingly protects His flock even to the point of death. We see this love and promise FULFILLED in the crucifixion. A shepherd is a leader and protector of those under his charge.

QUESTION: Can you repeat in all honesty the Psalms 23 declaration that the Lord is YOUR shepherd – and you do not want?

The fifth declaration of Jesus is: “I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Jesus made this “I am” statement immediately before raising Lazarus from the dead. Again, we see that Jesus’ teaching was not just empty talk; when He made a claim, He substantiated it with action. He holds “the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:18, NLT).

I Cor 15:3ff “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas , then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles and lats of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” 

QUESTION: Is His love and Lordship apparent in your life?  

I John 5:3 “for this is the Love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”             

The sixth declaration of Jesus is: “I am the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Jesus is not merely one way among many ways to God; He is the only way. Scripture said that “The very essence of [God’s] words is truth” (Psalm 119:160, NLT), and here is Jesus proclaiming that He is the truth—confirming His identity as the Word of God (see John 1:1, 14). Jesus alone is the source of life; Jesus is the only way to forgiveness, the only source for truth and knowledge about God, and the only route to eternal life. Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

QUESTION: Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord? In Mt 7:21 Christ-followers are told to depart from HIM because He did not know them. Does He know you because YOU know Him as Savior and King?
 

The seventh declaration of Jesus is: “I am the true vine (John 15:1, 5). The final “I am” statement in the Gospel of John emphasizes the sustaining power of Christ. We are the branches, and He is the vine. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit unless it is joined in vital union with the vine, only those who are joined to Christ and receive their power from Him produce fruit in the Christian life. In the parable of the fig tree which was non-productive the vineyard keeper is told to remove it if it continues to be non-productive. Mt 7:17 “So every good tree bears good fruit…”

QUESTION: Is there good fruit in your life that serves as ample evidence as to  your relationship with the Lord?

 

 

QUESTION:

Is Jesus OUR bread providing us a fulfilled life and is He OUR light guiding us through our lives?

Do  WE  trust Jesus to provide us with all we need, in this world and the next?

Do  WE  accept Him as OUR Shepherd and subsequently follow and obey him in everything we do?

Does  OUR   lifestyle show evidence  of Jesus/Holy Spirit living within us?

 

These are all really GREAT questions but it is the ANSWERS that are really important!!!