12 Dec 12/12/15 “HOPE: GOD IS JUST (NOT FAIR)” – Pastor Shane Idleman
Complete Sermon Notes
Matthew 20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’
8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
I really need a two part series to do this justice:
FAIR: Equal representation; equal allotment.
JUST: Trusting in God’s sovereignty – Justice will be served.
A minimizing of sovereignty is directly related to a magnifying of worry. “Most Christians salute the sovereignty of God but believe in the sovereignty of man” (R.C. Sproul).
“Why do the wicked prosper?”
Examples of the opposite: burglar caught in chimney died and a 22-year fleeing the police hid by a lake in Florida.
The kingdom of heaven is like – “For many are called, but few chosen.”
Called – a summons
Chosen – elect – eklektos:
A healthy tension – some things are not EXPLICITLY taught [such as babies going to heaven]. If it said, “The age of accountability is 8,” we would take proactive measures.
Abraham, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul
AGE OLD QUESTION: “Could God have created man to receive His offer of salvation or reject it?” Jesus said in Mark 10:15, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Does this mean that man HAS the ability to receive the gift that is being offered?
This ability (if it does exist) does not make man good, quite the contrary, it makes him utterly dependant, desperate, and without hope unless he receives what God has offered (cf. Mk. 10:15).
1 Corinthians 2:14 states, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The word receive (Dechomai) means to take hold of, or to welcome. The natural man definitely does not welcome the things of God, but can he accept or reject them? I do not receive or welcome visitors at 1am, but it does not follow that I cannot receive or welcome them.
GOD’S CALLING: In Romans 1:20, we learn that we are without excuse: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen…so that they are without excuse.”
JOHN Calvin in Institutes of Christian Religion, said, Our “will is in bondage to sin and therefore sins of necessity, but…this necessity is…voluntary.”
But can a person be “without excuse” who does not have the ability to perform what is being asked? Is it right to punish a one month old baby for disobeying a command to walk and conclude that she is “without excuse” even though she cannot perform what’s being asked?
THE ANSWER: be faithful to the command to preach, to witness, and to proclaim the truth while understanding that God does the drawing, saving, and sealing. We can’t manipulate, but we can plead. We can’t force, but we can encourage.
There should be a healthy tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. This issue should not create a spirit of division, elitism, or theological superiority. Those who believe you can lose your salvation should not chide those who believe in eternal security – “once saved always saved” is by no means a license to sin – it’s a belief in God’s guarantee.
When we believe the gospel and repent of our sin, we “are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
FINAL POINT: These promises are not based on anything that we do to maintain them; they are based on what Christ did, but we also must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (cf. Philippians 2:12).
Hope is in Him
HYMN SURVEY – Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures.
At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join D.L. Moody on an evangelistic campaign in England.
Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.
With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, “When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul…”
Is it “well with your soul?”
…Last week’s topic – DEPART FROM ME
We can get caught up in Christmas plays, potlucks, and church services and never ask, “I