Sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost October 11, 2020
Texts: Matthew 21:28-32 CW – 3 Year Series: A 20:2218
Theme: What Do You Think?
What an honor it is that God, in His Word, should address us as children and sons. They hold a special position within the house. “See the kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are!” (1Jn.3:1). “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…And if you are a son, then you are also an heir of God through Christ” (Ga.3:26;4:7). God calls us as His children, His sons. What an incentive for us to be children and sons who truly show ourselves to be such!
Children are a reflection of their parents. They look like them, think like them, and act like them. Do you look, think, and act like your heavenly Father? What do you think?
That’s the first thing Jesus asked the priests and the elders who stood around Him in the temple: “What do you think?” Would that be a question He should ask, especially of the priests and elders who were angry at Jesus?
He had just chased from the temple the money changers and merchants who were desecrating its sanctity. “By what authority do you do this?” they asked. “What do you think?” he responded. Surely, he wasn’t expecting a kind and honest answer from them.
But Jesus had an important purpose. He used that question to try and open their hearts and minds to see who He truly was. He hoped they would search their hearts. He hopes the same for us.
So, place yourself into the story He tells and see how you measure up. What Do You Think? There are several indirect, introspective questions that Jesus raises here. Here’s the first one:
I. Does a Father have a right to demand of His children?
When I was a boy, my parents placed all kinds of demands on me: “Ed, it’s your turn to do the dishes tonight.” “Ed, before you go out to play, you have to practice the piano.” “Ed, before you leave for school, make your bed and straighten up your room.” I’m sure you all have vivid memories of being sent off to do things with similar demands. Do parents have a right to make such demands of their children? What do you think?
Does a father have the right because he is bigger and stronger? Does he have the right because his deeper voice is enough to lift a child off his feet and send him on his way to act? Does a father have a right to make demands because the Fourth Commandment stands behind him saying, “Children, obey your parents in everything for this is pleasing to the Lord” (Col.3:20). Such law-oriented reasons have their place. But for a true child, a true son, the matter is decided by love, not law.
The father owned the vineyard. The sons knew how much the vineyard meant to him. He needed the vineyard to provide for the sons and the family, since there was nothing the father would not do for their welfare. Love, not law is the motivation. Filial love, obedience, and service were involved in the father’ request. It ought to have been the deepest kind of obligation for the sons.
Does a father have a right to demand of His children? And how should children respond? What about our heavenly Father? Would He even have more of a right to ask us to work for Him?
It’s not because God is bigger or stronger that gives Him the right to ask us to go and do things for Him. As Christians, we have come to know the love of a heavenly Father that radiates at its highest point from Jesus’ cross. We also know how precious the work of a Christian is to Him as one responds in faith to the Savior.
So, what do you think? When He comes and lays a hand on your shoulder and asks you to work in His vineyard, that is, His Church, remember who is calling you. It’s the voice of your heavenly Father who made you His redeemed child, a son, an heir of heavenly things through Christ.
II. Do you see yourself saying “no” to Him?
“I won’t do it!” Could you ever imagine saying that to your parents? I can’t imagine saying that to my father as a child. I may not have wanted to do what was asked of me, but I also wanted to please my parents. Yes, I may have complained and mumbled under my breath like children do. I may have tried to deflect the job onto one of my brothers. But I would never have stood in my father’s face and said, “I won’t do it!”
Some openly do that to God, although they won’t admit it. The priests and Jewish elders were examples of that. They openly stand in God’s face and live lives that contradict His commands. Are there times that we as Christians do that too? What do you think?
Can you see yourself standing in front of your heavenly Father and saying, “No! I won’t do it?” We would never do that, would
we? Be honest. Have you never said “no” to God? “No, I don’t want to do that work within the Church.” “No, I don’t want to tell that person about Jesus.” “No, I want to live and do the kind of things that I want to do.” Whenever we sin in whatever situation of our lives, either within the work of the church or outside of it in our daily existence, realize we are saying “no” to God.
The devil and our fallen heart constantly seek to make that our response. Maybe it’s not as open as in Jesus’ day when the tax collectors and prostitutes lived the way they did. Even the priests did things and spoke against Him, the Son of God. Maybe I haven’t openly broken the law and am not sitting in a jail for my public rebellion against God’s governing authorities on earth, but there are times that I have chosen to not do what I could have done for the Lord and His Kingdom, when I have chosen the ways of the world rather than His desires for my life. Satan tempts us to stand before God, who is always with us, and say, “no” to Him.
Yet, “as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion upon us. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. He remembers that we are dust. So great is His love” (Ps.103). It is that forgiving love which motivates us to have a change of heart and to live for Him.
But what if that feeling doesn’t last? What do you think?
III. Do you see yourself saying “I will” but then not going?
It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But good intentions and quick responses, not accompanied by loving sincerity, are typical of our sinful nature. There are many reasons for saying “Yes, I will,” to God, but then not meaning or doing it.
One can be tempted not to take God seriously: “Ah, He doesn’t really mean it.” the voice whispers within. One can easily get distracted with other things that seem more important than making time for the Lord. One can be just plain lazy. And sometimes, if people were truly honest with themselves, they want to do things their way, not His, but they’ll never say it. I wonder what was in the second son’s mind when he said, “I will father,” but didn’t go.
At first it sounds like ready compliance, almost like he is ready to jump up and run out the door. It’s actually where we ought to be before God, isn’t it – running to the door saying, “Here I am. Send me! Send me”? That’s where we ought to be, as long as we do it. But good intentions are nothing before God. Actions are.
What do you think? Do you see yourself saying “I will” but not going?
III. Do you see that the door of hope is still open to both?
So, which of the two sons are we you like — the one saying “no” at first, but later going, or the other saying “yes, at first, but not going”? Or maybe you are one who says “yes” and goes immediately to do whatever you can for the Lord? But the parable does not include this third type.
So, what do you think? Maybe we’re a little of both. Maybe it’s best for us to consider what changes need to be made for our good and the welfare of His Kingdom.
But notice this. Do you see that He left the door of hope open to both? True, He said, the tax collectors and sinners were turning from their ways and entering God’s kingdom ahead of the leaders because of their faith in the Savior. But the door to the kingdom was still open to the leaders as well. Jesus was inviting them and all to have the change of heart that recognizes each one’s need for the Savior, turns to Him in faith, and works for Him in His Kingdom. The invite goes out to all. The door of hope is still open. “I am the door,” Jesus said, “Whoever enters through me will be saved.”
Such faith will respond with the deepest kind of obligation possible. It’s called filial love. “See the kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are!”(1Jn.:3:1). “You are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…If you are a son, then you are also an heir.” How great is that! God grant our glad response in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: email@example.com
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost October 11, 2020
“Get for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit…Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:31f
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“To You, O LORD, I will lift my soul. In You I have trusted, O my God…All who hope in You will never be put to shame….Make known to me Your ways, O LORD. Teach me Your paths” (Psalm 25).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Live through Christ! Live for Him! Some people seem to have a death wish. They recklessly go through life, risking their lives by doing foolish things. It’s almost like they hope to die.
Since the fall into sin, all men have a death wish when they dare to defy God. For example, Adam and Eve willingly took and ate the forbidden fruit even though they knew the consequences. Israel turned away from God to idols, even though they knew the consequences. Likewise, we dare to break God’s commandments, even though we know the consequences: “The soul that sins will die.”
But the Lord “takes no pleasure in the death of anyone.” Thank God that He sent the Savior to save us in spite of ourselves. He became like us so that we could become like Him, cleansed of sin. Through faith in Him we live. In gratitude for the life He gives, may we live for Him.
To that end we pray: O God, grant that Your Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts that we may live in you; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
God punishes no one for the sins of others for He is a just God, fair and righteous in all His ways. Before God each one bears his own responsibility for sin. Yet all is not hopeless. Sin brings death, but repentance brings life. That is God’s promise. Why choose death when one can live in the Lord?
The Epistle Lesson: Philippians 2:1-11
Christ lowered Himself, laying aside the full and constant use of His divine powers to save us. For that God exalted Him. Christ’s humble act becomes the means, motivation, and method for living the Christian life. He makes our joy complete, enabling us to live through and for Him.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 21:28-32
Jesus tells the Parable of Two Sons Working in a Field. One son blatantly disobeyed His father, but later repented. The other son feigned obedience but lacked sincerity of heart and deed. Jesus compares them to the hypocritical Jewish leaders and the repentant tax collectors.
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The Organist: Jane Rips
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Point: What sermons autumn preaches! Even the sun, as if himself decaying with age, sheds a fainter light…and, like a man in the evening of life, goes earlier to bed and is later to rise. And flying leaves, swept from their parent stem, go whirling along the ground. So sin has broken the holy ties which once united man to God, and now the sinner is blown to and fro…until the blast of death whirls him into the dark corners of the grave…But thank God, here the comparison ceases! Dead, withered, decayed leaves return no more to the parent tree from whose arms they were torn, but we, in Christ, return to God and live now and forever.
— author unknown
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #387
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Psalm of the Day: #25
Hymnal page 74
Duet: O God, Beyond All Praising
Sermon Hymn: #385
Sermon Text: Matthew 21:28-32
What Do You Think?
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: pg.41
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing:
Hymnal pages 43-44
Monthly WELS Connection Video
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32 – Repent and Live!
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2“What do you mean, you who keep repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel: Fathers eat sour grapes, and the teeth of their sons are set on edge? 3“As surely as I live, declares the Lord God, you will never again use this proverb in Israel. 4Indeed, all souls are mine. The soul of the father is mine just like the soul of the son. The soul who sins is the one who will die.
25“Yet you say, ‘The Lord’s way is not fair.’ Listen now, O house of Israel: Is it my way that is not fair? Is it not your ways that are not fair? 26If a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and practices unrighteousness, he will die because of it. Because of the unrighteousness that he has practiced, he will die.
27“But if a wicked man repents of his wickedness that he had done and practices justice and righteousness, he will preserve his life. 28Because he has seen and repented of all the rebellious acts that he had committed, he will surely live, and he will not die. 29But the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s way is not fair.’ Is it really my ways that are not fair, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not fair?
30“Therefore, I will judge each one of you according to his ways, O house of Israel, says the Lord God. Repent and turn away from all your rebellious acts, so that you will not set out a stumbling block that makes you guilty. 31Throw off from yourselves all your rebellious actions by which you have rebelled and get for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O house of Israel? 32For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, declares the Lord God. So repent and live!”
Epistle Lesson: Philippians 2:1-11 – Let Christ’s Attitude Be in You
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility consider one another better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look carefully not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Indeed, let this attitude be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. 6Though he was by nature God, he did not consider equality with God as a prize to be displayed, 7but he emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant. When he was born in human likeness, and his appearance was like that of any other man, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. 9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 21:28-32 – Parable of Two Sons in the Vineyard 28“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not,’ but later he changed his mind and went. 30He came to the second and said the same thing. The second son answered, ‘I will go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I tell you: The tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, but you did not believe him. However, the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him. Even when you saw this, you did not change your mind and believe him.”
The Evangelical Heritage Version of the Bible, EHV, New Testament & Psalms ©2017
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Quarterly Voters’ Meeting? TBA
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
On page 156 in the front part of Christian Worship we are given a helpful meditation on how to personally prepare our hearts for the reception of the Lord’s Supper. A similar type of examination is found in today’s Scripture readings combined. May we take to heart God’s urgent invitation to confess our sins and receive His pardon and forgiveness.
The Old Testament Lesson: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 (answers are found on the back side)
- Explain the statement, “No one will be condemned for another person’s disobedience.”
2. Finally, whose fault is it when a man refuses to repent and turn from his sinful ways?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; the Lisenbys’ granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, at home; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family; Felicia Nichols’ brother’s family and father; Bill Buchanan; Lois Wiese; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Pastor Leroy Martin, Rachel Bates father, in a Florida hospital with pneumonia and Covid.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know
Forward in Christ’s monthly edition for October has arrived. You will find copies for family and friends on the credenza under the window in the narthex. If you have missed any, past issues will be found by the mailboxes.
Ordinance Continued Springfield/Greene County voted this past week to continue the mask requirements until January. So we will continue wearing masks in the worship service. Some of the others previous requirements have changed, but we believe they will not affect us any. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, continue to watch your physical distancing, side to side and front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving the sanctuary.
Sunday Bible Study We will try to reconvene our Sunday morning Bible study class after the service today. We have not held it since the restrictions with Covid began last April. It will be a brief study time and we invite you to join us in the fellowship hall following the service.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 16; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offering: $1,275.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 20 Series A: Isaiah 5:1-7, 25-32; Philippians 3:12-21; Matthew 21:33-43
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- For a sinner to put the blame on his parents or others for his troubles is both foolish and unjust. Each of us will stand before the Lord individually, responsible solely for our own sinful acts and the consequences that follow. May the nature of our true contrition be such that we disregard the transgressions of others and see nothing but our own sin and guilt.
- Eternal death and damnation will always be the end result for the man who deliberately chooses to reject God’s urgent invitation for free, full, and final forgiveness. Simply put, he will have no one to blame but himself
This week I am praying for……