Pastor Weise’s Sermon – All God’s Blessings Are For All God’s People

Pastor Weise's Sermon - We Shall See The Lord
Pastor Weise’s Sermon – All God’s Blessings Are For All God’s People

All God’s Blessings Are For All God’s People

Exodus 17.1-7/II Corinthians 10.1-5/St. Matthew 20.1-16

Septuagesima/February 17, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

Text:  St. Matthew 20.1-16

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 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?’ 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.’

“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.’ 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.”

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I          Today

Jesus tells us a story about the kingdom of heaven.

 

He says—

The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.                                                                (St. Matthew 20. 1-2)

 

The landowner

then goes out looking for workers again

at 9 o’clock.

 

He goes out again

at noon.

and

again at 3 o’clock.

and

finally one last time at 5 o’clock—

each time hiring more workers for his vineyard.

 

II         Then when the day is over and the work is done—

it’s time get paid.

 

The ones who worked one hour get paid first—

and they get paid a denarius—

the full day’s wage.

 

And so did everyone else—

they all got one denarius—

all the way up to the ones who worked all day.

 

III       That made some of the workers angry—

especially the ones

who’d been working all day long!

 

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, one of them says.                       (St. Matthew 20.12)

 

Then the owner says—

Friend, I am doing you no wrong.  Did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what is your and go your way.  I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.  Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?  Or is your eye evil because I am good?                                                                                                             (St. Matthew 20.13-15)

 

That’s Jesus’ story about the kingdom of heaven today.

But what does it mean?

 

IV        Well—

Like all of Jesus’ parables—

this one is an earthly story

with a heavenly point.

 

It’s set in a familiar, here-and-now kind of setting—

but it tells us something about

eternity

and

our life in the world to come.

 

With this parable—

Jesus tells us

how he chooses people for the kingdom of heaven—

and

he tells us

about the blessings he gives to those he chooses.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

V         Jesus is always choosing people to join him in his everlasting kingdom.

 

Just like that landowner went out

5 times during the day to hire workers—

Jesus comes looking all day long

for people to live with him in his kingdom.

Over and over he comes to us—

inviting us to

live with him

and

work with him

and

be blessed by him

in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Some answer Jesus’ call early.

Some answer in the middle of the day

or in the afternoon.

Some don’t answer till it’s almost night—

But when Jesus’ calls—people answer.

 

And when Christ welcomes you into his kingdom—

it’s not a matter

of how hard you worked

or

how long work you did—

what matters is that Christ brought you in his kingdom.

 

In the kingdom—

ALL GOD’S BLESSINGS

                         are for

                        ALL GOD’S PEOPLE.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

VI        Maybe you were baptized when you just days old

and you’ve been faithful your entire life.

Great!

All the blessings of God are yours.

 

Maybe you

came to faith and were baptized

as an adult—

and you’ve struggled with your faith along the way

and it hasn’t always been pretty—

but here you still are.

Praise God!

All the blessings of God are yours.

 

Maybe you were not called to faith

until you were 60 or 70 or 80 years old—

but you have been called

and you are God’s child

and you do have a place in the kingdom.

Thanks be to God!

All the blessings of God are yours, too.  à

And there are some—

even some here at Good Shepherd—

who will not answer Jesus’ call

and make their confession of faith

until they near their very last breath.

So be it.  All the blessings of God will be theirs, too.

 

It doesn’t matter when your called to faith by Christ.

It only matters that you’re called to faith.

 

And once you’ve been

called to faith

and

welcomed into the kingdom of heaven—

all the blessings of God are yours in Christ Jesus, our Lord—

because

ALL GOD’S BLESSINGS

                                                            are for

                                                            ALL GOD’S PEOPLE.

________________________________________________________________

 

VII      For those of us who have been Christians all our lives—

and I’m one of them—

There’s a temptation

to begrudge Christ his generosity with his blessings.

There’s a temptation

to be jealous of those who come into the kingdom after we do.

 

I’ve been in church almost every Sunday of my life.

I have

mowed the grass

and

kept the books

and

played the organ

and

taught Sunday School.

 

I have

served on the Church Council

and

visited sick parishioners

and

helped the pastor

and

served as an Elder.

 

I’ve been faithful my entire life—

and this guy—

This guy who just now got baptized at 80 years old—

He gets the same blessing as me?

Really?!

 

VIII    Really.

 

When we question Jesus’ generosity with his own blessings—

we sin.

 

And that sin

reveals the evil in our own eyes.

It reveals the evil in our hearts

and

our disregard for the goodness of the Lord.

 

Jesus gives all God’s blessings

to all God’s people.

 

And it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been the people of God.

It only matters that they are the people of God.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

IX       I believe

The Holy Spirit holds this Scripture before us today—

because

we are people of the eleventh hour.

 

No one who lives at Good Shepherd

lives here because they’re

young

and

healthy

and

in the prime of their lives.

 

You live here

because you’re

older—

sicker—

weaker—

and

less able to handle the challenges of life

all on your own.

 

For most of us here—

It is the eleventh hour.

 

X         And yet—

even now at this late hour

for all of you here today—

Jesus is coming—

and

Jesus is calling—

and he’s looking for workers for his vineyard.

 

Today—

Jesus comes to Good Shepherd

to invite you once more

to be his saints

and live with him forever in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

 

Today—

Jesus goes up and down the halls

and from door to door

asking, seeking, knocking—

looking for brothers and sisters

who need what you’ve already been given—

forgiveness of their sins

life that never ends

the salvation of their souls

and

a place in the kingdom of God.

 

Today—

and every day—

Jesus comes to Good Shepherd.

 

He comes early in the morning

and

he comes again

at the 3rd hour

and

the 6th hour

and

the 9th hour

and

the 11th hour.

 

And every time he comes—

he comes calling people

to live with him forever in his kingdom.

 

XI       And when

by faith and the working of the Holy Spirit

people answer His call—

Jesus welcomes them into the everlasting kingdom of heaven—

and

he gives them the same gifts he’s given all of us.

 

He gives them the full day’s wage.

He washes them clean of all their sins

in his blood shed on the cross.

 

He kills the inner sinner in them

and raises them up to new and everlasting life with all the saints.

 

Just like He’s done for you—

He saves them from sin/death/the devil/and hell/

and he saves them for a life here and now of

faithfulness

love

and

good works—

and he saves them for everlasting life

where we will work no more.

 

XII      Jesus has called you into his kingdom

and welcomed you there with every gift God has to give.

 

And Jesus comes to Good Shepherd every day

and he will keep coming every day

and he will welcome new workers into his vineyard

every single day

until the End of the Age.

 

And to those people

he will give the very same thing  he’s given you—

Every gift God has to give.

________________________________________________________________

 

XIII    So do not begrudge Jesus his generosity with his gifts.

 

Instead—

Repent of the evil in your eye.

Repent of the evil in your heart

that says you deserve more

than a saint who came to faith at the 11th hour.

 

Repent—

because Jesus forgives that sin—

and pours his blessing on you once again.

 

So Rejoice!

Rejoice with the angels in heaven

over EVERY SOUL

who had been lost

but now is found.

 

Rejoice that you

are among those chosen to live forever

with Christ in his kingdom.

 

Rejoice that

ALL GOD’S BLESSINGS

                                    are for

                                    ALL GOD’S PEOPLE.

________________________________________________________________

 

XII      The last will be first—

                        and

                        the first last.                                                                                                 (St. Matthew 20.16)

And both first and last will receive every blessing of God.

 

Many are called—
but few are chosen.                                                                                     
(St. Matthew 20.16)

and all the chosen will be blessed beyond measure

from the

generous

gracious

hand of Christ our Lord.

Praise God that you—

and ALL your brothers and sisters in the faith—

are among

the first

the last

and

the chosen.

Praise God that YOU—

and all the saints

will live with Christ in his kingdom—

today, tomorrow, and forever.

And

Praise God—

that

ALL GOD’S BLESSINGS

ARE FOR ALL GOD’S PEOPLE.

 

Amen.

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Hymn of Response:  Create in Me.

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