Text: – “Son, go and work today in the vineyard” – “MATTHEW 21:28”
I’m sure that none of us today, would doubt that the Lord’s desire is to continually work in and through His people, and it is an undeniable fact that His desire and intention for every one of His Children is three fold: –
- That they should be Holy.
- That they should be Holy & Happy.
- That they should be Holy, Happy and Helpful or useful
and it is in the Child of God’s appreciation and cooperation with the desire of their Father, in response to the Lord’s Prayer, which says, “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, and THY WILL BE DONE”, that the greatest sense of fulfilment and contentment in life will be recognised and enjoyed.
In our time together today, relating to being Workers for the Lord, we are going to take a look at the words of our Text which says “Son, go and work today in the vineyard”, and in that text, which should also be recognised as a commission, we will see that there are five significant words, each of which brings before us a vital truth, that I believe the Lord would have us recognise at this time, and perhaps, more than at any time before.
In the text there are the following aspects of importance: –
- Son describes the BASIS of Christian Service.
- Go describes the AUTHORITY of Christian Service.
- Work describes the NATURE of Christian Service.
- Today describes the TIME of Christian Service.
- Vineyard describes the SPHERE of Christian Service.
and as we look at them, don’t switch off, and think to yourself, “Oh, this is about, working for God, I’m not capable or experienced enough, or it’s not relevant to me”, No! have an open mind and spirit and see what the Lord by the Holy Spirit may want to say to you and of course to me also
Son describes the Basis of Christian Service
It is of importance for all of us today to recognise that the foundation of everything that is done, in the Lord’s Name and for Him is built upon the basis of Relationship. Relationship, Yes! With one another, but more importantly, relationship with the Lord Himself. Relationship is the first and foremost qualification for service, and relationship is not gained by Church attendance. It’s not found in the continual pressures of doing Good Works. It’s not obtained, by the giving of one’s finances. It is simply through Birth. Let me read to you what we find in “John 3:3 & 5” – “Jesus answered him, I assure you that unless person is born again, he cannot the Kingdom of God, except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot ever enter the Kingdom of God”.
It is a fact that is obvious from those words of Jesus Himself, that there will be countless millions, who will never enter the Kingdom of God, because they have never gotten into relationship with God, through the Lord Jesus. The Bible states clearly, “No man comes to the Father, but by me”, it also states “There is one mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus”. Thus, today we should recognise that “Sonship must precede Service”.
It is a very sad state of affairs, but none the less true, that there are many who are attempting to serve God today, who like the religious people who came to Jesus, and were told they must be born again, who are not saved. Sure, they provide good to those around them, and perhaps derive a sense of well-being from their deeds, however, there work is all in vain, when it comes to their eternal destiny, for all our works, outside of a Saving Relationship with Jesus, are of no use to Man or God, as far as eternity is concerned.
Let me read to you what we are told in “Titus 3:5” – “He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy.” Thus, we should endeavour with all haste to ensure that our standing is upon the Rock Christ Jesus, and that we know in a personal way of His Salvation in our lives before we entertain any service for Him.
Go describes the Authority of Christian Service
Let me ask you this question of us today, and I’ll take the liberty of answering it for us, “What is that gives anyone the authority to preach the Gospel, whether it be from a pulpit, in the open air, in a Sunday School Class, by word of mouth, by tract, by letter, or by any other means?” Is it the Government? No! it a Local Church Council? No! The sole authority for the proclamation of the Gospel and of any form of Christian Service for the Lord, is found in the little word GO used by the Lord Jesus. It is Jesus who has divinely equipped and empowered us and has said GO to every single Child of God, without exception.
The fact that He has said it provides us with both Comfort and Challenge. In “Matthew 28:19-20” the words of the Lord Jesus to every single person who claims to be born again are these, “Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you”. As a Child of God we should be sowing the gospel seeds, and making known the way of salvation, to all that we are able. I will say it plainly, “we are in the wrong as God’s Children if we are content to keep the Good News to ourselves”. I might even proffer the concept that if this is our attitude “Are we really born of God?”.
If our neighbours and friends and our colleagues are going to perdition, and we do nothing to save them, we will be held accountable, in the day of judgment, let me read to you a story that is found in “2 Kings 7:3-9” the lepers in the account could have kept quiet about their news, but they recognised that in doing so they would be in the wrong, and thus they told the people of God the Good News.
The question comes to our hearts today – “What are we doing with the Good News of Salvation that is ours today, are we sharing it, saving it, spreading it, or spoiling it?
Work describes the Basis of Christian Service
The word that is used in the heading for this point is “WORK not SHIRK”, and we should never as God’s people, ever find ourselves in the position that we can justifiably be accused of being Christian Shirkers.
I’m emphasising this point because it has been said and I believe rightly so, that the work of God is progressing very slowly today because so many Christians, are lazy and lacking in holy enthusiasm for the Lord and the Salvation of others. They desire God’s blessing in their lives, they want the richness of His comfort and guidance, they need the provision that He continually gives to them and they long for His presence in their day to day activities, but seldom wish to give anything back.
If we were to be taught correctly about the realities of Hell and the condition of those who are pagans and without Christ as Saviour perhaps this would change. However, these are unpalatable truths that many in leadership fail to provide. It’s upsetting and uncomfortable, it may offend some and they won’t come again – Well! So be it the Gospel has always been an offence to those who do not believe. What’s the result? I’ll tell you “Churches filled with contented and apathetic people”.
It says in “Jude 22-23” – “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Dante Alighieri said, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” The world is in a “moral crisis” of depravity and degradation and the Church is the only voice approved of by God to stand up and speak againgst it.
God yes is looking for all of us to “Worship and Praise” it’s after all the response and outworking of a thankful heart but should never be the reason for not fulfilling His commission.
As God’s people we must constantly be vigilant in our attitudes and motives, that we do not become an overindulgent and ungrateful people. Praise and Worship is a very pleasurable experience, however it’s not a “Line of Spiritual Cocaine or an injection of Adrenalin” to provide a “spiritual high”. It’s not intended for that although it’s become that in so many spheres. Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments” and as we serve Himand give ourselves physically in service for our King and Saviour then our Worship / Praise will flow naturally.
Let me ask a pertinent and probing question? – “When did we last speak to someone about receiving Jesus as Saviour?” – “When, if ever have we led anybody to Christ?” – I’m not asking to be condemning No! Heaven forbid. I’m asking so that we might see the reality (if its relevant) of our complacency.
In “2 Corinthians 6:1” we read “As God’s fellow workers labouring together with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain” and the verse reminds us that we are in partnership with the Lord. Jesus is not looking for “Sleeping Partners” but those who are awake and vigilant in their duty to and for Him. We look around us and men and women are filled with tremendous enthusiasm about what they are doing, and their things are temporal, ours are Eternal.
Today describes the Time of Christian Service
The world in which we live isn’t the easiest of places, and for some it is especially difficult, but you know it is also extremely hard for many to just live in the present. Many are always planning ahead, with minds and thoughts always concentrating and spending their time involved in planning for next week or month or year. Sure, it’s all very exciting and legitimate, but at the same time we need to recognise, we are living in a constant today, and it is this that our text says it says “Son go work TODAY”, not tomorrow or next week, but today.
I am going to at the end of this message, to ask for a response to the urgency of the Lords words to us, He exhorts us TODAY, not tomorrow but TODAY. In “John 9:4” we see the words of Jesus, which reveal the urgency of the times, it says “We must work the works of Him who sent me, and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on when no man can work”.
Today a door may be open for us, tomorrow it may be closed, we need to take the opportunities that are before us, for truly as “1 Samuel 21:8” says “The Kings business requires haste”. We need to recognise the needs before us and grasp the task tightly to our hearts.
Vineyard describes the Sphere of Christian Service
It is here at this point that if we are not careful we jump to the conclusion, that because God has not spoken directly to us, and He has not revealed to us especially, that we should do this or that, that we excuse ourselves, from His service, well let me say right now that “THE NEED IS THE CALL”. It’s in the Acts of the Apostles that we read that one group of Christians were asked to help another, they saw the need and the need was Gods call in their lives to go over and help, so it is with us all.
If we were thinking of going to the foreign mission field, or a sphere of service, outside of our own local fellowship where God has placed us and given to us as our work place, then a greater sense of leading and guidance, would be required. However, today the calling upon us is not to go to a foreign mission field, we are simply called to be available to serve the Lord where we are, and now, not tomorrow.
In fact, If it’s true that as the Scriptures tell us that “We are not of this World” and that “We look for another City whose Builder and Maker is God” then in reality we are all in a “Foreign Mission Field”.
If we are here today, then we are here because God lead us here. If we have an awareness within our spirit, that this is the place where God wants us to be, then this is our Vineyard, until the Lord chooses otherwise.
Further, the words of our text come right back to us and say, “go work today in my vineyard” and the Spirit of God requires from all of us today, action to His call.
In “Matthew 9:36-38” we read “When Jesus saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered, harassed and distressed, dejected and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, then He said to His disciples, the harvest is indeed plentiful, but the labourers are few. So pray the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust labourers into His harvest” we are certainly willing to pray this prayer, that the Lord force out labourers into His harvest, but at the same time, we must recognise, that it is we that are to be the workers.
In the verses Jesus shows in “Verse 36″ the Lost” – in “Verse 37″ the need for Labourers, and in “Verse 38″ the way to secure Labourers” and the Spirit of God asks of us today “Are we willing today to serve Him, will we present our Bodies as Living Sacrifices this day to the Lord, and present Bodies today to the Lord, on the Alter of God’s Service again.
I’m calling today for Sunday School Teachers, and Play Group Leaders, Pastors, Leaders all in Church Service to responded afresh to the Lord. I’m also calling every individual Church Member to move from the most uncomfortably position of resting upon our laurels to respond afresh to the Lord.
I sincerely trust that as the Holy Spirit speaks to us that we will listen to Gods voice our Hearts, and not don’t “harden our hearts as in the day of provocation”, but respond to its urging, and give ourselves to His work afresh.