This Week's Gospel Sermons
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August 15, 2010
Who is a Christian? 5
Why Have You Been Standing Here Idle?
In Matthew 20:1-16Jesus tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The parable tells of one who went out to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He went out five different times on a certain day to find laborers and hired those he found at those different times. In verse 6, Jesus tells us that there were still laborers found at the eleventh hour of the day (almost sundown) who had not been hired. When the master found them, he asked, “Why have you been standing here idle all day long?” Their response was that they had not been hired by anyone, but they were willing to work. As Christians, we have been “hired” by the Lord. What if this question were to be posed to many who claim to be Christians today? The response couldn’t be that no one had hired us. Most often we are “too busy” with other things that we fail to meet our responsibilities to the Lord, our brethren, our families, and ourselves. After learning of our responsibilities, there can be no excuse offered for not doing.
Excuses For Not Working
For a number of reasons, some of us feel that we can’t be used in the work of the Lord. It may be that we lack the self-confidence needed to feel useful in the kingdom. It may be that we feel our past sins have been too terrible and therefore we are not worthy for use in the kingdom of God. It may be that we do not think that anyone would be interested in what we have to say, or that we are too poor, or that we are not pretty or handsome, thus no one would want to listen to us. Perhaps we feel that our age limits us.
Too Small to Work
Well, put those fears and all others aside, because if you are in the kingdom of the Lord there is a work for you to do.
What about the one God wanted to send forth into Egypt to save His people from slavery? Moses could not think of one reason why the Lord should send him to Egypt, after all he was slow of speech (Exodus 4:10) and a fugitive among the Egyptians. However, the Lord told him that He would be with him in Egypt and would send Aaron as his spokesman. Moses thought that he could not be used, but he could.
There was the woman that had only two mites (Mark 12:41-44). She was a very poor woman who would not have been able to do much in the sight of others, however she did what she could do. This is the point to be gained from these examples.
Consider the young man David, who saved the young man David, who saved the Israelites from the terrible giant Goliath and his people the Philistines (1Samuel 17:33-50). He did not fear because he was young or small in the sight of the giant, but went forth in the power of the Lord.
Too Big to Work
There are others that are not interested in doing a work if it is looked upon as anything other than a “big work.” Some may say, “If I could do a ‘big work,’ I would.” In the absence of any “big work” no work is attempted much less completed.
Visiting a friend who is in need of a kind word is not necessarily a “big work,” but it is a very important work.
Rejoicing with a person who has a reason to rejoice about a good matter is not a “big work,” but it is something that is important. Jesus said in Luke 16:10,11 that we should consider this very point.
Those that cannot be faithful in “little works” of service cannot be faithful in “greater works” of service to God. Some of us are not able to do “big works” for a lack of opportunity and/or ability, or other limitations. However, when we do what we can we are doing “big works” as far as the Lord is concerned.
Learn from the parable of the talents of the importance of a man doing what he can with what he has been given (Matthew 25:14-30). Whether we can do great things or small, we must do!
There are still others in the kingdom who have no interest in spiritual deeds. This does not appeal to them. These remind us of the parable of the tares as Jesus explained it in Matthew 13:36-43. In this parable, as in many of the others Jesus taught, we notice that the kingdom of God is the focus of discussion. In this parable the wheat and the tares were in the same field, just as there are good and evil people in the of the world. But, even within His kingdom there are those who are not interested in spiritual things. They are those that are stumbling blocks and those that commit lawlessness. Verses 41-42 clearly state that those people will be gathered out of His kingdom and thrown into the the furnace of fire. Those who have no interest in spiritual deeds, who are in the kingdom are only fooling themselves and holding a place until the judgment day comes when they shall be gathered into eternal punishment. There is no excuse for standing idle!
Reasons to Work
The Christian has reasons to work. As we learned in the parable of the workers in the vineyard, there is always work to be done. It is our duty as Christians to find it and according to the best of the abilities which God has given us.
Our faith is made known by our works (James 2:18). This serves as a good reason to work. By working to show our faith we accomplish a number of things. First of all we build ourselves up by bearing much fruit for God. Secondly, we cause others to glorify God (Matthew 5:16). Thirdly, and probably most important, we please God (Hebrews 11:6).
By our works we are justified (James 2:24). To be justified means that we are found in a state of righteousness before God. When we obey whatever we are told by God to do, as did Abraham, we are justified in the things we do.
Another reason that we have to work is that the night will come when no man can work (John 9:4). In other words, we must be doing the things required of us while we can, there will come a time when we cannot do the things we must. This passage infers that there will be a time when we will not be able to do the works that God has given us to do. We may not be afforded continued life upon this earth, we may not be afforded the health to do them, we may not have the interest to do them.
Finally, our judgment will be according to our works. In 2Corinthians 5:10, the apostle writes that all must appear for judgment according to their works. A judgment scene is shown in Revelation 20:12 which portrays the same thing of which the apostle Paul wrote. Think on this: It would be a terrible thing to be judged for something you did that transgressed God’s law, but wouldn’t it be a terrible thing to be judged for something you didn’t do — and you knew to do it? These passages and others tell us of what the Lord expects. They are those words by which we will be judged.
Knowing what you now know, will you choose to stand idly by while others obey and receive the blessings of God?
— S. Scott Richardson Sr.