Archive for the ‘Parables’ Tag

The Wicked Tenants!

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Part 1a: 19min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2018.09.16.-the-wicked-tenants-part1a-matthew-21.33-46-guest-stonesifer-tah.mp3”

Part 1b: 21min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2018.09.16.-the-wicked-tenants-part-1b-matthew-21.33-46-guest-stonesifer-tah.mp3”

Full Message:

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2018.09.16.-the-wicked-tenants-matthew-21.33-46-guest-stonesifer-tah.mp3”


Main Passage: Matthew 21:33-46


“One of Jesus’ most famous parables about judgment was the parable of the wicked tenants. In this story we see the privilege and responsibility that comes with God’s calling on our lives. We also see the grace of God in His warnings to sinners and the judgment of God in His retribution toward those who reject His Son. This parable’s stark imagery reminds us that we are called to bear the fruit of repentance and mission and thus fulfill our purpose as God’s people.” -The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

Judgment comes on those who reject the commands, warnings, and Christ, The Son of God- [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit].

Christ Connection:

Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants is one of the clearest denunciations of the religious leaders in His day. The story implies that God is the vineyard owner, Jesus is the owner’s son, and the religious leaders are the ones who have rejected God’s Word. Applying Psalm 118 to Himself, Jesus saw Himself as the cornerstone—the person in whom God’s judgment and salvation come together.

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to bear the fruit of repentance and mission, fulfilling our purpose as His people.

“Jesus teaches that seemingly endless patience of God is extended toward those who oppose him. But when this patience ends at the rejection of his Son, God’s swift retribution is sure to follow.” –Simon J. Kistemaker

“The portrait of a mild Jesus who spoke only of grace and never of judgment is a figment of the imagination. We serve a Savior whose scandalous grace was matched with the ferocious roar of judgment. In this parable, we see a glimpse of God’s patience but also His swift retribution. Let this story from Jesus shock your senses and lead you to see yourself as a steward of His blessings” -The Gospel Project

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The Pharisee and the Tax Collector!

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Part 1a: 29min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2018.09.09.the-pharisee-and-the-tax-collector-part1a-luke-18.9-14-guest-andrews-tah.mp3”

Part 1b: 29min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2018.09.09.the-pharisee-and-the-tax-collector-part1b-luke-18.9-14-guest-andrews-tah.mp3”

Full Message: 

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2018.09.09.the-pharisee-and-the-tax-collector-luke-18.9-14-guest-andrews-tah.mp3”


Main Passage: Luke 18:9-14


“In Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, we see the danger of self-righteousness, our human need for mercy, and what it means to be justified by faith. God calls us to recognize our sinfulness and our need for His mercy and in humility to proclaim the gospel of grace to those who trust in themselves. “-The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, exalts the humble and humbles the exalted.

Christ Connection:

The tax collector’s cry was for God to turn away His wrath from a sinner. Through His life and sacrificial death as our substitute, Jesus was the Wrath of God that our sins deserved. Like the tax collector, we too can cry out to God to have mercy on us! We can receive Jesus as the Wrath of God Who absorbed and put our sin to death in his suffering and death! We can also receive the forgiveness he grants full and free in his abundant grace!

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us not to look down on others but to look up to Him for salvation so that our participation with Him in humility and grace would be attractive to those who are still trusting in themselves.

“All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and backbiting; the pleasures of power, of hatred…A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.” –C. S. Lewis 

 

“Self-righteousness wears many disguises. The scary thing about self-righteousness is that we usually don’t recognize it in ourselves. We think because of our religious practices that we are okay with God. We think because of how we pray that we are trusting in Him, not in ourselves. We think because of how we live that we are doing better than the people around us. Self-righteousness stinks; unfortunately, we are the last to smell it on ourselves….

But even when our self-righteousness is cloaked in words of gratitude or manifested in actions that, on the surface, appear to be done out of a desire for God’s glory, self-righteousness is still self-justification. It is misplaced trust that leads to misplaced judgment. As it has been said, “We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.” We judge people around us more harshly than we would dare judge ourselves….

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector gives us a vivid portrait of pride versus humility, of justification by works versus justification by faith. As Darrell Bock comments:

Pride preaches merit; humility pleads for compassion. Pride negotiates as an equal; humility approaches in need. Pride separates by putting down others; humility identifies with others, recognizing we all have the same need. Pride destroys through its alienating self-service; humility opens doors with its power to sympathize with the struggle we share. Pride turns up its nose; humility offers an open and lifted-up hand.

According to the gospel, we are to trust in God alone for our salvation, and we trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,” the old hymn goes. The gospel cuts to the heart of our tendency to trust in ourselves and in our own righteousness. The gospel also shatters the sense of superiority we may feel toward others. As long as you are looking up to God for salvation, you can’t look down on anyone else. Once you know how much you need the mercy of God, how in the world can you look down your nose on someone else in need of the same mercy?” -The Gospel Project

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The Father Of Two Lost Sons!

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Part 1a: 23 min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/2018.08.26-the-father-of-two-lost-sons-mark4.1-9-mark4.14-20-part1a-guest-marra-tah.mp3”

Part 1b: 18 min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/2018.08.26-the-father-of-two-lost-sons-mark4.1-9-mark4.14-20-part1b-guest-marra-tah.mp3”

Full Message:

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/2018.08.26-the-father-of-two-lost-sons-mark4.1-9-mark4.14-20-guest-marra-tah.mp3”


Main Passage: Luke 15:11-32


“Jesus told a famous parable of a loving father with two lost sons. In the characters’ attitudes and actions, we see a picture of human sinfulness, the grace-filled posture of God, and the deadliness of self-righteousness. Like the original listeners of this parable, we are called not to resent God’s grace but to celebrate God’s goodness in embracing any sinner who repents. ” – The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

God- Father, Son, and Spirit, rejoices whenever a sinner returns to Him in repentance.

Christ Connection:

The Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus for His practice of welcoming and dining with sinners. The stories He told in response to their criticism focused on God’s joy over sinners coming to repentance. The God who seeks and saves the lost is Jesus, the Savior whose search-and-rescue mission is accomplished at great personal cost to Himself.

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us not to resent His grace toward others but to celebrate the Father’s goodness in welcoming any repentant sinner home.

“A banquet of great joy is provided by this waiting [Father], who is none other than the waiting, running, embracing, partying, and kissing God. The parable describes God’s goodness, grace, boundless mercy and abundant love.”  –Paul John Isaak

“Whoever departs from the Word of God hungers… Whoever leaves treasure lacks. Whoever departs from wisdom is stupefied. Whoever departs from virtue is destroyed. It was fitting that he begin to be in need, because he abandoned the treasures of wisdom and the knowledge of God.” –Ambrose (circa 339-397)

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The Parable of the Fig Tree

The Parable of the Fig Tree, in Luke 13:1-9, is sometimes hard to preach about. Ted Johnston, over at the surprising God blog, brought it up a couple of days ago and invited comments on it. I posted my thoughts in the comments section of Ted’s post and I thought I’d reprint them here for those of you who may not have seen them there:

I think the vineyard owner is the Father, the gardener is Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is the fertilizer. The fig tree is humanity.

The fig tree exists to bear fruit but it’s not fulfilling its purpose. Humanity exists to participate in the Triune Life as the children of the Father (Eph. 1:5) but we also are not living up to our purpose. If something isn’t achieving its purpose it might as well not exist, that’s why the vineyard owner says that he might as well destroy the tree. Not because he hates the tree but because he recognizes the pointlessness of having a tree that doesn’t bear fruit and his desire is to see it achieve it’s purpose.

At this point in reading the parable I think we all, because of our fallen nature, make two false assumptions:

First, we think that the fig tree can make a conscious decision to change itself and begin to bear fruit. We forget that trees do not think and have no choice. They bear fruit based on the soil, rain, sun, and other conditions around them. So, Jesus says our failure to live up to our purpose is like something (a fig tree) which has no conscious control over its own destiny. Because we all fell in Adam it is no more possible for a human being to suddenly, on his own, say “oh! I’m not being who I’m suppose to be, I need to get busy” than it is for a tree to say “oh! I’m not bearing fruit, I better get busy.” The only way we’re going to achieve the purpose for which we were created is if the Good Gardener (Jesus) creates the conditions for us to naturally grow up to be what we were created to be.

Secondly, we assume that the gardener is not a very good gardener. The gardener says to the vineyard owner “let me work on the tree and we’ll see if it bears fruit” and we – in our fallenness – automatically assume that it is going to be a dangerously close thing. We think, “oh no! what if the gardener fails? what if he can’t do it? the tree will be destroyed!” But how do we know that this gardener isn’t the very best gardener the world has ever seen? Maybe he’s so good there’s no danger at all of failure on his part.

So, I would say this is the moral of the parable: the Father created us to live as his children, but we’re not doing a very good job of it. If we aren’t going to live as the children we were created to be then there’s no point in our existence. As human beings we even sense this ourselves as we struggle with depression, despair, and suicidal thoughts. Because of our fallenness we, like a fig tree, are incapable of fixing ourselves. So, the Father sends the Son – the greatest Master Gardener of all time – to heal us, make us whole, and enable us to grow up to be the children of the Father that we were created to be. It is his work, he is doing it, and what we need to do is repent of our false belief that he is not The Master Gardener and believe the truth that he knows how to make us healthy enough to fulfill our purpose. And how does the Gardener make us healthy? By nourishing our lives in his Holy Spirit – the fertilizer that brings the fruit of the Triune Life.

Once we see the fig tree in this way we can see how this parable further explains Jesus’ comments about the people who died tragically at Pilate’s hands and in the natural disaster. The thing about all agriculture, including the tending of fig trees, is that it is very easy to look at a barren tree and assume that nothing is happening. The natural process of health and maturation takes time and patience – and it is not visible to us. We look at people around us, friends and family, and when we don’t immediately see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives we assume the Master Gardener is not at work in their lives and the Vineyard Owner is ready to destroy them. In fact, we can become so blind in our judgmentalism that when bad things happen to these “fruitless” people we assume that we are witnessing the Vineyard Owner’s destruction of them for their failure to be what they were created to be.

But here’s the thing about the destruction of the fig tree: it never happens! The parable ends with the Master Gardener saying “don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” So why are we all so worried? We don’t trust the Master Gardener will take care of it. And that is what it means, in the light of the gospel, to “perish.” To perish is to experience all the fear, anger, and grief that comes from not trusting that the Master Gardener will be successful. When we don’t trust that he will succeed we try to make ourselves fruitful, or trying to harangue and cajole our friends and family into being fruitful, and that is the living death that comes from believing that we’re our own saviors instead of believing that Jesus is the Savior and that he has saved us.

~ Jonathan Stepp

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