Joy for the Sinner Who Repents

2020-09-20 – Year A – Proper 20 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Jonah 3:10-4:11; Psalm 145:14-21; Matthew 20:1-16

  • Wages at Starbucks in Wisconsin vs. Massachusetts
  • Context of the Gospel parable – comes just after the rich young man.
    • Matthew 19:27 “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
  • Who do you identify with in the story of the laborers in the vineyard?
    • Are you the one who worked all day or the one who signed on at the 11th hour?
    • There is a temptation to become prideful about our own obedience to Christ, this pride often comes with looking down on others.
      • Pride can also lead to anger when we think we are not being properly recognized for our achievements.
    • This parable is begun and ended with the same phrase.
      • “The last will be first, and the first last.”

Do you do well to be angry?

  • Jonah and the Ninevites
    • Jonah is angry in this story because God heard the repentance of the Ninevites and “relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them.” (3:10)
    • Jonah says, “I knew it! I knew this would happen!!!”
    • Jonah didn’t want to see mercy, we wanted to see Nineveh get overthrown.
    • God simply asks Jonah “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)
    • We would do well to ask ourselves this question when we feel anger or jealousy towards those we feel are beneath us.
  • The fairness of the Gospel
    • It doesn’t seem fair that someone who has accepted the Gospel early in life and lived in obedience to all that Christ has commanded should have the same eternal reward as a sinful person who accepts Christ on his deathbed.
    • In fact, the Gospel isn’t fair. Jesus had to die so that you could live. Salvation isn’t something that any of us deserve. It is grace, a free gift.
    • When you begin to compare your own righteousness with the sinfulness of another, you are making the wrong comparison. Compare instead your righteousness with the righteousness of Christ.
    • It is like two men standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the taller man says to the shorter man “I’m going to have an easier time jumping out than you.”
  • Has the Lord done right by you? Can you trust that he will do the right thing for others?
  • Jonah 4:2 – gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.
    • Jonah had experienced God’s mercy first hand!
    • Too often we desire grace for ourselves and judgment for those around us.
  • We need to become like horses with blinders
  • In heaven, we won’t be distracted by comparing ourselves with others because we will all be consumed with the glory of the Lord. All other concerns will be eclipsed.

The Reward of Time Spent with the Master

  • The workers who signed on early in the day have missed noticing a significant benefit that they have received. They got to spend the entire day working with the master of the vineyard!
  • Sometimes we see the Christian faith as a bunch of rules about what to do and not do.
  • The Bible does give us guidance about living a disciplined Christian life, but our faith is much more about a relationship with God. The rules aid the relationship.
  • Ephesians 2:12-13 – separation and reconciliation
  • Your relationship with God is a treasure to be cherished.
    • How can you shape your daily habits to make time to abide with Jesus?
    • When we find this daily joy of abiding with Christ, it makes us want to share that joy with others instead of looking down on them. We want to give this same hope to everyone around us.

Joy for the Sinner Who Repents

  • The amazing thing about the Gospel is that we can give it away a limitless number of times and never lose anything in the process.
  • Costco executive memberships – everything momentarily stops in the checkout lines to celebrate
  • Luke 15:7
  • One who was lost is now found
  • You have a new brother or sister in the household of God
  • Let us join the rejoicing in heaven

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