Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Is Last and Last Is First

What does that mean? In Matt. 20 Jesus uses a parable explaining how the kingdom of heaven is like a vineyard of workers all making the same wage. You might be thinking how is that like the kingdom of heaven?

Matt. 20 v 1-16...."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. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 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. But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours 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?' So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen......

Now that was a mouthful, but what I got from this, was that no matter when you become a Christian, your forgiveness is the same as the next person. Your forgiveness that is promised when you repent and accept Christ is the same as the person who accepted Him 50 years before you and has been doing work for the kingdom for that many years, or a missionary who has been in the mission fields working for God and His kingdom all of their lives will not receive any more forgiveness than you when you accept Him today.

When the man continued to go out into the market place or( say the mission field, or the streets of the city,) and found more and more people each time that he could hire, or (say to witness to,) then they accepted the offer, or (accepted to receive Jesus as Lord,) then they went to the vineyard, and when the day was over or (say when Jesus comes back,) then they all received the same pay, or (say the same forgiveness and entered into heaven.) AMEN!

And those who complained because the others received the same, had the wrong hearts. For they were given just what they were promised. We as Christians can not think just because we teach a Sunday School Class, or we are the lead singer for the Praise Team, or we might be the Head Deacon, that we are any better than the person who came to visit for the first time to church and accepted Christ. If Jesus came that same day before church was over, all those who had accepted Him would be with Him. Starting with the last to the first.

A new Christian is like a baby. What mother would leave her baby at home alone while she took her grown child out to eat? No, she would feed her baby first and make sure the baby was taken care of and then continue on with her work as a mother to feed the others. That is why it is so important for new baby Christians to stay in the word of God and to hear what He says, to go to Church and be taught the word so to help them to grow and become strong and healthy spiritually to be able to stand on the word of God when there are no other Christians around to support them.

And we need to all go out into the marketplace, the fields, the cities, wherever someone might be that needs to hear the word of God and invite them into the vineyard so that they might receive the same reward. AMEN!

RTB...Matt. 16-18.....

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