Sermon #145 Luke Sermons
Title: God’s Church — His Vineyard
Text: Luke 20:9-19
Subject: The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen
Date: Sunday Evening — February 20, 2004
Tape # Y-63b
Readings: Ron Wood and Merle Hart
Turn with me to Luke 20. Our text will be verses 9-19. We have before us in these verses one of our Lords parables that is recorded in great detail by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. That fact alone is sufficient to demonstrate that this is a parable of tremendous importance.
This is clearly a historical parable. We are told in verse nineteen that the chief priests, scribes and elders of the Jews “perceived that’ the Lord Jesus ‘had spoken the parable against them.”
The history of the Jewish nation, from the time that the Lord brought them out of Egypt until the time of their destruction in 70 AD, is set before us in these verses. Under the emblem of a vineyard and husbandmen (vinedressers), our Master tells us the story of God’s dealings with that nation, both in great mercy and in great judgment.
This parable is recorded here in the Book of God to stand as a beacon to warn us, lest we who have received and experienced far greater mercies than the Jews ever did should also at last be dashed in pieces upon the rocks of God’s righteous retribution and judgment.
Now, let’s read the parable together. May God the Holy Spirit, whose Word this is, be our Teacher and graciously apply his Word to our hearts.
(Luke 20:9-19) Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. (10) And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. (11) And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. (12) And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. (13) Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. (14) But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. (15) So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? (16) He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. (17) And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? (18) Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. (19) And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
There is no question that our Lord is here speaking directly to the Scribes and Pharisees, to the nation of Israel and their religious leaders in his day. They are the husbandmen described in the parable. Their sins are set before us in plain words.
· They persecuted God’s prophets.
· They killed other prophets.
· At last, they murdered God’s darling Son!
There can be no doubt that the parable was directly intended to be a word of condemnation against the Jewish nation. But it is a serious mistake for anyone to read these words and say, “That applies to the Jews. It has no reference to me.”
“A godly man,” wrote John Trapp, “reads the Scriptures as he doth the statute-book. He holds himself concerned in all that he reads. He finds his name written in every passage and lays it to heart, as spoken to him. The wicked, on the other side, put off all they like not, and dispose of it to others.”
Let us not be so foolish. The parable of the wicked husbandmen is a parable by which the Son of God speaks to us. “He that hath an ear, let him hear.” The Jews who heard this parable fall from the lips of the Son of God refused to heed it’s lessons. Therefore that nation is to this day under the curse of God’s holy wrath and just judgment. When they had the light, they refused to walk in the light. Therefore God has sent blindness and darkness upon them!
But I am not preaching to those people. I am preaching to you. I want us to hear what our Lord has to say to us in this parable. I want each of us to take every word here as his word to us, as a warning to this local church, a warning to us who are now so greatly blessed in these dark, dark days with the privilege of sitting in the house of God, under the ministry faithful gospel preaching. This is what God the Holy Spirit intends for us to learn from this parable…
Proposition: "Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee" (Rom. 11:20-21)
With that warning in mind, I want you to read this parable with me again and learn ten very important lessons from it.
The churches, preachers, teachers and spiritual leaders of our land, those who profess to be God’s servants, those who are responsible to teach us God’s Word and God’s ways, have long since abandoned the Word and truth of God. The result of that apostasy is the abounding ungodliness of this reprobate age. Let us beware, lest we follow this religious generation to everlasting ruin.
I. First, we see here that God’s church in this world is his vineyard (v. 9)
(Luke 20:9) Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
I am speaking now, primarily of the local church. There certainly are applications of this parable to be made to the church universal; but it speaks principally of the church local, local assemblies of men and women who profess to be followers of Christ and his gospel. Every true gospel church is a vineyard of God’s planting. This local church is God’s vineyard.
· It belongs to the Lord.
· He separated a piece of ground for it.
· He planted it.
· He has hedged it about.
· This local church is the greatest blessing you have in this world.
II. Again, in verse 9, we are told that the Lord God has let out this vineyard to us as his husbandmen (v. 9).
· There is no greater privilege than this in the world.
· There is no greater responsibility under heaven than this.
III. Third, at the appointed season the Lord God looks for and rightfully expects to find fruit from the husbandmen of his vineyard (v. 10).
(Luke 20:10) And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
The rent he requires of us is very reasonable. All he demands from us is that we reverence his Son (v. 13). God simply requires that we worship his Son.
The Husbandmen and the Son
IV. Now, read verses 10-14. Here we see that As men and women deal with and treat Gods faithful servants, so they deal with and treat God’s Son.
(Luke 20:10-14) And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. (11) And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. (12) And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. (13) Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. (14) But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
and Christ Hated
V. Lost religious men and women love religion, religious duties, religious activity, religious ceremonies, religious history and religious tradition, but utterly despise God, his Son, and his gospel, and would (if they could) cast God’s Son off his throne, out of his Kingdom, and kill him. — “They reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours” (v. 14).
(Psalm 2) "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, (3) Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (4) He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. (5) Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (6) Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (7) I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (8) Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (9) Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (10) Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. (11) Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
The reason preachers, teachers, churches and religious leaders despise and cast Christ and his Word out is simply this. — They want the vineyard for themselves.
Conviction Not Conversion
VI. There are many who experience conviction who are never converted (v. 19).
(Luke 20:19) And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
It takes something more than a guilty, condemning conscience to produce repentance and faith in the heart. – That is the gift of God’s saving goodness and grace (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-9; Zech. 12:10). — “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”
(Zechariah 12:10) And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
(Ephesians 2:8-9) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
VII. Mercy despised will be taken away (vv. 15-16).
(Luke 20:15-16) So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? (16) He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
If we despise the privileges and opportunities God has given us, he will both take away those great privileges and make those things which might have been the means of our everlasting salvation and make them the very basis of our everlasting ruin.
· Present privileges are no guarantee of future privileges. The Lord Jesus warns us that he will remove the candlestick that is despised!
· If the preaching of the gospel is not a savor of life unto you, it will be to you a savor of death.
The time came when the cup of Israel’s iniquity was full and God would tolerate them no more. In 70AD, just 40 years after this parable was uttered, God sent Titus and the armies of Rome into Jerusalem to destroy the holy city, the temple, and the nation. From that day to this, the Jews have been scattered over the face of the whole earth.
J. C. Ryle wrote, “Nothing offends God like the neglect of privileges.”
· The Churches of Asia Minor, once so strong, are now gone.
· Africa, once the cradle of light is now the house of darkness.
· England, once the so full of light and life, is now a graveyard of religious relics and memories. (New England!)
· Much, much has been given to us. And much shall be required of us!
“The gospel is that inheritance we received from our forefathers… It must be our care to transmit the same to our posterity.” (John Trapp).
God’s Purpose Sure
VIII. Though many do despise God’s grace and thus heap destruction upon themselves, when he takes the gospel from one people, he gives it to another, the purpose of God is not thwarted or even hindered. Christ is still exalted and his people shall be saved (vv. 17-18).
(Luke 20:17-18) And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? (18) Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
· Many reject and despise God’s Salvation, refusing to build upon the foundation he has laid.
· Christ is still exalted.
· God has not cast off his people. — There is yet a remnant, according to the election of grace; and that remnant shall be saved (Rom. 11:1-5).
· God’s purpose is not hindered by man’s unbelief.
The Only Way
IX. The only way a sinner can ever be saved is to fall on that Rock of Salvation which God has laid in Zion, Christ Jesus. — “Whosoever shall fall on that Stone shall be broken” (v. 18).
X. If Christ falls on you in judgment, he will grind you to powder, and your everlasting ruin beneath the weight of this Stone will be inescapable and complete. — “On whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (v. 18).
Application: Perhaps the best way for me to conclude this message is with a prayer. Read it with me. I hope it is the prayer of your heart and of mine. You will find it in Psalm 80.
(Psalm 80) "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. (2) Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. (3) Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (4) O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? (5) Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. (6) Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. (7) Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (8) Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. (9) Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. (10) The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. (11) She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. (12) Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? (13) The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. (14) Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; (15) And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. (16) It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. (17) Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. (18) So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. (19) Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."