10 Nov 2019

The Parable of the Tenants [Matthew 21:33-46]


Jesus divides - Luke 2:34 “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel. " And you can't be neutral about Him - you either receive or you reject Him. Jesus said in the Parable of the Tenants that He is the cornerstone for those who believe, and a stumbling block and a rock of offense to those who don't. In other words, you can not be neutral towards Jesus, and you will be either richly blessed or severely crushed depending on your response to Him. “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. ” Check out this sermon if you want to be saved!


Sermon Transcript

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Over the past years, actually, we have been going through the book of Matthew. Today we are continuing that series in Matthew chapter 21 and this really is the focus on the last few days of the life of Jesus here on earth. So let me begin with a story.

A church service is about to begin and gathered in that hall were some few hundred people. Then, all of a sudden, two men in black jackets charged into the hall carrying machine guns. One of them shouted, if any one of you believe in Jesus and wants to take a bullet for Him, you may stay, otherwise you may go and of course, everybody fled from the hall. What's left or who's left is the pastor, his wife, his kids and some church members and when everyone else has left, the men then said, alright, all the hypocrites are gone, pastor, we may now start our service.

I'm not sure if that's the best way to deal with hypocrites but that's what Jesus is dealing with - hypocrisy is the issue of the day. He marched into Jerusalem on a humble donkey but the very first thing He did, we see in the Bible, was that He went to the temple to clean out or cleanse or to clear out the temple.

He said to these people, you have made the house of prayer into a den of thieves. These people have used religion to make themselves rich. These are people who use the name of God for their own selfish, greedy purposes and He dealt with that hypocrisy there.

Then the very next story we read in Matthew 21 was that Jesus went to a special tree - a fig tree. This tree is special in that it is a tree that has plenty of leaves but no fruit. You see the fig tree is unique in that the fruit always comes before the leaves so when you see a fig tree with leaves from afar, you expect to see fruit but when Jesus went to this tree, he saw only leaves and no fruit and He immediately cursed the tree.

He did this not because He was hungry and upset. He did this because He was giving a live demonstration. It's a live enactment, it's a, it's a real-life parable to describe the emptiness of the religion of Israel in His day. They were a people who look good. They were a people who promised love for God but there is no fruit in their lives. They were empty and so God would pronounce His judgment on Israel and surely, we all understand, a few decades later, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Empire.

The third story we read in Romans or in Matthew 21 is the encounter between the religious leaders and Jesus Christ. The religious leaders hated Christ. They didn't want Him to be preaching and teaching and doing all the things He's been doing so they have been looking for an excuse to trap Jesus so that they may kill Him.

Now we saw that encounter - Jesus deflected their blow very expertly, cornered them and then gave a simple story that revealed that they were a people who are “Mouth Yes, Heart No” literally “kou shi xin fei 口是心非”. They were a people who say one thing but they won't do what they say. So Jesus gave a story and said you are like this son, this son who say, “I go, sir” to the father but never went to work in the vineyard. You are a people who draw near to Me with your lips but your heart is far from Me.

Now today, we see the fourth story and a second parable whereby Jesus tightens the screws on the religious leaders. This is a parable that exposes the wickedness of their heart. This is the Parable of the Tenants. You have just read the text. I want to remind you this is the Parable of the Tenants, not the Parable of the Talents, there's a difference. The Parable of the Talents is spoken somewhere else. This is the parable of some wicked people working in a vineyard. So let's look at this story.

Jesus says hear another parable. I've just given you one about the son who is “kou shi xin fei” about the hypocrisy. Now I want to tell you another parable to reveal your real wicked hearts. So hear this story, another parable, an earthly story that depicts heavenly truths, it goes like this.

There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard. That's a very common thing, in those days, their land is suitable for grapes, for the vine and so if you are any wise investor, you have land, you have money, you would probably do this to produce grapes and the grapes will then give you precious, pleasant wine that is, that is good for money so this master obviously wants to invest his resources. He planted a vineyard. He puts a fence around it to protect it from invaders. He dug a wine press. A wine press is a place where you can throw the grapes and then someone will stomp on it to squeeze out all the luscious grape juice. He also builds a tower, a place for shelter, a place for security, a place for storage and then he leases it to the tenants.

Now it's common that the master who is a rich man will not work in a vineyard. He would hire people do it. He will let other people do it so he leases it to tenants. These are people, who are willing because they have no money, no capital to have a vineyard of themselves. They're willing to work for another so that there will be a kind of profit sharing.

Maybe the tenants, the workers here will get a third of the returns and the owner will get two thirds of the return, whatever that arrangement, arrangement, maybe, it's very common, it's very reasonable, it's very well accepted. So after everything is set up with the goal, business can start, the owner now leaves for another country.

He has enterprises, businesses elsewhere so it's reasonable that he will let them do what they need to do and come back only later. He will come back later because he expects fruit to be born and then he expects money to be made and rightly so.

When a season for fruit drew near, he now sends his servants to the tenants to get his fruit, it's time to earn some money. I've invested heavily in this vineyard. I expect to get something back and you would expect when the servants come to the tenants, they will have a nice greeting and say I'm sent from Mr Tan and he's here to collect his grapes. He's here to collect his wine. He's here to collect his earnings and the tenant would say, oh, Mr Tan, we are so grateful to him. He has given us jobs. He's given us work. We have had a good harvest this year, my family is well provided for, we are grateful to Mr Tan.

However, nothing like that ever transpired in this story because we are told the tenants took his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned another. I mean, this is totally unexpected, this is totally wrong. This is unscrupulous. They killed his servants in cold-blooded murder or maybe they were mistaken, they thought they were fakes, maybe they thought it was sent by an impostor.

I do not know why but the master was very patient, instead of calling down judgment and the police or whatever they may have in those days, he was willing to try one more time. So he sent other servants, more than the first and they did the same to them. This is not an occasional problem. This was a systematic, wicked desire to kill the master's servants. They would not pay, they would not give what the master is due.

Now, the master has a choice again. Does he call down judgment or maybe he will now send his very best so the master thought to himself they will respect my son. They may not respect my servants, they are nobodies but surely my son, they would hear, surely my son, they will render what he is due and what I am due but again the tragedy is that when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, this is the heir, come, let us kill him because then we will have his inheritance.

This was an absorbing story because pretty much I guess no one ever did something like that, this is just so wrong so the religious leaders are so enthralled, so absorbed by this story that they were totally into it and so Jesus when he asked, later on, when therefore, the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?

You know, if you're smart, you say you're talking about us, right? I'm not gonna say anything and say anything, I shoot myself but they were so enthralled that they immediately responded to Jesus and said, oh he will put those wretches, those miserable people to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants and who will give him the fruits in their seasons.

You see, even the Pharisees, even the religious leaders, who are empty on the inside have a little sense of justice that says, of course, these wicked tenants should be punished severely.

Jesus then said, have you never read in the scriptures, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes. Now I just want to say, I trust you know what the stone represents. The stone represents Jesus or the son in the story. The builders here represent? We can restart if you want.

The builders represent? What, what, the… is.. that… the builders represent Israel or the people of Israel, right? The religious leaders. So Jesus, God's Son is the stone that Israel rejected and He has become the cornerstone. He has become the foundation of a new people who are redeemed to God. This was the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.

Therefore, Jesus says, I tell you the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you Israel and given to a people, non-Jews producing the fruits. That's the parable and I could end here but it's only 1145 and I think the Church will not be very happy if I ended here so early. So let me then try to explain a few things more clearly to you in this story. I think we can learn a few things.

1) The Rebellious Jews
Number one, I think we learn about the Jewish people being a rebellious people. They were a people who rebelled against God in their hearts and they were fighting always to silence God's voice. They did not want to do the Father's will. They did not want to give God the glory that He is due.

You know when someone doesn't want to obey, they will always find ways not to obey. I just found it very interesting. This week, the major news in our country would be the banning of the PMDs, public mobility devices. Some of you are affected, some livelihoods are affected but what's interesting is that when it was banned to be used on the footpaths, I realized in the news, people the next day, they ride on the grass patches. They've found a way to bypass the law but then the government came back and said no, it is also wrong, illegal for you to ride on the, on the grass patches. In fact, the fine for riding on the grass patch is higher than the footpath and then I realized yesterday, I read in the news that people did not ride on the footpaths.

They did not ride on the grass patch but they now ride on the drain grills. You know how it is, they have the footpath, then you have the grass patch, then they have the drains. Now they ride on the drain, they say nothing wrong what, government never say cannot what, until it was clarified from PUB that the fine for riding on the drain, drain grills is $20,000. So you want to siam [local dialect: avoid] and you siam and you siam, actually the fine gets heavier and heavier for you but you see people will always find ways to disobey or bypass the law and I think the people of Israel were finding ways to silence God's voice.

They were a rebellious people. Instead of producing the fruit that God looks for, they gave something else to God, what did they give? Well, in this imagery of the vineyard, it's something maybe unfamiliar to Singaporeans because we don't have vineyards here but it's something very common for Israel and it's something familiar because earlier on, God has already referred Israel to be like a vineyard.

In Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant planting. So God says, My people, My special people, Israel, they are like a vineyard, beautiful, they are meant to be fruitful. I'm supposed to find great delight in Israel and I look for fruit in them but instead of Israel producing fruit of righteousness and justice, well, they produce bloodshed and outcry. He looked for justice in Israel, but there was bloodshed. He looked for righteousness in Israel but there is an outcry and the height of their rebellion, the height of their sinfulness is probably seen in a way they killed God's prophets.

Jesus later on made this very explicit, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it. It's sad that God's own people will not listen to God's messengers. They will not want to obey. They don't care how many servants the Father has sent. The tenants will not listen. They want to silence the prophets so you read in the Bible, prophet after prophet, they are persecuted and they died because their hearts were wicked.

How often have I gathered your children together as a hen gathers a brood under her wings and you were not willing? We see the tender compassion of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. How often He would want them, encourage them, call them to repentance but they will not be willing.

You know, this is the picture of maybe church goers, even today, how we can come to church. We can hear the Bible. We can hear the preaching of God's Word and yet we will not be willing. So you see, coming to church alone is not good enough. Just like being born in the nation of Israel is not good enough. Being exposed to teaching is not good enough because the key is, is your heart willing to obey?

The Bible tells us, Jesus came to His own and His own people did not receive Him, they would not want Him. You say, why would they not want Jesus, I mean, Jesus went around healing, blessing, teaching. He did everything good and why is it that the religious leaders who then lead the whole nation of Israel will not want Jesus?

Some answers given in the Bible include Matthew 27. He knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered Him up. The religious leaders were jealous, they looked at Jesus, a poor carpenter's son. He never went through their rabbinical school, they were (Pastor meant He was) not part of their university, and yet, He drew more people than they ever witness so they were jealous, they were envious of His success.

Maybe they wanted to kill Jesus because Jesus just spoiled their business, broke their rice bowls as it were. He went to the temple and threw them all out so they were upset with Him and they wanted to kill Him but maybe the greatest reason I think the Bible describes for us is found in John chapter 3 and this is the judgment that the light has come into the world but people love their darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

The problem lies not in Jesus Christ. He is the Light and light is a good thing. The Bible always portrays light as a good thing but they were in darkness. They were living in sin and they love their sin and so they rejected Jesus not so much because there's any fault with Jesus but because their hearts were wicked and they love their present sinful lifestyle and they knew Jesus would expose all that so they would kill God's people. They would kill God's prophets. They would kill God's Son.

Just a side note, if you want to be a preacher of God's Word, you've got to be prepared for this. You know as men, as human beings, we we love acceptance. We love, we, we enjoy it when people appreciate us, like us and on the Facebook, like, like, like or when you share something, you like it when people like, and if people don't like, you don't like.

When they don't like you say why you never see my post and you never liked my post ah and we we love that acceptance but when you want to be a preacher, you've got to be willing to die to being liked because the reality is if you represent God's Word well, it is the light that will be shunned by people who love darkness and preachers of God's Word must not aim for popularity because that will never be the case. He should aim for faithfulness.

The Bible tells us blessed are the peacemakers. I, I, I think most people take peacemakers to be peace making between two people fighting and quarrelling. Now that may be a small part of what Jesus is saying but I really think the majority, the main idea Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5 and verse 9 is that peacemaking between man and God. For the reasons why, you can check out the sermon preached some two years ago but it's peacemaking between God and men.

In other words, it's talking about someone who is carrying the precious Good News of Jesus Christ, telling sinful people that God has sent His Son to pay for your sins and you can now make peace with God because God has given His Son for you. If you repent and believe, you will be saved, blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are these people who carry the message of the Gospel but will they be popular? Probably not. In verse 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake” and Jesus goes on to say, you will be like the prophets who went before you. So those who preach God's Word should not aim for popularity, you aim to be faithful to God. You say why, because the hearts of men are in darkness and they will not like the truth. So why was Jesus killed? Was He helpless? Was He weak? Was he sinful? Was there any fault with Him? No none at all but it merely reveals the rebellious hearts of the Jews. That is one strong point I'm sure you grasp from this story about the tenants.

2. The Righteous Judgment
The second thing I'd like you to notice in this story is that Jesus uses this story to, to portray the amazing righteousness of God in His judgment. It is so right, it is so reasonable for God to inflict judgment upon the nation of Israel. The tool He used is just a story that engages and enthrals them so that they may put themselves in the same position and say, oh yes, the wicked tenants should be judged, so He asked. He didn't give the judgment Himself at first. He asked them what will he do to those tenants. What do you think, guys? Tell Me even in your wicked hearts, there will be a sense of justice. What do you think they should do? Well, the master will put those wretched, those terrible wicked people to a miserable death, from the own lips of the religious leaders.

The point is, when God judges anybody, no one would say that He's unjust. I believe that when we all die and when we stand before God in judgment, there will be none who say, God Your judgments are unnecessarily harsh. I don't think there’ll be anyone who will dare to say, God Your judgments are unjust, just and righteous are all His judgments and not only this, the Bible says He will put those wretches to a miserable death, there will be a judgment on Israel, they will be destroyed by Rome in AD 70 and besides that, we are told, He will let out the vineyard to other tenants.

What this means is explained by Jesus later on, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits, so Israel you'll no more, you will no more have the special blessing of God upon you, at least for a season.

The grace of God, the move of the Holy Spirit will be shifted away from Israel to a non-Jewish people, to the Gentiles, the kingdom, in a sense will be taken away from you and given to a different people and that's exactly why I think Apostle Paul could say, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, a partial hardening has come upon Israel.

By and large for the past 2000 years, the majority of people coming into the Kingdom of God, do not come from Israel. They come from China, Malaysia, America, whatever, all the other countries of the world, all the other races of the world, because in a sense, this is what God is saying, a partial hardening has come upon Israel. Just look at here today, how many of you are Jews? None. I'm not surprised, wow you say pastor, not fair lah. The number of Jews in Singapore already low in the first place, granted, but even across the world, Israel by and large, is being given a kind of hardening and blinding.

I want you to know, however, that this is partial, it is not complete. There are still Jews being saved and it is not final. God's promise to Jacob will still come true, although for a season, they are set aside. In Romans 11 again, we read, until, so there is a kind of harden, hardening but there's a time span to it, there's a limit to it, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. So in other words, God is saving Gentile people in great numbers until such a point as described as the fullness of the Gentiles and when that last Gentile comes in, then all Israel will be saved. Then God's favor and blessing will return to Israel, the hardening will be removed, the blindness will be removed and they'll be great numbers in Israel who will be saved and when they are saved in great numbers, they will then be a huge blessing to the rest of the world.

This is not my plan, this is God's plan. I say this because you can read Romans 11 and read about all that. God is using the Jews and the Gentiles to provoke one another or each other to jealousy so that through the saving of the Gentiles, the Jews will be awakened and through the salvation of the Jews, greater numbers of Gentiles will be saved. This is the sovereign wisdom of God and when Israel will be saved, God's promise in Isaiah will be fulfilled. I am the Lord, I've called you in righteousness. I will take you by the hand and keep you, I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations.

God is speaking to Israel that they will be a light to the nations as far as I know, as far as I read, as far as I've noticed in history, they have not been a light to the nations yet but they will, one day, you say when, when the fullness of the Gentiles come in and when all Israel is saved, they will be a blessing to all other nations, amazing reality.

Isaiah 49:6 says the same thing, “I will make you as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth”. So there comes a period of time that we are looking forward to. The point I think I'm trying to make here is this - now God is righteous to judge Israel. The destruction of Jerusalem is not that God is unnecessarily harsh but instead we should think of God's judgment as amazingly merciful still, there is mercy in His judgment. So this parable emphasizes, number one, the Jews were a rebellious people.

Number two, this parable tells us that the judgment of God is actually very righteous. I think that's clear and number three, what we learn is that the Jesus they killed and crucified is going to turn out to be their Redeemer.

3. The Redeemer Jesus
This is the twist. They thought that they could eliminate God's Son. They thought that they had been overcoming this Messiah but actually, it has always been God's plan that through the rejection by Israel, Jesus will become the Redeemer.

This Jesus, Peter said in the first sermon on the day of Pentecost, delivered up, you Jewish people, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. It may sound as if Jesus is so helpless and so weak, so impotent to deliver Himself. However, this is not the complete picture because in verse 23, we read this phrase, Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.

Jesus' death was no accident, Jesus' death was no misfortune. It was part of God's intentional sovereign definite plan. Say, why, because Jesus said, have you never read? By the way, anyone knows where this phrase or this statement is taken from?

This question applies to have you never read? We all understand that, I, I also didn't know exactly which verse it came from but I will tell you it’s from Psalm 118 so Jesus quoted from the Psalms and said have you never read in Psalm 118, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. I'm not, He's in a sense telling them, you will kill Me? Right, in this parable, if you think about it. He's telling them you will kill Me, I will be killed, I will die, I will be crucified but that's God's plan because it's in My dying that I can do My saving. It's in My sacrifice that the church will be built up. It's by My laying down of my life that there will be a people gathered together to be that dwelling place, that priesthood, that shows forth the excellencies of God's Name. So Jesus is saying that stone, My life that you reject, oh, I will not be eliminated but I will become the foundation of God's people, the cornerstone.

This was the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes. This is so amazing, just like Peter saying that Jesus was delivered up according to the predetermined foreknowledge of God and it is also by the wicked hands of men so this stone is rejected by evil people but this is also the Lord's doing, the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of men, together comes right here in Psalm 118.

Now, some of you may ask, are you sure that this is talking about Jesus? Well, I think I'm sure because Peter later on in Acts 4 says, this Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. He's actually speaking after the day of Pentecost where thousands of people repent and believe in Jesus. He’s saying, don't you see, this Jesus whom you have killed, this Jesus whom you have murdered, is the reason why there's so many people coming to faith today. He has become the cornerstone of God's people and there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

The story you hear of today is of eternal significance because it's about your salvation. Many people think that there are many roads that will lead to Rome but actually according to the Bible, there is only one road, there is only one way to God the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.”

The urgency and the importance of the Christian message, of this Good News of Jesus Christ is because there is no simply no other way you can be saved from your sins and so if you hear this message today, we urge you, I urge you, please, to turn from your wicked ways, to repent and to believe Jesus died to save you from your sins because there's simply no other way and I want to say, believing in Jesus is not just a good option. As if, if I believe Him, good, if I don't believe Him, it's fine, life carries on. No, in Matthew 21, but the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him. Now this is a picture of someone who stumbles over the rock as it were, or someone who comes under the judgment of the rock, as it were, it speaks of someone who comes across, who hears, who knows of this stone, who has heard the Gospel and will not believe. Oh, terrible things will happen to him. There will be a judgment for those who hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and will not believe.

Do you know that when you came to church this morning, you're either increasing your guilt or if you respond correctly, you will be led into the Kingdom of heaven? There is no neutrality here, there is no neutral gear. You're either going to be blessed because you will eventually believe by the grace of God or you will be facing greater judgment because you hear about Jesus and will not believe Him. There's a responsibility in hearing God's Word.

Worship service is not where the pastor or preacher performs and you just watch the show. You are responsible for how you listen to God's Word and if you hear about Jesus and His love and His sacrifice and His finished work when He resurrected from the dead and you still say no, I won't want Him because I love the darkness, I won't want to give up my lifestyle, I won't want to give up my sin, then my friends, a greater judgment faces you on the day you die.

The Bible tells us whoever believes in Him is not condemned. This is the amazing news of the Bible. It's not you saving yourself, it’s that Jesus paid it all on the cross and if you believe Him, you will not be condemned because He died for your sins, He paid for your sins but if you do not believe, you're condemned already. I don't say these things, God says these things, Jesus Himself said these things because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. There's no neutral gear. You are either for Christ or against Christ, the choice is yours.

This idea of Jesus being the cornerstone is a very important teaching in the whole of scripture, in the whole of the New Testament. I just want to allude to one more passage before we end.

In 1st Peter, Peter said for it stands in Scripture, behold, I'm laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, so Jesus has always been determined to be that Cornerstone, He's chosen, He's precious and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.

You know, I'm scared, I'm not scared of dying. I'm not scared of death but I'm scared of dying. You say, what are you talking about? Well, I'm not scared of death because I am sure where I will go when I die or after I die but I'm scared of the process of dying. I…I imagined that maybe I will die drowning in the sea, wah very terrible, you know, the water go into the lungs, cannot breathe. I say, I'm very scared of that feeling lah [local slang] so I'm scared of the process of dying but I'm not scared of death. Why, because I know he who believes in Him will not be ashamed. I'm confident about eternal life. I'm confident my sins are forgiven. I'm confident that I'll be with Him forever more because Jesus paid it all, I believe Him and if you believe in Him, you will not be put to shame. So the honor is for you who believe.

However, for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone and a stone of stumbling and the rock of offense. So Peter is saying, yes, Jesus is that precious cornerstone that people will gather to and be built up a spiritual house, to offer sacrifices to God. People will be saved because they believe in Jesus but there will also be people who do not believe because in the scripture Jesus is also said to be One who will be rejected by men. He will be a stone of stumbling. He will be a Rock of offense and they stumble upon Jesus or stumble over Jesus because they disobeyed the Word and look at the last phrase, as they were destined to do, oh, the sovereignty of God, a very sensitive subject.

People like to think it is all about man's choice. I say, you have to make your choice absolutely hundred percent but at the same time, the Bible also talks about the sovereign plan of God as they were destined to do. Who destined them to do? God destined them to do. Well, I'm not going to go deeper into that except to say, it is not our, I think part, to guess, who are destined and who are not but it is our responsibility to respond in either faith or unbelief and so I urge you today, do not disobey the Word, do not disobey the command of the Gospel, to repent and to believe in Jesus Christ. Whosoever believes in Him will not be ashamed but if you don't, then that rock would crush you and you will be facing severe judgment.

This is the grace of God that He has sent His Son, light has come into this world and today in church we tell you about this light. Will you turn from your sin and come to this light? Would you be saved?

Let's bow for word of prayer together. The death of Jesus Christ was not a defeat at all. The death of Jesus Christ was not a misfortune at all. The death of Jesus Christ was not an accident at all. It has always been the pre-determinate will and plan of God that through His sacrifice, He will become the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world because it is only in that corn of wheat falling to the ground and die that it will bring forth much fruit. It is only in that death will there be a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins, that sinners may plunge beneath that flood and lose all their guilty stains.

This is the amazing wisdom of God, that through His death, you may have life. It's only when the Son of God gave Himself up that we who were enemies of God might be brought back to a reconciled relationship with Him. Jesus paid it all. He is the Rock of the church. He is the Rock of God's people. Will you today, turn from your sin and join us in following Jesus?

The choice is yours. Would you obey? He commands you today to repent and believe. He's not telling you just to come to church, be good. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that's not the point. The point here is this, you are a sinner running away from God. God has given you His Son, He wants you to have peace with Him.

This morning, I'm just doing my little part to be a peacemaker. I'm telling you that there is Good News. There's forgiveness from the King. There's a way back to Him. You can be reconciled if you are willing to let down your arms, you're willing to stop rebelling against Him. You're willing to say, I'm wrong, I'm sinful but thank You, Jesus paid it all, today you can be saved.

Would you do that? Would you repent and believe and call upon the Name of the Lord? Would you stop being a hypocrite? Would you humble yourself and say, Lord, I've played this religion game for so long! My lips, they draw near, but my heart is far, have mercy to forgive me.

I speak today to the Church of Jesus Christ. If you are a believer of Jesus, let me tell you your goal, or God's goal for you. We are now living stones, you realize that?

Peter says we are like living stones, we are built on this cornerstone Jesus, to be a spiritual house, to do what? To offer sacrifices unto God, to show forth the excellencies of His glory. Don't waste your life in this world, living for yourself. The world passes away and the lust thereof but he that does the will of God abides forever.

Let us dedicate our lives, our time, our talent, our treasures, that it will all show forth the excellencies of His Name. Let us worship Him with our lives. Let us as a church go forth, with the precious Gospel. Blessed are the peacemakers. We pray we will be faithful to Jesus our Lord.

Father, we thank You this morning for Your Word and I pray that this will not just be some message we hear but it will be a message we will respond to in obedience so may Your Spirit touch hearts, open eyes, convicts sin, may Your Spirit glorify the Son.

I pray Gospel Light will not just become like a country club where people come to but we will be a spiritual house, offering praises to Your Name, indeed. Thank you. We pray all this in Jesus Name. Amen.


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