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Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  49:46
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PO - I believe the measure of a person's life lies in what we pass on to others.
ILL - Paul Harvey’s broadcast (11/22/95) shared this insight.
The Butter Ball Turkey Company set up a hot line to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for twenty-three years! The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn’t recommend eating it.

Paul Harvey’s broadcast (11/22/95) shared this insight.

The Butter Ball Turkey Company set up a hot line to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for twenty-three years! The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below 0 degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn’t recommend eating it.

The caller replied

The caller replied, “That’s what we thought. We’ll just give it to the church.”
Edward K. Rowell, Humor for Preaching and Teaching: From Leadership Journal and Christian Reader (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 160.
TRANS - Are we, sometimes, guilty of giving only what we don’t want to God?
I mean, are we giving to God quality stuff like time and resources?
I’ve discovered that I really like accomplishing things; I get a charge out of seeing something finished.
We’ve come a long way towards making this building more presentable.
Yet, sometimes it seems the work is never done.
But, is God asking us to look at the “never done” or “what’s been done?”
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I think we need to focus more on the “been done’s” and spend more time thanking and praising God than we do sulking over things that need to be done.
When you think about it, that’s biblical!
Do not worry. Has worry added anything?
Nope, but worry and complaining will sure drive people away.
Do you know people who always seem to have a downcast view of life?
Well, I’ll tell you a not-so-secret.
Start giving more to God and beging with thanking him and praising him.
Then, start giving him more of your time and always remember to be positive.
You will find that, when you bless God, you too, get blessed.
But, done when a wrong view, you simply start to grip and do more to mess things up than you will to bless God.
The bible even tells us not to give that way, but give from the goodness, the thankfulness, the blessedness of your heart.
That’s the only way to honor and bless God.
INTRO - Today’s passage is sometimes known as the parable of the unfaithful tenants.
It tells a story of selfish people who, perhaps, thought what they were doing was in their best interest.
However, their way was wrong and it led to more and more sin.
TRANS - It’s hard for us to imaging people killing their landlord representatives and even his son.
It’s hard to imagine this sort of selfishness.
They stole and even killed.
Perhaps we say, “Well, I don’t sin like that!”
Yet, we too, hurt God when we rob him.
How is that?
Hear what the word in Malachi says:
Malachi 3:8 ESV
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.
One of the things things this story teaches is how to give.
Also, keep in mind, when we give, we also receive.
It’s never a lost when we give to God.
It comes back as we can’t out give God.
Lastly, we will see, when we give, we look like Jesus.

What does it say?

Mark 12:1–12 ESV
And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

Like the Lord

What might Jesus’ use of Isa 5:1–2 in Mark 12:1 suggest?
In Isaiah Isreal is the vineyard.
Some thought was a prediction of the destruction of the temple in 586 BC.
This made Jesus’ warning very forceful.
We know the leaders feared what Jesus might say to move the people against them.
Do you recall the leaders feared the people more than God?
Yet Jesus did not, cause the people to rise up against the leaders.
Do you see Jesus doing the right thing even while he could have caused a great division among the people?
Oddly, the leaders only saw that Jesus could cause them great problems.
Rather than respect Jesus for his reserve and doing the right thing, they wanted to protect their own holdings.
Rather than give praise to God for Christ, they sought selfish gain hoping nobody would catch on to their self-focused occupation.
Jesus sought to bring sides together, to encourage all persons to do the right thing.
Here we see one more example of how truth brings both repentant to God and unrepented to shame.
Do you find it interesting that God trusts us with all that is his.
ILL - At one time I’d peal off a bill or two to appease my own sense of giving to the church.
Then, I came to understand that we give from our heart and God rather I kept that “pealing” to myself.
Today, I love to give.
I don’t really keep track, but I know it’s not just giving a 10th, but giving because I want to.
For me, giving is a wonderful experience.
You see, today I know how I’ve been blessed and really I’m sharing like Jesus.
That, tells me, I’m different and I truly am saved for I look more like him these days.
That’s why I say, “It’s good to give back to God!”
I don’t say it to make people uncomfortable or guilty.
Those are the poeple I tell, “Keep your money and time.”
I tell Christians, “Try it and you’ll want to do it more.”
For the Christian, you really can’t of give God.
But, the doing it; it sure brings me great joy.
And that friends, is God’s gift to the giver who shares from the goodness inside.

Leaving the Lord

How does the timing of this parable relate to the timing of Jesus’ crucifixion?
1st, this parable is directed at the leaders.
Back in 11:18-19 they were seeking a way to destroy Jesus; that marked the end of the 2nd day in Jerusalem.
Here, 12:12 “they went away” applies to the leaders at the end of the 3rd day in Jerusalem.
That helps us get the time thing down.
At this point, so close to the end, we know Jesus had done all he could to get people, even leaders, to “see.”
Some, still didn’t grasp that pleasing God only happens God’s way.
You can’t say, “This pleases God” unless God says “this pleases me.”
When we assume we are right, without seeing it in the Bible, we’ve alread left God’s will.
ILL - There are lots of good intentioned folks around the world. Nice people practice other religions. We call on government to take care of folks in need. And, the Red Cross does some pretty good work. Then we have Peace Corps and Ameri Corps all doing good deeds.
I even believe a Christian can serve in the Red Cross, Peace Corps, or Ameri Corps and do it all to God’s glory.
But, even good deeds, done without God, do not bring glory to him.
As a matter of fact, sometimes depending on the government to help the poor runs opposed to what the Bible teaches Christians.
We are commanded to be the workers of good among the poor.
Consider the OT:
Deuteronomy 15:11 ESV
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
It is a sad day when people expect more from entitlement programs than from God’s people.
Personally, I think is should be a sin to complain about entitlement programs when so few Christians ever lift a finger to help a poor person.
Who do the owner of the vineyard, the beloved son, the tenants, and the slaves represent?
We’ve already established the people understood Isaiah represented Jewish people.
What is new here is that Jesus says the land was leased to tenants and the owner went to another country.
This caused those familiar with the OT story to listen in to what Jesus was saying about them.
Leasing farmland was common practice.
However, the behavior of the landlord and tenants was not common.
That’s what makes this interesting.
There are lots of attempts to find “deeper meanings” in this text.
Some say: owner = God, vineyard = Isreal, tenants = leaders.
Similarly, servants = prophets, son = Jesus, killing son = crucifixion of Jesus.
Some go deeper still: winepress = temple altar, tower = temple.
Yet, I doubt Jesus’ hearers or Mark’s gentile readers knew these meanings.
Jesus focused on repenting and make no doubt, he wanted the people to see the sin before turning to him.
That is key to everything we believe.
You must be born agian!
That starts with knowing how seperated you are from God becasue of sin.
That applies to the lost who are permantly seperated.
And, that applies to backsliders who, while still saved, are not pleasing to God.
Ill - I’ve beleived in God most of my life. Yet, I came so worldy that, at one time, nobody knew I believed in Jesus. I can only imagine how sad my Savior was to see me that way.
Proverbs says:
Pr
Proverbs 14:14 ESV
The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
I had rotteness in my heart, but when I turned back to God he blessed me and agian put me on the right track.
God is like that; he will forgive and set straight.
But, it must be done his way.
Repent and believe.
Repent and turn back to God.
Remember the prodigal; the Father ran to the son.
Our Father is looking for the one to come and for the one to come back home.

Legacy of the Lord

What does Jesus mean that the vineyard will be given to others?
BAK - The vengeance of the owner is not a realistic behavior as Roman and Jewish law forbid taking law into one’s own hands.
More likely, it reflects Isaiah and the ongoing emphasis of Jesus’ warning about judgement.
The text urges us to see the tenants as the leaders who seek to destroy Jesus.
Their ongoing dialogue with him continues to be hostile.
Even now, they hear this directed at them and seek to have Jesus arrested.
The only thing stopping them is the crowd.
Perhaps the story implies the transfer of authority from Jewish leadership to the church leaders?
However, by the end of this gospel, it’s not just the leaders, but the crowd too who reject Jesus.
With a wider vision, its possible to see the events of the coming Jewish War of 66-73, the demolition of Jerusalem as the consequence.
Perhaps the Gentile church was beginning to see itself as the true Isreal.
Later Christians came to see the destruction of the Temple and suffering of the Jews as punishment for their murder of the prophets, Jesus, and the Christians.
Lastly, the literal reading of the Targum, a Hebrew text from says, “And I will make them [to be] banished; they will not be helped and they will not be supported, and they will be cast out and forsaken.”
Also, we have a pre-Christian text found in the Septuagint says:

1 When Israel was led away in exile into a foreign land,

when they fell away from the Lord who redeemed them,

2 they were expelled from the inheritance that the Lord had given them.

The diaspora of Israel was in every nation, according to the word of God;

αὐτός
This all adds up to undergird our text and support that giving to “others” their inheritance is God’s punishment for their sins.
How does relate to Jesus?
Listen to this passage in the OT:
Psalm 118:22–23 ESV
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
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In this OT context it is probably reverence to the the cornerstone in Solomon’s temple.
One of those stones was rejected, but became, depending on your translation, the capstone, head of the corner, or main cornerstone.
We don’t know if this was located at the top, the base, or joining two walls.
What we do understand is the part this stone plays both completes the building and joins parts together.
In the OT it tells a story of the Jews rejected and despised by pagan nations following their return from Exile, were exalted as a nation.
Here, Jesus applies this to himself.
As we see in the following 2 verses, the idea was familiar in early Christianity:
Acts 4:11 ESV
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
1 Peter 2:7 ESV
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
1 pt
While there is no reference to the Resurrection, we know from historic documents that the early church saw evidence in this Psalm for Christ’s return from the grave.
So, what then is the legacy?
It is: Jesus crucified is the rejected stone who God, in the resurrection, made the chief cornerstone in the heavenly sanctuary.

What do I do with this?

Jesus tells the story of a landlord trusting his land to tenants that turned out to be unfaithful.
Jesus tells the story of a landlord trusting his land to tenants that turned out to be unfaithful.
Do we get caught thinking we worked hard for things that we possess?
Remember we don’t own it, but all comes from God who expects us to manage His stuff well and to His glory.
We sometimes think that we own what we’ve worked hard to possess.
Sure we benefit; God wants it that way.
And, there is nothing wrong with having stuff.
Wrong is not growing to be like Jesus and giving from the heart.
If you give the right way, then you don’t have to be afraid.
Jesus’ story demonstrates God’s patience with the leaders of Israel as He offered them several opportunities to obey Him before He finally revoked their privileges. Paul reminds us that God’s patience is involved in our repentance (Rom 2:4). Let us thank God for His patience with us, and let us remember to practice patience with others.
Share
Consider including a short drama or skit that depicts the parable of the Unfaithful Tenants.
Preaching Theme: Stewardship
Worship Service Idea: Consider including a short drama or skit that depicts the parable of the Unfaithful Tenants.
Worship Service Idea: Consider a gospel presentation, emphasizing God’s patience in drawing sinners to Himself.
Archō in the Gospels
Archō (“to rule, begin”) is used 27 times in Mark, 13 times in Matthew, 31 times in Luke, and twice in John. Per words in each book, archō is a more prominent word in Mark than in the other Gospels.
Study, Apply, Share: Mark Study
• What might Jesus’ use of in suggest?
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
• How does the timing of this parable relate to the timing of Jesus’ crucifixion?
The New American Commentary: Mark
• Who do the owner of the vineyard, the beloved son, the tenants, and the slaves represent?
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Mark
• What does Jesus mean that the vineyard will be given to others?
: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary
• How does relate to Jesus?
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke
Apply
Preaching Theme: Stewardship
The landowner in Jesus’ story entrusted his land to unfaithful tenants. We sometimes think that we own what we’ve worked hard to possess. Let us remember that all we have comes from God, and let us faithfully manage His resources for His glory.
Preaching Theme: Patience
Jesus’ story demonstrates God’s patience with the leaders of Israel as He offered them several opportunities to obey Him before He finally revoked their privileges. Paul reminds us that God’s patience is involved in our repentance (). Let us thank God for His patience with us, and let us remember to practice patience with others.
Share
Preaching Theme: Stewardship
Worship Service Idea: Consider including a short drama or skit that depicts the parable of the Unfaithful Tenants.
Preaching Theme: Patience
Worship Service Idea: Consider a gospel presentation, emphasizing God’s patience in drawing sinners to Himself.
Archō in the Gospels
Archō (“to rule, begin”) is used 27 times in Mark, 13 times in Matthew, 31 times in Luke, and twice in John. Per words in each book, archō is a more prominent word in Mark than in the other Gospels.
But, come judgement, will you be accused of robbing God?
Or, will your works follow you and you receive the reward of rich servanthood for a life of heart-filled giving?
It’s not how much, but how; even the little given in the right spirit is much in the eyes of God.
Consider what Jesus said of the widows mite:
Luke 21:1–4 ESV
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
How do you choose to give?
From abundace or from want?
PRAY
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