Evaluate, “Which Son Am I?”

September 29, 2013

Friends,
Jesus told a parable about a man who had two sons, asking His hearers, “‘What is your opinion? A man had two children. Approaching the first, He said, ‘Child, go today and work in the vineyard.’ Answering, he said, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. And approaching the second, the father said similarly. Answering, he said, ‘I will not,’ but later repenting, he went. Which of the two did the will of his father?'” (Mt. 21:28-31)

Those listening to Jesus said, “The latter.” (v. 31) Indeed the answer is obvious.

Jesus then said, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the harlots are going before you into the Kingdom of God. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the harlots believed him. But even after seeing this, you did not repent and believe him.” (v. 31,32) In other words, though the wicked believed John the Baptist’s proclamation that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and believed his warning that those not producing fruit in accordance with repentance and righteousness would be thrown into Hell (Mt. 3:7-10), the chief priests and elders did not believe and so remained unsaved. Or said one more way: Those viewed as the wicked of society turned from their sins and walked in Christ’s teaching and thus the Father’s will, whereas those who had vowed to uphold God’s commands were doing nothing of the sort.

What Jesus is teaching in Mt. 21:28-31 is simple: Obedience to God is what pleases God; and current / present / daily / continual obedience to God, irregardless of our words or our prior sin or righteousness, is what gives us entrance into Heaven.

Therefore, obedience (abiding under the rulership of the Spirit of Christ -Rom. 8:9) is what keeps us in Christ, His love, and His Kingdom. (John 15:1-10 // 2 Peter 3:17) As Jesus says in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Whose teaching is to be obeyed? Jesus’ teaching. That is what is to be obeyed and what makes for being a new creation and dwelling of God. (same verse & 3:3-8) –It is obedience to Jesus’ teaching, not to the teaching of any other person or church, except as that person or church preaches doctrine that is exactly in accordance with the teaching of Christ. (2 John 1:9)

Now, what has our Father and Lord commanded of us? It is to do His will and finish His work, for Jesus began it and commissioned us to continue it. (John 4:34 & 14:12 // 1 John 2:6) What is this work? Jesus tells us that it is to go out into the fields and bring in the harvest –to quit waiting around, and to do it now, for the crop is already ripe! (John 4:35) It is to get baptized with the Holy Spirit and to go forth into all nations (Mt. 28:19 // Acts 1:8) “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:20)

But alas, as Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful [and ripe], but the workers are few.” (Mt. 9:37) He then commands, “Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest so that He may thrust forth workmen into His harvest fields.” (v. 38)

But are most “Christians” (–those who claim to love and follow and serve Christ) obeying Jesus’ words? Are they going into all nations and making disciples of Christ by teaching them about “the obedience that comes from faith”? (Rom. 1:5) Are they spending their time serving Christ in His harvest fields, supporting those who are, and praying earnestly and daily so that the Lord may thrust forth more harvesters? Or are they remaining in their church huddles and Bible studies, singing to God, gorging themselves with the Word, and incessantly talking about evangelism and the dire need of souls to be delivered from the evil realm, all the while refusing to get out into the fields and finish the work Christ commanded of us?

We know that the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30) This means we are to love Him with every fiber of our being and every ounce of our energy. But Jesus then says, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (v. 31) And let’s take note of His next statement: “There is no commandment greater than these.” (same verse) In other words, the two commandments are inseparable. They are two, but one. Jesus says the same in Mt. 22:40: “All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Rom. 13:9,10 say that all the laws “are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does not harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” And Gal. 5:14, as well, says, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” As Jesus says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Is it love to our neighbor (and remember, our neighbor, Jesus taught, is everyone whom we know is in need –Luke 10:25-37) to withhold the Good News from them because we are too lazy, complacent, busy, or timid to take it to them? No, it is not love. Moreover, to not obey God’s command to love Him, as well as others, is to forfeit eternal life. (Mt. 19:17 // Luke 10:25,37)

The same religious leaders to whom Jesus told the parable of the two sons, He told the parable to of the wicked tenants (Mt. 21:33-46), warning, “Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” (v. 43) And what is the fruit? It is to obey God in everything, including laboring in His harvest fields and producing a crop even a hundred times more than what was sown. (Mark 4:20 // John 15:16,17)

Jesus declared that He came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) This, therefore, is our main purpose as well, and why He keeps us on earth, training us to become more skillful ambassadors of His message of reconciliation –that peace available between God and men found in Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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