Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

19 September 2011

Sermon: Proper 20 (Gospel)

Pentecost 14 — 18 September AD 2011

Sermon Theme: Unfair Wages

The Laborers in the VineyardSummary: Life isn’t fair. Neither is God.

However, if God were fair, we would lose the blessings of His justice and especially His love for fallen mankind. We would receive fair wages for our sinfulness: Death.

If God were fair, He would do the fair thing and send all of us to hell. Instead, He unfairly blamed and condemned Jesus for our sins and sent Him to the cross to die for us. Now we, who deserve nothing but His wrath, instead receive the blessings of God’s love and the fruits of Jesus’ death.

As new creatures, we who had no ability to do good works in God’s eyes are called to love each other and are given the ability to do so by the Holy Spirit working through the Word. None of us ever could work long, hard, or well enough to earn our own salvation but once we are given the gift of salvation earned by Jesus Christ, we also receive the desire to bless others with this same love that we know.

Text: [Jesus said,] “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.

“Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’

“And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.

“Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’

“But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’

“So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Matthew 20:1-16

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Unfair Wages, preached at the 10:30 a.m. service to the saints of God at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Marshall, Missouri.

Other Readings: Psalm 27:1-9; Isaiah 55:6-9; Philippians 1:12-14, 19-30

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