Entering God’s Kingdom

30 May 2021 AM – Matthew 21:28-44 – Parables21 – Scott Childs
Introduction: In Matthew 21:23-27, the religious leaders came to Jesus and asked Him by what authority He did His miracles and teaching and who gave Him that authority. Jesus agreed to answer them if they could first answer His question. He asked, “The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?” He had trapped them. If they said John’s baptism was from heaven, Jesus would ask why they had rejected it. If they said it was from men, they feared the people would turn on them. Rather than directly answering their questions about His authority, Jesus told them two parables about entering the Kingdom of God, which is the spiritual kingdom that leads to heaven.
Transition: As we study those two parables, Jesus tells us how a person can enter God’s Kingdom.
  1. The Parable of the Two Sons
a.         The father’s command
1)         The father was a farmer. He had a vineyard. He also had two sons. He commanded each son to work in his vineyard. This was a reachable command. It was not beyond their abilities. This was a reasonable command. The vineyard was their family occupation.
2)         His two sons represent the human race. One son was a rebel who eventually repented. The other son was a self-righteous person who refused to submit.
3)         Jesus wisely ask them which son did his father’s will (v.31). They answered correctly. The repentant son obeyed.
4)         The father’s command pictures God’s command to every human to believe on Christ to be saved from the penalty of sin in eternal hell so that each might enter God’s spiritual kingdom. We see that command in (Acts 16:31) “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
a)         It is a reachable command. Jesus died for every human. His salvation is not beyond anyone’s reach. (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
b)         It is a reasonable command. (Hebrews 2:3) “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
b.         The response of his sons
1)         The first son refused, but later repented (Read v.29).
a)         This son was a rebel. He did not want to submit to his father. Jesus compared this sinful lad to the publicans and harlots. Both the publicans (tax collectors) and the harlots were notorious sinners.
b)         This son, convicted of his sinful rebellion, repented and went to work in his father’s vineyard.
c)         Repentance is a change of heart, mind, will and action. We read in (Acts 3:19) “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” On another occasion, Jesus said, (Luke 13:3) “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
d)         No one will ever truly believe on Christ until he has repented. Let me illustrate. You are walking down a path in life, and you meet a person going the opposite direction who warns you of the damnation ahead and urges you to turn around and go the opposite direction toward heaven. You must make a decision. If you believe him, you will change your mind, turn around, and go the opposite direction.
2)         The second son said he would work, but he went not (Read v.30).
a)         This son was a deceiver. He claimed to be something that he was not. Jesus compared him to the religious unbelievers.
b)         He was a hypocrite. He pictures the multitude of religious people in our world who say that they are following Jesus, yet they have never actually obeyed His command to repent and believe.
c)         Entering God’s kingdom is not just believing in God, the devils do that (Jas 2:19). Neither is it becoming religious, being baptised, going to church, saying prayers, helping others or being good. Scores of people do all these things yet they, like that son, have never done what the Father commanded. Jesus said, (Matthew 5:20) “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” What did He mean? We need the righteousness that only Christ can give when a person receives Him as Saviour.
d)         In John 3:3, Jesus told religious Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” God demands a spiritual new birth.
2.        The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen
a.         Another man planted a vineyard (v.33)
1)         After planting his vineyard, he went into a far country and left his vineyard in the hands of husbandmen. These men were the caretakers of his vineyard.
2)         At harvest time, the owner sent servants to the husbandmen to receive of the fruits of his vineyard (v.34).
3)         The wicked husbandmen beat and killed the servants on repeated occasions (v.35-36).
4)         Finally, the owner sent his son to collect the fruit, but those wicked men killed him too (v.37-39).
5)         Jesus asked His listeners what the owner would do to those husbandmen (v.40). They answered correctly (v.41).
6)         He would destroy those wicked men because they refused to obey his command.
b.         Jesus applied the parable (v.42-44)
1)         John had preached that Jesus was the Messiah. The religious leaders rejected John’s word about Jesus.
2)         Jesus compared the husbandmen who disobeyed, rejected and killed the servants and the son to Jewish the religious leaders. They had rejected and killed many of God’s prophets. Jesus, the Son of God, knew that they would soon kill Him too.
3)         Jesus did not condemn them for disobeying the Law or the Ten Commandments. Everyone is guilty of breaking God’s Law. He condemned them for rejecting Him, the Messiah, the Saviour of mankind. (Galatians 2:16) “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 3:24) “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Rejecting Jesus Christ is rejecting eternal life in God’s kingdom.
4)         Jesus reminded them of Psalm 118:22-23 (v.42). By doing so, He implied that He was that head corner stone that they had rejected.
5)         Because of their disobedience and rejection of Jesus, God would take the offer of the kingdom of God from the Jews and offer it to the Gentles (v.43). All who reject Christ as their Saviour will miss the kingdom of God.
6)         The ultimate end of all who reject Christ is that they will be broken or shattered to pieces and then ground into powder. This pictures a terrible damnation (v.44). (Revelation 21:8) “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Conclusion: In both parables, obeying was the key to entering the Kingdom. The first son repented and obeyed his father. The husbandmen were destroyed because they rejected the son and did not obey their master. Are you part of God’s spiritual Kingdom? Have you repented of your sinful life and obeyed God’s command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved? If not, reject Him no longer. Repent and believe today!
            If you are part of God’s spiritual kingdom, serve God faithfully, live for His glory, and share the good news with others.
Song: Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart – 244