Matthew 21:33-41
Dawn – 17 Feb 2019 10:47:06 am – Pastor James Yang

Once I as invited to a secular church in Fiji as a guest preacher. I was so worried as I was to preach directly in English. I could not sleep well. So I rang pastor Park. Whenever I call pastor Park for advice, his reply is always very simple – “Don’t worry”. So with his advice, I proceeded. The pastor in the church who was doing the MC said, “We are not here to listen to pastor James’ English but to the Word of God through him”. As I heard this I was so thankful.

I reflected on why pastor Park’s advice was so simple. It is because he has the promise of God. He prayed to God over 40 years ago about how the people in the Pacific could hear the gospel, how they lived and how they can live a life of faith. He believed in the fact that God had already saved the people of the Pacific. This was why his response was always so simple.

Preaching the gospel is as easy as these two steps:
1. Ask, “Do you have sin in your heart?”
2. Tell, “If so, then you will go to hell”

If you do this, then people who are keenly interested will follow you and ask you why and how their sins can be addressed.

In today’s scripture, we can see how the vinedressers lost the heart of gratefulness from the owner of the vineyard. They mocked his servants and even killed his son as they came to collect some offerings of their produce. Eventually, the owner sent his army to kill all the evil vinedressers.

As people get led by the evil spirit, they lose the heart of thankfulness. Then suffering and pain ensues. It is Satan that leads their heart. The evil spirit is indeed Satan and leads them.

People misunderstand the church when it comes to preaching about why “we are only evil continually” and why we “tithe”. Let’s consider them.

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

People who understand that they are only evil continually will have no people problems.

There was a young Amalekite boy who was not afraid to confess to David that he killed Saul (even though it was not quite true). David then struck this boy down because he did not know the world of the heart of David and how David was afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed. The boy thought that he was doing good but had no idea that his heart was actually evil. Later on, David composed a heart-felt song mourning for the death of Saul and his sons.

Consider the story of Mephibosheth and David and how thankful Mephibosheth would have been in the beginning when David invited him to be seated at David’s table at every meal.

The vinedressers must have been so thankful to receive the vineyard in the very beginning. I am sure that in the beginning, they expressed their thanks to the owner of the land. But as time passed, such hearts began to drift away. Complaints started arising. The heart of selfishness crept in. The pride in their hearts formed and grew. The ability to deny their own heart and bend their own heart diminished.

Folks, if you are married, then do you have a thankful heart that your spouse is living with a person such as you? If so, then you have a blessed heart.

Once the mission called me and asked me to help with the translation as in Kenya they were going to do a lot of broadcasting. I spoke to my son who was still studying in school and he said, “Dad, I am really busy with my studies. I can’t do it”. So I spoke to my son, “Son, you have received so much grace of God for you to study here. Because of the mission, you are a citizen of Australia, also you are educated here and also you learnt to speak English here. As long as you can, you have to do the translation job for them. The mission in Korea requested this. It is just like the land owner who sent the landowner to you so they can receive some fruit. If you refuse, then you are no different from the vinedressers. When you finish your translation and email it back to them, then you write “Thank you for using such a person like me”.

And this was what my son did. Of course, when he was really busy then he could not do it. But the point is that as long as we are in the church, we have received so much grace. We may say “Pastor, I have worked so hard and done so much and

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In the eyes of God, we are only evil continually.

Now, about giving tithe…let me explain.

There is a missionary in Africa that I know. The church there has a large land. Part of the land were given to the people in the local community so that they could use it as they wished. The rent? It was about $20 per year. As I heard this, I was bewildered so I asked the pastor why he charged such a low rate. He then explained, “Pastor James, you see, I could let them use the land for free, but the reason I charge this trivial amount of rent is because if I do not do so, the people will start thinking that the land is theirs.” As I thought about this, I understood that the $20 rent was a means to keep the relationship of thankfulness.

Likewise, our life is also not ours. The wealth we have is also not ours. All belongs to God actually and God is actually “renting” it to us for our use. As a thankfulness, and a gesture of the thankful relationship, we give tithe – which is one-tenth of what we have.

Folks, this is the only reason why we give tithe. Those who are not thankful, please do not give tithe at all.

““Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:8-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Don’t you call God your father? If He is indeed your father, then you are indeed His child, right? This is the best connection and best relationship!

The vinedressers initially were so thankful to the landowner as they did not have the land to plant the vines in the first place. But when they were given the land, they were filled with thankfulness to the landowner. Over time, they lost this heart and even went as far as to kill the owner’s son.

This represents our heart. The bible teaches us exactly about our heart. God taught us to lead us to His grace.

“it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.””
‭‭Romans‬ ‭9:12-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Can you really hate your own child and love another? Generally, this is not possible as all humans are designed to care for their offspring. So why would God say that He loved Jacob but hated Esau?

Esau was a person who despised grace. He even forsake his birthright by selling it for a meal that Jacob made. For the fact that Esau loved works and not grace, God hates this. Jacob on the other hand loved grace and not works and God loves this.

God loves grace and not deeds.

So why do we still say that we are only evil continually when are already saved? It is so that when we do realise it and say this, we can have this thankfulness to God in our heart.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
‭‭I John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The people who have come to the knowledge about sin and has confessed are the ones who can receive salvation.

If you were once drowning you and someone saves you, then you would be so thankful to that person. Everytime you see that person, you would always be thankful to him, right? You may even explain to that person how you felt while you were drowning to express your thankfulness.

“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

By grace we are saved.

By seeing how ungodly and evil we are continually, we can have eternal and continual thankfulness.

If the location of your heart is in the humble position, then you will receive continuous grace from God.