Joke of the week
This one seemed timely.
A business woman in New York City received a phone call from her father in Wichita. “I have bad news for you, Jan,” he began. “Your mother and I are going to file for divorce.” “What!” she said. “You’ve been married for over 40 years. You can’t divorce now. What’s the problem?” “We’re both bitterly unhappy,” he replied. “We think we’d both be happier if we just parted ways.” “Dad, you can’t do that. Please, don’t do anything till Jim and I get there and talk with you. I’ll call him right away and he’ll come from LA and I’ll catch a plan from New York tomorrow morning. Please, don’t do that; it’s just crazy.” “Well, your mother and I can hear you two out, but don’t think you’re going to change anything.” After his daughter hung up the man turned to his wife and said, “They’re both coming for Christmas and they’re paying their own way.”
Only 24 more shopping days till Christmas
Shop online at www.saludapress.com. You can get an exciting adventure book for our children or grandchildren, The Crescent and the Cross: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, for $10.95. Also, for that high school or college student, Saluda Press offers two Bible study guides: James: A Study Guide: Practical Wisdom for Challenging Times, for $7.95, and The Letters of Peter: A Study Guide: Hope and Truth for Troubled Times, for $9.95. All prices include shipping and sales tax . Go to the top of this page, click on Buying My Books, and go from there. Note: you will be charged the full price, but I will send a rebate check with the book so that you wind up paying only the pre-Christmas sales price given here. If you’re not sure, see a review of The Crescent and the Cross at Ray Van Neste’s website, childrenshourbooks.blogspot.com (it is the second review down the page).
Parables of the Kingdom
We continue our series of studies in the parables of the kingdom with the Parable of the Two Sons
Parable of the Two Sons: Matt. 21:28-32
- Who does the father represent?
- Who does the first son represent?
- Who does the second son represent?
- What does working in the vineyard represent?
Exposition of the Parable
The father represents God. Jesus interprets the parable and tells us who the sons represent. . The first son, who initially refused to work but then changed his mind, represents tax collectors and prostitutes who had lived wicked, godless lives but afterwards repented and believed in Jesus. The second son, who promised to work in the vineyard but did not, represents the chief priests and elders of the people (see vs. 23-27. The vineyard represents the kingdom of God.
Jesus identifies going into the vineyard and working there as believing (v. 32). The kingdom work God requires is faith in Jesus Christ:
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:27-29
The meaning of the Parable of the Two Sons is plain. The real challenge is not understanding it, but applying it to ourselves.
Are you religious but actually an unbeliever? Ask yourself, do I have a dead faith? The Letter of James has a lot to say about that:
…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:17-26
A living faith shows itself by action. The works James writes of are not “good works” in the sense that word is normally understood, but rather works that show our faith is real. Abraham’s work of offering up his son to be sacrificed in obedience to God’s command was not a good work of charity or mercy. It was an action that showed that he believed God and so obeyed him. If you believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world but have not personally called on him to save you, your faith is worthless. The chief priests and elders of the people believed the Messiah was to come, but they never acknowledged Jesus as their Messiah or called on him to save them.
Have you lived a sinful life, not caring about God or your soul? That was the case with the prostitutes and the tax collectors (who lived off money they extorted from the people). They heard John preach righteousness, saw their need of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world—their sin—and repented and believed. Be like them! Then you will find yourself within the kingdom of God rather than someone looking in from the outside.