Worship Service – October 4, 2020

Sunday October 4 2020

Welcome I invite you to open your bibles and read Psalm 19 and follow along as I read Matthew 21:33-46.

Matthew 21:33-46

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a wine-press in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.
34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’
39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 “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.
44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

This is the word of God,for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

All the details of the story that Jesus tells about being a tenant and owning a vineyard would have been familiar facts to the people who heard him tell it. Most vineyards of Israel, in Jesus day were surrounded by a stone wall. On top of the wall is placed brambles that keep the wild animals from coming into the vineyard. They also protect the vineyard from thieves climbing over the stone wall. Many of the vineyards had a wine-press located right on the spot. A tower was usually built with the stones that were picked up to clear the vineyard, and that tower served as a place for a watchman to stand and observe the grapes as they were ripening, as well as a place to live for those who worked in the vineyard.
The behavior of the owner of this vineyard that Jesus talks about was also normal. In the time of our Lord, Palestine was a disturbed place, and held out little luxury for its citizens. It was quite often the case that a landlord would buy a vineyard, and then let out the vineyard to tenants, and travel to a country where living was better, and he could live off the income.
As a matter of fact, the actions of these tenants were not so uncommon either. In the time of our Lord, the working people were discontented and rebellious, and the action of the tenants in trying to get rid of the son was not by any means unimaginable.
It certainly would have been easy for all those who heard Jesus tell this story to understand what each element of the parable represented. The vineyard certainly represented the nation of Israel. The owner of the vineyard represented God. The tenants of the vineyard were the religious leaders of the day. The messengers who came to speak to the tenants were the prophets,and the son who finally came to appeal to the tenants was Jesus himself. 10-4 ?
I bet you wonder why I put 10-4 ? after this summary. No it doesn’t represent the date October 4 which we would see as 10/4.


is an affirmative signal: it means :Ok,I got it ,Understood ,Affirmative,Message received,Concur.

I found on the Internet that the ten-codes are credited to Illinois State Police Communications Director Charles Hopper who created them between 1937–40 for use in radio communications among cops.
As you read,in today’s scripture Psalm 19 the last verse,verse 14, it teaches us to respond with words and meditation, and I quote :” May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your site, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” So, today as you listen to or read this message, I would ask you to respond verbally after each truth Jesus would have us understand.

“ 10-4 ? “

We can learn a lot about God by looking carefully at this parable which Jesus told. There is something encouraging about the fact that God has a lot of trust in people. In the parable the owner of the vineyard trusted it to the tenants. He didn’t stand over them and exercise a police-like supervision. In fact, he went away to another country and left them completely on their own. Even today God trusts us with hs work in this fashion. Every job that we receive is a task that God would have us do. 10-4?
This parable also gives us a good look at the patience of God. Notice how the owner of the vineyard sent one messenger after another to appeal to the tenants. There wasn’t any quick vengeance when the first messengers were abused or ill-treated. Notice that he gave the tenants many opportunities to respond to his appeal. It’s a great thing that God bears with us in all of our shortcomings and in all the ways that we disappoint him. He doesn’t “chuck it” all and decide to obliterate us for our behavior. It is the very nature of God to make appeal after appeal to us and often through other people who are his messengers. 10-4?
Being created in the likeness of God, certainly we can understand the sadness of God as he watches life on our world today. As a believer, as a parent, I have to ask. Do you imagine God doesn’t see your problems and your sufferings , and that He doesn’t suffer with you just as you suffer? Even worse! He can’t communicate with you,because you won’t let him, you don’t trust him, and he suffers for that, too. 10-4?
There is certainly in this parable the element of God’s judgment. At the end of the story the master of the vineyard took back his property and gave it to other people. I think we could say that it is often a judgment of God when he takes out of our hands the job we should be doing for him and must give it to someone else. We become a great disappointment and useless to God.
We are like the man who hurried to the church door one Sunday afternoon and said, “Is the service over?” An usher who had grasped the implications of the pastor’s words that day said, “The worship is over, but the service is only beginning.” Certainly it’s a judgment against us when we no longer make ourselves useful to our heavenly Father. 10-4?
Jesus portrays us sinners as God’s tenants of his vineyard. We see what a great privilege it is to be a tenant of God, and have all this given to us. The vineyard in the parable was a great one. They had everything they needed ,a protective wall ,a wine-press and a tower,which would have made it comparatively easy for those tenants and could have made possible their doing a very good job. It’s good to know that God not only gives us certain tasks to accomplish in our life-time, but he also provides for us the means to get them done. We need to recognize what a generous vineyard our lives are set! 10-4?
We in the church are so often like these tenants. We twist things around to where our whole way of looking at Christ and his church is “what they can do for me.” We’re angry if this or that isn’t done for us the way we want it done. Shouldn’t we rather concentrate on the privilege that is ours to live in this area, to be a member here, to have an opportunity to serve in this place?
Our lives have been set in a gracious vineyard, and that’s a privilege. We ought to look at our community and our church in the frame of mind that says, “How can I properly respond to this great privilege given me?” Rather than ask how well we might be entertained, and how well the church tickles our fancy, we ought to be concerned about how well we are serving God,because we are privileged to be in his vineyard. 10-4?
Did you notice here the human freedom that the tenants have? The master left those tenants and went away and allowed them to do their job as they liked and when they liked. It’s good to know that our God is no tyrannical task master. He is like a wise leader who delegates authority to those who follow, and then trusts them to carry it out. In fact, God allows us to refuse many of his requests of service.
There is, of course, the element of accountability, too. That means that certainly God expects us to answer, as he did the tenants, as to how well we have used what he has given us. To every person there comes this day of reckoning. Paul wrote in Romans 14:12 “So, you see, each of us will have to answer for himself.” So many are counting on a believeing spouse, or parent, to get them through, but this parable tells us that each person must give an account of how their use of God’s vineyard has been carried out. Our life is ours, but only when we produce the fruits that God has asked us to produce.10-4?
Notice that in this parable the tenants are deliberate in their rebellion and disobedience towards the master. So it is when you and I take our own way, rather than take the way which we know quite well God would have us take. These tenants decided to take things into their own hands, just as we often do. Remember,sin is deliberate opposition to God! And it has consequences. Paul writes “ For the wages of sin is death,” but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Roman 6:23) 10-4?
You can’t help seeing the stewardship implications in this story. We are often like those tenants. We are tenants living in God’s vineyard with service to render to him, and because we have been given such a great garden, we must see it all as belonging to him and our responsibility to share it with him. We often treat the church as if we are doing it a favor when we give. Still, this parable would tell us that we Christians are obligated to return a portion of all that God has given us from the vineyard. God is indeed our landlord, and it all belongs to him. How about it? Do you say to a landlord, “You’re always asking for your rent”? “No, I won’t pledge what I will give you next year.” “I’m not going to share the crop with you this year because I don’t like one of your workers.” The whole matter of stewardship is what relationship we think we have with God. Here Jesus says that we are like a tenant and the landlord is God,who loves us so dearly that he gives his only son to convince us of that love.10-4?
Let’s look at that landlord’s son who finally comes and makes the great appeal. Jesus lifts himself out of the succession of the prophets. Those who went before him were the messengers of God. No one can deny them that honor,but they were only servants. Here comes the son. The only son always has a special impact and appeal. This parable makes a clear claim that Jesus was unique, and to be unique from even the greatest of those who went before you is quite a claim!
The fact that our Lord told this parable makes it clear that he knew what was ahead of him. The wicked men killed the son in the story. Jesus was never in any doubt that that would be his fate one day. He did not die because of some freak crowd eruption,like we see in to many cities today or because he was compelled to. He went willingly and open-eyed knowing that it was what he must do for us. No other appeal had worked before or would work in the future. 10-4?
We certainly have a lot to learn from this story about our freedom and what a responsibility and privilege that is. And then it tells us Jesus has a certain claim on us because of the sacrifice he made for us. The parable ends with a quote from Psalm 118:22. Jesus said that the stone which the builders had discarded became the most important stone of all. “The stone which the builders rejected is become the headstone of the corner.” Originally the Psalmist was talking about the nation of Israel; and in this parable certainly Jesus meant that even though we tried to reject Christ, refuse him, even tried to eliminate him, we sooner or later find that the Christ we rejected is the most important person in all the world.
Our Savior is the foundation-stone upon which everything is built, and like a cornerstone in a magnificent building, he holds everything together. To refuse his way is to batter one’s head against the walls of the law of God. To reject and turn him down is in the end to be crushed out of life. He promises in this parable that he comes to us with a loving appeal, God’s only son, that we might receive him and know a new life as a tenant in his vineyard. On this you can build a meaningful existence. 10-4?
Please pray with me the words that David wrote in Psalm 19 :14.” May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your site, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Amen 10-4 ?

In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20201004



Pastor Joe is available at the church every Thursday 2-4pm if you need to speak with him. Contact Numbers: 570-465-7303 or his cell 570-267-4570

Loose Change Offering, (coins & bills), today goes to Local Missions.

Presbyterian Women will meet Thursday Oct. 8 at 11:00.  We will be getting Halloween bags filled and other projects ready to send to the residents at Meadow View. 

Sunday School begins at 8:30 – please join us! Weekly notes about the upcoming lesson will appear on your email.

Feed-a-Friend begins Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.  Because of Covid, only monetary donations can be accepted.  Please mark your envelopes accordingly.  Thank You.  Carolyn Pratt

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that you wear a mask as you ENTER the church and as you EXIT. To EXIT, please use the Front, Side, EXIT DOOR. Thank you.    If you are in the parking lot, PLEASE TUNE YOUR RADIO TO 89.5 FM TO HEAR THE MORNING SERVICE.  Members of Session.

There is a “Blessing Box”  at the exit door with food items and paper products.  Please take what you need and share what you can.


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