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It Pays To Serve Jesus
I want you to take your bibles please and for our first of the year or end of the year message, turn if you will please to Matthew chapter nineteen. I'm going to begin reading in verse twenty seven. Now, if you don't have a bible with you look in the pew rack there before you and most likely you'll find one. Matthew chapter nineteen, beginning in verse twenty seven. "Then answered Peter and said unto him behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, verily, I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration when the son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, of father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last , and the last shall be first." Now, continue to read into the next chapter. "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny day, he sent them into his vineyard and he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace and said unto them; go ye also into the vineyard and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth in the ninth hour and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle and saith unto them, why stand ye all the day idle? They say unto him because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, go ye also into the vineyard and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. And so, and so when even was come the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, call the labourers, and give them their hire beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should receive more and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of the house saying, these last have wrought one hour, but one hour and thou hast made them equal unto us which have bourne the burden and the heat of the day. But he answered one of them and said friend, I do thee no wrong, didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way, I will give unto this last even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first and the first last, for many be called but few chosen." Now, the title of our message today is this, IT PAYS TO SERVE JESUS. And friend, I want you to see clearly, and plainly that it does pay to serve the Lord Jesus. I want to ask a question to day. Is God an equal opportunity employer? Well, you think on that. I want to ask another question. Does God give equal pay for equal work? Now, you think on that one and you may be surprised at the answer to that one. But let me say at the beginning that it does pay to serve the Lord Jesus and if you want to get into the work force, there's a job waiting for you and the Lord would say to every man, every woman, every boy, every girl in this place, don't sit around here idle. There is a job. Why stand ye here idle? There's work for you to do and not only is there a place of service, but there is a glorious, glorious reward. Now, you will notice that I read this passage starting in Matthew chapter nineteen and going right on through chapter twenty, even though there is a chapter break. Now, the chapter breaks were not in the holy scripture. I want you to understand that. That's added later by men. The chapter breaks are there to keep preachers from preaching too long. And uh, in this particular instance uh, the chapter break does not enhance the meaning.. It destroys it a little bit, because you're going to have to; get the background to this story that Jesus told. Now let me first of all tell you the story, then give you the background, and then make some applications for our lives. Uh, the story is this, the Lord Jesus said there was a man who had a vineyard and uh, the man who owned the vineyard went out early in the morning, the sun was not even hot and uh, uh, about six in the morning and he hired some labourers to go out into his vineyard and work. And uh, they had a little negotiation there and they agreed that he was going to pay them a penny. Now, when, when it says a penny, most of us say oh my goodness, you mean they're going to work all day. What a, what a cruel man this is, he's only going to pay them a penny. Well, the word, the Greek word is a, adanarous, it does not mean a penny as we mean a penny. Don't be mislead by that. It means a day's wages. This was the same wages that a Roman soldier would get for a day's wages. It was a good money, good money. They were glad to have it and uh, so, he agreed to give them a day's wages and they go out in the vineyard and begin to work. And then the man doesn't have enough workers yet so about nine in the morning he goes out and he finds others, he says you're just standing around here with nothing to do, come work in my vineyard and uh, they say well, what do you pay? He says I'll just give you what's right, trust me. They say alright and they come and work in the vineyard. At noontime he finds others and he invites them to come. What are you going to pay? I'll just pay you what's right and so they come to the vineyard. About three in the afternoon he comes and he finds others there in the marketplace, nothing to do, would you come work in my vineyard? What are you going to pay? I'll just give you what's right and so they come and work in the vineyard and then finally, at five o'clock just before sundown the bible calls it the eleventh hour, by the way, they worked a twelve hour day. At the eleventh hour he went and he found others and he said why do you stand here all day idle, you come and work in the vineyard and they came and they worked one hour. Now, the paymaster comes at the end of the day. He says alright, call them and pay them. He says start with those who came last and then pay the others also. So, they called in these people who worked an hour and he gave them a day's wages, he gave them a penny, a denarious. Well, when the others, those who came in first saw these who came in last, they said ah, their minds started to calculate, they said they worked an hour, they got a day's wages, we worked twelve hours, we'll get twelve day's-wages and so they were just waiting for twelve days wages. But right down the line, everybody gets a day's wages. And those who had worked all day, they started to murmur, they started to complain and they incused the employer of being unfair and they said that's not right, that's not fair, you're not giving equal pay for equal work. Now, we worked as long as they did and therefore, uh, we worked longer than they did and therefore we demand more. The owner of the vineyard said you wait a moment. We had a contract. You agreed for a denarious and that's what you got. I haven't cheated you. It's my money. I can do with it what I wish but I want you to know that we had a contract and I was fair with you, I gave you exactly what we bargained for. Now, what on earth is the meaning of that parable? Ha, what does it all mean? Some people think that it means that our Lord is teaching death bed repentance, those who came in the. eleventh hour. There is such a thing as death bed repentance. You can be saved at the end of our life. Billy Sunday said that death repentance was burning the candle of life for the devil and then blowing the smoke in God's face, but I want to tell you that anybody can be saved on their death bed, very few are. They're dying feet that turn to the Lord Jesus and he said Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. That was a deathbed repentance. His death bed was across and the Lord saved him, but someone wisely said the bible records one death bed repentance that no one may despair but only one that no one may presume,,. Very few people are. saved on their death bed, this parable is not a parable to teach death bed repentance. What is our Lord teaching in this wonderful, wonderful parable? Well, you have to get it in it's context. That's the reason I began to read in chapter nineteen. In chapter nineteen is the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus had told him to sale everything, take up his cross and, and follow Jesus and the rich young ruler didn't want to do it. And the bible says that he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. About that time Simon Peter, you, you'd know it's Simon Peter, as I said before, he opens his mouth only to change feet. He uh, he had a uh, he had something to say about that right in verse twenty seven. "Then answered Peter and said unto him, behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" That is, Lord, he wouldn't give up much. WE gave up everything, now, Lord, what are we going to get? Now, at this time Peter was in danger of becoming a legalist. He was in danger of wanting to bargain with God. Saying now God, I gave you this, what are you going to give me? What am I going to get back? What am I going to get in return? And it was on the heels of Peter statement and question that Jesus gave this parable. Now, keep that in mind as you serve the Lord Jesus. God does not always give equal pay. Some get more than others and why do they get more than others? This parable ends with this saying. Many are called, or many are chosen, many are called, but few are chosen. Now, what does he mean by that? Well, everybody can come into the vineyard, but few are chosen. Now, the word chosen here does not mean chosen in the sense of predestination. That's not the idea at all. The word literally may mean their choice ones, these are the ones I love. Many are called but there are few that are really choice. When somebody goes out to buy Poinsettias. There are many poinsettias but someone will say hey, that's a choice one, I, I really like that one. That one brings me joy. Many are called but some are choice labourers. What is it that really moves the father's heart? What is there that gives God great joy and pleasure out of your service to the Lord and what is it that causes God to reward some more than he rewards others? It does pay to serve the Lord Jesus, but there are degrees of reward as we're going to see. Some will come in first, some will come in last at payday. Alright, now, let me give you three thoughts here and I hope that you'll bury them in your heart and that God will keep them burning in your heart as you serve the Lord Jesus. Number one, don't make bargains with God. Don't make bargains with God. Now, begin to read this parable and you're going to find out in verses one and two, for the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard and when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day he sent them into his vineyard. Look at that word agreed. When he had agreed with them, that is, they had some negotiations. They worked out a labour contract. They had a bargain together. I can just imagine them. He says look, I need some men to work in the vineyard. Well, what are you paying today. Well, I'm paying thus and such. Well, the rate over here is thus and such. Well, I'll give you so much. No, I can only give so much. Well, this do it this. Alright, now here's the agreement and so finally they, they have a labour contract, they have negotiated and, and uh, Williams translates this when they had contracted Now, you can understand a little bit more. Uh, the ivy is here that there were some give and take and finally, there is an agreement, they have bargained with the owner of the vineyard. He says alright, I will give you a denarious, that is, I'll pay you the same thing that the Roman soldiers get. Fine, they go into the vineyard and they have a bargain with God. Many people want to bargain with the Lord. They want to bargain with their employer. .I heard of a man who applied for a new job in, and uh, he ask the employer, he said what do you pay? He said well, I'll pay you what you're worth. He said nothing doing, I just quit a job making more than that. Now, there are a lot of people who uh, who uh, want to bargain when they work for the Lord. Now, uh, those people who bargain are, are legalists, but now, there was another category of persons if you'll look here in this uh, parable in verse four and verse five and verse seven. Those who came later in the day and they said what do you pay and the owner of the vineyard said hey, I'll just do right, trust me, I'll just give you what is right and without any contract, without any negotiation, without any agreement whatever, with no bargain, they went out into the field and began to work. It was we would call today a gentlemen's agreement. I'll just trust you. You just give me what you think is right. Now, the Lord Jesus is contrasting two types of Christian. Those who serve the Lord from a legalistic motive and those who serve the Lord from a love motive. Those who serve from legalism and those who serve by grace. The first category of persons represent those who operate on the principle of legalism. The second category uh, uh, talks about those who operate on the basis of grace. Now, listen, the legalist is always afraid he's going to get cheated. He's always afraid he's not going to get enough, so the legalist always has to have it written down. The legalist always wants a bargain. Now, here's the sad thing about the legalist. He wants to get more and he always gets less. If you strike a bargain with God, put it down, God will keep the bargain and you will lose. Are you listening? If you strike a bargain with God, God will keep the bargain and you will lose. You'll get far more if you don't bargain with God than if you do bargain with God. You see, God gives the best to those who leave the choice with him. The bargainer always cheats himself, he always comes in last, That's the reason Jesus warned them in, in chapter nineteen , verse thirty. Many that are first, they're going to be last. Again, he said the same thing in Matthew twenty verse sixteen, the first shall be last. Grace in first place, legalism last. Now, remember that. Grace in first place, legalism last. Uh, many that are first shall be last, many that are last shall be first. You see, God does not give equal pay for equal work. God is not interested in your hours, he's interested in your heart. Now, if you make a bargain with God, God's going to treat you on that basis. I mean, if you want God to be a labour contractor, alright, alright, let me show you something. Psalm eighteen, verses twenty five and twenty six. With the merciful, thou wilt how thyself merciful. With the upright man thou wilt show thyself upright. With the pure, thou wilt show thyself pure and with the forward, thou wilt show thyself forward. Now, what is the forward? Some football player is going to think we're talking about a forward pass. What is a, a forward? What does he mean by forward? Well, a forward person is a, is a conniving person, a stingy person, the person who wants to drive a bargain, the person who can't just leave it with God. God says you'll be merciful, I'll be merciful. God says you'll be upright, I'll be upright. If you are a forward person, you're going to find me forward to you. If you want to trite, treat me as, if you want to work for me as a hurling, then I'll be to you as a hirer. I will be to you according to the attitude that you take with me. Now, if you want to strike bargains with me, just go ahead and strike bargains and I'll keep my part of the bargain. Remember the Lord Jesus said to those who served him for the wrong motive therein the sermon on the mount. Verily, I say unto you, they have there reward, that is, they wanted to do it for this and that's what they got. They have their reward. I'll give them that part, but the Pharisees in Jesus day, they were very legalistic. You know, they, they were serving God for what they could get out of it. And Jesus said unto them in Matthew chapter twenty three and verse twenty three, woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, for you pay tithe of men, anise and cumin. What were these? Little garden herbs, just like you ladies have a little mint plant out behind your back door, some of you do. Haha, what the Pharisees did, they go out there and there's that little mint plant, that herb, and they start to count the leaves, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, that one belongs to God. One, two, three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine, ten, that one belongs to God. Oh, they were careful, you see, they, they, they had a little contract with God. They were going to pay God not to much bu always enough because you see, they were in a business deal with God in their, in their own way. Now, did God bless them for tithing? Well, in a way he did. They had a bargain with him. You know, it pays to tithe, but let me tell you something friend, if you give because it pays, it won't pay near as much. It pays to tithe, but if you tithe because it pays, it will not pay near as much. When you begin to bargain with God, when, when, when you are so careful that your right hand knows what your left hand does, how does a man count his change? He reaches in his pocket and he counts it this way. Don't let your right hand know what you, just reach in and give, don't worry about it. A couple of people were, were talking one day, one man said hey, do you tithe before or after taxes? He says I tithe before I pay taxes. The man-says why do you do that? He said God gets more that way. Amen. God gets more that way. I'm not all worried about the fact that I'm going to give God too much. I'm not going to get in this matter of bargaining with God. Friend, that thing. You're going to cheat yourself f you don't, if you serve God from the wrong motive. Number one, when you serve God, if you want to be one the highest end of the pay scale, number one, don't bargain with God. Those who didn't bargain with him, those who just simply said Lord, I'll leave it with you, whatever is right, you pay me. They came out best. Alright, now the second thing I want you to see, number one, don't make bargains with God. Number two, don't keep books on yourself, don't keep books on yourself. Now, what had happened is that Simon Peter had been keeping books. Now, he had given up some things and he had given some things to the Lord, but he was quite aware of the fact that he'd given them up. If you go back here to this nineteenth chapter and look in verse twenty seven. Then answered Peter and said unto him, behold, we have forsaken all and follow thee. Now, Peter evidently had a little notebook, uh, one boat given to the Lord, some net given to the Lord, uh, mother in law given to the Lord, haha, and, and he had it all there he was just, he had his little record book there. Now, Lord, you see what we've done. Now, he kept books on himself. Now, when you keep books on your service, uh, what you're going to become is a clock watch. You see, these people in the parable, they knew exactly how many hours they had laboured. They said we have laboured twelve hours. We want you to pay us accordingly. Not only did they know what they had done, they also knew what the others had done. A legalist has his eye on the clock and he has his eye on other Christians. And when you have your eye on the clock and when you have your eye on other Christians, you're going to lose the blessing, you're going to lose the reward. You see, when I was a boy I worked as a soda jerk. Do you know what a soda jerk is? You, you, you kids ever watch this program, Happy Days? Happy Days, that's when I was raised, in the Happy Days, back in the, in the uh, late forties, uh, when I was a teenager, I was a soda jerk at Albritton's Drug Store on the corner of fortieth street and Broadway in West Palm Beach Florida and uh, a soda jerk is a man that stands behind the soda fountain, uh, it wasn't all prepackaged there. Listen, if you, if you wanted cherry smash, I could make one. If you wanted a, a chocolate coke, I could make one. UH, you know, you just name it and, and we had fountain Pepsi's. They had their special kind of glasses and if you didn't have any money you could come in and order a pine float. That's a glass of water with a toothpick in it and we'd serve it, you know, It didn't make any difference. And, and, and that was my job. I was the, I was the soda jerk and also the floor sweeper in that particular drug store and that's just the corner drug store and I enjoyed doing that. Mr. Albritten started as a young man and he built that drug store there and worked and built it into quite a big business. I remember being there one night, we closed at ten-thirty, brother bob and I had my eye on the clock. I was waiting for ten-thirty to come and about ten-twenty five I started to go and close those big folding doors that went across the front, no air conditioning, those doors were open just to let the fresh air in and I started to roll those doors out because I wanted to make certain that at ten thirty those doors were closed and shut, that no more customers would come in that place and I had my eye on the clock and when that clock moved right up to ten-thirty, crump, I bolted it down and slid the lock. At that time a car drove up and a person got out of the car and tapped on the glass. I looked at my watch and said closed, we're closed. And you know, I, I had a sense of importance when I told them they couldn't come in. But then I turned around and there was Mr. Albritton standing right behind me and he didn't scold me but he said something I'll never forget, I hadn't forgotten. He said son, that's the first time anyone has been turned away from this drug store. I felt about that high. You know, there's a difference. You see, I had my eye on the clock. He had his eye on the store. See, there's a difference. Now, the legalist, he's not all that interested in God's work. He's not all that interested in t he vineyard, he wants his pay. Look we've done so many hours, you just pay us. Now, when, dear friend, when you keep books on what you do, when you have your eye on the clock, and you have your eye on what others do, I tell you what it's going to do. It's going to still your blessing and you're not going to keep books right anyway. I mean, there are times when you think you deserve pay when you don't deserve pay. You would mark up some thing in the ledger and you'd say now Lord, you owe me a big reward for this one. I heard a black preacher preach down in Miami many, many years ago. And he was a very eloquent man. And he said, you know, some, sometimes uh, you preachers, you take credit for things that you don't deserve credit for. He said have you ever been out dove hunting and you shoot a dove and it continues to fly and will fly quite a while before it falls to the ground? He says then it falls in another field way over there away from where you shot it. He said now, you got up there and preached last Sunday and people came down forward and you say Lord, look what I did. He said that soul that fell at your alter this morning, some man may have wounded him a long time ago. Amen. You see, uh, one man uh, sows the seed and another man cultivates and another man reaps and it'll take another world to show what rewards we ought to have or not have. So many times we think well, we're really doing something. We're not doing anything at all, somebody else did it and we just entered into somebody else's labor. Sometimes what we do, we do in the strength of the flesh and it's wood hay and stubble and if we were keeping books, ha, I'm afraid we'd do it wrong, but I want to tell you something else. There are a lot of times that we're not even aware of the fact that there is a reward coming to us for what we've done. You're in Matthew chapter twenty. Turn to Matthew chapter twenty four here for just a moment. Let me show you something beautiful. Or Matthew chapter twenty five rather, verse thirty four. Here's when the Lord is going to give his rewards. Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungered and ye gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and ye clothed me. I was sick and ye visited me. I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer, now watch this, Lord, when saw we thee hungry and fed thee or thirsty and gave thee drink. When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in or naked and clothed thee, or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee. Now, I want you to get this. These folks had done all these things for the Lord said they had. He had the record , but they'd forgotten. They didn't know it. They didn't have the little notebook out. they weren't keeping a record. They were things that were forgotten, things that were overlooked and evidently sometimes things, they were not even conscience of the fact they did. Last night I read a letter from a person, wrote me and said Dr. Rogers, I want to tell you what a tremendous blessing you were to me. This person wasn't trying to butter my bread. They weren't trying to flatter me. They didn't even sign their name, just a Christian. They said I watched you in a particular place at a particular time and I want to tell you that what you did just tremendously blessed me. Well, friend, I tried to go back in my mind and I wasn't aware of the fact I was being a blessing to anybody at that particular time. I got a letter a while back from a young man. He said I owe you this letter. He said years ago you were driving down the road in Merrit Island and you stopped and put me in your car. I was a teenage boy walking along the side of the road and you talked with me and shared with me and I got out of the car and he said that time, that ride with you did something in my heart. He said since that time I have given my heart to Christ, I've been saved and now I'm pastor of thus and such a church. He said I just wanted to write you and tell you about it. Folks, I can't remember it. I don't remember stopping and picking up that boy. I don't remember what I said, I don't remember, but aren't you glad that there's somebody who knows. You see, dear friend, one of these times God's going to say Lord, uh, Adrian, Jim or, or Scotty, I'm so grateful you did this. I'm so grateful you did that. And we say Lord, when did I do that? I don't remember that. You see, a legalist, he has his little notepad out. Now, you listen to me friend, when you serve the Lord, number one, don't make bargains. Number two, don't keep books. God will do a better job of the bookkeeping than you will. Number three, don't begrudge blessings. Now, when God blesses somebody else, don't let that take the joy out of your life. Look now in verse eight as we continue to read here in this Psalm, uh, in this parable rather. And so, when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, call the labourers and give them their hirer, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they that, that came were hired about the eleventh hour they received every man a penny, but when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more. You see, these were the bookkeepers and the bargainers. They supposed that they should have received more and they likewise received every man a penny and when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of the house. Now, here are murmuring. Here they are unhappy. Rather than praising and being grateful that they were able to do a full days work and get a full days pay, there with .the money hot in their hand rather than praising, they're murmuring and they're bitter. Do you know why they're bitter? Not because of what they got, but because somebody else got more. Now, listen to me. Are you listening? All jealousy is rooted in legalism. Jealousy is rooted in legalism. When we are legalist we think we're owed so much and then if somebody else gets more that legalism causes us to be jealous. Pay attention now. All jealousy is rooten in legalism. Now, all ingratitude is rooted in jealousy. You see, when I'm jealous of somebody else, I'm not grateful for what I have. Little children are so happy on Christmas day with what they have until they go out and see what someone else got. Isn't that right? I mean, you get a bicycle for Christmas and you're thrilled until you go out and find i somebody with a moped. And then you say oh, my goodness, he got a mope You get, you get uh, uh, uh, a doll and you're happy until somebody else - has a basketball or roller skates or something and then you feel that you didn't get enough. Now, uh, that's human nature. That's the legalism in us. Now, listen to me friend, legalism is the root of jealousy. Jealousy is the root of ingratitude. Ingratitude is the root of self pity. When you're not grateful for what you have you begin to feel sorry for yourself and self pity is the root of misery. You want to be miserable? You become legalistic in your service for God. You make bargains with God, you begin to keep books on yourself and I'll tell you what you'll do. You'll end up a bitter murmurer, ungrateful to God, you're legalism will lead to jealousy and you're jealousy will lead to ingratitude and you're in gratitude will lead to self pity and that self pity will lead to misery. Don't you worry about it. If God wants to bless somebody else, let him bless that person. His blessing upon somebody else does not diminish you and you can trust the Lord, friend, he will do right. You just trust him, he says, you trust me and I will do right. We get in a lot of trouble when we worry about what other people have. Ole Simon Peter at the end of his ministry, the Lord is telling Simon Peter, now when you're old Simon, when you're old somebody is going lead you around and, and you're going to die a martyr. The bible says there in the end of John that the Lord told him this signifying the way that he should die and then Peter turned and looked at John and he said what shall this man do? You know what the Lord said? If I will that he lives till I come, what's that to you. Follow me, what's that to you. Mind your own business Peter. I will do as I will do, what's it to you. Don't worry about it. It's mine, I'll get it as I will. Don't you begrudge somebody else's blessing, if you do you'll lose your own. You want to serve God this coming year? Three rules, no bargains, no books, no bitterness, OK. God is God, he will do right. You just serve him out of a heart full of love and leave it with him. Let's pray.