Sermon #62 Series: Matthew
Title: The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen
Text: Matthew 21:33-46
Reading: Lindsay Campbell – Bob Poncer
Subject: The Danger of Despising Gospel Privileges
Date: Tuesday Evening – November 7, 1995
Tape # R-93
The parable contained in these verses was spoken by our Savior to the Jews and applies directly to that nation upon which the judgment of God has fallen. They are the husbandmen described in the parable. Their sins are set before us in plain words.
There can be no doubt that the parable was directly intended to be a word of condemnation against the Jewish nation. “When the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parable, they perceived that he spake of them.” (v. 45). But it is a serious mistake for anyone to read these words and say, “That applies to the Jews. It has no reference to me.”
“A godly man,” wrote John Trapp, “reads the Scriptures as he doth the statute-book. He holds himself concerned in all that he reads. He finds his name written in every passage and lays it to heart, as spoken to him. The wicked, on the other side, put off all they like not, and dispose of it to others.” Let us not be so foolish. The parable of the wicked husbandmen is a parable by which the Son of God speaks to us. “He that hath an ear, let him hear.” The Jews who heard this parable fall from the lips of the Son of God refused to heed it’s lessons. Therefore that nation is to this day under the curse of God wrath and just judgment. When they had the light, they refused to walk in the light. Therefore God has sent blindness and darkness upon them! Beware, lest the same thing happen to you! “If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee!”
Proposition: The message of this parable is obvious. It warns us of the danger of despising gospel privileges. Those who despise the privileges of the gospel count the wrath of God.
I. God almighty sovereignly and graciously bestows upon some very great opportunities and privileges and withholds them from others. (Matt. 11:20-26; Acts 16:6-7).
God chose Israel alone to be a peculiar people unto himself He separated them from all other nations. He counted the Jews alone to be his vineyard. He built a tower in it. In other words – God established his worship in Israel alone. To Israel alone he gave his law, his ordinances, his tabernacle, his altar, his priesthood, his sacrifices, and his prophets. What privileges the nation of Israel once enjoyed.
A. I repeat now what I have said to you many, many times. I pray that you both hear and understand it – The greatest blessing and privilege God can bestow upon any people is to establish his Word and his worship in their midst.
How thankful we ought to be for the privilege and blessing God has given us in this place.
Illus: “If the people of Danville only knew what an opportunity and privilege God has given them, that little hillside would be covered with people, seeking to hear the Word of God.” – Jerry Salsburg.
B. It our privilege and responsibility to avail ourselves of the blessing God has given us.
I wonder how we would react if we knew we were in danger of having the Word of God removed from us. If we knew that God had threatened to remove his candlestick from this place, so that neither we, nor our neighbors, nor our children, nor our grandchildren could never again hear the gospel of his grace, I wander if it would really be of concern to us. Let me tell you something – He has given us warning!
God says, “Thou hast despised mine holy things” (Ezek. 22:8). It is a well deserved word of reproof. It is impossible for me to understand how men and women who claim to love the gospel of Christ can willingly absent themselves from the ministry of the Word. It is one thing to despise the labors of a pastor who faithfully seeks a message from God and diligently preaches the gospel. But a willing neglect of the gospel is much, much more than despising the labors of a man. It is despising God’s holy things. His Word, His Ordinances, His Praise, and His People. The Lord Jesus promised that wherever and whenever two or three gather together in his name he will be with them. To neglect that assembly is to neglect Christ’s company!
I know people, many people, who have no place of public worship and no one to minister to their souls. The get excited when a gospel preacher comes within a hundred miles. They gladly drive the distance to hear him. They plan their vacations around Bible conferences, special meetings, or place of worship. They listen to tapes every day. When they get a chance to meet with God’s saints and hear his Word, They are the first to arrive and the last to leave. They simply cannot get enough of the gospel. They soak it up like a dry sponge soaks up water. When the message is over, they talk about it enthusiastically.
I know others, many others, who have faithful pastors and regular places of worship, who act as though they could care less. If they attend the worship of God once a week and give little money to pay the light bill, they are more than content. In many places, where people claim to love the gospel, it goes begging for a hearing. The evening services and mid-weak services could be held in a closet without being very crowded!
Listen to me – If you are too busy to attend the worship of God, you are too busy! If you are too tired, then you need to give up something else, but not this! If you despise God’s holy things, he will take them away from you and give them to someone else. (Rom. 11: ).
II. The sad fact is that – Multitudes like the Jews in our text, despise the privileges God gives them.
God gave Israel his word; but they mingled with the heathen, and learned their works (Ps. 106:35). God sent them his prophets; but they chase darkness rather than light. God showed them the path of righteousness and life; but they hardened their hearts in unbelief and sin. God revealed himself to them; but they turned aside after idols. At last, God sent them his Son, even the Lord Jesus Christ; and they crucified him!
A. What are you doing with the privileges God has given you?
1. You have his Word – Do you seed to know it?
2. You have his Ordinances – Do you avail yourself of them?
3. You have his People – Do you choose their company?
B. I cannot adequately warn you of the danger of despising the worship of God.
· Hebrews 3:10-14
· Hebrews 10:25-26
III. This much I know – If you despise the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you. (v. 43)
The time came when the cup of Israel’s iniquity was full and God would tolerate them no more. In 70AD, just 40 years after this parable was uttered, God sent Titus and the armies of Rome into Jerusalem to destroy the holy city, the temple, and the nation. From that day to this, the Jews have been scattered over the face of the whole earth.
“Nothing offends God like the neglect of privileges.” (J.C. Ryle)
· The Churches of Asia Minor, once so strong, are now gone.
· Africa, once the cradle of light is now the house of darkness.
· England, once the so full of light and life, is now a graveyard of religious relics and memories. (New England!)
· Much, much has been given to us. And much shall be required of us!
“The gospel is that inheritance we received from our forefathers… It must be our care to transmit the same to our posterity.” (John Trapp).
IV. Even in wicked men, the conscience is strong to condemn.
When our Lord spoke the truth, even these proud priests and Pharisees could not help understanding that he spoke of them.
A. Our Lord spoke of himself – (v. 42).
· His Rejection.
· His Exaltation.
B. He Spoke about repentance – (v. 44)
“Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken!”
C. He spoke about judgment – (v. 44).
“An whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” – “They perceived that he spake of them.”
D. But it takes something more than a guilty, condemning conscience to produce repentance and faith in the heart – That is the gift of God’s saving goodness and grace (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-9).
V. Let me show you one more thing that summarizes this passage of Scripture and summarizes this message – God’s judgment is always just.
Judgment and wrath are always presented in Scripture as God’s response to man’s sin. “The wages of sin is death.” Judgment is something you earn. “But the gift of God is eternal life.” If you go to hell, it will be your fault, the result of what you have done. If you go to heaven, it will be God’s fault, the result of what he has done.
A. If a person walks in the light God gives him, God will give him more light.
· The Ethiopian Eunich.
B. If you despise the light God gives you, the light will be turned into darkness; and when light becomes darkness, how great is that darkness! (Hos. 4:17).
There is no darkness like spiritual darkness. And there is no spiritual darkness like the darkness of reprobation.
· Romans 11:8-10
· Romans 11:21-22
C. Yet, man’s unbelief will not thwart, but shall only serve, the purpose of God.
· Romans 3:3-4
· Romans 11:32-36