Labourers in The Vineyard
A Sermon on Matthew 20:1-16
Laborers in the Vineyard
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” (ESV)
Why do we grumble? Why do we commiserate and feel sorry for ourselves? Is it because we’ve forgotten grace? Murmuring stems from a belief that one deserves something more. As a result, we’re never happy and become a complaining people. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains it this way from Matthew 20:1-16: the murmuring person has forgotten that everything is grace. To illustrate this point, Jesus gives us the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. This sermon highlights the grumbling of those who came in early. They are complainers; they feel they deserve more than the others. They started out well, but got into trouble later on. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones applies this parable to our own condition today. We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, be if we do not continue, we get into the same trouble. We become entitled and believe we deserve more. What we forget is this: it’s all grace. It’s always been grace. In the Christian life, all is grace, from the beginning to the end. Christians are called to do all things without murmuring. What a tragedy when Christian people become miserable! What a tragedy when they murmur! The same grace that saved us keeps us. Listen and rejoice––it is all of grace.
About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.