Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

the parable of the vineyard workers


Jesus gave this amazing parable when Peter  asked him “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Peter wanted to know what reward would be given to those who give up everything to follow Jesus. Just like some of us always do our duties and expect more reward than we are entitled. We sometimes treat people well and expect rewards…right? Jesus has a lesson for us about the Kingdom of Heaven in the following parable.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 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 the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last. (Matthew 20: 1- 16)”

saved-by-grace

The context of this parable supports the teaching that it is impossible to earn the generosity of the Master. This is a lesson on grace. Regardless of whether or not our performance is better than someone else’s, we all need God’s grace because we have all come short of God’s standard. The landowner gave freely, making all equal. Jesus is saying that the benefits of the kingdom are the same for all who have become subject to its King, regardless of what they have done. Therefore, those who are last (or least) in the sense that they have not served the Lord as long or as well as others, will truly become “first” when they share equally of the Lord’s goodness with those who “have borne the burden and heat of the day” (Mt. 20:12).

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Stewardship


Stewardship this is one of my scariest words in English along with accountability. If you think about it, it’s both frightening in the secular world as well as in the Spiritual realm. I’m not sure about you but for me – there’s nothing as bad as being entrusted a duty with all the resources and skill then you fail to deliver! Now, as if that’s the worst; just imagine how you shall account to God (the giver of all)? We have to agree that certainly God has given us all we ever needed, and through His word we clearly know our duty on this earth. No excuses – Luke 12:48 “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

A steward is a person who has been entrusted with administering someone else’s wealth or affairs. The possessions a steward controls are not his own and he does not have the freedom to do with them as he wishes. He is supposed to carry out the desires of the one who made him steward. A banker is a steward. He has been entrusted with other people’s money. He is free to invest that money wisely in a way that will benefit his depositors and stockholders, but would be sent to jail if he took all that money and simply consumed it upon himself. A steward is accountable (Luke. 16:2) to someone else for the use of that person’s money. The money does not belong to him even though it is in his possession.

Luke 12:42 “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” This parable, and other scriptures (1 Cor. 4:1; Ti. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:10), describes every believer as a steward of God’s grace. The wealth, talents, and abilities we possess, as well as the revelation of God’s love that we’ve been given, are not our own to do with as we please. We have received these things from God and are therefore accountable to Him for the use or misuse of these gifts. Keeping this in mind is essential for fulfilling our obligation to God as stewards of His “abundant grace.”

No one will be able to stand before God on judgment day and say, “God is not fair.” He has given every person who has ever lived, regardless of how remote or isolated they may have been, the opportunity to know Him and His will. So if you haven’t began, it’s never too late…start giving back NOW!!

The Lord’s Prayer?


Prayer is one of the most sensitive aspects of a Christian’s life. Whereas it is very, very personal, it REALLY matters what you fellowship with your God. What are you sharing with God? Has it ever dawned on you that you could be saying it wrong, yet our good Lord is always gracious to listen?! Anyway, today I figured that I must illustrate why the only model prayer that Jesus taught us is NO MORE relevant to us. Hold your horses!! Yes, the Lord’s Prayer is wrong. Sometimes last year we argued with a friend over it until I almost gave up. His argument was that there was no way it could be wrong when we have all been brought up by it. He went further to tell me that if indeed it was wrong, God would not have been answering our prayers. That kind of argument is wrong in two ways. First; that kind of reasoning is known as ‘because so and so has been doing it, it must be right’. Friends – that is disastrous, never ever fall into that category. Secondly; that is totally religion. Have we forgotten that prayer is personal? Prayer should not be recited. Better still, why do we forget that it was a ‘model prayer’ Jesus was teaching us. All the same; the most disapproving factor is that the Lord’s Prayer was before the cross. Jesus lived in the Old Covenant! The New Covenant only started after the cross so we have to look at the Lord’s Prayer from a New Covenant perspective.

I must say I had to dig in some works of great teacher’s of the word of God regarding this subject. Therefore I wish to acknowledge Paul Ellis, Joseph Prince, Steve McVey & Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s short guide ‘How to pray effectively’.

Here is the prayer and why it is not right…

Matt 6:9-13 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)

“Our Father which art in Heaven”
At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything amiss with this line. Except that to believers, God is not far away in Heaven. He lives in you now. You need to identify with Christ IN YOU the hope of glory (Col 1:27), and not externalize and distance yourself from God. You are one with the Father as He is one with Christ (John 17:20-12, 1 Cor 6:17). When Jesus died the divide that separated us from the Holy of Holies was torn open. God was no longer just in heaven but He tore open the divide and made His dwelling amongst us, in us. If you keep thinking God is only far away in heaven you keep externalizing the hope of glory, thinking He is somewhere else and not right by you.

“Hallowed be thy Name”
Personally I think this is probably the only line that wasn’t affected by the cross. But what is interesting is the worth of His Name. In Ps 138:2 we learn that God has exalted His Word above His Name. God has put the reputation of His own holy sacred Name on the line to uphold His Word. His Word, and the declarations it makes regarding you is held in exaltation above His Name. Since you are in Christ, The living Word, you are in the most sacred hallowed position any being can be in. “Be holy as I am holy” is not about doing holy things but about your seated position in Christ. He is Holy because He is God. You are holy as He is holy, not by your own doing, but by His being Holy always. You are one. You are holy as He is Holy.

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
The kingdom came the moment you accepted salvation. When you were unsaved, the kingdom was near. When you go saved the kingdom is put IN YOU (Luke 17:21). Also, God’s will is to be DONE. That means you partner with Him (1 Cor 3:9) and then DO something (Mark 16:15-18). For example: Since there is no sickness in heaven, you will always be doing God’s will by healing the sick. You are doing God’s will whenever you change a person’s condition to closer reflect the reality of heaven. If you pray this line and then don’t go out and do something about situations that don’t represent heaven, all you’re doing is making empty promises. God empowers you (Acts 1:8) to do His will. Go out and do it.

“Give us this day our daily bread”
Jesus’ body is represented by bread. His body was broken for your healing (1 Pet 2:24). The children’s bread refers to healing too (Matt 15:22&26). So this is not just talking about providing for us, it is also referring to healing, every day, no matter what. Daily bread means it is always available everyday. And notice this line is not a question but an expectant statement. You don’t ask for provision or for healing, you believe you have it and expectantly command it into existence.

“And forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors”
A requirement for forgiveness under law was to first forgive others (Deut 15:2). You couldn’t bring a sin offering if you have not forgiven your brother (Matt 5:23-24). This is conditional forgiveness. You have to do something before you are forgiven. This is no longer a requirement after the cross, after you are saved. Once you got saved, you were forgiven despite the fact that you didn’t deserve it. If you first have to forgive others, it means you had to deserve your forgiveness. Grace in UNDESERVED. Your forgiveness is based on Christ and Him alone. Not your ability to live morally, forgive others or anything as self-righteous as that. Col 3:13 actually says that we are to forgive AS WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. We forgive because we are forgiven, not to become forgiven. It is good to forgive, but don’t do it to try and earn favour before God. That is not good, and earned favour is no longer grace.

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”
Does God lead us into temptation? That is debatable. However, are you familiar with (1st Cor 10:13)? You need be. Regarding the devil, Jesus did free you. He triumphed over the devil on the cross (Col 2:15). He accomplished this by nailing the record of debt (the law) to the cross. Anywhere the devil has a hold on you he is holding on illegally. Tell him to let go. It’s that simple. We have been delivered from works unto salvation for now salvation comes by grace through faith alone (Eph 2:8-9).

I am absolutely convinced that you will make adjustments to your prayer – that is, if you didn’t know. Meanwhile let me work on a sample model prayer for us who now live in the New Covenant. I am also looking forward to exploring the controversial subject of ‘tongues’. Watch this space…

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