Lessons Of A Lifetime

The Obedience Of One Imperfect Son
The Deceptive Refusal Of Another
Sunday July 10, 2022

Scripture To Consider:
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Jesus. ‘The first.’

“Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed Him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.’”    Matthew 21.28-32

Something To Consider:
Jesus pressed the point of the baptism of John even though the religious leaders would prefer to let that issue lie dormant. But Jesus has a way of gently forcing us to face the difficult issues of life. In this instance He asked for their opinion, “But what do you think?”

And He proceeded with the parable of the two sons. The first son represents anyone and everyone who has rebelled against the nature of God, which would include us all. The second son depicts the so-called spiritual leaders of the nation of Israel who professed one thing and practiced another, which if true, makes them hypocrites.

The lesson of a lifetime to be learned from this parable is clear. What we practice is far more important than what we preach, teach, or profess with our mouths. It always boils down to whether a person is obedient to the Word of God, or if he or she is disobedient to the Word of God. There are no other categories concerning the human heart.

The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5.2; “By this we know that we love the children of God [or are true Christians], when we love God and keep His commandments.” Therefore, are we keeping or being obedient to the Word of God? And if not, why not? What is it in this most temporary earthly life that is of more value or of more importance than our obedient following of Christ and our being obedient to the Word of God, from an eternal perspective?

Something Else To Consider:
The spiritual picture that is being portrayed in this parable is a picture that is flawed. Neither son is an example of perfection, but rather a true portrait of the sinful nature of men, women, children, and all sons and daughters alike. The apostle Paul described our spiritual condition prior to our believing and our receiving Jesus Christ in Romans 3.23. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory [perfection] of God.”

But our eventual obedience to the commands of God proves the fact that we have had a spiritual change of heart as did the first son. Whereas on the other hand, our continued refusal to be obedient reinforces Paul’s description of our old nature and of our choice to remain deceptive, disobedient, and in command of our own lives.

David, speaking on behalf of God in Psalm 101.7, declared; “He [or she] who works deceit shall not dwell within My house. He [or she] who tells lies shall not tarry [or remain] in My sight.” And David’s son, Solomon, confessed in Proverbs 12.20; “Deceit is in the heart of those who imagine evil.”

Our obedience to the Word of God brings deliverance, and our practicing deceitful thoughts tightens the chains of our enslavement to sin! Therefore, God Himself pronounced through the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 7 and verse 27; “Obey My voice [My Word], and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.”

Something More To Consider:
This parable also teaches us that words alone will never take the place of our works, if our works are works of righteousness. And if our words are void of truth, those words become deceptive promises. Therefore, the two sons also represent two groups of people and two totally different responses to the command and authority of God.

Finally, Jesus answered the question He presented to these deceptive sons of Satan, by His stating; “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him, and when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.”

And so the question must be asked of us, when we are faced with the truth of God’s Word and our deceptive actions, do we repent of our wrong, or do we refuse to and remain disobedient and deceitful to our own hearts? If so, we are as guilty as the so-called religious leaders of Jesus’ day. If so, we too are guilty of becoming hypocrites!

As imperfect but forgiven sons and daughters of God, is our desire to become and to remain obedient to God’s Word? Or as imperfect earthly occupants, is our continued disobedience the true and final evidence of our deceitful disobedience? The answer depends greatly on our eternal or earthly outlook!

A Few Final Words:
Where are we as individuals approaching the Judge of all eternity? If we remain deceitful and disobedient to the commands of the Word of God, then we have no defense. If that is our final plea, we will experience the eternal punishment of Almighty God. Of that there is no escape, except in and through the forgiveness of our sin.

On the other hand, heaven, and a peaceable pardon of all our past iniquity and sin is one prayer away always! Because Jesus was wounded for you and for me, background checks are not required to believe in Jesus or to receive His righteousness. But, a spiritual change of heart is mandatory in order to take part in His eternally rewarding kingdom.

For according to Jesus, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him, and when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.”

Our Father in heaven, forgive us for our past disobedience and our outright deceptive refusal to do what is right in Your sight. Thank You for allowing us to truly repent of our sin and to once again become obedient and true believers in Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!   

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