From the July 17 sermon, "Father of a Murdered Son," part 82 of our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke, preached by Pastor Mark out of Luke 20:9–18:
In this intense parable of the wicked tenants, Jesus gives us a look at what it’s like for God to deal with us. God made this world. It’s his vineyard, and he has allowed us to steward and cultivate it and be fruitful as tenants. Yet, when it comes time to collect our dues to him, we beat his messengers and then, wanting the inheritance for ourselves, murder the beloved son he sent.
[God] sends loving, humble, truth-telling servants—the prophets. They receive a word from God and they communicate it either in written or in verbal form. And the people are hard-hearted, stiff-necked, and rebellious. They're a bunch of wicked rebels, and what they do is they oppose God and they persecute the prophets. …
How do we become those wicked tenants? We decide we don't want to obey God, we want to be God. We don't want God to tell us we're wrong. We want to be the judge of our own life. And if God should send the Holy Spirit to convict us or a Bible teacher to instruct us—in those days it was a prophet or a king or a priest, in our day it's a missionary, an evangelist, a pastor or a Christian—we reject the truth. We rebel against the truth. We defy the commands of God and we do so boldly and arrogantly.
You see how kind God is. He kept sending people to be exiled. He kept sending people to be beaten. He kept sending people to be murdered. And that's what humanity did to the servants of God. That's what humanity does to the servants of God.
Everything in your life has to begin with Jesus. That's the big idea. You say, "I want a great marriage." Start with Jesus and then build your marriage on Jesus. "I want to raise a family." Start with Jesus, then make some babies. "I want to have a business." Start with Jesus, then figure out your business. "I want to overcome some addictions, some sins, some hurt, some trouble in my life." Start with Jesus, work from there. …
What if we started with Jesus? Some of you really need to consider what does it look like to just disassemble it all and start over with Jesus first. Because the point is this, it's just like when you construct a building, a bad foundation means eventually it leans and then it collapses. You get the wrong cornerstone, it can't hold the weight, the angles get crooked and the architectural metaphor is it's only a matter of time before it crumbles. And life is like that.
God loves you and God wants your life to be fruitful, back to the original analogy. He wants it to grow, and he wants it to be one that works for you to live in to honor him. And you can't build a life where Jesus is not in your life or just a part of your life. He has to be the cornerstone of your life.
You murdered the beloved Son. His blood is on your hands. His blood is on my hands. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Christ died for our sins, not only our sins, the sins of the whole world. And the beloved Son was murdered, shamefully, painfully murdered. And we murdered him.
And three days later, the Father raised him from death. And the Son now looks at you and says, "The wage for sin is death. Since I died, why don't you tell me you're sorry and I'll have my death count for you? So that the Father won't be angry at you, so that you won't be eternally condemned, so that I won't be the stone that crushes you. I'll be the cornerstone that helps you rebuild a whole new life that glorifies God and bears fruit that will last."
So the Son looks at you today and he says, "How about your murder of me counts so that it would be my death in your place?" And then the Father looks at you and says, "If you will take that kind offer from my Son, here's what I'll do. I'll adopt you into my family called the church. I'll give you my name, the family name of Christian. And I'll call you my beloved son as well." You say, "But I hated your Son and I murdered him." "I know. But he's willing to allow his death to pay for your forgiveness. And if you will receive that, I'm willing to adopt you into our family. Not only that, because you were greedy and selfish and all you wanted was stuff, I'll give you an inheritance. I'll give you an inheritance that begins with the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit and it culminates where one day you will rise like the beloved Son rose and you will spend forever with me in a kingdom of lavish provision feasting, laughing, free of sin and suffering forever."
That's the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was a man who claimed to be God. Think on that for a minute. If that were true, how would it change the way you thought, felt, and lived this life?
At Mars Hill, we believe that Jesus is God. We take him at his word. Because of this, everything we do is all about Jesus. We invite you to learn more about this man who is God and how you can find forgiveness and new life in him.
Visiting a church for the first time can be nerve-racking. But having an idea of what to expect can help. There are three main parts to every Sunday service: preaching, worship, and kids. To learn more about each of these, click the links below.
Church is more than a service. It’s people living life together and helping one another throughout our cities to serve our cities. Each week, thousands of people at Mars Hill meet in hundreds of small communities to learn about God, pray, eat, laugh, and live. We call these Community Groups—and they’re the heart of our church.
We provide a number of resources to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus. You’ll find videos on a number of topics and from various conferences. The Mars Hill Blog connects you to life around the church and personal growth. And Resurgence is a blog dedicated to helping you grow as a leader at home, work, and church.
Jesus is the most generous person who ever lived. He gave his life so that we might live. As Christians, we give our time, talent, and money joyfully in response to Jesus’ generosity and to help more people meet Jesus.