What About Unbelievers? Jan. 30, 2005 Luke 20:8-16 (HCSB)

Most unbelievers want to judge their righteousness in comparison with other people they
know. Sadly some times they can rate their life higher than a few of the Christians in their acquaintance. Christians recognize they must not compare themselves with others but with Christ. Our righteousness will never be adequate; we need the righteousness of Christ. Christ' righteousness is given to those who confess Him as Lord. This lesson causes us to reflect on the question; What About Unbelievers?

1.    Unbelievers . . Rebellion Against God's God's Authority. 20:8-12

A.    Rebellion and the . . Prohibition of Christ. 20:8
    8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

B.    Rebellion and the . . Parable of Christ. 20:9-10 a
    9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, leased it to
tenant farmers, and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers so that they might give him some fruit from the vineyard.. . . "

C.    Rebellion and the . . Persistence of Christ. 20:10 b - 12
But the farmers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent yet another slave,
but they beat that one too, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third, but they wounded this one too and threw him out.

    How does Christ treat rebellious people? In our text Jesus prohibits Himself from answering the questions from these rebellious people. (Is this a practice of one not casting pearls before swine?) Jesus proceeded by telling a parable, and teaches the persistence of God in calling people to Himself. It is amazing to me how unbelievers can rebel against the persistent love of the Lord. Some do not see their condition as judged by the Lord, and want to justify themselves without ever repenting, or submitting to Christ' Lordship.

2.    Unbelievers . . Rejection of God's Son. 20:13-15 a

A.    Unbelievers Rejection and the . . Mercy of God. 20:13
    13 "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What should I do? I will send my beloved son. Perhaps they will respect him.'

B.    Unbelievers Rejection and the . . Murder of the Son. 20:14-15
    14 "But when the tenant farmers saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said,
'This is the heir. Let's kill him, so the inheritance will be ours!' 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him."

    Even if God refuses to answer certain questions from rebellious unbelievers He remains merciful. God is always ready to reason with sinners, but they must be willing to deal with their sin. Remember the words "Come, let us discuss this," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool (Isa. 1:18 HCSB). But in the presence of mercy these religious unbelievers murder the Son. If you tell unbelievers they murdered Jesus many would be horrified, but all of us must see our sin as causing the death of Jesus. During the recent movie "The Passion" I wanted them to stop beating Christ as He walked along the road. I don't know how unbelievers could watch the movie and not want to express their gratitude, and give their life to Christ. But hardened sinners seem to brace themselves for their rejection. We need to pray for God to break down Satan's stronghold.

3.    Unbelievers . . Reaping of God's Judgement. 20:15 b -20

A.    The . . Authority behind the Reaping of God's Judgement. 21:15 b - 16 a
    15 b "Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those farmers and give the vineyard to others."

B.    The . . Abandonment behind the Reaping of God's Judgement. 21:15 b - 16 a
    But when they heard this they said, "No--never!"

C.    The . . Application for the Reaping of God's Judgement. 21:17-18
    17 But He looked at them and said, "Then what is the meaning of this Scripture: The
stone that the builders rejected-- this has become the cornerstone? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and if it falls on anyone, it will grind him to powder!"

D.    The . . Antagonism to the Reaping of God's Judgement. 21:19-20
    19 Then the scribes and the chief priests looked for a way to get their hands on Him
that very hour, because they knew He had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 They watched closely and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, so they could catch Him in what He said, to hand Him over to the governor's rule and authority.

    God's judgement is sure. The authority for believing in this judgement is God's Word. He has promised eternal life, or eternal damnation. If we believe in eternal life; we have the same reasons to believe in eternal damnation. Many want to accept heaven while abandoning judgement and damnation. The religious leaders in our text, and many today, want to abandon Jesus' words, but this is not possible. Jesus applied this parable to the lifestyle of the chief priests, scribes, and elders, and they knew it. They were antagonistic towards Christ and His teachings. They desired to get rid of Him. As we look at our society we see many attempts to rid the name and teachings of Christ from daily life. At the same time we see signs of revival, and believers standing for Him, and asking with concern, What About Unbelievers? Amen? Amen!