Broken to Pieces

Thursday, March 5, 2015, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 20:9-19 (NASB).

Response to Persecution

One day Jesus was in the Temple teaching the people and preaching the gospel of our salvation. The chief priests, scribes and elders began to question his authority. Jesus then answered their question with another question – one that they were in a quandary as to how to answer – so they responded that they did not know the answer. Jesus then told them that he would not answer their question. And, then he began to tell the people this parable about the vineyard, the vine-growers, the servants, and the Son. [See vv. 1-8]

Jesus exercised much wisdom and discernment in answering his persecutors. When we come up against persecution for preaching the gospel and for teaching the truths of scripture, we will need much wisdom and discernment of the Spirit in knowing how to answer our persecutors, as well. But Jesus said we should not be afraid, for he will give us the words to say. We just have to listen to his voice speaking to us, and to say what he gives us to say.

Jesus’ most fierce opponents were not the people of this sinful world, though. His strongest opposition came from those within the temple of God, i.e. from those who professed to know God and to be his servants. Not only that, but they were the leaders and teachers in the temple who came against him the toughest. And, that may be true for us today, as well, at least here in America, because so much of the church today has gone the way of the world in order to please the world, which is why so many of today’s church leaders are opposed to the gospel as taught by the apostles, because it is judgmental and offensive to them. They prefer messages which tickle itching ears and that are pleasing to the flesh of humans. So, they will also reject and turn away those who hold to the truths of scripture and who teach the unadulterated word of God.

The Parable

And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.”

In terms of Jesus’ day, the vineyard was God’s people, the Jewish nation. The vine-growers were the leaders of the people, i.e. the priests, scribes, and elders, et al. They were put in charge of caring for God’s people. The slaves/servants were the prophets, including John the Baptist. And, the son was Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was accusing these leaders and their predecessors of having persecuted and murdered some of the prophets, and of also killing the Son, though that was yet to take place. Yet, they were already plotting against Jesus, and they hated him, so in God’s eyes they had already committed murder in their hearts. He was also charging them with having not produced anything in the way of spiritual fruit for their labor, as well as he accused them of jealousy against the Son and of trying to steal the inheritance for themselves. So, God judged the Jewish nation, and they are no longer his chosen people. He sent his gospel out to the Gentiles so they could be saved. Now the people of God are those who believe in the Son, Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile by birth.

I do believe, though, that this also has an application to the church today. The church is now the vineyard, and pastors, elders and teachers of the Word are the vine-growers, as well as all the church as a whole has been given the responsibility for the nurturing and spiritual growth of the church, for we all form one body, and we each have a part. The slaves/servants are those who have been gifted and called of the Lord to see the spiritual condition of the church and to call the church to repent of her sinful ways, i.e. of her spiritual adultery, and to call her to turn back to following her Lord with wholehearted devotion. I don’t know how many people have been called to this ministry, and I don’t know how many have been faced with persecution and rejection from the church and from church leaders as a result of the servants’ obedience to their Lord, but I do know this exists. Yet, on a larger scale, I believe that all who are truly the Lord’s servants in sharing the gospel of our salvation will be persecuted, and even from within the worldly church.

I also believe that scripture teaches that one day God will judge his adulterous and idolatrous church (See Rev. 2-3), before Jesus returns, in order to purify his bride and to make her ready to meet her husband, Jesus Christ. I believe that at this time the church will be revived, and the gospel will go forth unlike any other time in recent history and that many people from all over the world will flock to Jesus Christ and will be saved. In this judgment God will remove from his church these leaders who have led his people astray and who have rejected his servants who brought to them the unadulterated word of God.

The Chief Cornerstone

When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!” But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Jesus Christ was rejected by the Jewish nation, as whole, and he was rejected by their leadership. He is the stone the builders rejected. He is also being rejected by many church leaders and church members today who are rejecting his gospel in favor of a gospel of human-origin, and who are following the teachings of humans, instead. Yet, he is the chief cornerstone of God’s building, his church. He is our foundation and our support, and he is main component of our Christian faith and practice for he is the one who gave his life for us so we could be set free from sin and so we could have eternal life with God. And, he is the one who lives within us, his followers, and who leads, guides and directs us into all truth.

Falling on him, I believe, involves us willingly dying with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, thus becoming broken and contrite in spirit before him. Our selfish wills now are broken, and Christ has now become our lives. We now walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, to gratify our sinful desires. Our desire is now for Jesus, to please him in all that we do and say. Yet, if we do not humble ourselves before God, and we do not repent of our sins, and we do not choose to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in surrender and obedience to him and to his will for our lives, but we choose to go our own selfish ways, then we will be judged by God. So, we have a choice. We can choose to die with Christ to our old lives of sin and then walk daily in his righteousness and holiness, all in the power of the Spirit within us, or we can choose to reject him and to go our own way. One choice brings us spiritual life. The other brings spiritual death. I pray we all choose life.

To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.