by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Matthew 20:1-16
I. Matthew 20:1-16
A. Have you noticed that a lot of people want things that they are not willing to give?
B. Take the idea of justice. People want justice for themselves (so long as it is in their favor), but they are not willing that justice lower what they receive.
C. Vine: “What is right”, “a state of being right or right conduct.”
D. The master acted justly, he paid what he promised, treating each man equally.
II. The workers hired early in the morning thought he was being unfair
A. However, they were biased. Their judgement was not impartial. They stood to gain if the master listened to their reasoning.
B. We understand the problem of bias in our society.
1. We don’t want judges having business dealings with people whose cases they are deciding.
2. We don’t want government officials, involved with foreign policy decisions, taking money from foreign governments.
3. Even companies usually have rules against receiving gifts from clients and suppliers.
4. We look with suspicion if a researcher says product XYZ is the best thing since sliced bread, and, by the way, his research was funded by the makers of XYZ.
5. We understand that people have a hard time being impartial if they stand to benefit from their decisions.
C. Jesus claimed to be just because he wasn’t doing his own will - John 5:30
1. He wasn’t personally benefitting from his work.
2. He didn’t own a home. He didn’t have a bed he could call his own. He obviously wasn’t in it for the money – he lived a life of poverty.
3. He was rejected by his own nation. He was killed for his teachings. And yet they were not his own teachings and they were not for his own benefit.
III. Justice is harder to obtain that it may first appear
A. People usually like things to be more concrete.
1. God wanted a sacrifice done on a certain day – fine, the Israelites could do that.
2. God wanted a tenth given on all produce – fine, the Israelites could do that.
B. But they missed the point. They emphasized the physical and neglected the spiritual.
1. Proverbs 21:3 - God desires justice more than sacrifice
2. Matthew 23:23 - The spiritual things are weightier.
3. The spiritual is what leads to the physical, not the other way around.
4. Micah 6:6-8 - God wants mercy, justice, and humility
C. It is not that the physical things did not matter, but without a spiritual desire to serve God, all the things they did were just rituals without meaning.
1. Or as Paul said, without love it doesn’t hold meaning - I Corinthians 13:1-3
IV. The world doesn’t care about justice
A. Some will gather wealth by hook or by crook. Fairness doesn’t matter to them, only the gain. However, it won’t last - Proverbs 28:8
B. Others will go so far as to reverse the meaning of right and wrong to gain power, but he will be rejected in the end - Proverbs 24:24
C. It is a blessing to keep justice - Psalms 106:3
V. David illustrates proper justice - II Samuel 1:1-16
A. The man thought he would gain favor from David by proving his enemy was dead and claiming that he did it by his own hand.
B. Rather, David’s sense of justice demanded that a murder, especially the murder of a king, be put to death.
C. Saul’s death was avenged even though he hated David.
D. David did not profit from killing Saul’s murderer.
E. Justice was served - Proverbs 24:25
VI. God’s word is filled with commands to deal justly
A. Psalms 82:3 - Be just with the destitute and the afflicted
B. Ephesians 6:1 - It is right or just to be obedient to your parents
C. Colossians 4:1 - Masters are to treat their servants justly and fairly.
D. Philippians 4:8 - Mediate on things that are just.
VII. One day, God will judge the world
A. His judgments are always just - Revelation 16:5-7
B. His judgments are impartial. - I Peter 1:17
1. It will not matter who we are socially, economically, or politically.
2. It will not matter what we have done in the past.
3. All that matters is how we have conducted our lives up to the moment it ends.
C. You can’t rest on past accomplishments, nor is it impossible come to Him because of past sins – all that matters is who you are at this time.