The Joshua Victor Theory
The Compassionate Employer

The Compassionate Employer

September 19, 2011

Sermon on Matthew 20:1-16, the Parable of the Compassionate Employer, and a lesson about grace and generosity.

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What was the wage the first workers agreed to accept from the master for a day’s work? When the master returned four more times to the marketplace, why were there still workers there? (v.7)

2. What is surprising about the master’s trips to the marketplace, in light of the fact that he had an employee (v.8)? What about the order in which he made payment? How much he paid to each?

3. What does this parable teach us about the compassion and generosity of our God? What was the protest of the first workers? Were they underpaid? How and when do we show a similar jealousy or resentment? What must we do with sinful feelings of “entitlement?”

4. The end of verse 15 could literally be translated as “Or is your eye evil because I am good?” What does Jesus say about having an “evil eye?” Matthew 6:22-24

5. God commanded this same kind of mercy of His people in Deuteronomy 15:7-11 and 24:14-15. This parable shows how God would (and does!!) keep those same commands. How does the parable show the incarnation of Jesus, and how He took on Himself the atonement of the world?

6. How can we look out for and help the “11th hour” unemployed? What is significant about the fact that this was the “last call” for workers to come into the vineyard? What is the “equal reward” for all who trust in Jesus? It’s not a “reward” in the sense of something we earned, but what? Romans 6:23

God’s Mercy Received is Mercy Lived

God’s Mercy Received is Mercy Lived

September 12, 2011

Sermon on Matthew 18:21-35, for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, on Peter's question of how often we are to forgive, and the parable of the Unforgiving Servant.

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What did Peter think was a “generous” amount of forgiveness? How far was he off the mark, according to Jesus? What did Jesus intend to teach Peter when He said to forgive seventy times seven? Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:5

2. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, how great was his debt to the master? What does this unpayable debt represent for us? How did the master respond to his plea for mercy?

3. How much smaller was the debt his fellow servant owed him? What does that debt represent for us? How did he respond to his fellow servant’s plea for mercy? What was naturally expected from the master, as to how he should have responded instead? (vs. 32-33) How are we to respond to the pleas of forgiveness from those who “owe” debts of forgiveness to us?

4. What is the challenge and difficulty about living mercifully? What works against this high, holy calling? Why does mercy necessarily translate into merciful action?

5. What is the danger of abusing the mercy and forgiveness that God has shown us, by displaying an utterly opposite attitude of unforgiveness or selfishness? 1 John 4:7-21 (esp. v. 19-21).

6. How do we receive the mercy needed to forgive others? Who paid our unpayable debt to God? How did He pay it? 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

7. In contrast to the unforgiving servant’s attitude, what ought the life of a forgiven Christian look like? How will he or she respond to the mercy they received from God? How will they respond to the sins committed against them?

Save the Lost

Save the Lost

September 7, 2011

Sermon on Matthew 18:1-20 for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost. Jesus' plays the role of the Good Shepherd in this passage, teaching and guarding us against many pitfalls to our salvation, including pride, temptations, and unrepentance. He guards us and seeks always to save the lost.

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What are the several “pitfalls” that could keep us from salvation, that Jesus teaches about in Matthew 18? What are the spiritual stakes for going astray in the ways Jesus describes?

2. What does Jesus teach is the alternative to spiritual pride? What is necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven? (18:3). How does Jesus reverse the disciple’s expected paradigm for what is the model of both faith and greatness in the kingdom? Philippians 2:3

3. How does Jesus affirm that children believe? Matt. 18:6. Why is it such a great offense against God to lead children into sin? What is the fearful punishment we risk if we do?

4. What point does Jesus make about sin in vs. 7-9? What would be the worse fate? Why do all of us deserve hell? Rom. 3:23; 6:23a. How are we spared from that punishment, through Christ? Rom. 3:24; 6:23b.

5. How does the Bible advise us to flee from sin and temptation? How to avoid it? Rom. 12:9; Gal. 6:1; 1 Cor. 15:33; 10:13

6. What steps does Jesus give for when someone sins against you? What is the goal and aim of the steps? (v. 15). What happens if the person is unwilling to repent, and doesn’t listen? What does that mean spiritually, when their sins are “bound” to them? How does a person reverse that situation and find forgiveness? Acts 3:19

7. How has everything Jesus has done and taught been the work of a Good Shepherd who would save the lost and not have us perish?

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