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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Fifth Sunday In Lent
Series C

Option #1: "Murder In The Vineyard"
Luke 20:9-19
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Introduction: Agatha Christie was the master of the murder mystery for more than 50 years. Her mysteries have been translated into more than 100 languages and have sold over 2 billion copies worldwide. Her mysteries reveal the culprit at just the right moment. Imagine having the murder victim identify the killer BEFORE the murder takes place. That's what happens in today's text. Jesus foretells his death using two Old Testament parables very familiar to his audience.
The first question we must ask about THE MURDER IN THE VINEYARD is
        A. It belongs to God--see Isa 5:1-2
        B. All he wanted was the sweet wine of obedience--Isa 5:2: He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the
choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
        C. What kind of bad fruit?; see Isa 5:7
        D. It is no different today
            1. God still wants fruit--Phil 1:9-11
            2. Good fruit comes from being attached to Jesus--John 15
            3. Bloodshed is still a sign of impending judgment: THEN: Gen 6:11-13; NOW: Lk 17:26

 II. Bloodshed results from forgetting the Vineyard Owner
        A. We must all answer to God--2 Cor 5:10
        B. Jesus convicts them of repeating the sins of their ancestors--text, vv10-12, Lk13:33
        C. They boasted of being "children of Abraham" but were plotting murder-text, vv14-15; John 8:33ff

III. The chief cornerstone becomes the HEADSTONE for all who reject Him
        A. They sealed their own doom in rejecting Him--Lk 19:41-44
        B. Their miscarriage of justice was actually God's way of carrying out justice in sacrificing His own Son--2 Cor 5:18-21; Rom 3:25-26; Heb 9:22
Albert Barnes:
the stone--the figure is taken from the building of a house. The principal stone for size and beauty is usually chosen to be the cornerstone.
which the builders rejected--it was laid aside or deemed unfit to be the cornerstone. This represents the Lord Jesus, proposed the foundation on which to build the church, but rejected by the builders. See Isa 53:2-3

it has become--though rejected by them, yet God chose him and made him the foundation of the church. Christ is often compared to a stone, a cornerstone, a sure, firm foundation. Acts 4:11; Rom 9:33; Eph 2:20, 1 Pet 2:7.
this is the Lord's doing--the appointment of Jesus Christ to be the foundation of the Church is proved by miracle and prophecy to be the work of God.
marvelous in our eyes--wonderful in the sight of his people. That he should select his only Son, that he should stoop so low, be despised, rejected, and put to death--that God should raise him up and build a church on this foundation, embracing the Gentile as well as the Jew, and spreading throughout the world, is a subject of wonder and praise for all God's people.
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Children's Message
Visual aid: building blocks
I want to show you a picture of a big old church. This church had the same name as this one--St. Stephen's. I worked there for a long time, for 13 years. It's a big church; about 1500 people called this church their church. They no longer worship God in this building; they have since built a larger church. Before they moved from the old church to the new one, they did somethingvery important. They found the cornerstone and opened it up. It had many old papers and things in it and a Bible in German, the language they used at the time the cornerstone was laid.
A cornerstone is something you build the whole church upon. The Bible says that Jesus is our cornerstone. Just as you build a church on a big strong stone, just so is Jesus the stone we build our lives on. You don't have to worry about a cornerstone moving and the building falling down upon you.
These blocks fall easily because there isn't much of a cornerstone. You don't have to worry about Jesus moving and having the life you have built upon him fall on your head. You're here this morning to learn more about Jesus, just as you did already in Sunday School today. A lot of things can happen in your life and it may look like things are crumbling all around you, but Jesus the cornerstone will always be there for you.
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Option #2: "In The (God's) Know!"
Philippians 3:8-14
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: the best things in life are not things; character is more important than reputation
The Problem: the perception that knowledge/possessions et al = power and status
The Promise: God makes us right through Christ's forgiveness and, by faith, empowers us with/for crucifixion and resurrection living
1. kerdaino (gain): of gain arising from shunning or escaping from evil (where we say "to spare one's self", "be spared"); to gain any one, i.e., to win him over to the kingdom of God, to gain one to faith in Christ; to gain Christ's favor and fellowship. (Blue Letter Bible)

2. An inscription on a tombstone in an English graveyard reads, "She died for want of things." The husband's marker next to it says, "He died trying to give them to her." While the gender could just as easily be reversed, the principle remains the same: people are dying of materialism, of the belief that meaning comes from knowing "things." (Homiletics Online, 4/2/95)

3. A few years ago, one of America's biggest department stores tried marketing a doll in the form of the baby Jesus. The advertisements described it as being "washable, cuddly and unbreakable," and it was neatly packaged in straw, satin and plastic. To complete the package, the manufacturer added biblical texts appropriate to the baby Jesus. To the department store executives, it looked like a sure-fire winner, a real moneymaker. But they were wrong. It didn't sell. In a last-ditch effort to get rid of the dolls, one of the store managers placed a huge sign in a prominent display window. It read: "Jesus Christ, marked down 50%. Get him while you can." (Sunday Sermons, 4 September 1994, 1)

4. We're witnessing a stunning value shift at the end of the second millennium, just as the apostle Paul did at the beginning of the first. What the pre-Christian Saul thought of as valuable, the Christian Paul regards as rubbish. His human merits are now divine demerits, his stunning gains are now staggering losses. (Homiletics, 10/3/99)

5. Although it is true that our faith alone gains us the gift of a right relationship with God, an attitude of trust is not the end of our religious responsibility. With Paul, we...join the race and push hard toward the goal of sharing God's glory--sharing it ourselves, and also sharing it with others. (Ibid)

6. To lose one's own will in the will of God should be the true occupation of every [person's] time on earth. Only a few of us--the saints--are capable of that simplicity. (George Mackay Brown)

7. We must learn to live under God's smile, knowing that human smiles are mere frosting on that divine cake. Our sense of purpose and success must come from our identity as Christ's servants. (David Fisher)

8. At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry. (Bentley's House of Coffee and Tea, Tucson, Arizona)

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM