Sunday, 11th July 6.00 pm Order of Service


HYMN O Love Divine

1 O love divine, how sweet thou art!

When shall I find my willing heart

all taken up by thee?

I thirst, I faint and die to prove

the greatness of redeeming love,

the love of Christ to me.

2 Stronger his love than death or hell;

its riches are unsearchable;

the first-born sons of light

desire in vain its depth to see;

they cannot reach the mystery,

the length, the breadth, and height.

3 God only knows the love of God;

O that it now were shed abroad

in this poor stony heart!

For love I sigh, for love I pine;

this only portion, Lord, be mine,

be mine this better part.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788), Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897)


READING Matthew 21 : 33 – 46

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

SERMON The Tenants

I find it hard to believe that anyone could be as wicked as these tenants – don’t YOU? Here’s a man who plants a vineyard and rents it out to some farmers. Surely they are pleased to have a business to run? The deal was that they would pay the man some rent – it looks as though the owner was going to collect his rent in fruit rather than in money – that would make life easier for the tenants. But there is no gratitude here. As soon as the owner’s servant arrived to collect his fruit they beat him up – they killed another servant – they stoned a third. Surely this is the worst kind of wickedness you’ve heard of? This is pure evil at work.

But those kinds of tenants don’t really exist in the real world – do they? Many people would like us to think that.

Jesus whole point in telling this story of terrible wickedness was so that the people WOULD identify with these monstrous tenants. You think you’re a good person – well, BEWARE – so did Jesus’ audience.

The owner finally sent his son to collect the rent – they will respect my son, surely, and hand over the due rent. But DID THEY? On the contrary – they seized their chance and killed him too!

How low can mankind sink? And Jesus says to his audience – what will the landowner do NOW? Very obviously he will come and have these wicked tenants put to death and he will let his vineyard to new tenants.

This was the story of God’s dealings with His people Israel. Here were the people who were God’s special people – He had given them a land to look after for Him – all He looked for was spiritual fruit in their lives – he wanted to see their gratefulness and obedience to Him.

However, the hearts of the Jews turned against their God. So, what did God do – well he sent the prophets – Finally God’s plan was to send His only Son Jesus – to give the Jews one last chance – but what were the Jews going do with Him ? Suddenly the chief priests and Pharisees realised that Jesus knew of their plot to kill Him! And he shows them from the Bible that GOD KNOWS about their plot too!

God knew full well that His Son would be killed by His people – but still God was prepared to send His Only begotten Son into Israel. Does that never strike you as a strange thing for God to do? Knowing they would kill Him – to send His Son to the Jews? God had a master plan that He was working out.

We are all builders – every one of us building our lives – we may be careful builders or careless – but we are all building something through our character.

Now, a very stern warning is given here – for that capstone which the Jewish builders rejected was actually going to fall on the Jews and crush them. What an awful thing! Can you imagine gentle Jesus coming to crush His people? Well, that is what happens to those who commit high treason against the King of Heaven.

Their crime was tied up with what they did to Jesus. And you must ask yourself what YOU have done with Him? You may say “NOTHING !”. And in so doing, the judgment of God will fall upon you.

You won’t be judged by God according to whether you put ten pounds or ten pence in the plate – you won’t be judged on whether you help thirty old people or three – you WILL be judged on whether or not Jesus is your Saviour and Lord of your life. Not to accept His great offer of salvation is to REJECT it and HIM! God comes to us and issues the command to repent of our rebellion and turn to Him for safety – we reject that command at our ultimate peril. Don’t let another Sunday go by without laying your life before God in humble repentance and commitment.


Hymn I will sing the wondrous story

1 I will sing the wondrous story

of the Christ who died for me,

how he left the realms of glory

for the cross on Calvary.

Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story

of the Christ who died for me-

sing it with his saints in glory,

gathered by the crystal sea.

2 I was lost but Jesus found me,

found the sheep that went astray,

raised me up and gently led me

back into the narrow way.

Days of darkness still may meet me,

sorrow’s path I oft may tread;

but his presence still is with me,

by his guiding hand I’m led.

3 He will keep me till the river

rolls its waters at my feet:

then he’ll bear me safely over,

made by grace for glory meet.

Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story

of the Christ who died for me-

sing it with his saints in glory,

gathered by the crystal sea.

Francis H Rowley (1854-1952)


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