Matthew 21:33-46 (The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, Part 3)

Who does this parable say the landowner first sent to the tenant farmers to receive his share of the produce, and what did they do to them?  Who do they represent?  See 2Ch 24:19-21, 36:15-16, Neh 9:26, Mat 23:37, Act 7:51-52, Heb 11:32-38.  What does this help us to understand about the role of prophets among God’s people?  Is it to foretell the future for them as is commonly supposed, or to represent God’s interests to them?  Are prophets any less important in the New Testament than they were in the Old Testament?  See 1Co 12:28, 14:1, Eph 2:20, 4:11-13.  Why is an apostle the most important role in the Church?  See Mat 28:19, Rom 10:13-15, 1Co 3:10-11 and observe that the Greek word for apostle means literally one who is sent out; see also Acts 14:14, Rom 16:7, 1Co 4:6-9, 2Co 11:5,13, and 1Th 1:1, 2:1,6 for other apostles besides Paul and the Twelve.  What is the closest thing to an apostle that we find in the Church today?  Do we also have evangelists, pastors and teachers?

What does this parable teach us about why a prophet is the most important role in the Church after an apostle?  Think: if God did not spare the chosen nation of Israel for its failure to pay God the expected fruits of His vineyard, should we suppose He will spare the Church either?  See Rom 11:21-22, 1Co 10:1-12, Rev 2:4-5.  Do we find an officially recognized office or role of prophet in today’s churches, or even most churches throughout history?  Contrast 1Ki 20:35, 2Ki 2:3,5,7, 4:1,38, 6:1, 9:1.  Why do you think that is?  See 1Ti 4:1, 2Ti 3:1-5, 4:3; cf. 1Ki 22:8,18.  How does Scripture say God answers those who serve Him in pretense but refuse to hear the truth proclaimed by His servants the prophets?  See 1Ki 22:19-23.  What does this help us to understand about why people can never be saved who do not have a love for the truth?  Cf. 2Th 2:9-12.  Considering that prophets were the second most important office in the early church, what does this warn about the extent to which many churches have departed from their New Testament roots?  In this light, is it possible that many in the Church today are no different from those Jews in times past who professed to be the people of God but shut their ears to His messengers who represented His interests, and it is for this reason that the office of prophet is conspicuously absent from the church today?  Nevertheless, are there yet modern day prophets, though we don’t call them that?  Can you think of any?  Consider Dave Hunt, Leonard Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer, Milton Green,…

Did the landowner send just one slave to implore the vine-growers to pay him the expected fruit?  See Mat 21:34-35.  Did he send his slaves on just a single occasion?  See Mat 21:36; cf. Jer 25:3-4, 35:15, 44:4.  What does this teach us about God’s longsuffering and patience towards even the most obstinate and rebellious of sinners?  Even after their many rebellions, had they but responded according to what was just and fair in regard to their agreement with the landowner, what is implied about how their lord would have received them?  Cf. Neh 9:17, Psa 86:5,15, 103:8,10, 145:8, Isa 55:7, Dan 9:9, Jon 4:2.  Although the Lord is compassionate and gracious and so ready to forgive, should we suppose that He will tarry forever?  See Exo 34:6-7, 2Ch 36:15-16, Jer 26:4-6, Rom 2:4-5; cf. Nah 1:1-3 in the context of Nineveh’s earlier repentance at the preaching of Jonah.

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