The earth is the Lord’s and we have the Gospel to bring the fullness of His life. Let us be decisive with our sense of security. We cannot be proud, full of bread, or idle as Sodom. (Acts 16:1-16; Ezekiel 16:49)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller, Gary Groenewold
11:00 AM on 2/27/2022
P. Schaller –
How about everyone on this side of the room, do you guys want to wave to the people over here? This side
over here wave. Turn and look at each other. How about this group? Aren’t we happy people?
Aren’t we blessed? We are blessed. We are very blessed. Are you ready to hear a message from
the Word? Okay, let’s go for it. Amen. You may be seated. P. Jason, do you want to stand for a
second? How many love that guy? We love that guy. He lived in the Ukraine. Anyone else live in
the Ukraine as a missionary or you are Ukrainian. Do you want to stand? Okay. Beautiful. Great.
I remember years ago when we were there, we had so much fun in the early 90’s ministering
the Gospel and seeing – these men up on the screen were in their 20’s, 20 years old and were
born again and new heart, new life spiritually and moved, made decisions. They made
We have so many different stories, funny stories and marvelous, amazing things that
happened. I feel missions is a great secret that is hidden from the natural man. The natural man
easily thinks of his family, his country. He things of money, education, reputation, security. But
when we follow Christ and we begin to trust him, he gives us another kind of security, a deeper
sense, a life with Christ. This is where we live, our hiding place. So, then you can afford to go to
a place you’ve never been before and preach the Gospel.
You can go somewhere where maybe it’s more dangerous the natural man would say but
actually God is with us and he sends us and he gives you authority and covers you. Then you
have new friends and the salvation of God. I am not ashamed of the Gospel, Paul said. It is the
power of God unto salvation. I am a debtor both to the Jew and the Greek, the barbarian – turn
to your neighbor and say, you look like maybe you are barbarian! Go ahead! Are you barbarian!
Both to the wise and the unwise, to the Greek and to the barbarian. I am not ashamed of the
Gospel. Would you turn to your neighbor and say, I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I am not
ashamed of the Gospel. Why aren’t you ashamed of it? It is the power of God to give us a new
heart, to forgive us of our sin, to give us a new name, to relate us to God. We are adopted into
the family. We are born again spiritually. Would you put up on the screen a picture of the farm
and we’ll talk about this farm.
Anyone in this room own that farm? Turn to Mark 12. What’s the meaning of this farm but it’s
owned by somebody. The farm is owned by somebody who decides to turn it over. They keep
ownership. The owner has the ownership but he turns it over to people to run the farm. All the
owner wants is some of the produce, some of the benefits that come from the farm.
This story is written in the Bible, told by Christ in Mark. 12. It’s an important story for us because
Jesus is telling the Jewish people very directly that they are irresponsible. Ezekiel 16:49 they are
proud. They are full of bread and they have an abundance of idleness, laziness, inactivity. You
have an abundance of inactivity.
The Jews knew that Jesus was talking about them. At the end of the parable, it explains it. If you
go to vs. 12 of chapter 12. They sought to lay hold on him. They wanted to take hold of Jesus
Christ because when he told about this farm and explained that they were irresponsible, that
they were killers, proud, selfish, they wanted to take ahold of him but feared the people. Vs. 12.
When we tell this parable, I want you to think of two nations. The first one is Israel and this is a
timeline. This is the cross. The first Jew was Abraham. How many people were in the nation of
Israel? When God called Abraham, there was no one. But when he called Abraham, he had one
and two Sarah his wife. They had no son for many years. Then miraculously in old age – this is
very old age – 99 years of age when Abraham had his first son with his elderly wife.
Romans 4 says it was miraculous and Abraham was moved to be with his wife because he lived by faith.
So, we have Abraham and the life of faith in God that sets the pattern for the history of the
Jewish people. It’s to be faith in God all through their history. This is how we believe in God. We
read the Bible and understand this could not have happened. This is not as in the Koran. The
Koran was written by one man, Mohamed. One man wrote the Koran. The Bible was written by
scores that didn’t know each other. This man didn’t know this man and so on. This is a history
of many expressions of miracles, prophets, institutions given to the Jews. The Jews had a
priesthood. Levi had a leader that brought them out of Egypt when they were very small in
number, Deuteronomy 7.
God said I did not call you because you are the greatest of nations, but you were the smallest of
nations. It’s not because of you. It’s because of me I have called you. I have protected you. I
have spoken to you. I sent prophets to you. Where is the produce from the farm? Where’s the
results from my investment. Where is the return? I own the farm. I own the world. I own Israel.
Israel is my wife. Where is the relationship? But she has turned away to idols. She has turned
away from God.
This story about Israel where God is giving to Israel sons and daughters and protection and
prophets. Manifestations of his glory. He has shown them over and over again, but they have
beaten the messengers to death. They have mistreated the people coming for the produce.
They’re coming for the fruit. Where’s the fruit? Where is my respect? I own the farm. I gave it
to you. I gave you the farm. You wouldn’t have a nation unless I gave it to you. I gave you the
nation. I gave you Moses. I gave you Isaiah. I gave you David as a king. And then I gave you my
When they realized and they’re listening and they realize he’s talking about them, they’re
angry. They would take him and kill Jesus, but they couldn’t because of the people. This is a
mentality. This is the first part of the message. We got three simple parts but the first part is
this and we can read the parable. Mark. 12:1, God had special kindness to the Jewish nation. He
gave them special privileges. He gave them land. He gave them laws and ordinances. He drove out seven nations from before their faces. The Canaanites and the Philistines. He left Egypt
alone and Assyria alone and Greece alone, but he showered his grace on these people, the
Jewish people. The vineyard of the Lord was the house of Israel. No family under heaven ever
received so many distinguished privileges as the seed of Abraham.
Maybe we could say something similar to the United States. How much have we received?
When people came here from persecution from Europe with the Bible under their arm and our
history is incredible with presidents praying, presidents fearing God, presidents declaring days
of fasting and thanksgiving. Churches filled with people. Young people. YMCAs and hospitals
and nurses and all kinds of things to help and serve and give money away worldwide. God
showered us with prosperity and blessed us in many ways. We kind of parallel this parable. It is
about us, too. That God has treated these people this way.
Mark. 12:3, they didn’t want it. That reminds me maybe of our western culture getting rid of
Christ, getting rid of the Bible, getting rid of our conviction, getting rid of our freedom to
assemble. It’s not, we’re not there but I’m trying to say that where is our culture going and
what happens when we depart and what is happening here in this parable. Vs. 6. No, God, if
you send your Son we are a dangerous people. Look at our diagram here. The Jews resisted,
stoned them, wounded them, resisted them. There was idolatry and wealth.
This is the second part of our message, Ezekiel 16:49 and I just want to notice this. Israel has a
sister. God says your sister is Sodom. Sodom was destroyed by fire. Sodom was a place of
homosexuality. Sodom was a place of wickedness against Lot pushing on his door, pushing on
his door. I kind of feel that way today in our world that if we are righteous then the unrighteous
people are pushing on the door and they don’t stop pushing on the door. They don’t stop.
There is a wickedness. There is an energy in the human heart. There is an energy of pride and
selfishness that this is so dangerous.
We see it somehow being played out in a war that is being fought in Europe today when we
think of the human heart and what man is capable of. Are we watching it? Are we realizing that
the human heart is capable of incredible deception and wickedness and blindness? They will kill
the Son of God. But wait a minute. Isn’t that me also? Aren’t I capable in my heart of departing
from my wife who has been so faithful to me and loving to me? Isn’t it possible for me to ignore
my children and abandon them because of my heart? Isn’t it possible for me to run after other
gods and other lusts and desires? How about the gambling addiction or pornography or any of
these types of sins that come from the human heart of man? Ezekiel 16:49, that’s an offense.
Your sister is Sodom.
There were three things: 1) Pride. 2) Fullness of bread, and 3) abundance of idleness. Could we
put Ezekiel 16:49. There it is. First, pride. Go to Mark 12. We will look at this. Mark. 12:8-9, that’s
the son. They took and killed him, the son of the guy that owned the farm. Vs. 9. Give the vineyard to others. Vs. 10-12. They sought to lay hold of him. They didn’t like when Jesus told
them what was really going on is that you don’t have the capacity to hear me. You can’t hear
me. You can’t agree with me because you are proud. The opposite is humility.
Be careful, you and I, when I’m offended to go to God and relate to God. And say Lord, if it’s
true, I take it. I receive it. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I need you. I believe your grace, your love,
your nature is what I need. Heal me. Restore me. I want to walk before you in humility. God
resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. God gives the ingrafted Word. The humble
will hear and be glad. Humble yourself under the mighty and of God. In due season he will lift
you up. He will lift you up.
How will he lift you up? Internally. He is my glory and the lifter of my head in Psalm 3:3. God will
take care of you. The humble will hear. Psalm 25:2, as a nation – I don’t expect our nation to be
humble but I expect us to be humble. I don’t expect our nation to turn to God, but I expect us
to turn to God. I do not know about Israel, but I know that Jesus came and they crucified him
and killed him and got rid of him. Three days later, he’s back and he has people there that hear
him, that are healed, that are filled with the Spirit. Jesus said the vineyard will be given to
others. The vineyard will be given to others. Who are they? That’s us. That’s us. We are the
The Jews lost it. Romans came in 68 A.D. They destroyed the temple and the sacrifices. They
lost it. They will get it back in the tribulation period. They will get it back in the millennial reign
but just now the vineyard has been given to us. WE have. It’s incredible. We don’t deserve it.
We have. We are spiritual Jews, Romans 2:29. We have the promises. We don’t replace the Jews
we are just grafted into the Jewish tree. We are grafted into the fig tree, into the olive tree,
Romans chapters 9-11. We are brought into the promises and into the covenants. We are
blessed. For we are the seed of Abraham. Not all of Israel. But they that have the faith of
Abraham, they are Israel. Not replacement theology. We are not replacing Israel, but we have
been grafted into the tree as the Apostle Paul said.
The problem in our country is the fullness of bread. We don’t know what it’s like to be hungry.
Do you know what happens when you’re’ hungry? Do you know what happens when you’re
hungry? You get angry. You also get humble. You also get needy. When we don’t’ have. We
open the refrigerator and it’s empty. You grow your food in the backyard. It’s really hard to live.
We have so much. We have so much food. We have exotic foods. We have foods imported from
the tropics. We have foods from all over the world. We have abundance of bread, all kinds of
bread. We don’t need it. We don’t need prayer. We don’t need God. WE don’t need faith. We
got it all down agriculturally. We are abundantly living with incredible wealth the world has
never seen before. Hundreds of millions of people living in incredible wealth in this context and
comparatively speaking. God said you are like Sodom.
The third one is abundance of idleness. You’re inactive. You are inactive. This is the last one
here. I have the Greek word. It is ARGOS. It means unfruitful, inactive, idle, barren. The word to
reduce to inactivity. It is used literally in Matthew 20:3, 1 Timothy 5:13 for the widow who wanders
about without anything to do and just starts gossiping and talking. Metaphorically, it means
ineffective and worthless. Idleness. It caught my attention a couple days ago when I read it and
I thought, wow! That’s maybe like us. I don’t have much to do. We are very active but what is
the meaning of the activity. Behind it there might be an emptiness.
How about the young people that play the video games or rich people that have six houses?
What do they do but go to a house for a month or two and then go to another house? What are
they doing with their money? What are they doing with their lives? How do they make
decisions? This is nothing other than a great need we all have to have a new heart and get
focused on a purpose and walking with God. Listening to God. Waiting on God. There’s no
emptiness in waiting on God. There’s fullness. Wait upon him. We will renew our strength. We
will become decisive.
I like this. Fullness of bread we could say we have a need for God and then we have
decisiveness. Decisiveness. Moment by moment. I want to relate to God and respond to him.
He loves me. I love him. It’s a very simple formula. I love you and then we respond. You are
great, God. I love you. He says I give to you. Here’s the farm. Is the farm mine? He says, yes.
Bear fruit. Walk with me. Trust me. I put you there. I am coming back. God is good to me. I have
the farm. I got the farm. God has given us the farm. We have something to do. We are on a
mission. We have been sent into the world to bear fruit. We have studied your Scripture. And
we have a message for the world.
We have a message for the dear people in Russia. The dear people in China, Philippines, Korea.
We have a message for every Asian. A message for everybody in Texas, everybody in Utah,
everybody in Tennessee and Kentucky. We have a message for everybody in New York City. We
have a message. We are decisive. Because in our new heart we are feeling the honor. God has
showered his honor on us. He has answered our prayer. He has given us a mind. He has given us
life. He has given us strength. He has given us our family. He has given us our friends, our
uncles, our aunts. He has given us a place to live. He has commissioned us. He has given us
something to do. He gave us a church.
He gave us a church where we are not idle. We’re not idle. The abundance of idleness. Like
loafing around, nothing to do. Nothing to do. We believe in Jesus. Yes, we believe in Jesus.
What are we doing? We’re believing in Jesus. We’re feeling our hearts and minds with truth
and responding to it. When we respond to it in our heart in our everyday little moments. Life is
packaged in little moments, isn’t it? I don’t know about what I do in the future, but I know God
is in the present and I respond to him in faith and he will not withhold any good thing from him that is walking uprightly. God is going to take care of you. God is going to lead you.
God is going to speak to you. God is going to help you. God is going to give – he gave us the farm. Hallelujah!
And he comes. How’s it going? We got fruit, Lord. Oh, you got fruit? Yeah, because you gave us
a wine press. You gave us the crops and you planted the seed. You gave us faith. And Jesus could
say aren’t you afraid of me. I met a guy over here and I gave him a talent. He buried the talent
and he said he was afraid of me. I was afraid and I hid the talent because I know you are a hard
taskmaster. What do you think? You’re not hard. Your way is easy. I just relate to you moment
by moment knowing you love me. You are for me. All these promises are sure. I can trust you. I
even talk to my son the other day about you or my grandson or my granddaughter or my
neighbor. I even talk to them and it just flowed out of my heart because this is where I am
living. I’m living in thanksgiving. I’m living in humility before you, appreciating everything you’ve
You know we were talking to the Ukrainian pastors on the Zoom meeting yesterday, and they
just said we’re staying in our cities. We are ministering to people. Some of them were out on
the streets with a little table with the Christian Farmers bracelets. There was a picture there.
They were out with Christian Farmer bracelets giving the message out to people that needed
comforted, needed to be encouraged, needed to be just you know with somebody that was
relaxed and caring. How did the Ukrainian pastors, how do they think? Maybe it’s a result of
moment by moment thinking. And being decisive in my thoughts regarding truth. Then when
the owner of the farm comes to check it out, where’s the fruit? We say it’s packed in the barn.
There’s a lot of it. It’s all yours.
It’s yours. And God would say how did you do this? Jesus, you
said come unto me I am meek and lowly. Learn of me. I am meek and lowly. My yoke is easy.
My burden is light. Where did it come from? Grace. It’s your grace that sent people to India. It’s
your grace that sent people to China. It’s your grace that brought people here to the Bible
college. It’s your grace that put your hand on some young man, some young woman. And they
are bearing fruit. It’s your mind.
Could we also say, Lord, if you left us alone, wouldn’t we be like Israel killing your prophets.
Burning this book. Throwing it away somehow. I heard of somebody stealing Gideon Bibles out
of hotel rooms because they don’t’ want it. Some hotels just saying we don’t’ want that in our
hotel room. I heard different things on it. I can see it, of course. Jesus, don’t’ talk to us like that.
We’re going to get you. We’re going t take you out. We know you are talking about us. Jesus
said you are arrogant. You are full of bread. And you have abundance of idleness. You’re
unproductive. You’re indifferent. You’re playing video games day and night for decades. You’re
at the pool hall in Glen Burnie all the time. You’re on the golf course all the time. You own
houses. You’re choking on your own obesity, undisciplined thinking.
You’re choking on your own way of life. You’re choking on your personal problems, your depression and your fears.
And I am here to say to you and I’m saying all those things not to offend anybody. I don’t mean
to offend anybody. All that just came out of me because it’s what I think. I’m saying it in the
context of this. What if moment by moment I learn to be humble. And I can take it and say Jesus, you are
correct. My life is miserable. I am unhappy. I heard about a guy, an older guy, he sleeps around.
He’s in his late 50s. He sleeps around and he’s just arrogant and lives his way. I’m thinking
about people in general. They are choking on their miserable, their emptiness, and their
arrogance. We are wanting to say to everybody in all the world, we are no different from
anybody. Not judging. We’re not.
This parable is for everybody in the human race. But there’s another side to it. And it is when Jesus was raised from the dead, we were raised with him. When Christ ascended into heaven, we ascended with him. When he sent the Holy Spirit into this world, he sent it into our hearts. This Holy Spirit is a new way of life. We have a new heart,
a new mind. We have doctrine to meditate on. WE have God to relate to and decisive decision
making as a way of life. And to say no to the flesh and yes to God. We end up being
missionaries. We actually become people with a message. WE actually have a message. Be
prepared because people need your message. And that’s it.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.