SERMON TITLE: “Saved by Grace: A Parable of Grace”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 20:1-16
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: October 1, 2017, at First UMC—World Communion Sunday
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been watching the PBS series on the Vietnam War. Eighteen hours of history, analysis, and personal experiences revealed a lot about what went on during those years and struggles. One of the men who was interviewed told about when he was airlifted out of Vietnam. He said he couldn’t believe he was getting out alive. There were so many other guys who were more righteous than he was, and they died. This particular soldier was just sure that God had made a mistake, and that something terrible was going to happen to the helicopter. Feeling guilty about things he had done in the war, he was sure that God would change his mind and bring some kind of wrath, punishment, and justice upon him before he got completely out of that country. But that didn’t happen. Saved by the grace of God, the soldier lived to tell his story all these years later.
Saved by the grace of God. That’s been our theme for the past several weeks, as we’ve been celebrating the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses that Martin Luther posted on the door of the Roman Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany. Today, we continue this Protestant Reformation theme that we are saved by grace, not by the perfection of our works. Our scripture text for today is Jesus’ story in Mathew 20. Let’s take a look and see what we can learn from this puzzling parable of grace.