The Level Playing Field
Do you feel the odds are stacked against you Poopsie... Do you feel you’re running in a race where all the obstacles are shouting you can’t win... Are you seeing yourself at a disadvantage for what you have been asked to accomplish, and everyone else has all the disadvantages.
We’re going to get right into the foundational scripture for this message today...It’s lengthy, but gets us moving in the right direction.
Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a landowner, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a certain amount, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out later in the morning, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go work in my vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. And they agreed. 5 Again he went out at noon, and did likewise. 6 And in the afternoon he went out, and found others standing idle, and said unto them, why stand here all day idle? 7 They said unto him, because no man has hired us. He said unto them, Go ahead into the vineyard; and whatever is right, that shall you receive. 8 So when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard said unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their pay.
9 And when they came that were hired in the afternoon, they received every man the same amount. 10 But when the first that were hired, came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man the same. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, these last have only worked one hour, and you have made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered them, and said, Friend, I do you no wrong: did you not agree with me for a certain amount? 14 Take what is yours, and go your way: I will give unto this last, even as unto you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is your eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few have received their calling”.
In order to properly understand this parable, you he will have to shift over to Kingdom thinking, and that means we use the standard of grace and mercy, instead of the standard of my works as compared to your works. This is not a competition.... The disciples even got into an argument about who would be greatest in the coming kingdom. Jesus is leveling the playing field and dealing with all of us on the basis of what we don’t deserve, but by grace, we receive it out of His mercy and favor anyway. I don't think I have to tell you that this was a difficult answer for Jesus' followers to swallow because it went against the accepted standard –The one who worked the hardest and longest should get more pay, is how they thought. But God's kingdom stands in contrast to the values of the world..This parable makes clear that there is a radical equality in His kingdom. And as Christ's followers, we are called to model that radical equality of God's kingdom. He came to give all things to all people.! In the parable, don’t miss that the owner gave all that he promised to everyone. Have you received all He promised? A fellow named Shakey went to a psychiatrist. “Doc,” he said, “I’ve got trouble. Every time I get into bed, I think there’s somebody under it. “you gotta help me, I’m going crazy! ” “Just put yourself in my hands for one year,” said the shrink. “Come to me three times a week, and I’ll cure your fears. ” “How much do you charge? ” “A hundred dollars per visit. ” “I’ll sleep on it,” said Shakey. Six months later the doctor met Shakey on the street. “Why didn’t you ever come to see me again? ” “Are you kidding....For a hundred buck’s a visit? A friend of mine cured me for free.” “Is that so! How did he do that? ” “He told me to cut the legs off of the bed! ”
Jesus came to level the playing field, so that you can receive all that He promised you. And it’s all free.
He’s cutting the legs off your fears, your doubts, and your suspicions.
He’s cutting the legs off your inferiority and poor self esteem. He’s cutting the legs off the lie that says you don’t deserve it! He’s cutting the legs off of the lie that says it will never happen!
He wants to turn your frown lines into laugh lines... Your dead zones into flourishing and abundance zones.... Your sorrowsinto shouting!!!
Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is there to condemn us? For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written: “For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 Do you not know that in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
He has all things for all of us. If God gives you all He has, amazingly, it does not diminish all things that He has for me. We can all have all that He has. Unless you understand “KINGDOM” You will never get it!!!
A level playing field means that no one in His kingdom has access to any more or less than anyone else! It’s a level playing field! He cannot give us any more than He has already given, and He will not give anyone of us any less than anyone else. The issue is never about what is available to us, it is always about what we’re willing to receive.
Have you positioned yourself to receive your breakthrough!? In the game of football, one of the player’son the field is called a quarterback. And the main goal of the quarterback is to advance his team forward towards a touchdown, by either throwing the football to one of his teammates, or handing it off to someone who will advance the ball by running it down the field. So the quarterback doesn’t throw or hand off the football haphazardly, he looks for someone who has gotten themselves in position to advance the ball.
If our quarterback was Jesus, the football was a blessing, and we were all there to advance His kingdom, we have to ask ourselves if we have positioned ourselves to receive what we have been praying for. And if you have watched any football, you will recognize that it is rare that the quarterback will throw the ball to a wide receiver standing still. And anytime the quarterback throws the ball, he is not throwing it to the place where the receiver currently is, but rather he is throwing it to the position that the pattern indicated for that particular play. There are a lot of people that sit and pray, expecting deliverance and breakthroughs and blessings to fall into their lap while they are sitting there, waiting, and even though I believe God has the power to bless however He chooses, but the more I experience life and the more I read the Word of God, the more I am convinced that most blessings and break throughs do not come by standing still, but by positioning ourselves and moving to where the breakthrough is going to arrive, in order for us to catch it. It’s not enough to be shouting, HERE LORD, I’m right here... We need to get moving to where the football of our blessing is going to arrive!
Position Yourself to receive it!! Before Abram could become the father of many nations, he had to first position himself in the land of Canaan. Before Esther could save the Jews from being killed, she had to first position herself in the king’s palace. Before Zacchaeus, who was too short, could see Jesus over the crowd, he had to position himself by climbing up the tree. Before Peter and the other disciples could catch a boat sinkingload of fish, they had first position their net on the right side of the boat. Before Peter could walk on water, he had to first position himself on the water and get out of the boat. Before the woman who struggled with the issue of blood for twelve years could get healed, she had to position herself at the feet of Jesus. Before Jesus could reconcile us back to God and defeat the power of sin and death, he had to position himself on the cross. Where has He been moving you to....Let Him get you in position!
Ephesians 3: 17 “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 you will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth 19 of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is now at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, (no expiration date) forever and ever. Amen.…
God is not satisfied with giving it all to those who are following Him now, so the Holy Spirit is always out in the marketplace, looking for more receivers, seeking out the people everybody else ignored, and He’s sending out a welcome to them on the same terms, surprising them (and everyone else) with Hisgenerous grace. In this amazing parable, of the workers, Jesus is saying, No matter the person. No matter their history. No matter where one comes from. It's not too late! There is more than enough room in God's power, pleasure and purpose, for everyone!" God makes no distinction, and we shouldn't either.He is not willing that anyone's life should be wasted, so Heextends His invitation indiscriminately and repeatedly, in order to gather as many people as possible into his kingdom to experience what they could never deserve. All of us are equally deserving--or undeserving--of the opportunity to receive, so the reward for all of us together is equal as we all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross. None are higher, greater, more deserving or more qualified than anyone else.
It's like the internet, everyone has access to all the internet at the same time, all you have to do is sign on, and receive it. Millions are signed on at any given time, and yet it doesn’t run out, it’s all there for everyone.
This is what it means to model the radical inclusiveness of God out in the world. It is not our opinions, but our example that will make a difference in this world we live in. Just imagine what the church would look like if everyone, throughout the week, and year, were inviting any and all who would listen to come accept the invitation to enter God's kingdom and be partaker of all the King has!
Just think about it....“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also with Him, freely give us all things in all situations”
What are “all things”? “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
“All things” – your desperate circumstances, your crushing trials, your unbearable persecutions, and your extreme hardships in life – ALL THINGS, to show You His goodness, His faithfulness, His grace and favor through it all!!! God’s love for us is beyond measure. Jesus loved us so much that He actually bore all those things Himself, to assure us that we have victory in it and enjoy the favor of God through it all. We have His favor on us in the trials, and the conflicts and challenges we face. Hallelujah!
Favor means He has leveled the playing field to give you an advantage. Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife (husband) finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
For single folks, favor means you have an advantage in finding God’s choice for a life partner.
Psalm 90:17 “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands a it rests upon us.” You have favor on your job and in all the tasks you set your hands to....
Psalm 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk in obedience to Him”.
Favor assures that you will have the best possible outcome, and good things will be attracted to you, and not be withheld from you.
Acts 7:10&11 “But God favored Joseph and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace”
Favor will put you in the good graces and good will of those in authority, those who can bring you to the place of your purpose.
Remember that in the darkest hour of Joseph’s life, God sent a Butler, a Baker, and a Pharaoh... The butler introduced him, the baker vetted him, and the Pharaoh financed his dream. Favor will bring all three into our lives.
Proverbs 3:1 “Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man”.
Favor will give you long life, and cause you to live in peace and prosperity...
Grace, and mercy and favor, have leveled the playing field, so our job is to tell, and show and set the example, so they will believe and receive!
We celebrate the free gift that all may receive even though none of us are deserving of any of it, we rejoice that this privilege is ours and because we believe it, we want all who are willing to join those who are blessed and who are the redeemed of the Lord.
I want to read this prophecy over your life which God speaks about how He says that He will level the playing field for you.... Isaiah 40:3 “The voice of one calling “prepare the way for the Lord, make straight a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a shall be a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Taken literally this passage from Isaiah describes how God is ready to reshape, readjust and shift things around for His people. He is moving to readjust and rearrange what concerns you, so that the way it is now, is not how it will be when his favor, grace and mercy is finished. This is describing how all things are subject to His purposes and cannot resist His strange and amazing working.... when you read that mountains, and valleys, (solid things that are not easily moved, resistant things that seemed fixed and resolute) are reshaped like clay in the potter’s hands in behalf of His people. Then it says He levels out the uneven places that make it hard to move forward and make progress.... and He builds an expressway there, or provides faster and quicker access to what He has prepared for you. In other words, He not only has it prepared for you, but He makes a way for you to get there quicker than you would otherwise have been able.
WELL, CAN YOU SAY “HALLELUJAH”, FOR A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD! GLORY! Praise God for good receivers. Thank you Jesus that you’re looking for folks who believe they can have everything You promised, and you’re moving them into position....You have evened the odds, and Your favor gives Your children the advantage, We overcome because you overcame. We are more than conquerors, because you have purchased the victory for us. Before the battle begins, the outcome is already decided. You had the answer before the devil created the problem. You meant it for good and not for evil. The battle is the Lord’s so we can enjoy the blessings. Thank You Jesus!
Receive the answer He has for you, receive the outcome He already decided was yours. Receive the victory before the battle starts! The battle is the Lord’s!! WE RECEIVE IT LORD!!!
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