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The Uncultured Saints

S2 E15: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Make sure that you are a sheep. Or at least make sure that you are not a goat. Judgment Day is coming and you must be certain to find yourself in the right flock. But if we start looking at our works to assure us of our place amongst the sheep we will find ourselves amongst the goats asking, “But when didn’t we…?” Demand that God looks at your works and uses them as a checklist for your entrance into life everlasting and you will be surely disappointed. Better to bleat along with the sheep, “Lord, when did we…” Those are the words of sheep that know nothing of the Law for salvation and know only of the Gospel.

S2 E14: The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Here is the second to last parable Jesus ever teaches His disciples. It is the middle of Holy Week. The Triumphal Entry has taken place and in a few short days Jesus will be strung up on a cross. And so at this crucial time Jesus makes certain to gather His disciples aside in order to teach them about…stewardship…No, that can’t be right…Stewardship is important, but it isn’t a mystery of the kingdom of heaven. So this has to be about something else. It has to be about the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins. It has to be about the cross. But how…

S2 E12: The Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Here is perhaps the most straightforward parable of them all. We know who Jesus is: He is the son that is murdered. We get that. And perhaps we should just leave it at that, because there is still the mystery of the father sending his son, knowing full well that he will end up dead. What sort of father is this? What sort of father would sacrifice his son like that? …I think we know the answer to that…

S2 E13: The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Each of the ten virgins wants to get into the wedding feast. They are all there, all prepared, at least prepared for the rational. Some are prepared for the irrational and have lugged along extra oil for their lamps. Knowing this, we start scouring the parable to figure out the specifics. What is the oil? What is the lamp? But none of that matters, because none of that gets the virgins into the wedding feast. They all had an invitation. They all had a lamp and they all had enough oil at the beginning. But none of those things were their ticket into the feast. So their ticket inside has to be something else, has to be someone else…

S2 E11: The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Pray enough and you will force God’s hand. Isn’t that what this parable seems to be about? How else could we take it? But then we have to rectify an unrighteous judge standing as the Jesus figure, and that is just weird. But is it any weirder than Jesus hiding away a treasure and swindling the owner of the field out of it? Or Jesus being a dishonest manager that gives away his master’s money and is commended for it? Maybe there is something Gospelly about this parable after all. Maybe it isn’t so much about the persistent widow earning for herself justice as it is the widow receiving a verdict in her favor completely outside of herself. Maybe a judgment in her favor has nothing to do with her deserving it at all…

S2 E10: Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19:31)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Jesus isn’t in this parable, not explicitly. We do have Abraham alluding to the resurrection and the Law and the prophets speaking about the Messiah. So yeah, He is there. But this is also the only parable that has a name: Lazarus. Might that be a clue? Might that be where we should begin? Yes, there is that whole thing about a great divide that can’t be crossed. And that is true. But the name is important. Names are always important. So what is in a name? Let’s find out…

S2 E9: The Parable of the Dishonest Manager (Luke 16:1-17)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

A parable about stewardship, if stewardship was about taking other peoples money and giving it away. We might have the most difficult time with this parable because the dishonest manager is praised for his shrewdness, he is praised for doing that which is not right. Perhaps that is why this parable is one of the best examples to show that parables are not about morals and ethics or about becoming a better person, they are about Jesus. So where is Jesus in this parable? Surely he can’t be the dishonest manager. That wouldn’t make any sense. But then again, parables are mysteries, so maybe, just maybe, there is something here about the forgiveness of sins in Christ that we have never seen before?

S2 E8: The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

It’s a story about redemption; about redemption and sacrifice, forgiveness and mercy. A son wishing his father was dead and his brother was no longer a brother. That same son denouncing his sonship in Israel, casting his lot in with the Gentiles and the pig farmers. A father who loves his son so much that he gives an inheritance that shouldn’t be given; and he doesn’t think twice. An older brother concerned with appearances, concerned with “doing it the right way,” concerned with nothing except the Law. And it leaves us with an open question. The prodigal knows the Gospel through his father; he eats the fatten calf and wears the signet ring. Will the older brother now join them in the feast…

S2 E7: The Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Another parable of warning; of warning, but of great comfort too. A wedding feast is prepared. Good food and good drink for all to come and enjoy. You would think that the invitation would be enough, that we wouldn’t have to be reminded. But the self-righteous sinner doesn’t care all that much for a wedding feast in which things are given out for free. The self-righteous sinner always has something better to fill his time. So the master sends out his servant to the highways and byways. “Go and invite everyone you see. Go and get the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame. Go and invite everyone who should be here, everyone who doesn’t deserve such a feast. For my house must be filled to the brim.”

S2 E6: The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Don’t read this parable without reading the set up, otherwise you will get it wrong. And we often time get it wrong. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” we ask. Well, if that is our question then the answer will be one that is too great to follow. “Be the Good Samaritan, to everyone that you meet, all the time, 24/7, with no exceptions. Do that, and you will inherit eternal life.”…But after hearing these words, this parable isn’t quite so uplifting anymore. It kind of beats us up and leaves us for dead on the side of the road with no way to get ourselves to Jericho…If only there was a Good Samaritan that would come along and save us…

S2 E5: The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

A billion quadrillion dollars, that is how much the first guy owed the king. More than could ever be paid, but he thinks that he is good for it. He is sure that he could pay it back. So when his debt is released he doesn’t see it as grace, but as something he deserved; or perhaps he believed that he pulled one over on the king. And that is why he goes out in search for his own retribution. Debts must be paid, just not his. But this isn’t how forgiveness works. In fact, this isn’t forgiveness at all. This parable is about the Gospel and the debt Jesus paid on the cross. But it is also a warning lest we think that we deserved any of it.

S2 E4: The Parables of the Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Price, and the Net (Matthew 13:44-50)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

A man and his pearl. I suppose the only way that you can tell how much value something has is to see how much someone is willing to pay for it. For the man in our text this pearl that he finds is worth more than anything, literally. He goes and sells all that he has and then buys it. The previous man did the same with a field where buried treasure was known to be found…So obviously Jesus is trying to say something to us: “There is a treasure to be found, a pearl to be purchased. There is something of more value than anything else in all of creation.” And it must be had, that much is clear. Now all we have to do is figure out where Jesus is in this parable. Certainly He is worth more than anything, but I sure do hope that He isn’t the pearl. Because that would make me the merchant, and I know I’m not good enough to be that merchant…Seems to put us in a bit of a bind…If only there was another way to look at this parable…

S2 E3: The Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

More sowing, just like the last time. Except here there is just a field; a field with good seed sown by a good man. But then his enemy comes and sows tares amongst the wheat; right overtop, intertwined. What’s to be done? That is the question the servants want to know. They see the problem and they want it fixed. But the man says, “No.” The time is not right for the tares to be uprooted, and besides, the servants aren’t given to this task anyway. The reapers will come, leave the reaping to them…And that is the hard part: staying silent when we know that we know better than God…But as Jesus explains later, not one of the blades of wheat will be thrown into the fire. We don’t have to worry about that. And we don’t have to worry about the tares getting a free ride either. He has that taken care of as well. The harvesting and the separating, that’s not given to the servants nor is it given to the wheat. Jesus seems to have it all under control. He usually does…

S2 E2: The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

A man goes out to sow. He doesn’t seem like he is very good at his job, just throwing caution and seed to the wind. The seed falls everywhere: on the path to be eaten, on the rocks and amongst thorns to quickly die, and yes, some falls on the good ground, too. You would think that the sower would be more careful with His seed. You would think that He would scatter it where He was sure that it would produce fruit. But this doesn’t seem to be His way and this doesn’t seem to be the way of our Lord. His cross is for everyone. His salvation is for all. The Gospel is to be proclaimed to all the world… We need not worry about the different types of ground. The sower doesn’t seem to give it much thought as he scatters seed around, perhaps neither should we. Maybe it is just better to receive the seed he sows and give thanks that he sows it so indiscriminately.

S2 E1: Purpose of the Parables (Matthew 13:10-17)

Pastors Elisha Lietzau & Harrison Goodman

Back by unpopular demand, the Uncultured Saints brings you Season Deux: Parables. You might have heard it said that parables are “earthly stories with a heavenly meaning.” Maybe this is true, but perhaps a better way to look at them is as “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” And if they are mysteries then they can’t be about ethics or morals….though this is how we treat them most of the time. Instead, mysteries are about the Gospel, and the Gospel is about Jesus, so parables are about Christ. Christ is the Subject, the Actor, the One doing the work. We can find ourselves in the parables…but only as the ones receiving Jesus.

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