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TH170112/Wasted Potential

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 18, 2017 8:51 pm

TH170112/Wasted Potential

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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Harvest messages are brought to you by harvest partners to receive free email daily devotions or to become a harvest partners, please visit us when I was in high school is a pretty poor student, I kinda followed after my dad that I think I heard my dad sure enough times that he was such a bad thing, but I was like okay maybe that's like permission to be a bad student. No, not quite not quite.

But when I was in school I was told so many times by my teachers. The various teachers that I had ranging from freshman year all the way to senior year that I had so much potential. I had so much potential, and that I shouldn't waste it. Now I don't know if it was because maybe I was afraid of failure or I lacked motivation and discipline. It's not that I wasn't smart because I was able to grasp concepts fairly quickly when I actually applied myself, but I think ultimately it is because I just didn't care.

I had a bad attitude and my sophomore year I had a pretty bad attitude and I somehow this particular year, got placed in the English AP class advanced placement class got put into this class and the teacher was actually a great teacher really smart guy and had a fun way of teaching the class but he was a pretty hard guy as far as grades in August. If you expect a lot from his students well even though I learned something from the class. I didn't apply myself. I didn't try. I barely did my projects and I rarely did my homework for it, so the end of the semester came and our report cards.

Came home and I was shocked at the grade he gave me.

I was shocked that he gave me this grade but because of my bad attitude manifesting itself through poor study habits, my AP English teacher gave me a letter grade of an F minus an F minus.

He threw the minus on there just to spite me. I couldn't believe it. I I was stupid, but I was utterly kind of proud of it was I yeah I got an F minus. I was that bad and I feel like it today. A teacher today will I get fired over giving 17 F minus can even give F's anymore to Kidd's legs give out trophies or what.

I don't know but I didn't invest myself in that class.

The teacher knew it. I didn't put forth any effort but I didn't care when the report card came home and my parents saw it and my grades were not there are seriously lacking and they all receive. They grounded me, which is the right thing to do as a parent to your child. I got what I would deserved and ultimately I was the one that got burned by because yeah I got grounded I was a short-term. Ultimately, I had to repeat the class. I did do it all over again.

So here it was just wasting my time not listening in class and I had to pay the consequent side to pay the price for it know I was given every resource I needed to pass that class had a brain had the books I had the paper I had the computer access everything I needed to not just pass that class would excel and actually even get an A+ in it will in second Peter chapter 1 verse three it says his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness to the knowledge of him who called us by his glory and virtue.

You can open up your Bible.

Second Peter chapter 1.

If you like and highlight back that's a great Scripture, but I'm actually to be basin I and Matthew chapter 25 Matthew chapter 25 but God's given us everything that we need to be spiritually successful is not great news that you don't have to go get your masters degree in Christianity in order to be spiritually successful. My message title tonight is wasted potential wasted potential my taxes and Matthew chapter 25. The psalmist said here in chapter 90 psalmist said so teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom that the older I get, the faster time begins to go. You know I'm a dad now and you really begin to gauge time I hold your kids. I'm just blown away.

Seeing might my children turned into little humans little adults their maturity level. The decisions they're making. Just blown away watching that happen.

I'm just amazed at how fast time is beginning to speed up. I really think there is so much wisdom their Lord, teach us to number our days, teach us to remember death Momento more. I remember death were knocking to live forever. We might feel that way. These physical bodies are to live forever, but they're not. We will live forever, spiritually, and that's ultimately where we need to end up is to recognize that we are to spend eternity somewhere, but will not have all of eternity to make that decision, so it's important that we remember death so teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Matthew chapter 2025, starting in verse 14, for the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country. This is Jesus speaking I should tell you, traveling to a far country, who called his own slaves and delivered his goods to them. One slave he gave five talents, to another he gave to into another. He gave one to each according to his own ability and immediately the master went on a journey, then he who would receive the five talents immediately went and traded with them and made another five talents and likewise he who would receive two gained two more also.

But he who would received one went and dug in the ground and hit his master's money.

After a long time, the master of the slaves came and settle the accounts with them, so he had received so he who would receive five talents came and brought five other talents, a master, you delivered to me five talents. Look, I have gained five more talents beside them. His master said to well done good and faithful slave you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.

Enter into the joy of your Lord.

He also who would received two talents came and said master you delivered to me two talents. Look, I have gained two more talents beside them as Lord said to him, while gun well done good and faithful slave.

You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.

Enter into the joy of your Lord, then he who would receive the one talent came and said master. I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown a gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid and I went and I hid your talent in the ground look, there you have what is yours but his master answered and said to him, you wicked and lazy slave. You knew what I reap a you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and got arrived not scattered seed. So you want to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming I would've at least received interest.

So take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has 10 talents for everyone who has, more will be given, and she will have abundance, but from him who does not have even that he has will be taken away and cast the unprofitable slave into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth are eyeless and there will this parable Jesus told the parable of the talents was told immediately following. Matthew 24. Go figure. Right. Matthew 25 Matthew 24 Matthew 24 for you Bible students is known as the all of it discourse the Olivet discourse and this is a time where Jesus took the disciples to the Mount of olives and he told a whole bunch of prophecy okay. He talked about the destruction of the temple. He talked about the signs of the times at the end of the age. He speaks of the great tribulation, and he speaks of his own second coming when Jesus is going to come back to try when he comes back to the world. This parable we just read in Matthew 25 is pretty easy to understand is pretty easy to draw comparisons and understand who we are in the story board and unpack some things together, and the first thing I want to do is give you some context, using historical context here. It's so important that when we read Scripture and and read the Bible that we understand the context of a particular passage or particular particular time that that the Scripture is being written for people who argue things against the Bible. You know, a lot of times there saying things about God that are true of their making almost seems like they're making things up there completely what they're doing 90 ninths of the time is pulling these things out of context completely out of context are very quick to ignore the historical and scriptural context surrounding them just for the sake of arguing a point. The majority of the time their issue with God is explained by just investigating other surrounding Scripture and historical context. There's a lot of great resources out there for you guys if you're interested I could recommend a couple to you, but I'll tell you one since this one is actually free. You can get on your phone you can on app store. You can find it in the iBookstore for free, a Jewish historian named Flavius Josephus. He was born four years after Jesus physical ministry on earth ended around A.D. 37.

Josephus was an interesting character. He was a Roman Jewish historian who specialized in Jewish history, and without getting too far down this rabbit trail.

He is a true secular, neutral third-party that record some of the acts of Jesus and the disciples and helps give some great historical context and extra detail into the background of the time what was happening. He wrote many works. I have one physical copy that encompasses all the volumes he wrote called the complete works, but Josephus is significant because he is recording. Much of this information for the Romans and so he reports and confirms with completely secular worldview and perspective from the book of Genesis onward. So Jesus in Matthew 24. He's prophesying he's talking about the destruction of the temple he's talking about how not one stone is gonna be stacked on top of another when he speaking of the destruction of the Temple and the disciples they can't wrap their minds around this.

The, the temples been there for so long and how could it be destroyed. That's where God lives. So Jesus is telling them that specific detail that not one stone will be stacked on top of another and extremely specific detail but as a matter fact Josephus goes on to record and confirms just that you see when Titus came in and the siege of Jerusalem. They melt, they destroyed the temple. They lit it on fire and there was gold that was between those stones that melted down into the rocks down into the foundation there to remove every stone on top of another from each other to go and get that gold. This was a detail that Jesus gave many years before the destruction of that Josephus goes on and confirms that with incredible detail and incredible accuracy, but Matthew 24. Jesus is also prophesying of his own return to how to be ready for that, and he continues to do that here in chapter 25 Jesus is still speaking to his disciples about being ready for his return and he compared it to a figtree. He compared to a wedding and he shares what to do while waiting for his return. Here in Matthew 25 the, the parable of the talents will Scripture is full of charges that time to tell us to go and take advantage of opportunity while it's available.

Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 11 one. Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days, Isaiah wrote seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near Jesus called on men to make the most of their spiritual opportunities and invest them for his glory. Jesus also said in John chapter 12 a little while longer.

The light is with you. Walk while you have the light less darkness overtake you, he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going while you have the light believe in the light, that you may become sons of light in this particular parable. There are three examples that we learn from tour great and one is very alarming and should hopefully light a fire underneath you.

Matthew 2514 through 15. It said, for the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own slaves and delivered his goods to them and to one he gave five talents, to another to into another one, to each according to his own ability and immediately he went on a journey so it's important to note a couple of things here. First, that these were masters slaves. They were slaves. The master was about to leave for a long trip may be months or even a year or more, so he leaves his prized possessions with his trusted slaves.

So the fact that these are called slaves mean that Jesus here when he's telling us this parable was not speaking about mankind in general. Not all of mankind is been given spiritual gifts because obscene that that comparison we would draw Jesus is not given us a physical sum of money, but he is given us spiritual gifts will get into that in a moment, but not of all of mankind is been given a spiritual gift. So Jesus was exclusively speaking about the church and those that profess to belong to Jesus, his church know many people through the Gospels are referred to as disciples and even Jesus was listed as a disciple and an apostle of the Lord. So even false followers by virtue of the fact that they are attached outwardly to the church have been entrusted with certain talents, so the master here and Jesus parable had three slaves that he trusted very much with his possessions. He gave 15 talents he gave one slave to talents any get the last slave.

One talent know your Bible might say something different than mine. As I'm reading slave.

You might say mine doesn't say slave minds as servant bondservant or something like that. Now if you look in your English Bible, which all of us have an English Bible. I'm assuming not many of us should have a Greek Bible, but in our English Bible Europe to find that word slave very often. If you look at the Old Testament in the King James. You will find the word slave one time one time, but the Hebrew word for slave. It appears 800 times in the now and 300 times in the verb that word slave appears many times there is a word in the Old Testament for slave. It appears 1100 times, but in our English Bible translated a slave one time, I think you're missing out on something here. If you go to the New Testament, you will find the Greek word for slave about 150 times in all forms. You will find actually translated as slave and are Bible or English Bible is only a handful of times. Only a few. The Greek word for slave when it's referring to an actual physical slave is only time that it translated winds you know Jesus speaks of being a slave to this world are a slave to sin. That's the only time it's being translated properly so here in this concept of slavery.

The Scripture that is been completely hidden to the English reader know this was by design because that word slave is the most important all-encompassing and clarifying word to describe a Christian use in the New Testament.

And yet, whenever a Christian is in view, it is not translated as slave. The word I'm speaking of. It's a Greek word it's due los due los have your that word were due los in the Greek that word means slave never means anything but slave it doesn't mean servant doesn't mean worker, it doesn't mean hired hand and it doesn't mean helper there six or seven Greek words that mean servant and some form due los never means servant servant is somebody that's hired to do something, you know that the slave is somebody that's owned.

Big difference. Huge difference. And yet alter the New Testament that word slave is masked by that word, servant or some form of the word servant of the Kings. The King James Bible that we get our a lot of your use in the King James, the new King James.

That was the first English Bible translated from Greek and it was done in the 16th century and they decided that that word that interpreters, the scholars decided that word slave had too much of a stigma around it too strong of a downside to humiliating and belittling. So they opted to cover it with the word servant or something like it.

I thought it was humiliating then in the 16th century.

How about when the first century writers were writing it when the New Testament was being written when they truly wrote that word slave in the 16th century. There is, as many as 12 million slaves in the world at that time. One out of every five people in the Roman empire was a slave. That's 1/5 of the whole Roman Empire was a slave. The Holy Spirit inspired that word due los and since we don't have that word in our Bible. I believe we are missing a valuable insight into our relationship with Christ.

Jesus said in Matthew 624 no man can serve two masters two Masters but you could if you are servant right you can serve two people you can have a day job and a night job. You can't be a slave have two Masters because you can only be owned by one, but Jesus Christ doesn't own any slaves that were due los is not just mean slave a means slave by choice. You cannot choose to serve Jesus you can so you can choose to serve Jesus as your master, he will not force you a voluntary slave, a slave that Christ paid the debt incredible debt for he pardoned us. He's forgiven us know we should become his due los his voluntary slave serving him because we want to. So back to our text Matthew 2515 it says and to one he gave five talents to the other two into another one, to each according to his own ability and immediately he went out on a journey and there's no significance in that number of talents given to the slaves. All were told is that it's just ranging from a wide array a wide range of responsibilities, ranging from very high to the very to the relatively kind of low and easy a responsibility between these three slaves. The owner knew the slaves intimately and he gave each one of them the appropriate amount of talents and responsibility. Now if you're like me in your reading talent for the first time you're probably literally thinking like elves like one guy can jungle I juggle her like one guy can like throw darts really good or do card tricks that I think of those as talents but a talent here is speaking of a specific weight measurement, a talent of gold would be extremely valuable, a talent of silver a little bit less valuable a talent of copper, bronze even less. He's not speaking of a talent of rocks here necessarily. He was specifically saying that a talent just speaking in a monetary value but the actual worth. Here is kind of irrelevant to the story.

Jesus is just trying to make a point that they are each given varying responsibilities there. Each given according to their ability was some were all from different homes here were from different families different backgrounds different belief systems were from different traditions and practices may praise Jesus that he is gracious with all of us and he recognizes that no a while back.

My brother Christopher still alive. I went to church with them one time and we went and visited this church that I had never been to. He had never been to his friend was a youth pastor. There so we went visited it and we walked up. He didn't know much about.

He just told me is kind of like an X biker church and like okay cool logo sure so we go. We walk up and the first thing that we see as were walking up is a guy in leather jacket. He's probably in his 60s. He's probably it's 30 but the guy looks so weathered and he's got an eye patch on it. His head shaved and he's got a skull and cross bones tattooed on his forehead.

This is like well this is the first guy we see outside of the church and he smoking a cigarette. Now me at this time in my life I was clean-cut but is completely living a double life, not walking with the Lord at all. Not living to what I believed, but wasn't walking that way. And so I like what kind of guy is this account. These are Christians looking to church is this man and we went. We sat in the service and you know what I gotta hand it to the preacher. He preached a good message he preached a good gospel presentation he deliver the goods. It was a solid Bible teaching church always bit surprised so is we leave. I see that same guy outside and these outside he smoking a cigarette again and he's looking the same way he talked about the sermon with his friends.

I'm like, man. You know what, as long as I don't look as bad as Zach. I'll be okay and I just meant I meant. You know, obviously physically, but not put the guy down in that way, but I meant more as long as I'm able to keep up my appearance as long as I'm not as bad off as that guy as long as I can.

You know control my vices long enough to do them in secret. I'll be okay man, I couldn't be more wrong. I couldn't be more wrong and I was good at keeping up my outward appearance. Meanwhile, these guys were being renewed from the inside out in first Samuel. Samuel was out to anoint the next king of Israel, who we now know was David, but Sandy was going down the line of Jesse son. She came upon Eli ab guy named Eli and not Eli was tall he was dark he was handsome he looked like a king and the Israelites had just made the same mistake of picking Saul for the very same reasons. He was head and shoulders above the rest.

He was handsome he looked like a king.

Will Samuel is about to make that same mistake by choosing Eli up to anoint as the next king of Israel hears what God said to Samuel and first Samuel chapter 16 verse seven he said the Lord said this to single do not look at his appearance or his physical stature, because I have refused him for the Lord does not see as man sees for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Listen, I I've been given much, I've been given a lot in my life I was born to a friend by God, I should say I was born to a family that raised me in the way of the Lord gave me an amazing foundation to build upon. But instead of building on that foundation for a number of years. I decide I'll get a jackhammer into it knowingly yet unknowingly really destroying the greatest gift. My parents ever could've given to me. These guys that I was speaking about who are in this church were most likely raised the same type of home that my dad might've been raised in not the kind of home that I was raising that's for sure. Homes of abuse addiction sin most likely what they were raised with who knows the kind of things they had to witness his kids Sony consider the amount of changes in the baggage that someone like that has to give up in surrender when they commit their lives to Christ. It's amazing to see what the Holy Spirit can do. They were being good slaves to their master. They were investing there spiritually get their spiritual gifts wisely. I on the other hand, was not Chickasaw in Luke 12 verse 47 Jesus said this and that servant who knew his master's will and did not prepare himself or do according to his will shall be beaten with many stripes but he who did know yet committed many things a deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few for everyone to whom much is given from him much will be required and to whom much has been committed of him they will ask born. I don't want to confuse you with this sermon is about. Just because Jesus is speaking of a literal sum of money here in Matthew 25 in the parable of the talents and giving that to his followers. That's not the only illustration of this parable is not the only truth we can pull is about financial investment in the church sure that's part of it.

That's one thing you can pull from it is not the explicit point he's trying to make.

We are also given spiritual gifts from God that he wants us to invest in you can find them in Romans chapter 12 in first Corinthians 12 they list prophecy the gift of prophecy the gift of serving the gift of teaching. The gift of encouraging the gift of giving the gift of leadership.

The gift of mercy the gift of the word of wisdom the word of knowledge, faith, healing the gift of miraculous powers the gift of discernment the gift of tongues, interpretation of tongues and the gift of health are all spiritual gifts that we have been given in this and in this body of Christ, that we are a part of you might be thinking.

Some of those are deftly better than the others. I think I got the gift of healing casts I got the gift of miraculous powers. That's awesome that the gift of interpreting tongues like how you get stuck with that last one there. The Masters desire is not an equal return from each of his slaves from each of his followers but equal effort according to their ability even though the first two slaves. In this parable were given different amounts and ended up with different profits.

They produce the same percentage of profit doubling what they had been given and here's what's awesome for you read here there given the exact same reward given the same reward with continue reading in verse 16 then he who would receive the five talents went and traded with them and made another five talents and likewise he who would receive two gained two more also.

But he who received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money in one translation. It says that the first man immediately went and traded. He was eager. He wanted to please the master he wanted to do a good job so he started off right off the bat trading this lay represents the genuine believer whose desire is to please and serve God. The second slave. He was given less than half of what the first slave was given.

He performed just as faithfully as the first. He double his master's money and both of them traded not made a trade or one trade and got lucky, but they did this over time multiple trades over the time the master was away they maximize their opportunities and they made the most of what they had to work with and then we have the third slave exactly the opposite of the first two, he had less responsibility than his co-laborers. So he had less to lose, so he really should have been more aggressive and more eager than the first two he went away and he dug it in the ground and hit his master's money now in this context, hiding money in the ground was actually a common practice today. It sounds really stupid. I've tried to bury something in the sand before going surfing. I've live lost car keys.

I've lost all kinds of stuff bearing in the sound like oh I'll make this pile of sand bigger than all the other piles of sounds like turn your back winter back and you're like oh it's gone, you know, it's so doesn't seem like a wise thing to do today but in Jesus time was common was common to do was to go bury something in the sand so he went he dug it.

He dug into the ground and hit his master's money. It was really just a sensible way to protect valuables, not ancient time, but it was a stupid way to put that money in the ground because hiding resources in the ground is hardly a good way to carry on a business or to turn a profit without money. The sleigh was not asked to hide the talent to protect it. He was asked to use it wisely to invest it wisely.

He was given the same command from his master as the other two slaves to use what he had to his maximum ability. Let's read about the masses return.

Now in verse 19 after a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them so he who would receive five talents came and brought five other talents, a master, you delivered to me five talents look I gained five more talents besides them.

His master settlement. Well done good and faithful slave you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord. He is also. He also who received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents.

Look, I have gained two more talents beside them.

His master said to him, well toned, good and faithful slave. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord, then he who would receive the one talent came and said master. I knew you to be a hard man, reaping what you have not sown in gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid and I went and hid your talents in the ground look, there you have what is yours but his master answered him and said, you wicked and lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather what I have not scattered seed.

So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming time, I would've received back my own money with interest at the very least know whether the master was gone for a month or a year or longer.

We don't know but we know it was a long time and here's the point. Knowing what Jesus said in Matthew 24, where he says no man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return Jesus is basically saying that he's gonna come back completely unexpected just like this master came back unexpected to his slaves and that's what happened here. The master comes back unexpectedly. It's been a while you know the boys of cut back a little bit.

Maybe the relaxing things are working like they should be.

You know how it is even workplaces.

Maybe when you're younger your boss goes off to lunch for an hour or so or leaves for a week goes on vacation is like to even accomplish anything. What he was gone. Will the first servant. He's looking forward to the master coming back. He's excited he's anticipating his return when you've done a good job and you're looking for your when you've done a good job and you put forth a good effort you're looking forward to your boss coming back and seeing that report. The put together or seeing that sale that you've made or would you put something together at home for your wife and you fix something in you've put all the light bulbs.

Finally, in all the different light sockets you like she's gonna come home, she can say what was so bright here. Your forward to them coming home you're looking forward to it because you've accomplish the task. They've asked you to do the same is true for the Christian if you heard tonight that Jesus Christ was coming back without a doubt he's going to coming back for his church. Some of you are going to get a real swell of excitement.

Some of you might not get that so much and I think that's a good litmus test to see where you stand in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Tell yourself you coming back tonight and see what your gut reaction is will the first lady tells a master master you gave me five talents.

I made five more talents for you here, here you are taken three years now. He wasn't bragging.

He was a look how much I've done.

I'm so good I'm done such a great job.

He was just stating the truth. The second slave. He did the same thing. He said master you delivered me to talents I've gained two more besides them again. The sleigh was not boasting, but expressing the truth.

In second Timothy chapter 4, the apostle Paul said these words for. I'm already being poured out as a drink offering the time of my departure is at hand.

I fought the good fight, I finish the race. I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day and not to me only, but also to all who have loved his appearing. Paul wasn't bragging he was bragging to Timothy as he was writing askew stating the truth he was stating facts. These two faithful slaves in the apostle Paul were simply expressing a deep sense of fulfillment and rejoicing and excitement. Upon meeting their master face-to-face.

The master knew the hard work and the integrity of his slaves and that they would be faithful and that they would be awarded.

Accordingly, just as the Lord knew the integrity of Paul's heart and would be faithful to reward him according to his gracious promises and now we come to the third slave. The third slave get a warped concept of the master hit a warped concept of his boss. While I know you're a hard man, reaping what you have not sown so I hid your talent in the ground.

The master responded okay fine you say I'm a hard man my harvest crops that don't belong to me.

If that's the case, why did you invest my money in the bank in ancient Rome there was a banking system that is very similar to what we have today. The maximum loan rate was 12% in the interest rate you would've gotten from putting your money in the bank would've been close to 6%. Now this slave did not even attempt to even earn simple interest on the money. This confirmed his total irresponsibility and his indifference to the master's explanation was proof that he had no intimate or reliable knowledge of the master either.

The third slave I think represents people who come to church with the corrupt view of God.

The concept of God is skewed and even perverted. They're afraid to say to the Lord hears my life. Here's my future.

Here's my resources my time. I dedicate it to your glory. I can't do that I can't do that at mine. That's my stuff man got to make me marry an ugly guy. He's gonna send me to you know some crazy Third World war-torn country. This stricter with malaria goal be you know and go minister to those people that was a problem with the third slave instead of seeing him like the first two slaves saw their master unit very wrong impression of them he Exley had the audacity to tell his master that he was unmerciful and told that he was dishonest. The master was not angry because he didn't deliver results. He didn't give him any money or profit. The master was angry because the slave wasted the opportunity Jesus point was that having little to work with is not an excuse for not using it at all. This third slave does not necessarily represent an unfaithful lever.

He represents someone who has a formed a he's formed a skewed kind of perverted image of God. Like I mentioned, I went to a Christian high school and this is a warning but it kind of is, but some of the kids that were classmates didn't want to be there at a Christian school, and they didn't want to be a Christian. And so they weren't. They never sought the truth about God.

They made their decision in their heart early on but they only came up with lame excuses like this third slave did to justify by the were Christians.

Now, as adults they had done the proper research they hadn't actually investigated you know investigated who God was. His kids that I knew they would say things like all gods, a misogynist or you know he's a mass murderer. He's selfish. Who would want to worship a God like that. Those are so far from the truth. It's absurd.

I love to talk with you and how to have you come up in an asked some of our pastors those questions. If you have those in your heart. We would love to respond to you and engage in a conversation, but for the sake of this message all the so you you're wrong.

Short answer, but that third slave.

He was not unfaithful he wasn't just unfaithful. No know he was faithless, he was completely faithless.

A true Christian who wastes their abilities, their spiritual gifts and opportunities first printings 315 Tello tells us that they will have their work burned and they will suffer loss, but he himself will be split will be saved, yet so as through fire you see what is saying here is, you can have a saved soul but a waste of life wasted potential.

You get to heaven. Yeah, no worries. One day your to come before God empty-handed is gonna save you what you do would you do with the spiritual gifts I give you what you do that gift of salvation I gave to you and what you say I was busy it was. It was really hard. I got embarrassed. Thanks a lot.

Lord forget me here. I guess I'll see you later man that's that's gonna be a drag media you you get something out of it. If you truly love God and you truly believe who he is, that he says he is and you want to serve him. You don't want to be that willing slave that that voluntary slave listen. The greatest joy of heaven isn't the absence of hell. That's right.

The best part about heaven isn't going to be not going to hell no, that's a great way to talk to somebody about heaven they don't have it total.

No grasp on what heaven is and Christianity will listen. You know we've all fallen short of God's standard and, ultimately, if you haven't met perfection. You are going to go to hell. But here's the good news. Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for you and he's extended that gift to you so you can go to heaven such a great way to tell somebody that doesn't have any concept of what heaven is going to be like why they would want to go there usually is not hell. So that's what you want to go but here here's what's going to be will let say the worst part about hell is knocking to be the flames or anything like that. No, listen. The worst part about hell I promise you is going to be the absence of Jesus Christ. Your to be completely removed from him that is what makes health so horrifying and terrible and that is also what makes heaven so wonderful and exciting and beautiful is that it's going to be the actual physical embodiment of our Savior Jesus Christ.

He sold and how the wounds in his hands really get to see him.

He's gonna see us face-to-face. Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord, man. That's exciting.

As a Christian did to think about Jesus even saying those words. That's something to get excited about in heaven will be in fullness of joy and have life everlasting. Because Jesus is going to be there. Your to see loved ones you're gonna see the 12 disciples, including Paul, you'll see Moses and Elijah, but your to see Jesus face-to-face.

Do you want to hear God say well done good and faithful servant and get on with it. Take what he's given to you and use it but don't insult God by saying I don't have much.

I don't have much. My testimony is not dramatic. Listen, you don't have to have a testimony of shooting heroin in your eyeballs have a dramatic testimony RA if you have if you have the gospel in your testimony. The dramatic part is the story of Jesus Christ. And it's so important you relay that message. Nothing you went through some program and you are no better and you better yourself and that that's great. There's a place for that. Listen, this isn't about bettering yourself. This is about conquering death or something much more to it than this being renewed from the inside out. Don't soul God and say your life is worthless and that you were just a car salesman or a stay-at-home mom or a veteran or an IT guy. Jesus paid for it. It can become more as a Christian. It can be fanned into full flame. So take that ability take that gift take that strength and dedicated to his glory, and watch what God will do with it. Don't bury your spiritual gift on the ground use it, stretch it, grow it, it will cause you to look forward to Christ's return and that where your treasure will be there your heart will be also invest in it, not just financially. That's great that some big part of it. No question God called us to do that but invest your spiritual gift.

Would God is given to you. He's given you above and beyond what you ever need to walk in those spiritual gifts, but maybe you haven't put your faith in God. Yet you've been listening and you realize you're the third slave listen, if you're the third slave you need to repent and no the God is a father that loves us. He is a father yet. He's a master because we may come our voluntary master. Don't get don't get confuse their odds, knocking to enslave you against your will know if that's not the picture. Jesus tells us a story of the prodigal son. I know if you're familiar with it that the father loves his son so much sun comes and asks the father.

Hey give me half of your inheritance of my inheritance on you to go negative, wasted, and so he goes off and he does that waste is life drags the family name to the gutter and the father just sits there on the porch. You can just get in your mind's eye just waiting for that son to come back he wants is prodigal son to return and that prodigal son returns with all the baggage and all the stars and pry the diseases that he contracted by while living and wasting all the money and not father runs and meets the summer. He's out. He puts that ring the family ring with the insignia on it on his finger signifying full restoration and Jesus goes on to say this is what God is like. That's our father in heaven. God is like a father that remote loses his son for you parents. You can imagine you're always been love your children you're always in the love your kids so you can imagine what God's heart is like in that perfected state listen. Who wants to be a slave you're asking who wants to be a slave that's literally the worst thing in the world that could probably happen to you know slavery still exists in the world today, sexual slavery and literal slavery and its horrible literally the worst thing in the world but I really think it all comes down to who your master is who your master is listen your were all asleep to something here. You can be a slave to success. You can be a slave to your job to status, wealth, possessions to sacs to drugs.

You can be a slave to anything, sin.

You can be free from those things tonight and turn God doesn't enslave you and make himself master over you he sets you free. He frees you from sin. It's only when you recognize that he is our father in heaven that we desire for him to be our master Lord I thank you so much that you did send your son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us if we put our faith in him and turn from our sin.

We can know the we are to go to heaven or what a great thing to look forward to. Lord I just pray that as I preach this message. If there's anybody here that their heart would just be afflicted if they do not yet know you there might've been something I said that struck their heart and they know that the Holy Spirit is now speaking to them or that you would just confirm that is were praying now the you would let them know that they can have a relationship with you, the creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end we can have a personal relationship with you. We can call you are daddy in heaven while Lord we thank you for that.

We praise you will always love you and remember that the warheads are bowed her eyes are closed and were praying and you're just thinking I I haven't done that I am a a slave to sin. I am a slave to pornography or to drugs or alcohol, or to my job or to materialism. If you're a slave to something other than God, and you want to be set free from that NASA warheads are bowed Roger closer were praying that you would raise your hand up and I want to just lead you in a simple prayer, a prayer of commitment. A prayer of repentance, you ask Christ to come into your life. So if that's if that's you, you will be freed from sin, you will be freed from that addiction and ultimately you want to know that your to go to heaven you're to be a Jesus presence, which is the definition of habit heaven and true fullness of joy and ask you would raise your hand up you would raise your hand up and I will lead you in a prayer something I said struck your heart, or maybe something I said didn't. But you know deep down that this is something you want to do. You came here tonight knowing that this might happen, knowing that you would hear these words, knowing you would have this opportunity down and asked the you would raise your hand up because you are here for a reason friend and you don't want to put off this opportunity just like those friends I had in high school. They heard the gospel so many times and they hardened their heart to it.

They ignored it. They decided in their heart that they were going to make some other decision in while they've made their bed now.

Don't make that same decision. Don't ignore it. Don't harden your heart because there could come a time that your heart has become so hardened that you couldn't respond to it.

You couldn't repent, you couldn't truly put your faith in Jesus all the way.

That's the blast that's the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. That is the unforgivable sin. So there's anybody else that you want to pray that prayer with me just want you raise your hand up, raise your hand up all right. No listen. Maybe you're like that third slave that I mentioned you like the third slave you're a Christian, you go to save souls but a lost life you've been living with the knowledge of the gospel you believe it. You hold onto it, but you have not yet truly began to walk in those spiritual gifts that God has given to you. I NASA you would raise your hand. I can have you prayer parable as well. You raise your hand up will pray together. If you're a believer and you want to just say Lord use me, use me for your kingdom. Use me for your will you raise your hand up will pray as well.

Right anybody else.

Okay, now for those of you that raise your hand for that first part of the prayer I asked you to stand up right now you would stand up for your setting us right here among friends and family here were praying.

Our heads are bowed Roger close were rude asked, you would stand up hating us was the clacking riser close how do you know so you stand up and will pray together.

God bless you Douglas you anybody else you stand up as a couple more of you raise your hand you want to know that when you die that you are going to go to heaven. That's the hope of putting your faith in Jesus Christ.

Anybody else you stand up okay to bless you and you are for those of you standing right now I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me and meet your heart Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you are the Savior you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for me, I pray that you would fill me with your Holy Spirit. Now I turn for my sin. Jesus name I pray now for those of you that raise your hand for that second part of the prayer. The second part of her you see yourself as 1/3 serve not slave that's not slave that was not being wise was not using their spiritually spiritual gifts wise I NASA you would stand up right now as well.

There's a few things that raised your hand sign ask you would stand up and I will lead you in a prayer now to write for those who sang ask you would pray this out loud after me, Lord, help me to be a good slave, you're my father in heaven but I choose to serve you with all that you've given to me helped me to discover my spiritual gifts and develop them and growing them. Thank you for giving them to me.

I don't take them for granted. In Jesus name I pray, amen and amen. God bless you guys a pray that prayer

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