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July 5, 2020 7:00 pm
I am in Matthew chapter 25 Matthew chapter 25 and I want to read the parable of the talents that begins in verse 14, Matthew 25, beginning at verse 14 for the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants 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, then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them and made another five talents and likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord's money.
After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them so he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents look, I have gained five more talents besides them is Lord said to him, well done good and faithful servant. 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 had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Look, I have gained two more talents besides them is Lord said to him, well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter in the joy of your Lord, then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not song and gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours but his lord answered and said to him, you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not song, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has 10 talents for to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I think every genuine Christian is a longing as a desire to hear either at their death in the Lord's presence, or if there privileged and blessed to be present when the Lord returns to hear what is recorded here in this parable concerning the first to serve. We long to hear the words of commendation.
Well done good and faithful servant. Enter in the joy of your Lord again in this parable to men here that very commendation Jesus also tells us on what basis, what is it that warrants such commendation. What provokes such a commendation from the Lord concerning his servants. So tonight as we consider the parable of the talents.
Let's begin by let me remind you of the context. This is part of the Olivet discourse the gospel of Matthew has five sections that are called discourses and this is the last of the five in the discourse are a number of things that Jesus taught by one of the prominent things that our attention is drawn to in this parable is his teaching on his second coming, the end time, Jesus taught this three days before his crucifixion again.
Let's keep that context in mind the Lord's return. His second coming, and we don't just need the reminder of the context we see the language in the parable that is very clear concerning that very thing. Verse 14 for the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and also delivered his goods to them. Verse 19 after a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them this parable is not about some hypothetical man. Any man who went on but this parable is about the God man. Jesus himself who would soon be going away, going on a journey, and after a long time would return and demand an accounting from his servants.
This is the context of the parable of the context but also a connection.
I think it important connection that connection is between this parable and the parable that we looked at last Sunday night. That is the parable of the 10 virgins you recall the parable of the 10 virgins is about being prepared for his coming.
There were five wise virgins and five foolish virgins in the five wise virgins had lamps and had oil for those lamps and that oil speaks of preparedness they were anticipating. They were longing they were ready. Lord's return, but with the bridegroom's return with the five foolish virgins. They did not have the oil of preparation and therefore were unprepared for the Lords return. So if the parable of the 10 virgins is about being prepared for his coming. This parable, the parable of the talents is about being productive so as to give a good accounting of our stewardship when he does come, or to say it another way, the parable of the 10 virgins focuses on readiness that shows itself and waiting in the parable of the talents focuses on readiness that shows itself in working waiting and working together considering the two of them together two parables reflect the proper balance.
The believer should have.
What is that balance on the one hand, looking anticipating his coming, while also living in preparedness for his coming through faithful service. So before we get into the passage, let me point out 1/3 matter thought, consider context in connection with number three of reminder of an important hermeneutical principle.
The most significant important hermeneutical principle that we abide by in our attempt to understand and interpret the Scriptures is that we believe in an historical grammatical, cultural interpretation of Scripture historical were not just viewing the words of Scripture in our history were thinking about the history at the time in which the Scriptures were given grammatical words matter, phrases matter verb tense matters were meticulous at considering the grammar and then number three. The culture were not interpreting the Scriptures in the light of our culture, where interpreting the Scriptures in light of that culture and it takes some effort to understand because cultural differences are you between then and now and not just then and now, but the Jewish context and an American contact the man in the parable, and again, we should understand the man in the parable to be the Lord Jesus Christ.
He calls three of the servants, and entrusts his goods to them to one he gave five talents, to another to talents and to another one talent. Now if we were to violate this hermeneutical principle we would hear that phrase or that word that noun talent in our minds would think all talent that's the gifts and abilities that I have. I've got the talent of singing I have the talent of playing the piano in a far.
Mine were to go there and interpret this and that light, we would be wrong. That's a violation of this hermeneutical principle, what again is it the historical grammatical cultural interpretation of Scripture. So what is a talent talent in this context is money. It's clear the language you read through the parable will see that as we move through a talent was a unit of measurement. The unit of measurement and the value differed from place to place, and more importantly, it differed with the metal that was used, whether it was copper or silver or gold not if it was gold. We are talking about a talent being equivalent to 6000 dinars one talent we do the calculations, it would take an ordinary labor almost 20 years to earn the equivalent of one talent. So Jesus is teaching in this parable that he entrusts one servant with five talents. That is 100 years worth of value in terms of money, what our labor could earn in the second 40 years worth in the third 20 years worth so. One conclusion is pretty obvious that we draw here is that the man is rich who entrusts his wealth to his servants, yes he's rich, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Yes he's rich the owns it all. So at the beginning of this parable. Two things are established, it says for the kingdom of heaven is like we see that phrase kingdom of heaven. Matthew speaks of kingdom of heaven marker Luke will speak of the kingdom of God not talking about two different entities were talking about the same reality is just that Matthew is addressing the Jewish audience and they didn't speak God's name. So instead of saying kingdom of God. He says kingdom of heaven.
And that's the primary reason why he chooses heaven as opposed to God, but what is the kingdom of heaven.
What is the kingdom of God. It is the rule in the reign of God.
And here's the point. If we have come under the rule in the reign of God and have a rightful claim to citizenship in the kingdom of God or heaven. Two things are true of us number one we are servants we are servants we understand that we are at the Lord's disposal to use us as he pleases. And at the end of the day whatever it is that we do. We understand that we are only on profitable servants, doing what we should have done worse servants number two were Stuart were servant and were Stuart and was stewardship comes accountability. So those two things are obvious at the beginning of this paragraph, whatever we have, whether opportunities or abilities were to use them to advantage. Note they belong to God. We possess but God owns and as I was studying and preparing for this. The thought just struck me with a force. This is pretty common territory.
We understand that were stewards but it just struck me with a fresh force that the God of the universe in troughs viable things to us in an think about that dwell on that marble at that card and I've had the privilege of through the years of heaven. I can think of two couples that came to us and ask us if we would be willing to be included in their will, that if something were to happen to the both of them that we would be willing to take their children and raise their children know that was a humbling request that someone would think that much of us that they would be willing to entrust their children to us if something were to happen to them. God Almighty entrusts far more viable things to us in its humbling. It's a bit frightening when we think about how much we fail in our stewardship, how inconsistent we are in our stewardship all on again off again. We are about our stewardship. How often we can go weeks, months, maybe even years and don't even think about the fact that were Stuart get things all mixed up. We think that we own things may give an example of how confused we can be about this. The idea of our financial stewardship. The erroneous idea that of what God has entrusted to me. 10% of that I'm going to give to God is my ties and the other 90% is mine do with as I wish. Really, is that your understanding of financial stewardship know everything you have is his all percent of it is is he will just require an accounting of 10%. He will require an accounting of all of it and most of the time when people are thinking stewardship there only thinking of finance but stewardship is broader than that were to be a steward of our very lives were to be steward of our time were to be a steward of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and Nubian accounting of our stewardship in these matters. So let's stop and express fresh all and wonder the God himself would entrust anything to knowing who we are unnoticed with me that the stewardship the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
I'm reading from the new King James and my translation says delivered his goods to them you up preps of a translation that says entrusted his goods to them. It's communicates better. I think the idea of stewardship.
Verse 15 into one he gave five talents, to another to undo another one so three servants each entrusted with a different amount and what is the basis for that different distribution.
Notice what it says in verse 15 he gave five talents to one to two another and to one to another to each according to his own ability. There the stewardship was based on what the master new about their individual ability.
Notice what Jesus is emphasizing common accountability for differing levels of responsibility based on individual ability. I know you you think about that for a moment.
I tried to frame a sentence that was capturing the nuances of this common accountability there would be an accounting for all three of the servants common accountability for differing levels of responsibility entrusted five talents to want to do another one to another differing responsibilities and on what basis did he entrust 5 to 12 to want to want to another based on individual ability. Paul in first Corinthians chapter 4 verse seven asks three questions in that one verse and he's dealing with stewardship. There listen to the verse four.
Who makes you differ from another. That's a rhetorical question who makes you differ from another one. Obviously, God does. This is his doing. Who makes you differ from another second question, what do you have that you did not receive another rhetorical question and the answer to that is nothing I have anything that I haven't received.
It's all come from God.
Third question now you did indeed receive it. Why do you boast as if you had not received it.
So mobs observations from that in verse and what were considering here. Number one, we don't all have equal ability.
We don't all have equal ability. Some have more ability than others. Just the way it is that's determined by God.
That's his sovereign right so don't be boastful about your ability and don't compare yourself and your abilities with others.
I can get us in all kinds of trouble when we compare ourselves with other people. Don't forget where your abilities came from and that God is going to require an accounting of your stewardship.
So the question that the passage that were considering here in Matthew 25, the parable of the talents, the question the passage asks us is what do you do what have you done and what are you doing with what Christ has entrusted to you and that is money that is time that is resources that is opportunities. What have you.
What are you and what will you do with what he has entrusted to you. There are two contrasting responses to that stewardship. Clearly taught in this parable to man invested in the kingdom invested in the interest of the master who they knew would be returning and the other man in self-interest Barry's town. Why did he buried his talent will will talk about what motivated him in a moment, but one thing that's rather clear. He didn't want to be encumbered and busy with that responsibility. He wanted to live his own life. He wanted to do his own thing he wanted to pursue his own way so it's kingdom investment or self investment that's the two choices that are set before us. Now notice the description of these three men's stewardship. In verses 16, 17 and 18 then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them and made another five town. You got a laugh when I tell you this.
I listened to a man preach on this this week and you know what he said. This man was a day trader you kidding me about. There are people who make a living on Wall Street's day trader, they trade in and out of stocks and bonds and commodities. Obviously that's a that is a violation of this hermeneutical principle, but know this man was not a day trader.
He was using he was investing he was being wise with the resources that the master had entrusted with. He was being industrious. We don't know the particulars.
It just says he would receive the five talents went and traded with them and made another five town and likewise he who had received two gained two more verse 18 begins with the word, but that is a contrast that's there intentionally were to see there is a huge contrast here between the first two servants and the third servant, but he who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord's money.
Let's think about what motivated the first two who exercise their stewardship in a commendable way receive the commendation. Well done. The good and faithful servant.
What motivated those two men. What we don't have the instructions. The specific instructions that the master gave but no doubt he gave instructions to them concerning that which he entrusted to them. So one of the things it would've motivated them was the instructions that they had received from the master second motivation was the confidence that the master showed in them that he would entrust something valuable to them. That's that provokes confidence number three they were motivated by the knowledge that one day they would have to give an account to him of how they managed his resources and what did they do with they worked diligently and faithfully, and both saw their efforts rewarded by doubling what they had been given a notice they didn't produce equal profits but equal percentage of profit. Another motive of the first two servants was to accomplish as much as possible for the sake of his master during the Masters absent nose. I think about that. I thought you know what that is is that is as an act motivation for Christian as I can think of.
We want our life to count. We want to accomplish as much as we possibly can for the sake of him until he returns, or until he calls his home that was their desire that should be our desire and you know what, that's also the Masters desire what's the Masters desire not equal returned from each of the servants but relatively equal effort. According to each his ability. That's what he desired. And that's what he commended and rewarded. Now the behavior of the third servant was radically different again. He who had received verse 18 one. Went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money he had received the one talent not a small amount 20 years worth of a man's labor that much. It received that talent not to protect it but to use it wisely for his masters profit, and although he been given fewer resources than the other two. He had the same obligation to use what he had to his maximum ability. The responsibility was the same. He was given one according to his ability. Apparently the master knew him to have less ability, but to the degree of his ability.
He was entrusted with the stewardship so what motivated this man in deciding to do with this talent. What he did was it love for his master was a concern that some thief might come along and steal what belong to the master. Is that what motivated him no, that's not what motivated him were told that he was wicked and that he was lazy he was slothful and he was afraid he was afraid. That's interesting.
It makes you wonder did the did this lazy servant think the master was never going to return.
We wonder, but there was an accounting notice it says after a long time. Verse 19 after a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. Keep in mind the context here Jesus is teaching about his second coming, the end times and I wonder if in the context of the parable. Those few phrases just went right over their head because it speaks directly to end times issues the second coming. Verse 19 again after a long time we don't know how long, but a long time and I think Jesus was saying you men who think that I'm going on a short trip and will be back shortly. Let me correct you thinking I'm to be gone a long time after a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them so he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents where there was a gleam in his eye was a delight in him. There was, in anticipation he knew that what he had done and how he managed his stewardship was going to please the master and he same lock and I'm thinking in my mind and I don't know how he brought his prophet whether he had a bag of five talents. That was it given to him and he brought the same bag with the other five talents just to show I you gave me this and I made this on. I don't know in my mind I'm trying to because of something he's pointing to the same look, you delivered to me five talents look, I have gained five more talents besides them in his lord said to him, well done, well done. I could be translated excellent. I could be translated wonderful, but I like well-done, well done good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things now is this just hyperbole.
Is this just exaggeration over a few things. This man was over 100 years worth of finances that a laboring man would've earned in 100 m you been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.
And again I don't think Jesus is minimizing the size and the amount of the stewardship that had been entrusted to him. Jesus is maximizing what he had to look forward to your faithfulness, but I don't trust so much more do you. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord. He also who had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Look, I've gained two more talents besides them in the exact same commendation well done good and faithful servant. You been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter in to the joy of your Lord, then there's another word a contrast in this is intentional. We are to get this in our head.
There is a huge contrast being made in this parable that's at the heart of this teaching then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground look, there you have what is yours.
Yet a jaundiced eye. He was critical of the master. He accused the master of his dereliction it's because of you is because your start in Maine and hard. I knew you to be that way. That's why I hid it in the ground know there's no commendation for the fact that he preserved what is been given to him. He didn't squander it. He wasn't like the prodigal went Blewitt. He preserved what he been given to him but there's no commendation for that.
Why is that because it's a waste of resources. If we think about our lives in the stewardship of our lives. God is given us life. He has sustained our life and he's gonna require our life back and when our life is returned back to God. God is looking for more than what he initially gave because if there's not more. It's a wasted life. Yes, this man found all kinds of full with the master I was afraid and then he's basically saying in the field was not really my fault but it's yours. I was afraid because you're like us, you remain in your demanding and your start. The man was called wicked he was wicked because he deliberately misrepresented both his master and himself. He actually owed his master. Not only that one talent but also whatever it would have earned had he been faithful but he wasn't faithful he had not been faithful and as to whether he had all had so scattered. The answer is, he certainly had. He said you didn't get in so you didn't scatter.
He took what he had any scattered between these three men, he distributed his talents among his three servant C most certainly sewed and scattered the man's own words convict him says.
I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look here, you have what is yours but his lord answered and said to him you wicked and lazy servant, you know, you know. And this is almost this is not an agreement.
This is a question you knew that I reap where I do not sown, and gather where I've not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. His own words convicted him. If you were so sure. I was a hard man number one, you should have exerted yourself all the more in your stewardship. And secondly, the least you could have done would have been to put my money in the bank.
You should have invested my money with the bankers, but again I think he wasn't interested in managing the Masters resources. He was more interested in pursuing his own wife so I put it in the ground and I got on with my own business my own life, you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming I would have received back my own with him. Therefore, here's the command therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has 10 talents for to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away and cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This man disregarded the stewardship that had been given to him. He charged his owner with being unmerciful and dishonest.
He produced absolutely nothing with the talent he'd been given fact. He didn't even make an attempt to use it for his master's benefit and profit of this again. I want to draw your attention to this contrast.
Everything about this man, this third man contradicted his professed commitment to his master. This servant represents a professed Christian whose view of God is corrupt because his unredeemed heart is still corrupt. The other two didn't have a jaundiced view toward the master they didn't think he was demanding. They didn't think he was mean they didn't think he was stern. This man was wicked and that he unjustly besmirch the character of his master and he was lazy and that he did nothing with the talent that was entrusted to. Here's the distinguishing mark of the first two servants it was that they used their opportunity to serve the Lord before his return which they were eagerly awaiting and therefore proved the genuineness of their salvation. This third servant on the other hand, put aside what God had given him and went about his own selfish business. He called himself a servant of God, but he demonstrated conclusively that he was not.
Some have been a bit puzzled because Jesus is the kingdom of heaven is like this and someone, some have drawn the conclusion so within the rule and reign of God there are people who are faithful to the Lord Jesus and are faithful in your stewardship and are still theirs on the opportunity to be under the rule and reign of God and do your own thing and have a wrong view it. No, no, not at all. You remember back in the kingdom of the parables of the kingdom. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who went out and sewed what so tears among the wheat, this is the nature of the visible church that there are those in the church now tear had the appearance it looked like the real thing. In fact, they look so real that you couldn't distinguish it from the real until after it is grown up and then Jesus said don't uproot it. Don't uproot it.
If you uproot it.
It'll do damage to the wheat to be a removal at the end of the age.
That's Jesus is telling us that the kingdom the visible church is constituted this way.
There are false professors in this man was among them.
He didn't love the Lord fact he despised him one thing Jesus said here that kinda gives the whole thing away something for a bit confused you mean wait a minute I thought would let me have the SQL distribution them here somebody with 10 but to be taken from him and given to the man who doesn't have any.
No no no, Jesus says take the talent from him, and give it to him who has 10 talents for to everyone who has more I'm to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have their it is right there. This man, this so-called servant was one who did not have. He did not have. He does not have. He does not have what he does not have life. He does not have eternal life. He doesn't have the grace of salvation in him. Here's the principle. Those who trust in Christ will gain everything and those who do not trust in him will lose everything. That's what Jesus is teaching those who trust in Christ will gain everything and those who do not trust in him will lose everything and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth outer darkness is a common New Testament description of hell. John says God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.
Light signifies God's presence and dark.
This signifies the absence of it cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. One thing I failed to mention I just want to pause and comment on here at the end. The commendation that the first two servants received one. The first was well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord, words of commendation and then the promise of joy enter into the joy of your Lord now is obvious that there was no joy in the life of this third servant that that is the furthest thing from him. He's bitter.
He's angry. These accusatory no joy whatsoever. I listen God is not interested in a begrudging submission from us does not interested in are just doing what were doing out of duty and God wants us to serve him with joy. Know where does that come from. I've heard people say, well, the world knows nothing of joy. Well probably technically that's true, but there is a measure of joy. Or maybe we could maybe we should call it happiness that the world knows when it been on vacation from work for two weeks man at joy when the kids are behaving. That's joy when their cars paid for joy when their health is good. It's joy when when you get there stimulus check in the mail. That's joy. But the thing about that joy. It's all circumstantial.
It's all tenuous. It can be here today and gone tomorrow, but the joy that is promised, here enter into the joy of your Lord. That joy is sourced in God. The Bible tells us that in his presence is what fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore. I don't. Again, I'm not a judge but there seems to be a very conspicuous absence of joy among people who profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ, that are not to be yes were affected by the world and the circumstances in the world but our joys are joy is sourced in God and if we know God and were trust in God, there still a lot to be a joy.
So that's my challenge.
One of the challenges I have for you tonight.
Think about that. Cultivate that joy. It's what the Spirit produces part of the fruit of the spirit. Let me give you the bottom line. Someone said we said a lot of good things but what was the bottom line was the what was the what was the heart of this parabolic teaching of Jesus. This let everyone be faithful in using the opportunities for service, which the Lord gives these opportunities are bestowed upon each person according to his God-given ability and we show it out of gratitude to God be improving those abilities in a manner that the glory of God is advanced that his kingdom is extended that were not living for ourselves. That's the heart of what Jesus is teaching us here so we pray our father, we bow tonight before you.
We marvel that you are such a good and kind and gracious and merciful God forgive us forever portraying and expressing in our own hearts or to anyone else. A misrepresentation of who you revealed yourself to be. Keep us, oh God from a jaundiced heart. Help us to be honest and to realize that you are not a God who's ever made any mistake you are without fault if there's any fault anywhere. It's with us. We marvel, our God, that you would entrust anything to us, and yet you have entrusted things that have eternal value to us. You've entrusted the gospel to us.
Father, we would pray that you would help us to dispense our stewardship in a way that we would hear on that day. Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever