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The Parable of the Minas

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2023 12:01 am

The Parable of the Minas

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 21, 2023 12:01 am

Every Christian shares the duty of using their gifts and callings to advance the kingdom of God. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in the gospel of Luke, expressing the privilege we have of being productive stewards to God's glory.

Get R.C. Sproul's Expositional Commentary on the Gospel of Luke for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/2103/luke-commentary

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As Christians it is our duty and it is our privilege to do everything in our power to increase the ministry of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Does God care about productivity when it comes to ministry and the advancement of the kingdom? Hi, I'm Nathan W Bingham and thank you for joining us for this Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind. Each Lord's Day we're hearing sermons from R.C. Sproul that he preached at St. Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida and he's walking us through the gospel of Luke. Today we find ourselves in Luke 19 and a parable of Jesus. This parable helps us think about productivity as it relates to spiritual matters, but not only productivity, also matters of economics and stewardship.

So let's hear from Dr. Sproul. Our Scripture this morning is taken again from the gospel according to St. Luke. We're in chapter 19 and I will be reading from verse 11 through verse 27, and I'd ask the congregation please to stand for the reading of the Word of God. Now as they heard these things, he spoke another parable because he was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore he said, A certain noble man went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And so he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, Do business till I come.

But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Master, your mina has earned ten minas. And he said to him, Well done, good servant, and because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Master, your mina has earned five minas.

Likewise he said to him, You also will be over five cities. And another came, saying, Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow. And he said to him, Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.

Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest? And he said to those who stood by, Take the mina from him, give it to him who has ten minas. But they said to him, Master, he has ten minas. For I say to you that to everyone who has will be given, and from him who does not have, even what he has, will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine who do not want me to reign over them and slay them before me. Again, we've had the unspeakable privilege of hearing in this hour the very word of Almighty God, which carries the pure and unvarnished truth in every word as it comes to us from the supervision and superintendence of His divine Holy Spirit. Let us receive it as such and be seated. Let us pray. Again, our Father, as we contemplate this parable from the lips of our Savior, we ask that you would give us eyes to see and ears to hear what you are saying to us in this matter. And we ask that our hearts may be open and our wills bent and inclined toward Thee, disposed to all things of Thy Word. For we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen. We have an axiom in our country that goes something like this, never, ever discuss religion or politics. This past week, if you were aware of anything going on around you, you will know that that axiom flew out the window as the United States experienced the historic visit of Pope Francis as he came to Washington, D.C., and then to New York City, and finally to Philadelphia. And it was fascinating to watch the response of the leaders of our nation as they were forced, as it were, by circumstances to discuss religion and politics. And we saw that both sides of the aisle in our nation's capital were somewhat confounded with ambivalent responses to the message of the pontiff when he spoke on his critique of the evils of capitalism and of the problems of global warning.

One side of the aisle threw their hats into the air with great joy. At the same time, when he spoke about the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, their hats fell from heaven against their heads, while the other side of the aisle considered a response of joy. And so it was as we witnessed the response to this phenomenon on the news during the past few days. During the decade of the 1960s, a somewhat strange theology emerged with great popularity throughout Europe and especially in South America, which went by the name liberation theology. Liberation theology came to us by theologians who sought to have a conscious synthesis between historic Christian theology and Marxist philosophy, strange bedfellows indeed. But what came out of this so-called liberation theology was a new focus and interest on so-called social justice. And with this movement that saw liberation movements abounding from every quarter in our culture, we saw the attempt to marry principles of socialism with the doctrines of historic Christianity.

And in the midst of that debate, some people responded by saying, well, wait a minute. The Bible doesn't have anything to say about politics and even less to say about economic structures. And so the church should not be engaged or involved in any kinds of discussion that would include matters of economics and political theory. During this same period, we saw a very strange twist in an understanding of the doctrine of Scripture in certain quarters. In the historic creeds and confessions, we had heard the affirmation that the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. That confession underwent a slight transformation, but a powerful one indeed, when it was rendered this way, that the Bible is only infallible when it speaks of faith and morals.

You see the subtlety of that shift. On the one hand, the adjectival qualifier only meant to suggest that the only infallible source that we have under heaven of truth is the Bible as it comes to us from God Himself. Now the shift was the Bible is only infallible in certain distinct areas, such as faith and practice or faith and morals, but any time the Bible speaks of historical matters, scientific matters, political matters, or economic matters, it reveals its fallibility. And therefore has no requirement of our submission to its teachings.

It's a subtle shift indeed, but one that changes everything. I'm going to submit to you today that the Bible is infallible in whatever area it speaks, as God is its author, and that God not only reveals to us His truth concerning faith and practice, but included in that practice is our practice of political activity and our practice of economics. The statement that we see revealed in this parable that Jesus gave on this occasion here that is recorded for us by Luke is a parable that is loaded with political and economic significance. The Bible is by no means silent about how kingdoms should rule and how economics should play out, and so we need to have ears to hear concerning what is taught in these matters.

No matter what matters, Jesus speaks to, they speak by His authority, and we need to give heed. The basic tension that we heard this past week with the pope's comments had to do with conflicts, particularly between systems of economics, socialism on the one hand and capitalism on the other. And before I say anything more about this, let me just point out that socialism is not homogeneous or monolithic. There are many different types, varieties, and forms of socialism. The same can be said of capitalism, all different forms and manifestations of that particular system. I might add as an aside that of all the forms of socialism that have emerged in the history of civilization, the next one that has been successful as an economic system will be the first one. It is almost always propagated with the ideal concern of humanitarianism out of a deep and piercing concern for the well-being of those who are poor and oppressed. And I will certainly bow to the intentions of those who seek to propagate such systems of economics and political theory for their intent.

My concern, however, is for their success, as it seems that from society to society the various forms of socialism that we have experienced have left the poor and oppressed more poor and more oppressed than ever. And again, I see that those who react negatively to systems of capitalism understand that capitalism can easily manifest itself in certain forms by evil motivations of greed and of exploitation and of all kinds of mischief. And so how we are to respond to these ethical considerations in the light of Scripture, let me suggest to you that what the Bible teaches is a form of capitalism. And as I've said, there are many different forms of capitalism, but the form of capitalism that is set forth in sacred Scripture is one that on the one hand clearly protects the principle of private property and private ownership. The Ten Commandments, at least in two of them, is directly concerned about protecting the principle of private ownership as it prohibits categorically all forms of theft and stealing. It also protects the interests of those who have private property from the insidious evil of covetousness and jealousy, where people begin to be motivated by envy and covetousness of other people's property.

God takes a dim view of those attitudes of envy and jealousy just as much as He takes a dim view of greed and of avarice. So how do we sort these things out? Well, in one hand, as I said, it's hard, at least briefly, to speak of these broad categories of socialism and capitalism because they differ in so many fine points. And it's sometimes very difficult to see where socialism ends and communism begins. But one thing that these schools of thought have in common, as all forms of Marxism always have, is a concern for economic equality and for the concern of the redistribution of the wealth of people so that there will be a greater balance between the haves and the have-nots. And again, when we look at sacred Scripture, we know that God has a tremendous concern for the poor. And He sets forth His laws to protect the poor, particularly for those who are poor as a direct result of catastrophic incidents that have determined their existence by the presence of drought for the farmer, for disabled abilities that people have.

We're not able to labor with any physical strength because of their circumstances in health, as it were. And so the Bible speaks of God's passionate concern for the well-being of the poor who are those who are poor because of calamity. However, the tendency is often to be in our culture is to make the assumption that if anybody's poor, it's because they're lazy and slothful, and they simply get what they deserve. Poverty is a consequence always and everywhere we hear of idleness and laziness. The Bible doesn't teach that at all, except it does acknowledge that there are those who are poor as a direct result and consequence of laziness and slothfulness. And that's why the Bible condemns sloth and laziness and calls us to industry and to diligence in our labor. We, as Marx at least rightly understood at one point, have been made as creatures who are called to labor and who in many cases are defined in terms of what we do. If I meet somebody for the first time, I ask them what their name is, then I say, Where do you live?

And the next question is usually, What do you do? That is, Marx understood that we are defined in terms not only simply as homo sapiens, but as homo favor. How we work in so many cases defines who we are.

And even before the fall, God created man and woman to be engaged in industry under His authority and for His glory. So it's an error to assume that the only reason people are poor is because they're lazy. And it's equally erroneous to assume that the only reason people are poor is because other people are greedy. We are poor sometimes by catastrophe.

Sometimes we're poor because we just won't work. My economics professor in college weighed about 300 pounds. The first lesson he gave in his economics class was he walked in the room.

He got up on his desk and stood full orb there, wondering whether the desk was even strong enough to support his girth. And he said, The first rule of economics is this. You've got to work.

And that was the lecture that no one ever forgot. And when God called us to be human, He called us to be creatures of industry. And it's interesting that throughout sacred Scripture, we see the principle of the kingdom of God that gives emphasis on productivity, of labor, and of wise labor. Now, when I talk about capitalism, I think there has to be a qualifier that biblical capitalism is what we call stewardship capitalism. Stewardship capitalism does not depend upon the government to take one person's income and distribute it to another person.

That's not the role of government or the purpose of government. However, as we know, there are evils of greed and exploitation that can be a result of rapacious kinds of labor, that we are held accountable to God for our stewardship, and that our capitalism, as it were, is governed by the law of God, just as private property is protected by the law of God. So the acquisition of that private property is governed by the law of God. And I say all this by way of introduction to the parable that we have before us this morning. And we know that Jesus was at the house of Zacchaeus, and presumably this parable was spoken there at the home of Zacchaeus as He lived in the town of Jericho. And let's look briefly at the parable itself. As they heard these things, He spoke another parable because He was near Jerusalem, namely in Jericho, and because the people thought that the kingdom of God would come immediately. And so He tells this story of illustration saying a certain nobleman went to a far kingdom in order to gain for himself a kingdom, a far country in order to gain for himself a kingdom and then to return.

Now most commentators agree that in all probability, what was in view in this parable was a historical event that had taken place thirty years earlier in their nation's history and in their own community. In 4 B.C., King Herod died, and he died shortly before the annual celebration of the Jewish Passover. And when he died, he divided his kingdom among his four sons, each of whom received a fourth of the kingdom and were called tetrarchs. Now the son that received Judea, among other areas, was Archelaus, and he inherited his authority over this territory from his father. And Archelaus was one of the most hated and despised rulers over the Jews in their entire history. In fact, just months after Archelaus' father died at the celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem, Archelaus slaughtered three thousand Jewish worshipers at the Passover in such a bloodbath that many of the worshipers scattered away from the city of Jerusalem and ceased their celebration of the Passover. And as a result of this, in order for Archelaus to be crowned formally the king of that territory, he had to go to Rome and have the Roman emperor approve his authority by anointing him king. And so Archelaus went to Rome for that purpose, that the emperor might confer the kingship to him. A delegation of some fifty Jewish authority people went to Rome to plead against the appointment of Archelaus, saying, He's a wicked man, a brutal man.

He has slaughtered his own people. Please, O Caesar, do not confirm him as king. Well, the emperor did not confirm him as king, but only allowed him to continue to have his title as tetrarch.

And he returned then to his territory where he ruled until 6 AD, a period of ten years, in which he was finally deposed because of his brutality and the petitions of the people to get rid of him. And that at that time, Rome then appointed governors such as Pontius Pilate to govern his people. So this story was well known in Jericho, where Archelaus had built an aqueduct and also a posh and elaborate palace for his residence there in Judea.

So every Jew in Jericho was familiar with the story. And Jesus ironically picks up on it and talks about someone whom the people hated going to a far country where he would be anointed king, as his father had determined. And we are told by Luke at the beginning of the parable that he spoke this parable because the people thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. And so thinking of himself in contrast or parallel terms to Archelaus' visit to Rome, Jesus then said he's going to go into a far country.

He's the nobleman, and he is hoping or knowing that the father would appoint him king, but not right away, that there would be an interim between his departure to the far country and to his commission as king. And in that interim, Jesus speaks in terms of stewardship, and I might say stewardship capitalism, as he spells out the parable in these terms. He called his servants to him and delivered to them ten minas, units of currency. And he said, while I'm away, use this money and do business. And what he's calling his servants to do is to be profitable servants, that they may increase the money that has been entrusted to them by the owner of that money. This is the principle of stewardship, that God owns everything.

His capital is on loan to us. But the idea is that while he is gone, while our Lord is gone, he has given to each of his servants talents. And originally the term talent was a monetary unit, and linguistically has come now into our vocabulary to mean an ability or a gift by which we are able to carry out our livelihood. But anyway, these talents, as Matthew calls them, or the minas, as Luke calls them, are entrusted to each servant. And while the master is away, each servant is expected to multiply those talents or gifts for which they are responsible. And so it was, we are told, that when the man returned, having received his kingdom, even though he didn't receive the title, he then commanded to his servants to whom he had given the money to be called that he might know how each man had gained in his trading. He came to the first and he said, Master, your mina has earned ten minas. And the king said, Well done! Great job!

Terrific! You've taken my one mina and you've turned it into ten. I'm going to give you authority over ten cities. I'm going to bless you because you've been productive, because you have used your gifts and your talents in a productive way. And then the next servant came and he said, Master, I've turned one mina into five.

Good job! It's half as good as the first one, but it's still a good job. You've increased it by a quotient of five times, and so you now will have reign over five cities. But what about the next servant? Another one came saying, Master, here's your mina.

You gave me one mina? I didn't lose it. I didn't waste it. I didn't consume it. I kept it safe.

I dug a hole and buried it in the ground to make sure that nothing was lost. This isn't the prodigal son who wasted his wealth in profligate living. This was the wicked servant who was so intimidated by competition or the fear of loss that he hit his mina in a handkerchief. And he said, here's why. I was afraid of you.

You know, you're an austere man. I've seen how bloody you can be, and I wanted to make sure not to lose anything of what you've entrusted to me. And so the master said out of your own mouth, I will judge you, you wicked servant.

You were a bad boy. You were not productive. Out of your fear, you didn't produce anything, and I trusted you to have my kingdom grow. I remember when I was a beginning college professor, and I had a class full of students, and I gave their first examination, and more than one student replied to me on their exam, Dear Professor, I've done very poorly on my exam.

I didn't study the night before. Instead, I was engaged in evangelism, and as a result, I've done so poorly, and I pray that you will have mercy upon me. And I wrote on his paper, I'm glad you're saved. I'm glad you love the Lord. I hope you understand that justification is by faith alone. Your works contribute nothing to your salvation, but in my class, justification is by works alone. And I'm glad that you cared enough for evangelism, but I'm sad that you neglected your studies, which is your calling right now to be doing. You are supposed to be preparing for ministry, and you failed to do that.

And so I'm glad for the state of your soul, but your grade is an F. He was a wicked servant because he didn't do what God had called him to be doing at that time. We live in a culture where there's an astronomical number of people in our country who are fighting a losing battle to credit card debt. They are spending more money than they're taking in. That's not just foolish.

It's evil according to God. In stewardship principles, we are to live on less than what we make and then be producing with our goods more goods. That's the basic lesson of capitalism, that your money works for you while you're sleeping.

Because instead of wasteful consumption, you invest in industry. That's the economic return, but we're considered here with something greater than the economic concern, but the spiritual dynamic of the kingdom of God, which is based on the same principle of production. You know, Dr. D. James Kennedy had a passion for evangelism. He used to tell his students, if you're in ministry, find every way you can to multiply ministry.

Use the radio, use television, use books, whatever you can do to make the message wider and stronger. Whatever you do as a Christian in the service of Christ, do with all of your might and with all of your strength that you might multiply your ministry. And every Christian is given a ministry.

Every Christian is given a gift by God. And God expects every Christian to be productive in an honest way, in a compassionate way, in a righteous way, but in a diligent way. That's my job.

That's your job. And Jesus is saying at the last day when the Master returns, those who were not faithful and not productive will receive His judgment. That's what Matthew is talking about when he says, Depart from me. I've given you everything that you have and you buried it in the ground.

You put it under a basket. You didn't produce. And so, as Christians, it is our duty and it is our privilege to do everything in our power to increase the ministry of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Being productive to the glory of God is not something limited to pastors and teachers, but is for each one of us to be faithful wherever it is the Lord has placed us. What we heard today was a sermon that Dr. Sproul preached as he taught through the gospel of Luke. And while he served at St. Andrew's Chapel, he preached through entire books of the Bible, like he did here in Luke's Gospel.

And those sermons formed the basis for his expositional commentary series. And today, as we heard from Luke, we're making his expositional commentary on Luke's Gospel available to you for your donation of any amount. When you give your gift at renewingyourmind.org, you'll receive digital access to this commentary. It'll easily be accessible for you in the free Ligonier app.

You can also put it on your phone or your tablet and take it with you wherever you go. So give your gift today at renewingyourmind.org. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and the crowds were cheering, what was going through Jesus' mind? What was he thinking? That's what Dr. Sproul will consider next Sunday here on Renewing Your Mind. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 02:42:45 / 2023-05-21 02:53:30 / 11

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