The New Testament Didn’t Remove God’s Expectations For Us

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In this section of scripture, God makes it very clear that just because Jesus came and died for us does not remove the responsibilities from us.  There are still things expected of us.

Matthew 5:13-48

13Ye are the salt of the earth:but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 

If you stop following Christ, you become like the rest of the world.  You are no longer set apart

14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

As followers of Christ, you shine His light into the world.  Don’t be ashamed of that light.  Don’t try to hide it.  Allowing others to see His light shine in you, glorifies God and helps them to see His glory.

17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus didn’t get rid of the law, he fulfilled it

19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Not only is it displeasing to God for man break God’s laws, but teaching others that it’s ok makes that displeasure even greater.

20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 21Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, [O empty one, i.e. thou worthless (as a term of utter vilification) ] shall be in danger of the council:but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

You no longer have to kill someone to be guilty of murder. The bar has been raised. Your thoughts are equal to your actions.

26Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

 27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Again, our thoughts have taken on the same seriousness as our actions.  What we think is as important as what we do.

29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee:for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Do not let the actions of those around you keep you from your walk with God.  The world tells us that God is not real. That He is just a creation of the minds of men to control each other, to give us an excuse to fight and dominate others, to give us someone to blame for our own shortcomings.  The world tells us that God was created to explain a world that was unexplainable to the “simple minds” of our ancestors.  Because the world does not believe (or only partially believes) in the existence of God, they feel free to tell us that we need to keep God to ourselves.

31It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery:and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

 33Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool:neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay:for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

You don’t have to try to convince people of your truthfulness if you always say what you mean. You don’t have to swear on the Bible if people can trust that you tell the truth.

 38Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Don’t seek revenge. People who try to hurt you ultimately hurt themselves.  Don’t retaliate, forgive.

40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Be willing to give if asked, and to not only give, but give above and beyond.

43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

We don’t get to decide who is a good person and who is a bad person.  That is for God to decide.  He allows the sun to shine on all, and the rain to fall on all.  We need to remember that we are to shine His light (verse 16).  We aren’t shining His light when we hate.

46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

By perfect, he means to follow as closely as you can Christ’s example.  Our perfection is in trying to be as much like Christ as we can.

Through this scripture we see that believing isn’t enough.  We are expected to keep our minds pure, forgive others, be willing to give more than is asked of us, and love your enemies.  We have to put our belief into action.

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Spiritual Battlefield Part 4

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Mark 8:36 states, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  The victors of this battle gain more than the world could begin to offer….we gain eternal salvation.

While the best rewards come after we have left this world, there are a few rewards that will benefit us here on earth.  Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”  The Peace of God is a wonderful thing to have.  We all know that this world is full of trials and tribulations, but when God gives us peace, these trials and tribulations are easier to work through and move beyond.

We also have the relationship that we build with Jesus by following his Word.  This relationship allows us to receive and use spiritual gifts which benefit both ourselves and others.  1 Corinthians 12:7-11 tells us, 

“7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”

Jesus tells us of the rewards waiting for us after we pass from this life in Revelation 3:5-8 

“5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

We are also told in Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

No tears, no death, no pain, no sorrow, and eternal life with Jesus?  Those sound like wonderful rewards to me!

Read Spiritual Battlefield Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Trust in God

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I’m a teacher at a small Christian school, and Friday was our last day of school.  We work next week to clean and paint and set up classrooms so that anyone interested in the school can tour the school over the summer.  This time of year I really start thinking about how much we have to trust in God.  You see, after next week I’m jobless.  This will be the third summer in a row.

 

It’s easy to say that you trust in God, but sometimes hard to put into practice.  It’s easy to trust in God when things are going well, but a lot more difficult when faced with tough times and uncertainty.  We are, however, told to put our trust in God.

 

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

 

We are given many examples of others trusting in God in many situations:

 

Abraham –

 

Genesis 22:1-12

 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham:and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

 3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father:and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood:but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:so they went both of them together. 9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham:and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him:for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

 

Abraham trusted in God to save Isaac, either by intervening before the sacrifice or by raising him from the dead.  Abraham knew that God had great plans for Isaac’s descendants, and God always does what he says.

 

Noah –

 

Genesis 6:11-22

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

 14Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of:The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons ‘wives with thee. 19And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

 

Even though it seemed absolutely crazy, Noah trusted God.  Until then there had been no rain, so no one had ever seen a flood of any type.  Noah didn’t live near a sea, so he’d never built a boat before.  He had to trust God to help him make it watertight, and trust that God would indeed send a flood.  People mocked Noah and his family…called them names, said they were crazy and fools.  Through all of that, Noah trusted in God.

 

Schadrach, Meshach, and Abednego –

 

Daniel 3:13-28

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well:but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 19Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

 26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the consequences of their refusal to worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar created.  Yet the trusted that God would protect them if it was His will.

 

Daniel –

Daniel 6:6-23

 

 

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

 10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 14Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him:and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. 16Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 17And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

 18Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting:neither were instruments of musick brought before him:and his sleep went from him. 19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel:and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions ‘mouths, that they have not hurt me:forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

 

Daniel knew that continuing to worship God was against the decree signed by King Darius.  But he trusted that God would protect him from the lions.  Even King Darius trusted that Daniel’s God would save him.

 

Even Job, who suffered greatly and lost everything but his life, trusted in God.

 

Job 13:13 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:

but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

 

There are many other examples of scripture telling us to trust in Him.

 

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and not be afraid:

for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song;

he also is become my salvation.

 

Isaiah 26:4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever:

for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:

 

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;

and he knoweth them that trust in him.

 

God wants us to trust that he will provide for us, that he will protect us.  But, that provision and protection isn’t free.  God wants us to follow His word.  He wants us to repent of our sins, be baptized in Jesus name, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and live our lives for Him.

Who Should Be Fed?

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John Chapter 6

1After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.

5When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great multitude coming toward him, he said to Philip, Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6But He said this to test him:for He Himself knew what He would do. 7Philip answered Him, “Two hundred penny worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9There is a lad here, who has five barley loaves, and two small fishes:but what are they among so many? 10And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

 

Also Matthew 14:13-21

13When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”

16But Jesus said to them, “ They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

18He said, “ Bring them here to Me.” 19Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children

 

What is a multitude?

 

What kinds of people were in the multitude?

 

When Jesus decided to feed the people did he feed everyone?

 

Did he say, “I’ll feed him, and him, and her…but not him because that guy isn’t very handsome.”

 

Did he say, “That woman has weird hair, we’re not feeding her.”

 

How about, “That boy is spoiled, I’m not giving him anything to eat.”

 

Did Jesus say any of those things?

 

Acts 10:34-35 tells us:

 

34Then Peter opened his mouth and said:“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality 35But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

 

What does this mean?

 

Jesus doesn’t have favorites.  Jesus doesn’t point out the pretty people, or the nice people, or the smart people and only do good things for them.  No where in the Bible does it say “Blessed are the beautiful”  or “Blessed are the smart” or “Blessed are the fastest runners, best basketball players, most athletic.”  What Jesus really cares about it what you do for Him.

 

Do you read your Bible daily?  Do you pray daily?  Do you do your best to live every day in a way that would make Jesus smile?  If you met Jesus tomorrow, would he be disappointed in anything you did or said today?

Matthew 22:34-40 tells us:

 

34But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. ’ 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ 40On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

 

Jesus commands us…not suggests to us, or thinks it would be a good idea if we, or supposes we should…. He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

 

Who is our neighbor?

 

Your neighbor is the person sitting beside you, or living in the house next door, or standing in line in front of you at Wal-mart.  Every person in this world is our neighbor, and we are commanded by Jesus to love them all.

Using Your Talents

We’re going to look at two very similar parables today.

 

Matthew 25:13-30

13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents:behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth:lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance:but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness:there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

***The talent was the largest measurement of money in those days.***

 

Luke 19:11-26

11And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant:because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man:thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

 

 

These two parables are very similar and Jesus used them to tell a simple story. A man who is preparing to leave on a journey entrusts his possessions to his servants. In the first parable the man distributes his wealth among three servants, based on their abilities. To the first he entrusted five talents, to the second two talents, and to the third one talent. The first two servants quickly set to work with their master’s money. The third servant did not invest his master’s money at all; he dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. When the master returned, the first two eagerly met their master, apparently delighted in the opportunity to multiply their master’s money.  Both of these faithful slaves are rewarded well for their faithful service. First, they receive their master’s commendation, “Well done, good and faithful slave”. Second, because they have proven themselves to be faithful with the few things entrusted to them, they are now given even greater responsibilities by their master.

 

The master’s dealings with the third servant is a very different matter. This servant came to his master with only the talent his master had originally given to him. This servant offered a poor excuse for his actions. He told his master that he was harsh and cruel, demanding, and he expected gain where he had not labored, so the servant was afraid to take a risk with the talent. And so he simply hid the money, and now he returned it, without any gain. The master rebuked this slave for being evil and lazy. He took his talent from him, gave it to the one who earned ten, and cast this fellow into outer darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

In the second parable, a man goes to another country, stays a long time, and then returns.  Before he leaves he gives his servants money with the expectation that they will use it to earn him more while he is away.  The first two servants are faithful, and are praised by their master and given greater responsibilities.  The third servant hides what was given to him while his master is gone, and gives it back to his master when he returns.  He tells the master that because the master is a severe and strict man that he was afraid.  The first two servants are commended and rewarded, while the third has all taken from him.

 

So, how does this relate to us.  I don’t have a rich master handing over his money to me. I do, however, have a Lord and Saviour who has given to me a measure of faith.  We are not meant to keep this small measure of faith to ourselves, to hide it away until Jesus returns so we can take it out and show it to Him.  We are to use that faith wisely and expand it.  How do we expand our faith?  According to a song my kids are singing for our spring concert, God teaches us how to multiply by “giving it away, passing it around”.  So to increase the faith we have been given, we have to share it with others.

 

This is where your “talents” come in.  God has entrusted certain assets to all of us, and all of us are accountable to God for how we use (or do not use) these resources which God has entrusted to us.

Jesus’ rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees is often couched in “stewardship” terms. God entrusted Israel, and especially its leaders, with the truth, and they did not use it properly.

 

Use your talents to share your faith in Jesus. You don’t have to be a wonderful singer or rousing public speaker. Offer to pray for your friends and family. When friends tell you about problems they’re facing, respond by saying a quick prayer for them. When family tells you about the good things in their life, respond with praise for Jesus. Use the opportunities that are given to you in everyday conversations to share the truth of Jesus with everyone in your life, and in doing so, growing your faith. That way when Jesus returns or you go to meet Him, you can show Him that you used the faith that He gave you wisely. You invested it and helped it grow.