(PARABLE OF THE TALENTS)
Reading: Luke 19:11-27
[a] I have entitled this message, SPIRITUAL INDUSTRY!
[b] It automatically raises the question -
“ARE WE BEING INDUSTRIOUS WITH WHAT THE LORD HAS ENTRUSTED TO US?”
[c] Yesterday, we saw the culmination of a tremendous effort on 'Comet Day', with over £1,000 raised! Phenomenal!
It naturally speaks of those who have worked in various ways to raise money for the Lord’s work, in this place.
[d] Often the Christian Church has been guilty of blaming God for not financing His work, when He has entrusted this task to His people!
[e] An old GREEK PROVERB says,
“God gives the birds their food, but He does not throw it into their nests.”
[f] Leonardo Da Vinci has said,
“O Lord, Thou givest us everything, at the price of an effort.”
[a] Amongst the parables of Jesus, this one is very unusual, to the point of being unique, because it deals with an event which the listeners would have been able to acquaint with the recent history of the day.
[b] When Herod the Great died in 4 B.C., he left Palestine to be ruled by Ar-chelaus.
But because of the Roman occupation, he had to go off to Augustus in Rome to have his position ratified, before he could take up his kingdom.
[c] The reference to the opposition he faced, was because the Jews did not want him, and sent a deputation of fifty men to Rome to inform Augustus, that they did not want Ar-chelaus to rule over them. However, Augustus did confirm him in his position, but without the title of king - a kind of wishy-washy compromise. So politics were just as rotten then as they are now.
[d] So here is Jesus, actually taking a recent event of the day, and using it as an illustration - in much the same way that I would perhaps take some event surrounding Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, and use it to teach some spiritual truth.
[e] Obviously, in those days of time-consuming travel, Ar-chelaus had to trust certain individuals, and leave them in charge of his affairs, while he was away.
[f] So it makes more sense of why the nobleman in the parable had to go into a far country, to “Receive a kingdom”, and then return.
[a] Jesus was of course placing Himself in the position of Ar-chelaus and in doing so, making four important points.
1. He would go away.
2. He would entrust others with the welfare of His kingdom.
3. He would return.
4. There would be a day of reckoning, with a reward for the faithful.
[b] That seems so simple - maybe you think we should look for something complicated in the story!!
Sometimes people have such complicated minds, they miss the simplicity of the teachings of Jesus - THEY ARE SIMPLE AND YET PROFOUND!
THEY ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND, AND YET FAR REACHING IN THEIR MEANING, CONSEQUENCES AND EFFECTS.
[c] At that time, His listeners, had no idea that His going away, would necessitate the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension. But now in retrospect, we can see the meaning so much more clearly.
[d] Yet there is still a lack of understanding in the hearts of so many, in what we are entrusted with.
[e] Do we really look at the TALENTS God has given us, as something with which we have been ‘entrusted’? Are they being wasted or misused in the things of the world, instead of the things of God?
[*] Just within the past few days, we received a CD in the post, and it is made by a young woman, who was an officer commissioned (ordained) with us.
The memory we all have of her, is of her fabulous voice, which was a centerpiece of our commissioning, as it echoed around the Royal Albert Hall.
The CD is beautiful to listen to - attractive backings - but there's something missing - there's no songs about Jesus, His love or His power - He who gave her such a wonderful talent - and called her into full time ministry over 30 years ago!
[f] Do we look at our TIME in this way, and ‘use’ it effectively for God? Realising that time is short, and there must be an urgency for the things of God!
[g] Do we look at our TREASURE, our income, our bank account, our possessions, as something we hold in trust, belonging to the Lord? Or does He just get a little of the ‘leftovers’ after we have provided what we think we need for ourselves?
[h] Do we look at our TALENT, TIME & TREASURE, as something that is HIS by right, and to which He can have access when required?
[i] They are very telling questions, which we have no option but to answer, as the light of God’s Word shines into our hearts.
[a] I have no doubt that those left in charge of the ‘talents’ in the parable, had no idea when their lord would return, but were obliged to live in a constant state of readiness.
There would have been no point in saying, “But Lord I didn’t know you were coming back yet, I was going to do something about it tomorrow!!”
WHY? BECAUSE IT WAS TOO LATE!!
[b] Yet again, Jesus is emphasising, not only the fact, that He will RETURN, but also that there will be many who WILL NOT BE READY.
Some will not be ready, because they were going to GET SAVED TOMORROW!
i. Some will not be ready, because they will be ashamed. They always had other more urgent things to do, than the Lord’s work! So what if they didn’t turn up? They could always do that - TOMORROW!!
ii. Some will not be ready, because they were so busy spending on themselves, that they never seriously looked at their financial commitment to the Lord’s work!
iii. Some will not be ready, because they NEGLECTED to use, or MISUSED the TALENTS God entrusted to them for the extension of His Kingdom and the glory of His Name.
ARE YOU READY?? IF JESUS CAME JUST NOW, ARE YOU REALLY READY??
[c] The great D.L. MOODY used to say, “I never preach a sermon without thinking that possibly the Lord may come before I preach another.”
Dr. Campbell Morgan said, “I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps He may interrupt my work and begin His Own.”
Billy Graham said, “If we could live every day as though it might be the very last one before the final judgement, what a difference it would make here on earth.”
[d] My dear friends, when we see the THRONE of the ANTICHRIST being set up before our eyes, through a UNITED EUROPE, and THE NEW WORLD ORDER, then if we dare to open our eyes, we must see the clouds, almost begin to part in preparation for His return!!
DO WE DARE TO LIVE LIVES THAT ARE NOT IN CONSTANT READINESS & EXPECTANCY??
[a] We are reminded in this parable, that there IS A DAY OF RECKONING, both for Christians and for the sinner!!
[b] The Christian will be called to stand before the JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST, where the worth of their service since the day they were saved, will be measured, and examined.
[c] RECORDS are being kept at this very moment in Heaven, of how you and I are LIVING OUR LIVES, USING OUR TALENTS, OUR TIME AND OUR TREASURE!!
[d] There will be many who will stand before Him ashamed - but it will be forever too late!!
[a] There is perhaps someone here tonight, and you have at this moment a TERRIBLE DREAD IN YOUR SOUL, because you know if Jesus came just now, you would NOT BE READY - perhaps everyone in this hall would be caught up to meet the Lord in the air - everyone that is - except you!!
You would be left behind! Because you are NOT SAVED! Your sins are not forgiven, even though Jesus went the whole way to Calvary’s Cross to bear them for you.
But you have NEGLECTED TO ACCEPT HIM as your personal Saviour, thinking you had ‘FOREVER AND A DAY’.
[b] The Bible tells us very clearly, that if you remain unsaved, you will appear before the GREAT WHITE THRONE OF JUDGEMENT, and there will be a double check to make sure your name is not IN THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE, containing the name of everyone who has accepted Jesus as their Saviour.
[c] The Bible says, in Phillip’s translation of Revelation 20:15, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
They are solemn words, and God doesn’t want to see it happen! Jesus loves you so much, He died in your place to stop it happening, but it is all to no avail, unless you ACCEPT HIM AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOUR.
THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT IS YOURS JUST NOW!!
CHRISTIAN, IF YOU’RE NOT READY - YOU COME NOW ALSO!!