Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Occupy Till I Come

Before you start reading this message, I encourage you to get the Biblical background  by reading Luke 19:11-27.  Jesus is on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem as He prepares to offer Himself on the cross  as a sacrifice for our sins.  His Disciples are with Him, along with the crowds of people heading for Jerusalem for the annual Passover.

 

CONFUSION CONCERNING THE KINGDOM

 

His Disciples are confused about the truth He has been teaching concerning His Kingdom.  They evidently expect it to take place immediately.  So Jesus tells the story in this passage to correct them and explain to them that His Kingdom is not going to be set up at that time.  Later on as He talks to them on the Mount of Olives in what is known as His Olivet Discourse, recorded in Matthew 24 and 25 He repeats some of His teaching concerning His future Kingdom by telling other stories, such as the Parable of the Ten Virgins, recorded in Matthew 25:1-13   and His Parable of the Talents recorded in the same chapter,  verses  14-30.  In each of these stories, Jesus emphasizes that His earthly Kingdom is not  going to be established at that time, but will be  delayed for an unspecified period of time.

 

Though the story of the talents in Matthew 25  and the story of the Pounds in Luke 19 are very similar, yet they are not duplicates.  Each teaches different lessons. In this message we want to focus on His story in Luke 19.

 

INVESTING FOR ETERNITY

 

Jesus tells a story of a nobleman who prepares to leave his servants for an unspecified length of time.  He gives to each of his ten servants a measure of money known as one pound.  Each pound is equivalent to 50 shekels  or 20 ounces of silver.

 

What could you do with silver?  The facts are that between July 1, 2003 and November 30, 2006 while the price of gold rose 84%,   the price of silver increased more than 200%,  Of course, the prices of precious metals is very volatile, so I am not making any predictions or investment suggestions for you regarding the future; only that I who am now 75 am not putting any money into that market, for I probably don’t have enough time left to recover from a down market.

 

But getting back to the story in Luke 19,  we read of three of the ten servants. What the seven did, we do not know.  One invested his pound and made 10 pounds.  Another invested his pound and made 5 pounds.  A third was fearful and just took his pound and wrapped it in a napkin and hid it. Of course, he earned nothing.

 

When the nobleman returned to set up his kingdom and to receive an accounting from his servants, he was pleased with the servant who had earned ten pounds and rewarded him by making him ruler over ten cities.  The servant who had earned five pounds was likewise rewarded with rulership over five cities.  However, the servant who hid his pound in a napkin was reprimanded and his one pound was taken from him and given to the servant whose pound had grown to ten.  That servant had proven his investment skills.

 

Now, let’s examine this story and  note the applications for ourselves. Again, I remind you that the reason Jesus tells this story is to clarify the confusion in the minds of His disciples concerning His Kingdom, as is explained in Luke 19:11. But more important than that, His purpose as verse 13 declares is to challenge us to be faithfully occupied with His concerns until He returns.

 

Later in Act 1:6-11  as Jesus is preparing to ascend back to Heaven, He challenges His Apostles to not be caught up in surmising about when Christ will return to establish His Kingdom; but rather they and we are be occupied with fulfilling His Great Commission which is repeated in the final chapter in each of the four Gospels.

 

THE NOBLEMAN

 

The nobleman is, no doubt, a picture of Jesus who is about to leave this earth for a long, unspecified period of time and then return to establish His Kingdom on this earth. 

 

Likewise in Matthew  25:1-13  Jesus is pictured as the Bridegroom who leaves to prepare a place for His Bride and returns unexpectedly. The point of the story is that the Bride, His Church,  must be watchful and ready for His imminent return.

 

In I Corinthians 3:1-15 Paul warns us to not  be caught up in “preacher worship”; but in working together to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. Here we are warned that we are going to give an account to God for the way we invested our lives. Some Christians are going to be rewarded.  Others will suffer great loss.

 

HIS SERVANTS

 

Every born again believer is expected to be a faithful servant of God.  That is clearly taught in Romans 12:1-2  and in II Corinthians 5:14-20,  I encourage you to read both those passages and settle the matter right now.  Are you going to be Christ’s servant or are you going to ignore this responsibility?  Two kinds of servants are described in our story in Luke 19.  In verses  17-19 we learn of the faithful servants and their rewards.  In verses 2-22 we learn of the unfaithful servants, who are described as lazy and wicked.   Which are you?

 

WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?

 

Luke 19:13 clearly spells it out.  “Occupy till I come”, Jesus says to us.  What does that word “occupy” mean?  The Greek word translated occupy is pragmatuomi. That word implies that what we do must be practical; not merely theoretical.  Christ does not want us to waste our time focusing on the theories of Christianity. Too many Christians are focusing all their attention on the theories of Christ’s return.  All we need to be concerned about is that He is returning again to reward His faithful servants and we are to spend our lives putting our hands and our feet, as well as our heart, into the work of Christ.

 

In Romans 10:15  we read of the Christian’s beautiful  feet who carry the Gospel to those who do not know it.   As James teaches,  Christianity is more than simply abstract theory.  It is practical. It involves work and sweat as we meet the physical and spiritual needs of people who have never heard or comprehended the Gospel.

 

HOW BIG IS YOUR TALENT?

 

It doesn’t matter.  It’s not our concern.  God is the one who gives the talents and abilities.  It is our responsibility to simply use the talents He has given us.  Let us not waste our time comparing our talents with one another and boasting of ours, or feeling sorry for ourselves because we do not have another’s talents.  The distribution  of our talents is  according to Matthew 25:14-15   “as He will”  I Corinthians 12:4-11 teaches identically the same truth.  He gives His gifts to us “as He will”.

 

WE ALL HAVE THE SAME RESOURCES

 

Though we have diverse talents and abilities,  we all have the same resources.  Look at them.

 

1.  We all have the same powerful Gospel that saves, as Paul declares in Romans 1:16.  We do not save anyone.  We simply love sinners and present the Gospel to them.  His Gospel alone has the power to save.  It’s not our schemes or our psychological approach that saves.  It is His powerful Gospel, plain and simple.

 

2. We all have the same weapons for dealing with Satan.  They are listed in Ephesians 6:10-17.  We all have the same weapon of prayer, See verse 18.

 

3.  We all have the same power of the Holy Spirit. See Acts 1:8,  I Corinthians 12:4, and II Corinthians 3:5.

 

4. As the various members of our body all have need of one another in order to be healthy and useful, so we  are all members of the same Body, the spiritual Body of Christ. Romans 12:3-5, Ephesians 5:30.  Let’s not get so wrapped up in our denomination or association of churches, that we fail to understand that all true Christians who are trusting in Christ alone  for their salvation are all a part of His one spiritual Body.  We are members one of another and we need each other. Paul warns in I Corinthians 12:21 that we cannot look at other Christians and sneer, “I have no need of you!”  That is the height of pride and arrogance.

 

THE LAW OF SYNERGY

 

As members of our human body each need to be working well for the total health and usefulness of our body,  so each of us as Christians and members of Christ’s Body need to be faithfully fulfilling our calling in order for the Law of Synergy to work in Christ’s Body. That Law is that we can accomplish more together than we can each working independently.

 

That’s why we gather together in local churches, rather than Christian families each doing their own thing apart from one another.   That’s why Churches of like precious faith can work together in joint efforts to win the lost to Christ.  Together, we can accomplish more than working independently doing our own thing.

 

Christ is glorified, saints are edified and the lost are evangelized in churches where each member is faithfully fulfilling His spiritual gifts in love, humility and in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

WHAT CRIPPLES OUR EFFECTIVENESS?

 

When we, as the unfaithful servant in Luke 19:20-22,  fear that Christ is too harsh, unreasonable and demanding and expects more from us than is possible, then we are not going to make any effort to serve Him and use our talents for His glory.

 

Those of us who because of laziness refuse to do our part in serving God are classified by Christ as slothful and wicked servants, Let us not blame the weather or anything else for our laziness or indifference for not serving the Lord.  Rather, just call it sin and confess it to God as sin.  With the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:16, let us “redeem the time for the days are evil.”

 

Let us determine to be faithful in our service for Christ so that one day we can hear Him say,  “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.”  Matthew 25:21,  Luke 19:17.

 

 

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May 8, 2006 - Posted by | Faithfulness

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