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Golden Opportunities Sermon

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Golden Opportunities

ME

In Thailand  – God gives many opportunities to respond to other people’s needs.

      Preach in Kae Noi  

      Other times: Sisaket – did only what I needed to do.  I must go!

WE

Have you ever had opportunities to serve? Knew right thing to do & did it?

Or, like me – did not & missed an opportunity never to return.

God will always give us opportunities serve  …  But we must GO to people, rather than COME!

SS: HOW WILL YOU RESPOND TO THE OPPORTUNITIES GOD BRINGS INTO YOUR LIFE TO SERVE OTHERS?

Transition: Look at Parable of the Talents.

Jesus emphasizes how we are to live our lives for Him: making the most of every opportunity.

GOD

Background or parable: Before crucifixion, Jesus & disciples are on the Mt. of Olives.

Destruction of temple - Disciples ask (Mt 24:3) about a sign from Jesus about the coming at end of age.

Confusion about return in every era – Jesus speaking of our age.

                                                                             

Matthew 24:5-14 signs (Deceptions - Perils): 

1. False Messiah’s (cults, false religions)  

2. Wars & rumors of wars            

3. Natural calamities

4. Persecutions 

5. Apostasy   (turning from truth)

6.Cynicism (distrust; skepticism; doubt) – love will grow cold (v. 12)

v. 14 – Gosp preach end world: end will come.  1st time 20 centries.

V. 15-22: Seize of Jerusalem  v. 15-35: Tribulation – end of age v.36ff: overlay 24

Jesus – 3 parables about  keeping watch and how we must live:

1) Faithful & Unfaithful servant

2.) 10  virgins

3) Parable of the talents

Read vs. 14-18 

Talent = weight of silver (58-80 lbs)  Talents - Confusing – not natural abilities, aptitudes, gifts, skills.

Not ultimate rewards for service – use gifts so don’t lose salvation

Question about eternal life or eternal death

4 Clues of what talents represent: 

1.) v. 14 – “His property”: God’s & for believers – Possess, control, give

2.) v. 15 – Talents given “each according to his ability”

3.) Implied: Talents invest to produce a gain, or return of investment.

4.) Invest exclusively for absent Lord – on Master’s behalf – No sharing

Question:  Are you looking for opportunities? q will provide – but we must go!.  Are we investing for great possible return?

Master distributes the money & leaves.  Servants invest.  Master returns.

Read: vs. 19-21  25:3 – long time in coming  25:19 – after a long time

1st servant – 100% return investment – made full use resource, not for own advance, but for masters.

He risked great lost – “well done” : Authentic response by Jesus

Read vs. 22-23  2nd servant: 100% return investment

Did 2nd servant accomplish as much? Yes/No – both invest., risked, worked hard – both commended. 

As gifts are used, progressively do more; represent opportunities to invest spiritual gifts (1 Cor/Rm 12)

Master gives us new opportunities.    Be courageous  – seize & extend kingdom.

Climax of story: Rd. vs. 24-30  Master – harsh; unduly strict

Point: We “bury” – pass by opportunities, rather than reap an increase!

Servant – opportunity to give himself to God.

No spiritual influence – no spiritual power

You

Risk to leave nest & fly? Step out – risk!  GO so people will see Christ’s love demonstrated.

100 million unchurched (1 of 3 adults, or 73 million adults; 27 million teens & children).

Seed Projects – WH

We

Remember context of parable: we’re at the end; Jesus come anytime; only have one life. Live for Jesus will change, your family, your community. 

Daily, make the most of every opportunity by investing in people’s lives.  Go! 

Golden Opportunities – Extended Notes

“Brothers, what should we do?” – the Jews asked Peter after he said at the end of his Pentecost sermon: “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36 - NIV)

Many responded to the Gospel message and about 3,000 were baptized.

When I first came to Thailand, I thought, just as on the day of Pentecost, many would respond whenever I shared the Gospel message.

After all, I thought, it was just a matter of people not hearing about Jesus, and when they heard the Good News, they would trample each other to see who would be baptized first!

It took me only a few days to see that in Thailand – in which less than 1% of the population are believers – that this is not so.

In fact, for over 200 years, people have planted churches and preached the Gospel in Thailand, with very little results.

Certainly, if we build plant churches and hire a preacher to teach about Jesus in a Buddhist community, many non-believers will come to Christ. … Right? …

And, certainly, in America, with all of our churches and Christians attending church and preachers preaching the Gospel, hundreds should become Christians … Shouldn’t they? …

After over 20 years of living and working in Asia, I’m asking myself more than ever … Why? -- Why is it that people are not responding to the Gospel?

Why is it for over 200 years, 1000’s of Christians have poured their hearts and souls to Christian endeavors in Thailand and other neighboring countries, yet, relative to the population, only a small percentage respond to the Gospel?

Yes, I do believe that the Holy Spirit still convicts people of sin, judgment and righteousness (Jn 16:8), and that individuals will respond to the Gospel and give their lives to Christ.

However, after two centuries of planting mostly institutional churches, we are seeing that the Bible does not emphasize planting institutions; rather, it emphasizes making disciples.

It is not about being a “coming” church (small “c”), but rather, as Jesus commands us in the Great Commission, we’re to be a GOING Church (large “C”).

It is about proactively responding to every opportunity that God puts in our lives – not just on Sundays, but 7 days a week.

Transition: Today, I’d like for us to look at the Parable Of The Talents.

In this parable, Jesus emphasizes how we’re to live our lives for Him – by making the most of every opportunity.

Background: Let me set the stage for our parable:

Just prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, He was on the Mount of Olives (located just east of Jerusalem) with His disciples.

Matthew 24:3 says that “the disciples came to Him privately. "Tell us," they said [in reference to Jesus’ comment in regard to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem], "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (NIV)

Jesus then begins to describe what signs will occur before the beginning of the end of the age prior to the Lord’s return.

First of all, I realize that in every era since the days of the early Church recorded in the book of Acts, there has been much con­fusion over the time of the Lord's return.

And this confusion continues in our present day.

But, we don't have to be confused about all the events that are occurring today, or what is recorded in God’s Word about these happenings.

Nor must we, or should we, be deceived by false, misguided, or self-serving religious lead­ers.

Jesus has given us the truth of His coming in Matthew 24 & 25  – as recording by Matthew, who was present at Jesus’ talk with His disciples on the Mount of Olives.

True, Jesus didn't pinpoint the exact day and the hour of the rapture; but He did give us all the information we need to live wisely and work faith­fully, even as we wait for Him to take us home.

As Jesus began to answer His disciples’ question, He plainly showed that there will be a long - though indeterminate - period of time before the end of the age and His return to gather followers, often referred to in the New Testament as Jesus’ bride (Mt 24:5-14).

He carefully traces the age which His disciples couldn’t yet see – a future age that is referring to the exact time in which we now live.

Jesus knew that it would be important for us to understand the events of the prophetic teaching that He gave His disciples on the Mount of Olives.

He very well understood that those of us who live before the end of the age would live in a time of growing confusion and deception.

In fact, deception is at the heart of a series of perils that Jesus warns us about in His discourse on the Mount of Olives. (in Mt 24)

Jesus warned that each of these dangers would be intro­duced into human society and would then rule over human minds and actions until the end of the age.

These dangers, or perils given by Jesus to His disciples are:

(1)  False messiahs (false religions, cults and religious leaders)

(2)  Wars and rumors of wars

(3)  Natural calamity

(4)  Persecution

(5)  Apostasy (turning from the truth of Scripture)

(6)  Cynicism (distrusting, skepticism, scorning, doubting, pessimism)

These six, powerful hazards have combined to form a huge, nearly irresistible tide of deception, threats and suffering, flooding human minds with delusion, sweeping human lives over the brink of destruction and into the raging waters of the world's last day of perilous times, unbelief, and eventually, eternal loss.

Fortunately, Jesus does not leave us with this hopeless picture.

He goes on to a further unveiling of truth.

He reveals the key to stand against deception and delusion.

Jesus says:  "But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:13-14)

What is the one unmistakable mark of the approaching end?

Listen carefully: Jesus says that WHEN the Good News of the kingdom has been preached as a testi­mony to all nations, then shall the end of the age begin.

It is supremely significant that this present generation is the first gener­ation in 20 long centuries of which it can be truly said that in this generation, the Gospel has been preached to all nations.

This is prop­erly a "sign of the times" which marks the near approach of the end.

The Gospel has been preached throughout the world and He is now waiting for the stragglers to come in. 

Jesus can literally come to take us home at any time, and so, Jesus says to keep watch, because you don’t know the day that your LORD will come (Matthew 24:42).

No, Jesus isn’t saying that we are suppose to sell everything we have and stand looking skyward  waiting for His return; rather, we are to be active extending Christ’s kingdom.

For instance, Jesus emphasizes in the Gospel of Luke to “occupy until I return” (Lk 19:13).

Towards the end of His talk with His disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mt 25), Jesus tells three parables to illustrate how we must have an attitude of always being ready for the Lord’s return, while at the same time, working hard for the extension of His Kingdom = GOING!

Which brings us to the Parable of the Talents – and so for the remainder of our time together, I would like for us to look at the last of these three parables that Jesus told His disciples, which is found in Matthew 25:14-30.

As with the other two parables in the Olivet discourse (“Faithful & Unfaithful Servants” [also, Lk 24:45-51] – “The 10 Virgins”) the point of this parable is to illustrate what Jesus means when He commands us to watch and wait for His return.

At the beginning of the parable, the master goes away and leaves a group of people to fulfill a cer­tain task until he returns.

Here is the INTRODUCTION to the parable (NIV):

14 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

If we don’t understand what the talents represent, then the parable may be confusing.

When we presently refer to the word, “talent,” it usually means a natural ability, an aptitude, a capacity for performance, or even a kind of genius.

However, in Jesus’ time, a talent ([talanton] ta,lanton - In v.18  [argurion] avrgu,rion means silver money) was a unit of weight used as a medium of exchange throughout ancient Greece, Rome, and the Middle East.

So when Jesus used the word tal­ent, His disciples knew that He meant a specific weight of silver (copper, gold), between 58-80 pounds, which was valued at around one thousand dollars, according to some estimates today.

However, a talent of silver represented some 20 years wages for a day laborer and so was worth far more than the $1,000 suggested in the NIV Bible notes.

The idea that a talent was an ability, such as a acting talent, or sports talent, or music talent, never entered the disciples’ thoughts.

Jesus did not have natural abilities in mind when He told the parable of the talents.

I use to think that the talents in this parable represented the natural gifts and abilities to work for God.

For instance, someone might say, "I have a real gift at connecting with children, so I would like to devote this particular talent to the Lord."

Or, another person may comment, "I have a gift for singing, so I would like to develop that talent and devote it to Christ."

However, this misunderstanding miss the real point of the parable.

 

Or, another pitfall is to interpret the parable as though it is merely dealing with ultimate rewards for service.

This view often mistakenly interprets the parable as such: "We must use our natural gifts totally for Christ, because if we don’t, we may lose our reward; though of course, we will not lose our salvation."

This is a complete misunderstanding of the key message Jesus wants us to understand.

In fact, our salvation is the very thing that is at stake in this parable!

Jesus is warning us that our eternal destiny as professed Christians is very much at issue.

The last line of the story makes this fact quite clear, when the returned master says of the man with one talent, "And throw that worthless ser­vant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (gnashing of teeth = despair)

The final scene reveals that the worthless servant was not really a Christian at all.

Please see clearly that "talents" are distributed not only to true believers but are also given to false believers as well.

"Talents" are given to all who claim to be servants of the Lord.

However, what people do with these "talents" is an extremely important issue, because a person's eternal destiny depends on the matter.

It is a question of eternal life or eternal death.

Consequently we must look for ourselves in this parable if we are to see what Jesus intends for our lives.

The Lord has distributed one or more "talents" to everyone who has investigated the issue of His return – a follower of Jesus Christ.

We are either trading with the talents and investing them, or we’re burying them in the ground.

That is the central issue.

What, then, do "talents" represent in our own lives?

Jesus gives us SEVERAL CLUES of what these talents represent in our lives.

The first clue is found in the opening verse, Matthew 25:14: "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his ser­vants and entrusted his property to them."

Note two crucial words: "his property."

This is another term for the talents which are distributed.

The talents represent God's property, something that belongs entirely to the Lord.

The talents are not something that we possess or control, or ours to give to others.

They are something that comes from God and only He can control.

Whatever these talents are, they are not freely distributed, like natural gifts, to all people.

They are given only to people who, in some way, have a relationship to God – the relationship of a ser­vant.

God distributes His property to those who claim to be His servants.

The second clue of what these talents represent in our lives is found in verse 15: "To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability."

Note that last phrase: "each accord­ing to his ability."

Here we learn that the "talents" Jesus speaks of are not natural abilities, as previously mentioned.

In fact, the talents are actually distributed to us on the basis of our natural ability.

To one man, the Lord gave five talents because he was a man of great natural ability.

He had many natu­ral gifts.

To another he gave two talents because he was not as gifted as the first.

To the third man he only gave one talent because he had few natural abilities.

The third clue of what these talents represent is not stated in the parable but is clearly implied.

That is, the Master expected these servants to invest the talents given to them in order to produce a gain, or a return on investment.

The talent, then, is something that can be invested and risked, with the possibility of producing gain or loss.

The decision to risk is totally the servant's.

He can choose to take this risk, as the first two servants did, or he can utterly refuse to do so, as the third one did.

The fourth clue of what these talents represent in our lives, is the fact that the investment must be made exclusively for the benefit of the absent master, or lord.

The talent is not given to the servant for his own use, because it remains the property of his absent Lord.

If it is risked, it must be on the Lord's behalf.

Note that there is no promise made to the servants that they will share in any way in the profits.

Thinking in terms of business, they have no right to deduct a broker's percentage.

As far as the servant could see, all the loss would be his, all the profit would be the master's.

 

In summing up these four clues, let’s pose a question: What do we, as professed Christians, have that is God's own property?

Asked another say: What is it that we receive on the basis of natural ability, which requires a risk on our part, and the investment of which benefits only the Lord and not ourselves?

Are you able to answer this question?

For example, let’s say you have a gift of creating beautiful wooden furniture, and you love to make furniture.

When you know you have this natural ability, what do you do?

You look for opportunities to use this gift.

The more talents we feel we have, the more we look for occa­sions to express them.

The talents in this story represent golden moments of oppor­tunity that God puts in our lives.

 

Just as money and property belong to human masters and is theirs to allocate as they see fit, so time and opportunities belong to God and are His to give or withhold according to His sovereign will.

It is clear from this story that such opportunities come on the basis of how many natural gifts we possess.

Jesus is telling us in this parable that opportunities are given on the basis of natural gifts.

Our response is to invest these chances so as to bring the greatest possible reward and return to our Master when He returns.

Opportunities to display abilities and gifts come to all kinds of people, Christian or not.

But opportunities that bring gain to Christ come only to professed followers of Christ.

These God-given opportunities are part of the life of everyone who professes to be a Christian.

They are distributed to each of us according to our ability.

There will inevitably be an accounting before God, when He will ask us how we invested these opportu­nities He has given us.

 

Example: Seed Projects – Wiang Hang

 

As we move on with the parable, we read that the master distributes the talents, then he leaves.

While he is gone, the servants invest the master’s money as they see fit.

Finally, the master returns and each servant is called to give an accounting.

Here Jesus describes that day of reckoning:

19 "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' 21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (NIV)

This first servant did a super job of investing the Master’s money and gained a 100% return.

It’s easy to see that he made full use of his opportunities, not for his own advancement but for his master's.

In other words, he made each decision about the investment of his opportunities in light of what would advance the work of Christ.

He risked great loss to himself in order that Jesus the Lord might gain.

He took a chance that he might never have a place of prominence, influence, or power, but deliberately invested his opportunity along a line that would give God what He wanted.

In effect, he ministered to the broken­hearted, provided comfort for the fatherless and afflicted, brought liberty to the captives, and proclaimed the Gospel to the poor.

This servant placed all of his God-given opportunities at Christ's service.

In response, Jesus said the words we all long to hear Him say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Jesus Christ would never say "well done" unless it had truly been well done.

This is not empty praise, rendered mean­ingless by being spoken to everyone alike regardless of performance.

This was authentic affirmation, and the Lord follows these words by granting the servant increased authority over many things.

He adds these words: "Come and share your master's happiness."

What is that happiness?

It is an eternal joy that never fades, as earthly pleasures do, but which remains fresh and thrilling throughout eternity.

Jesus continues the story of the final accounting, as the master moves on to the second servant in line:

22 "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' 23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (NIV)

Just like the first servant, this 100% returns his investment of the Master’s money.

Did he accomplish less than the first servant?

Yes and no.

The first servant had gained five talents, and the second had gained only two, but both servants had made a 100% return on their master's investment.

What is Jesus telling us by this fact?

Something quite significant: Both servants performed to the very limit of their ability.

Both produced a 100% return on invest­ment.

The second man started with less, and produced a smaller return, but both had put out the maximum effort and both received the maximum return.

Both risked loss to themselves so that their master might prosper.

The second servant received a commendation just as the first servant did.

The master's message to the second servant was iden­tical to his commendation of the first, word for word:

"Well done, good and faithful servant!   You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your mas­ter's happiness!"

What does the profit, or the doubling of money, symbolize?

One that is, when we use our giftings, we will progressively do more with them.  But, if we fail to use our abilities and giftings, we may inevitably lose them.

Another thought, which I believe is just as accurate, is:

If the original talents represent opportunities for using our gifts abilities in the cause of Christ, then the added talents – or profit - must represent more opportuni­ties on a different level, in a higher realm.

It’s possible that the talents gained represent opportunities to invest spiritual gifts ­– those gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12: spiritual gifts that are given to every true Christian without exception.

If this is so, then the reward that the Master gives His servants would consist of new opportunities earned – the right to exercise spiritual power and make a spiritual impact on peoples’ lives, all for God’s honor and glory (NOT the servants!).

As a follower of Jesus, you will discover a spiritual gift only when you have seized an occasion to be used by the Jesus, and decide to risk and venture forth for His sake.

True, you may feel ill-equipped and clumsy at first, lacking confidence.

However, you still seize the God-given opportunity and do what needs to be done.

And as God works through you, you will find a gift for service that you never knew you had­ – a newly discovered gift of the Spirit.

It’s the Holy Spirit that touches us to give our all for the sake of God’s kingdom.

And when you are willing to risk, and when you courageously seize the opportunities God gives you, your investment is returned to Him and you will discover a sense of the Spirit's empowerment that you never suspected was there before!

When that happens, you enter into the joy and happi­ness of Jesus!

But you also have another choice.

Jesus now moves toward the tragic climax of His story and describes this choice.

The last servant gives his accounting:

24 "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' 26 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (NIV)

This may seem to be unduly strict treatment for the servant with one talent.

After all, he at least had the sense to bury the talent so he wouldn't lose it!

And, the master did get all of his money back, didn’t he? 

So why is he being so harsh?

Jesus puts the matter in proper perspective with these words: "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abun­dance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." (v. 29)

The basic purpose of life is growth, increase, return – all for God’s glory and pleasure.

To fail in this purpose is to be unprofitable.

The master has no use for servants who merely maintain the status quo, for they are unprofitable servants.

Many people who profess to be Christians are perfectly content to bury the opportunities God gives them.

They are content with a stagnant life. They risk nothing, they gain nothing.

All such peo­ple are unprofitable to God.

Our Lord is in the investment busi­ness, and He intends to reap an increase from His investments.

The unprofitable servant had one opportunity to prove himself profitable, and he blew it.

The outcome of the story tells us the nature of that opportunity.

It was the opportunity to give himself to God, the opportunity to be redeemed.

That one supreme ven­ture was available to him throughout the time that his master was absent.

But what did he do with his one-and-only opportunity?

He threw it into a hole in the ground and covered it with dirt!

When it was safely buried, he could forget it and go on about his life.

It was nowhere in view, where it might serve as an unpleasant reminder of the master's expectations.

Since the unprofitable ser­vant took no risk for Christ's sake, he had no spiritual influence, no impact for eternal good.

His life counted for nothing and exhibited no spiritual power.

His was a life lived for self, and in the end, he lost everything, including his own soul.

When the master returned, the unprofitable servant had a well­ rehearsed speech ready.

The gist of his defense was this:

"Master, I know you are an unreasonable man. You expect other people to do all the work while you take all the benefits. If people fail to meet your unreasonable expectations, you punish them without mercy. I was afraid of you. I was afraid to risk what you gave me, because if I lost it, you would really be angry with me when you returned. So I played it smart. I kept the talent in a safe place to make sure it wouldn't get lost-see? Here it is, safe and sound! You didn't lose a penny!"

The master does not debate the servant's characterization of him as a hard and unreasonable man.

He accepts that appraisal and says, "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?"

The master is not agreeing with what the servant says. He is saying, in effect,

"So that is your under­standing of my character, is it? All right, then, out of your own mouth will I judge you. If that's what you think of me, then you ought to have known that you couldn't possibly please me by fail­ing to get some kind of gain. In that case, you could have at least put the money in the bank and I would have had some interest on it when I returned."

Of course, the real problem is that the unprofitable servant had no intention of being the servant he pretended to be.

The master's argument is that no matter what his opinion of his master was, whether accurate or distorted, a true servant would have acted according to his master's expectations.

However, the unprofitable servant refused to do this.

He ignored his master's wishes and went about his life as if he were not a servant at all.

He served himself instead of his lord.

He was a phony, a hypocrite, pretending to be a ser­vant when he was not.

In his selfishness and deliberate blindness, the wicked servant failed to realize that his one chance to become genuine was to risk himself and the talent his master had given him.

Had he done so, like the other two servants, he would have gained.

He would have been changed for to venture is to be changed.

To risk for Christ's sake is to be forever altered, converted, redeemed, and reborn.

That one talent is given to all who are drawn to follow Christ.

They have the opportunity to risk themselves while yet relying upon God's Word.

They can trust His redeeming grace, resting their hope for eternity upon Christ's work for them on the cross.

Other opportunities for risk will be provided later by a sovereign and loving God, but without that one initial investment there is no true value to life.

C. S. Lewis wrote in his book, Mere Christianity,

 

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

Many of us are content to be eggs.

We don’t want to risk leaving the shell.

But God's plan for us is that we learn to fly – and no bird ever learned to fly without risk.

So the message of Jesus in this parable is: Step out! Risk! Live dangerously!

Take chances with your life and your possessions for His sake (not stupid, but “Spirit-led”).

Cling to your life, and you will surely lose it.

But surren­der yourself to His cause, and you will gain your life and more!

That is the way to find life.  That is the way to watch for His com­ing.

Having risked yourself to become a follower of Jesus, now risk yourself again and again as opportunities arise.

As you risk everything you are and everything you have, don't forget to risk your heart!

Don't just live dangerously - love dangerously!

Love as Jesus loved. Love the unlovely and the unloving and the unlovable.

What can you do to demonstrate Christ’s love in practical ways?

Example:  For my family, it means picking up trash around our block.  It also means going to the children’s ward of the government hospital and giving out gifts to sick children, and praying for them and their family members.

To live for Christ is to love others with a daring, risk-taking, Christ-like love.

Love is truly an investment into other people’s lives.

It is not just about seekers coming to where you as a group of Christians meet together once a week, hoping someone will hear a sermon and get saved.

According to the Barna Research group, there are roughly 100 million unchurched people in America.


One out of every three adults (33%) is unchurched -- meaning they have not attended a religious service of any type during the past six months.

This represents approximately 73 million adults, plus 27 million teens and children.

It means going to where these 100 million people are – in their neighborhoods, and sometimes into messy situations.

It’s after you enter into people’s real-life situations on their own turf – what reality is for them – and as you demonstrate genuine compassion them, your heart will burst when they ask you, “What must I do?”

Conclusion:

Some questions for you to think over:

Jesus gave up everything to love you and die for you; what will you give up for Him?

What are you willing to risk to enter into the golden opportunities He sends your way?

 

As you are watching for the Lord’s return, are you finding out what God wants you to do, and then being faithful to do it, being faithful with the talents, abilities and giftings He has given you?

Perhaps you still need to invite Jesus to come be your Lord and Savior and live with you.

Without giving your life to Christ, there’s no way you can stand against this age of deception.

There is no hope to spend eternity with King Jesus.

If you haven’t yet made the decision to be a follower of Christ, won’t you do so now?

Now is the time to give your life to Christ – before it’s too late!  Now is the day of salvation!

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