Living Faithfully in the Here and Now
1.Departure - Jesus speaking of DEPARTURE – Nobleman into far country to receive kingdom; preparing disciples for his departure
2.Delay - Jesus speaks of a DELAY – Not only will Jesus depart … he will also return
a. Disciples thought kingdom – eternal reign – would be set up immediately
b. Jesus had already told them that the KofG was already here – in a sense
c. Disciples thought that going to Jerusalem would usher it in in it’s fullness
d. The parable broaches the subject of DELAY
e. Remember – ALREADY … but NOT YET
3.Rejection - V:14 – Jesus broaches the subject of REJECTION
a. The nobleman in the story goes off to receive a Kingdom
b. He isn’t liked by the citizens of the kingdom
c. The parable had a back story that Jesus’ hearers would have understood
i. 30 years previous – the cruel son (ARCHELAUS) of a cruel King (Herod the Great) went to Rome
ii. He wanted the Roman Emperor to give him rule of Palestine (like dad)
iii. He was so unpopular that a group of Jewish leaders followed him to Rome and argued that he NOT be made king
iv. They were successful - He was not made king
i. He was given the title Ethnarch – Not all the power he wanted
a. Jesus’ listeners would have understood the back story
b. “Oh, I’ve heard this before”
c. But Jesus isn’t talking about ARCHELAUS … He was talking about Himself.
4.Reward - Fourth Observation – Look at how Jesus addresses the issue of REWARD … 16-18 – Rewards are important in this passage … but we wont go too far down the bunny trail discussing them.
a. Rewards are for faithfulness
b. Rewards stress how Generous God is.
5.Judgment - Fifth observation is about JUDGMENT – 22-27 – The Judgement falls when the King returns upon:
a. The unfaithful nominal professor
b. AND on those who HATE the king
Do you think much about end times? The theological term here is Eschatology
Do you think much about end times? The theological term here is Eschatology
That means the study of end times … scripturally.
The bible does teach about the future and the end
Some are very … VERY interested in this topic … some are OVER THE TOP about this topic
Have you ever read the book “Late Great Planet Earth”? - Sold 35 million Copies as of 2000
Have you ever seen the film “A Thief in the Night” - Film about the coming of Christ … scared me to death when I saw it
The Left Behind Series - 65 million + copies - I think there were three or four movies made
All of these books or series present Christ’s coming in a certain sequence of events … THere are numerous schools of thought concerning Christ’s return … I Shall Name them! - I will not take time to explain them … Ask me later and I will tell you which camp I might belong in.
PanMillenialism --- It will all Pan out in the end :)
I like what O. Palmer Robertson says … I’m a PROMillenialist
He went on to say this “I believe that Jesus is coming again, we know not when, and we’d better be ready!”
That is pretty good biblical counsel!
The study of Eschatology is never intended to produce a preoccupation with speculation about the future but rather …
It is designed to help us live today!!!!!
In other words whatever the bible tells us about the future … is directly relevent to living right now.
That is what Jesus is doing here … teaching the disciples what to expect … so they know how to live
They were already anticipating that the kingdomo would come in it’s fullness … the Not Yet
They were missing much of what he was saying about his sufferings
They awaited a Davidic King to set on His throne and for the Romans to be expelled
They wanted the kingdom immediately … He makes clear that that is not going to happen yet
Jerusalem … awaits … and there will be something else
He tells them that in the face of His rejection and crucifixion … Instead their life and ministry will be to faithfully serve him … and await his return
Three words will help us apply this passage … First word …
Expect Rejection - Read verse 14
Jesus is saying that they shoukld not expect everyoine in Jerusalem to Embrace HIm
In just a few days they will be shouting Hosanna … and a few days after that “Crucify Him”
Jesus is telling his disciples that they should expect HIM to be rejected … they are to get the point that in a week there will be no victory parade
“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
There are those who tell christians … “Follow Jesus and you’ll be healthy. Follow Jesus and you’ll be rich. Follow Jesus and you won't have problems. And if you do, and if you do, it's because you don't have enough faith.”
Jesus is telling them that to follow His isnt to lead a victory parade
Rather it is to faithfully serve a King who is going to be rejected … and that will mean you will be rejected
He to them to expect Rejection
He also tells them to anticipate endurance
This isnt going to be over quickly … This is going to require endurance
Look at verse 11 … far country … long time to get there … llong time to get back
This is a marathon not a sprint
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is setting our expectations in reality
The Christian life is …
A Long Distance Race
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Paul was clear on his expectations … That’s why He didnt cave in …
At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!
Expect Rejection … Expect to have to Endure
Note the noblemans charge …
Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
Some times people read these accounts and lock on issue of rewards …
They stress that if you do X … you get Y
You do good, you do really good … THEN you get more reward.
Some look at this and think we are dealing with proportional rewarding system.
DON’T GET LOST IN THE WEEDS!
Get the BIG PICTURE
DONT MISS IT
Jesus is speaking of his servants being given a task … they engage in their master’s business until He comes back.
The reward factor here is to point to one thing … Their devotion is for their KING!
They are not to live for themselves … Rather for the King and His Kingdom
and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
The point of the parable for our application is what we do we do for the kings business and the king’s agenda
NOTE … The Reward isnt coming from the world … even the business we do in the world
The Reward comes from The King
It’s the King’s money they invest … what they get they get from Him
… In Him we live and move and have our Being
This parable NOT about Stewardship … not about our giving (Though we do need to take that seriously)
This parable is about the whole of our lives
It’s about what I’m living for … what I really care about.
What is the sum of my life about?
What is the legacy I am leaving behind?
Where do I think my satisfaction is coming from?
What is it that people devote themselves too?
You’ve seen it … Sports … Sporting Teams
Career’s … at expense of all else
As a Christian you have (or at least you should have) different goals/purposes … different basis for life
IM different … not looking down nose at people
I am asking you to say, “I'm servant to a different King than so many of the people around me are servant to. And does that show in how I live my life?”
And Jesus is saying here to His disciples, “You are to live life not for yourselves but for Me, for God, and for His kingdom. That is where your reward, that is where your happiness, that is where your satisfaction comes from, not from the place or places that all the people around you are seeking their satisfaction from.” Jesus is telling a story about devotion here. “Be about My business,” He's saying.
Last Word … Expectation … Devotion … Now Generosity
What am I getting at?
Did you catch in the parable that the rewards given are disproportionate to the amount of money given into the stewardship of the servants?
A Mina = 3 months … 100 days wages for a regular labourer in Jesus’ day
It’s a significant amount … not enough to buy a beach house in Tahiti and live off the rest of the interest … but significant.
One guy gets almost 3 years of Salary
One guy gets a year and a half
One guy gets three months
They are all told … Go do business
The guy who is given 10 Minas is doubles it with ten more … He is given authority over 10 CITIES
The Next guy Makes five … He is Given authority over FIVE cities
The reward is totally disproportionate to the $$ given
The Whole Point is the Generosity of God
DO YOU KNOW THE EXPRESSION - Quid PRO QUO - a favour or advantage granted or expected in return for something.
You do this … God will do this … you scratch God’s back and He’ll scratch yours
Problem with that is that the rewards far exceed the labour …
Remember Parable … the third man ...
Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’
The wicked servant says to the King … Your a hard man …
Look at How Jesus has the King respond ...
He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?
Jesus is using sarcasm here … Really? I’m severe?
If Im a severe/hard man … working for me … at least I’m taking the money and putting it in the bank and getting some interest … I’m not wrapping it in a hanky!
Like putting savings in a mattress
The point of the last man is that he acted totally irresponsibly and irrationally
He takes His lack of devotion and commitment and blames it on the severity of the King
“King you are hard … you’ve given me a hard life. You’ve put me in a tough place. I have it tough …b/c of you”
Jesus is wanting every true disciple to look at that and say NO WAY!
That’s ridiculous … HE IS EXCEEDINGLY GENEROUS
HE IS NOT HARD AND SEVERE
he is exceedingly generous
If He were hard and severe … We’d all be in deep trouble
Jesus is holding up this EXCEEDINGLY GENEROUS reward to make a point … Don’t miss it
You may go through life and experience rejection, disappointment and even betrayal
There is a Reward that you cannot even comprehend
It’s awaiting you
THAT REWARD MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN HOW YOU LIVE NOW
B/C it allows you to NOT be all turned into yourself
Not focusing on what you haven’t gotten here!
B/C you know that the Lord will take care of you
THIS PERSPECTIVE ALLOWS US TO TURN OUT INSTEAD OF INWARD
Instead of focusing on what we HAVEN’T been given … we give
Instead of being all knotted up by disappointment … we serve
This passage is about the END TIMES … Eschatology … that Christ the King will return to Judge His Enemies and Reward His Faithful Followers
Eschatology has everything to do with how we live now … Expectantly … Devotedly … and Remembering the Generosity of God
A Number of years ago RC Sproul used the expression
RIGHT NOW COUNTS FOREVER
That's exactly right theologically. Right now counts forever, so you have to live right now in light of forever. That's what Jesus is saying here and I wonder if you believe Him. I wonder if you’re devoted to Him. I wonder if you’re investing your life into the kingdom. I wonder if you take stock of your life and ask yourself, “What is it that I'm spending my time here doing?” I'm wondering if you really believe how disproportionately generous He is. That's why Jesus said these things to the disciples because He wanted them to think long and hard about them, but more than that He wanted them to think Biblically about them. You know, you can't live the way that Jesus asks you to live as a disciple unless you live by faith. You cannot live the way that Jesus asks you to live as a disciple except by faith. And do you see why the apostle Paul says to live this way, if what Jesus says about the end is not true, makes us of all men most miserable? I'm not doing this because of denial, I'm not doing this because of some faint airy-fairy hope of pie in the sky by-and-by. I'm doing this because I believe what Jesus says here — I believe that God is generous and I believe that His reward will be far more generous than I will ever receive at the hands of human beings or anything that I can get in this world. And it makes life worth living no matter what.
Lord, the wisdom and the kindness of Your Son in dealing with us blows us away. Bring these truths home today to our own hearts, we ask in His name, amen.