Faithlife Sermons

The Invitation to responsibility

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Good Morning! We are coming to the end of the sermon series entitled, Gifted and we have spent the past five weeks talking about the importance of discovering our spiritual gifts and using them within our local church...… the gifts have been give to us for the purpose of building up and strengthening our church…
This morning we are going to talk about taking responsibility of being entrusted with God’s gifts of grace..
One of the hardest questions we can ask ourselves is if we
Have you taken responsibility for what you have been given ?
Taking responsibility means taking a hard look at ourselves in the mirror… and then asking the honest question have I been trustworthy for the things that I have been given?
Andy Stanley says that...
Irresponsible people ultimately unhappy, because irresponsibility always creates conflict with others and conflict within yourself....
and after some time becomes someone else's responsibility; it's not a solo thing. Irresponsibility impacts people you are connected with, whether in marriage, family, community, workplace, church, or any other type of community...
… There are responsibilities that comes with Grace…
There is common grace...
This includes things all the blessings that we have received , our Health, our relationships, our family members, our work..our finances.. All the things God has placed within my space of my reach...
There is common grace then there is saving grace..
Ephesians talks about the gift of grace being the gift we have received in Salvation… When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior… .Paul us that..
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Paul never hesitates to speak of the the work of salvation in definitive terms…something that is concrete..
Salvation is aways written in the perfect tense… something that has taken place that is already completed... Once we have received the gift of Salvation..
We have been justified, We have be reconciled… We have been saved… we now share share in the inheritance of the saints.... This is the gift or grace of God…
It is not an achievement (not our own doing) nor is it a reward for any of our deeds or generosity… It is not of works…because Salvation is a work of God
Paul says we are His workmanship...-
The word “workmanship” literally means, “that which has been made — a work — a making”… It is derived from the Greek word poiema, from which we derive our English word poem.
F.F Bruce said it best that…workmanship is what God has achieved for us in Salvation .... it is a work of art or masterpiece..
Salvation is His creation, His re-creation, and Our new creation
It means much more than the repair of the rupture of sin from humanity’s fall. It means more than the restoration of Eden’s innocence, It is the creation of a new humanity and a new world, which has previously existed only in the mind and purpose of God..
So this is all to say that....Any brush stroke of our own efforts will … will only take away and devaluate the God’s original Masterpiece…
Grace is simply a gift received through faith… and we are stewards of our Salvation… This is what Paul tells the Corinthian church…
1 Corinthians 4:1–2 ESV
1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
We are stewards of Common Grace, We are Stewards of the mystery of the Gospel and salvation… Paul talks about the Third Grace… that is Spiritual Gifts… We are his workmanship created...
“created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
God has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives…Prepared before hand... God is the great designer and everything in his plan has fulfillment… God has not only wired us a certain way, but he had a plan in mind with our shape and design — Our gift is complementary to someone else’s need...
Notice that Paul doesn’t say we are to work in our gifts, but rather we are to “to walk in them.”
In other words, God has prepared a path of good works us which He will perform in and through us as we walk by faith. it is God’s performing His work in and through believer… not about us performing good works...
God gifts come with… invitation to responsibility… or to stewardship.. The question is how does this look...
T/S How do we take Responsibility over our gifts?

1. Embrace the gifts that God has entrusted you with.

When we think about this word stewardship we often think about “Christian Stewardship”… when pastor mentions stewardship he is referring to our giving… tithes and offerings…While this is part of stewardship....
But Stewardship in biblical times involved much more… Often it had to do do with the running of a whole household… For example.. we are told … In the story of Joseph that Pharaoh saw that God’s favor was upon Joseph and he put Joseph in charge over all the affairs of the Pharaoh’s… this included everything in his household and latter extended the whole country of Egypt..
Christian Stewardship is all about being responsible…for all that God has intrusted you with..
The Holman Bible Dictionary — Has this definition… Stewardship is …the
“Responsibility to manage all the resources of life for the glory of God, acknowledging God as provider.”
In the Gospel of Matthew 25, we have the well know parable of the talents… Jesus often taught with Parables - because it was a powerful way to communicate a life principles.... that were always relatable, memorable and applicable to life… Parables and story are still today an invaluable in tool in teaching…
The theme of Jesus teaching in this section of Matthew is in regards to Jesus’ second coming…
Jesus gives us instruction on How to live our lives in his absence… How to live in this period before His Second coming….The Kingdom of being now and then..
Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like a man who goes away on an extended journey..
Matthew 25:14–15 ESV
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
Jesus tells us of this master /business owner who prepares to go on this journey … he wants to get his affairs in order because he is going to be gone for some time…so...
Before he leaves he calls three of his most trusted servants and gives them the responsibility of managing his financial affairs…
Each servant us given a gift according to their abilities… An Ability is something within our grasp…something that we can achieve and accomplish…
To one servant he gave 5 talents… to another servant 2 Talents and another 1 talent…
What were these talents?… it is not referring to the talent that we might thing of in the english language… unfortunate that it is the same word..
A talent is a measurement of weight…
It was that number on the scale... … for example if you had a talent of copper , silver or gold…they would all have different values..according to weight...
Because a talents are measurements of weight ...scholars have different opinions the value of a talent… for example scholars like D.A.Carson says its in today’s world it would be valued around $300 000 …Another scholar Grant Osborne (also a scholar from Trinity), has it around $960,000.... \.. and they both have differences…
Regardless…of the exact dollar amount .... The point being made is that the Master has made a large investment… When Jesus told this parable… there was a shock value involved… at the shear amount… for some that would be 75 years of work..
The shock of its value is intended to compel us to think of Christ’s generosity… All the graces that God has afforded us.. You can not put a value on some of these things.. they are priceless...
How do you put a price on common blessings… How do you put a value on… the blessing of a sunset… the smile of a friend… a kind gesture...
How do you put a value … saving grace… or the Gift of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts that have been deposited into our lives..… have tremendous value… there is no monetary value...
When it comes to Spiritual gifts … we are told that...
The master gives to each servant as he sees fit… Not all of us have the same abilities… each us has both strengths and weakness… this in not a negative it is a positive… just different…
We learn from the Parable that the master
a. Entrusted according to the servants various abilities
verse 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
We need to understand that…the master is concerned about his investment… and he obviously wants his servants succeed…
He is settling each one up to win… to accomplish certain goals..
Sometimes we look at ourselves and we are remorseful because of maybe some of our life circumstance… and our lives are paved with these ---If only’s.... life seems unfair maybe when we start making comparisons… If only I had been given 5 talents… imagine what I could do...
Andy Stanley tells this story of His friend..
Scott Rigby at the age of 18 was involved in a terrible truck accident and had to have both of his legs amputated.
He didn't sign up for that. And for a little while, his life spiraled downward. But one day he had a wake-up call. He said, Wait a minute. I can't spend the rest of my life making excuses and placing blame. I can't spend the rest of my life looking at what everybody else has and can do.
So he got busy and started taking care of himself physically. In 2007 he was the first double amputee using prosthetics to cross the finish line of the Ford Iron Man World Championship.
But that's not all he did. Scott chose to leverage his story for the sake of other people. He now spends time working with war veterans who have lost limbs and are dealing with the transition back into civilian life. That's pretty amazing.
When you Here a story like Scott Rigby — it always make me think about my excuses… What is my excuse.... The end of the day it is not the amount that you have been given… lets face it none of our would complain with either 1 million or 3 million dollars.. The issue is gifting but stewardship… taking responsibility..
b. These servants were given different talents… but given equal opportunities...
Paul tells us in Ephesians... When Jesus ascended he gave gifts to men… He trusted His disciples and future followers to continue His ministry...
God has given all of us something to manage, such as money, time, gifts, and opportunities. None of us are empty handed.
So a talent can mean the gifts of knowledge, health, strength, time, intellect, advantages, opportunities, “various responsibilities”6 (i.e., our jobs or vocations), perhaps people (a spouse, children, friend), and even further natural abilities (talents as we think of the word).
When we Embrace the gift that we have been given… we are saying that we can be trusted…the next part of Stewardship… is actually doing it yourself…
Now important part of the Story is that the master leaves… These servants would never learn to be stewards is the master stayed… We often think why did Jesus have to leave and why for so long… but there is important principle of ...
c. Absence and Entrustment
Once the master has given the talent we told that he leaves on his journey…This is important part of the story… Because leaving speaks of total trust…
Maybe you remember the first time you left your child with a babysitter… You felt that you giving that person the most valuable thing in your life…
But in order for trust to be present you had to leave… You may have had to drive around the block a few times…before you left… and texted through out the eventing
When you left you have given the sitter complete… responsibility… In good faith… you are expecting them to take care of your child as you would…yourself...
When you start a new job maybe you shadow another employee for a week or two… and then you are left on your own… Absence is the proof of Entrustment…
… trust happens with absence… most of our Spiritual and personal growth takes place when nobody is watching! My spiritual life is not going to grow by showing up on Sundays and preaching a sermon… my spiritual growth is going to grow in my absence… my growth as a person… when no one is looking… my diet… my health… no one is looking… It what is done in secret is what counts..
Now hear is a hard one… Our children are going to grow up ---not when we are present but in our absence…
It is incredible How God has Entrusted us with His Grace… We are to stewards of Grace… and the requirement of a steward is to be faithful...
T/S What is the invitation is to Responsibility?
1. Embrace the gifts that God has entrusted you with.

2. Embrace Risks and Avoid the pitfalls of regret.

Have your ever thought what has held you back from taking a step of faith? or taking a risk?
What often keeps us from taking risks is fear..
Bob Pritchard..author and Christian businessman.. uses this great illustration… He tells us that parents often put an imaginary (and sometimes real) fence around children; stay inside the fence, and you’re safe and can do what you want. But beyond the fence lies danger—from strangers, creeks, dogs, or cars—and you can’t go there without permission or an escort.
He goes on to say...
We tend to live our lives in similar safety zones.
We say things like....
“I know how to do this job”, but I don’t know how to manage people.”
“I can lead a meeting, but don’t ask me to speak onstage.”
I take photographs for myself, but nothing good enough to hang on the wall.”
“I can create the product, but I can’t read the financial statement.”
“I’ll sing ‘Happy Birthday’ with the group, but don’t give me a microphone.”
Our safety zones are fenced in by fear. We fear we don’t have permission. We fear we are ignorant. We fear we are incompetent. We fear we have too much to lose. We fear we can’t afford the cost. We fear we might fail.
Jesus taught us that the opposite in this parable that good stewards are are not limited by fear and unbelief ---But rather Jesus gives us permission to take Risks and and permission fail....
Jesus tells us what happen in his absence.... that faith is needed.
Matthew 25:16–18 ESV
16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Right off the bat we learn that two of the Servants are risk takers....they are investors...
a. They actively look for opportunities to invest the masters money..
The two servants go off immediately and puts his talent too good use… And apparently the risk pay off because we told that his investment doubles..
That is a pretty good return....
These servants knew the risks of investment, but they also knew that they had to make use of the opportunities they had created..
William Wilberforce ... the British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade…talks about the relationship between opportunities and responsibility… He said..
“Great indeed are our opportunities; great also is our responsibility.” William Wilberforce
Here is the thing about opportunities… You can have an opportunity come your way.... but it is time sensitive… it is there and then and as fast as it has come it can be gone… We can say yes and walk through the door or we can move on...
Both action or inaction is a decision…when it comes to opportunities..
What Jesus is talking about is using your gift for the Kingdom… that the real risk in the Kingdom of God is inactivity...
The assignment given as an opportunity to increase the value of the household. ..The master had expected his servants to manage his affairs… and to make good investment decisions..
The master could have put all of his money in the bank and earned the interest… but He had faith in the abilities of his servants...
God has similarly distributed His assets among His people: He has talented us, gifted us, and empowered us to manage a portion of His estate on earth.
No one of us can honestly pretend, then, that “I am my own. I can do what I want to. It is nobody else’s business what I do.”
The Scriptures insist that God owns us and everything else on earth, even our talents
The Good and faithful servants… have made a coupe of assumptions...
1. The master wanted them to use the talents..
The gifts were given with expectation of a return on the investment.. It was the belief that with Stewardship…came the responsibility of multiplying what has been given… the second assumption..
2. The Master is Okay with Risk...
What do we mean by risk?
The Oxford dictionary defines Risk as being exposed to danger. Possibility that some thing and Unpleasant Going to happen.
Through out scripture we find the connection between faith and risks..
Abraham risked everything when he left the familiar Land of Ur and by faith in to the promised land..
Gideon took a Risk when he took on the powerful Midianite army with just 300 men, DAVID took risk on facing the philistine Giant Goliath, the mighty men of David risked their lives to bring David water..
Luke tells us in the book of Acts that Paul and Barnabas risked their lives for the Gospel..
The Bible is full of stories of men and woman who stepped out in faith and took a risk...
In our parable the master was willing risk his fortunes…in order to get a better return… In contrast to the two faithful servants is the Servant who Buried his talent...
We are told that...
18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
The the phrase “went here”..... means to travel in the exact opposite direction…Instead of investing the masters money… he did the complete opposite..
He dug a hole and buried the money in it.
There is a contrast between the “aggressive … [and] recessive verbs” in our text —instead of forward-moving verbs like “traded” and “made” used of the first two servants, the third servant “dug” and “hid.”
You have active and passive responses.. but..
Before we get too hard on the Servant with one talent...
We need to know that this practice of burying treasure was quite common in the day.. that people would literally bury their fortunes… for safe keeping..
To some who were listening to this parable it might be considered acceptable and maybe the safer option… or ever the responsible thing to do...
But not according Jesus...
What do we learn from this servants actions… There were also some a assumptions made by this servant as well…There is the assumption that...
1. The master has no expectation of a return on his investment…
The servant is satisfied with returning the investment in tact… to his master…
2. The assumption was that Stewardship meant holding what he had…… success is defined as holding on to what you have and taking no risks.
When I was younger my dad owned a Bottle store and once a while he would step out for a moment and say to my brother and I … Can you hold the fort…for a moment... … Keep things running .... This is what this servant was doing… Keeping the fort… Keeping things running.... but there is no forward advance… no plan for progress…
Here is the problem is that we don’t associate Responsibility with taking Risks
In a sense you could interpret then one talented servant as the responsible one…He is the one who is protecting the procession of the master…
Here is the thing God himself is an investor…a risk taker ... when God created the heaven and the earth he did so extravagantly .... God used a lot of real-estate… scientists are baffled and thinking out of all the billions of galaxies there must be other life… somewhere else…
When Jesus walked on the planet he invested his life… in people…and especially in his followers… Jesus gave extravagantly on the cross..he gave himself wholly for us...
T/S The invitation....
T/S What nature of the Invitation? The invitation is too
1. Embrace the gifts that God has entrusted you with.
2. Embrace Risks and Avoid the pitfalls of regret.

3. Embrace the Long view of Eternal Plan and purpose

I was listening to this clip by Francis Chan this week on his series on crazy love… and He was challenging Christians to take a moment to consider the brevity of life… He quoted where human life is described as a vapour… A vapour is basically a puff of wind… mere breathe… some thing that your can’t get your hand on… the nearest thing to Zero (Derek Kidner)
What is Francis saying? He is telling us that we start living for eternity right now… not wasting a moment… of time…
This is what Jesus teaches us in the Parable of the Talents… How to live in the Kingdom of God right Now…
Matthew 25:19–21 ESV
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
We told that after some time the master returns from His Journey…This is the most important verse in our parable.... If the master never came back there would never be any accountability for what has been given...
The master is interested in how the servants had handled his investment....We learn that the servant with the 5 talents… and the servant with 2 talents had doubled the initial investment… The master is well pleased… Not just because of the outcome… but because they had been Faithful stewards…
Well done my good and faithful servant ---enter into the joy of the master...
Then the servant with the one talent steps forward
Matthew 25:24–26 ESV
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
What is sad about the One talent.. is that He was actually giving up on His potential and his future… By burying the money he gave up on increasing the capital.
By so doing, he misunderstood the master’s character, even though he later says he understood him. “His good intention, misled by a wrong understanding of his master, produced the opposite result.…
According to the message of the parable, good intentions are not enough” The result was that he lost the Gift that he was given… What he had was given to one who would invest in the Kingdom..
Jesus approach to the gifts and his grace is to either use it or lose it. God expects that his followers will trust him and walk in faith and risk and opportunities
The man with one talent returns with the one talent that he had been given.
what surprise here is JESUS Tells this servant that his failure to risk was actually a sin
One day you will have to give account for your life. It can be an awesome thing, as depicted by the first two servants in the parable, or it can be yet another instance of excuses and blame.
The master corrects wrong thinking… Master you known that I have reaped where I haven’t sown… The very least you could have done is deposited the talent in a bank and received interest... on the investment..
Conclusion.
This morning we have been invited to live a life of responsibility! That means looking at the graces that we have been given…to us… and learning to walk by Faith...
If you look back on your life that the majority of your successes came from the times that you were willing to take a chance and step out in Faith..
When we Living in Africa --- We received an invitation from the Church that I had worked for as a intern to return back to the States… It was a risk.. step of faith…
When we left for Seminary with nothing… it was a Risk… All the good things that have happened in our lives is because were willing to take a risk..
William Carey the father of Modern mission … was a risk taker… Carey...
“I'm a dreamer and continue to dream of what can and will be”William Carey
"Expect great things from God, Attempting great things for God”William Carey
We all have opportunities, but we have uneven, unfair amounts of opportunity. To be a person who can say, "I'm taking responsibility of my life—really," means I'm an individual who takes responsibility for the opportunities that come my way, really. I'm not going to take them for granted, and I'm not going to make excuses, and I'm not going to compare myself to the people around me.
The bottom line is simply this: to whom something is given—regardless how great or small—something is required. It is when we embrace that and embrace it through the lens of a God who loves us, we begin to be serious about taking full responsibility for our lives.
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