- Sermon Notes
Watch and Be Ready - 2
Here in Matthew 25 Jesus is still giving a message to His disciples which we now call the Olivet Discourse. This section began when Jesus prophesied that the city of Jerusalem and the Temple itself would be completely destroyed, "Not one stone left upon another," Jesus said.
The disciples then came to Jesus when He was sitting on the Mount of Olives and asked the questions, "Tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?"
Jesus then gave them the "signs of the times" so that we might discern and understand the conditions that will take place in the world that will indicate that we are in the last days. The condition of things that He lists for them are interesting because we see so many of them being fulfilled before our eyes.
Jesus said there would be many false prophets and false messiahs who would mislead many. There will be wars and rumors of war. There will be famines and earthquakes that will grow with greater intensity and be closer together as the events of the last days draw nearer. There will be a great falling away, or apostasy, as unrighteousness of worldliness increases and most people's love will grow cold.
Jesus then gives several parables to give insight and instruction on the importance of watching for the return of the Son of Man and having our lives be ready.
He said, "The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah, before the flood. They were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage and did not understand until the flood came and took them all away."
He said that the Lord would come like a thief in the night. "If the master of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert. For this reason you to be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you did not think He will."
In chapter 25, Jesus gives more parables about the importance of watching and being ready. Last week we looked at a parable Jesus gave about 10 bridesmaids who were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish because they had not prepared by taking oil for their lamps and five of them were wise because they were ready, they had oil.
Now as we look at the rest of chapter 25 Jesus gives two more parables about the importance of watching and being ready. These parables are extremely significant for our lives because they give us insight and understanding into what God wants us to do with our lives while we're waiting for His return.
These parables are all about how you spend the life that God has given you. How you live is very important to God for He has entrusted much into your care and He is expecting you to live your life wisely.
The other lesson we understand from these parables is that there will be a day when we will meet our Lord and give an account for how we lived our lives.
I. Be Ready by Being Faithful
- Remember that a parable is given to teach one main point. We are not to torture a parable to extract nuances of theology, for if you torture a parable long enough, it will confess to anything.
- Jesus said that it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his servants to himself and entrusted great possessions to them.
- To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability.
- When I first read this parable many years ago, I didn't know what a talent was and I assumed it meant my gifts and abilities God had given me.
- What's interesting is that our modern word "talent" actually comes from this very verse here that we’re studying. It originally meant "a weight of money," with the value determined by whether it was gold, silver, or copper.
- If it's not specified, it usually meant silver. At today's silver values, a talent of silver would be worth about $55,000. In Jesus's time, a talent of silver would be worth about 20 years wages at minimum wage or $350,000.
- This parable has great significance and it has affected many people in a powerful way because it draws us into an understanding of what God wants us to do with our lives.
A. God expects us to spend our life well
- The whole point to this parable is that God entrusts to us our heart, soul, mind and strength and expects us to use those things for His glory.
- He also gives us our abilities, our capacities to learn and to grow and expects us to use that as well for His glory.
Luke 12:48, ... From everyone who has been given much, much will be expected.
- The picture of the wise servant is one who received from his master and then invested it, in other words, he did something with it, which produced something more.
- Perhaps he invested in a crop, or something similar, but the idea is that he put it somewhere where it could grow and bear much fruit.
- The point is to be about your Father's business. What is your Father doing? He's changing lives and that's what He wants you to be about as well.
Illus - God gives spiritual gifts to the church. For what reason? every spiritual gift is given for the purpose of building up and edifying the church.
- It's all about being faithful to what God has asked us to do with our lives.
- Why are some people not making a difference and producing godly fruit?
Luke 8:14, "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard the Word, but as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity."
James 4:3, You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
1 Corinthians 4:2, In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful.
- It's also interesting that he gives according to their abilities. We could be jealous over other people’s abilities, but it would just take away from our own faithfulness to what we have been given.
Illus - I remember a critical turning point in my life when a pastor challenged me to have something to show for how I spent my life.
Illus - I also remember another pastor who challenged me to use what God had given me for His glory.
B. God blesses faithfulness
- This is one of those themes that we see over and over in the Word of God; God blesses faithfulness.
- Here we see it again in this parable. The man entrusted his possessions to his servants and expected them to produce fruit with how they lived their lives. But then they must give an account, but also receive rewards.
- In this parable, the master accused the servant who buried his talent of being a wicked, lazy servant because he didn't even do the simplest thing with what he had been given.
Illus - When the man buried that talent in the ground, what then did he do with his time? Did he become a master of videogames?
Some people spend their life blaming others. That's what the one with one talent did.
Others don't do anything because they believe their life is of little value. But God gave His Son for you, gave you His Word, gave His Holy Spirit, and the very life you live. What more should He give?
- One of the greatest rewards we could ever receive would be to simply hear those words found in verse 21, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master."
- We may not fully understand what it means to have rewards in heaven, but one thing is for certain, we should desire them.
Matthew 6:20, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Luke 12:32-44 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds on the alert when he comes.
II. Live as Unto the Lord
- In the next parable, Jesus speaks of something very personal in how we live. In other words, when we live as God wants us to live; we are doing it unto Him.
- The parable begins by talking about when the Son of Man comes in His glory that all the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
- The sheep and the goats are separated one by one; the sheep are the believers, Christians, who will receive rewards according to their faithfulness. The goats, or unbelievers who have not accepted God's offer of life, will be separated and will receive the condemnation Jesus speaks of here in this parable.
A. Bless Jesus by blessing the least
- In verse 34, the King will say to those on His right, "I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in…"
- Then the righteous will ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?" And Jesus answered, "What you've done to the least of these brothers of Mine, you've done it unto Me."
- Jesus has a heart for the least and wants us to have the same heart as well.
- The problem is that we live in a society that is fixated on the wealthiest and most important people. The media tracks their movements, whole magazines are written so people can follow their lives. The more important, the better.
Illus – There is a story about when the Pope was visiting a foreign country and had to return quickly to the airport…
- There is another scripture that talks about this in the book of James…
James 2:1-8 The rich and the poor according to the heart of Jesus
- The point that Jesus is making is that we should have the same heart as the Lord, and that whatever we do; we should do for the Lord rather than for men.
Colossians 3:23 -24, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
B. What you don’t do is important as well
- It's interesting because the scriptures tell us that what we don't do is as important as what we do.
- This would be the sin of omission, knowing the right thing that God wants you to do and not doing it.
James 4:17, Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
- Others might see the vastness of the problem and wonder what difference they will be able to make, so why even try?
Illus- I remember hearing a story about a grandfather walking with his grandson on the beach after a storm had washed thousands of starfish to die in the hot sun…
- How we live our life matters to God. He wants us to watch, be ready, and be found faithful.
Galatians 6:9, Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we did not grow weary.
Matthew 25:14-46 NASB
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'