- Sermon Notes
Be Ready for Things to Come
To quote from the famous American philosopher, Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a chang’in.” But they are changing in ways that are deeply concerning. We are seeing prophecy unfolding before our very eyes.
The events of the last few months are like earthquakes. This Covid-19 virus has impacted the whole world, but the 2nd wave of impact will be economic. The fallout from that has yet to be seen.
The third wave that will follow will be famines as the fallout from the economic impact deepens. But to make matters even worse, there is a locust plague in Africa of what could be described as a locust plague of biblical proportions.
Then recently, major flooding in eastern DRC destroying more than 3500 homes leaving 10,000 families homeless.
These events should get our attention and alert us that we are seeing the beginning of birth pangs Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24 and 25.
We are living in perilous times, but how do we respond? Jesus said to prepare your life by renewing your faith and pursuing revival.
In Matthew 25 Jesus continues to speak to His disciples answering the question, “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 the “signs of the times” so we can discern and understand the conditions that will take place in the world that will indicate that the time of the end is drawing near. The condition of things in the world that He lists are being fulfilled today. These are the “beginning of birth pangs,” they are like the buds on the tree that indicates summer draws near.
There will be wars and rumors of war. There will be plagues and 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 spoke of the importance of watching for the return of the Son of Man and being ready. “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.”
“The Lord will come like a thief in the night,” Jesus said. “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 gave two more parables about the importance of watching and being ready. These parables are significant because they give insight and understanding into what God wants you to do while we’re waiting for His return.
I. Be Ready by Being Faithful
- A parable is given to teach one main point. One of my professors in Bible college used to say, “Don’t torture a parable to extract nuances of theology, for if you torture a parable long enough, it will confess to anything.”
- When I first read this parable many years ago, I didn’t know what a talent was, and I assumed it meant the gifts and abilities God had given me.
- In an interesting turn, our modern word “talent” actually comes from this very verse here that we’re studying.
- This parable is significant because it’s directly applied to your life. This is what God wants you to do with your life as you see the end drawing near.
A. Spend your life well
- God entrusts to you your heart, soul, mind and strength and expects you to use those things for His glory in your daily living.
- He also gives you your abilities, your capacities to learn and to grow and expects you to use those for His glory as well.
Luke 12:48 …From everyone who has been given much, much will be expected.
- 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 fruit.
- Jesus is not giving financial investment advice here. He wasn’t the EF Hutton of the first century; this is a life lesson in how you spend your life. It most certainly could be applied to your finances, but don’t stop there, apply it to every area of your life.
- Be about your Father’s business. What is your Father doing? It’s about people, that’s what matters to God. 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 people of the church.
- It’s all about being faithful to what God has ask you to do with your life.
- Be careful how you live, Jesus is saying. The worries and cares and pursuits of this life can choke out the word and distract you from what God wants to do with your life.
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 being faithful to what God has given us.
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 a theme that you see over and over in the Word of God; God blesses faithfulness. Be steady and be faithful and God’s blessings will follow.
- You 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. They give an account, and they receive rewards for their faithfulness.
- In this parable, the master accused the servant who buried his talent of being a wicked, lazy servant because he didn’t do even 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 servant who was given one talent did.
Others don’t do anything because they believe their life is of little value. “Who am I that God could use me?” They say to themselves.
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,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, “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 12:37, 40, “Blessed are those servants whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them… You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
II. Live as Unto the Lord
- In the next parable, Jesus says that when we live as God wants us to live; we are doing it unto Him. In your husbanding, do it for the Lord. In your wifing, do it unto the Lord…
- When the Son of Man comes in all His glory 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, are those who have not accepted God’s offer of life. They 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 He does.
- 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, My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism… If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
- Jesus makes the point 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
- 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 25:13-46 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
Parable of the Talents
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his [b]master’s money.
19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [c]master.’
22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money [d]in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
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.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”