- Sermon Notes
Illus. Eyes on the prize.
This morning we are going to study another famous parable that Jesus gave. It is the parable of talents and one that highlights the importance of the way in which we live our lives considering all we have been given in this life. The parable given provided insight into the reality of Jesus’ return and what He expects of those who are in Christ.
In other words, the way you live and what you do with all that God gives is important. It is so important that when He returns, there will be an accounting of it all. Jesus tells us this as He reveals the reality of His return so that you, me, and all throughout history would be those who hear His words and are really ready for His return with a true understanding of what that means for us currently, and eternally.
The context of the text is for those who are on earth at the end of the tribulation period when Jesus makes His return to earth, His Second Coming. But the application extends to us. As I have noted, the church will be raptured before the great tribulation and that could happen at any time. So, for any and all who are on earth, either now, or at the end of the tribulation, this Scripture and our need to be those that are really ready, is important for all to see.
Read: Matthew 25:14-30
As Jesus highlights the importance of being ready for His return, He gives the picture of a wealthy man who was going away on a journey. While he was away, he entrusted talents into the care of his servants. While he was away, they were to steward the talents. A steward is a person who manages another person’s property.
As we know, the work parable means to throw, place, or lay something alongside of something else for the purpose of comparison. Jesus is throwing the picture of a wealthy man giving talents to his servants, alongside the reality of Jesus’ return at His second coming. And in this life we live currently, it is an important picture to see because the way we live, and what we do with all God gives, has implications eternally.
Jesus is expressing the importance of using what the Lord has given and entrusted for His purpose and His glory.
I. See Yourself as a Steward
- To the servants, the man going away divided up talents. To each servant a different amount was given. The first was given five talents, the second was given two talents and the third was given one.
- To best understand what was being given out and entrusted to the servants, we must understand what a talent is.
- The talents referred to here and are given out are not physical skills. While when we hear the word “talent,” we may immediately go to what talent means in our society, it is important to understand what it meant in their day historically.
- In context, the term talent refers specifically to money. A “talent” was a sum of money, it originally meant “weight of money,” and its value was determined by whether it was gold, silver, or copper. Gold talents being the most valuable, then silver, then copper.
- Since it is not specified, I will use the middle option as the example to express the value. One talent of silver would have been valued at 20 years wages.
- What is given to each is according to their ability, this shows that there is an awareness of what was proper for each servant to have.
- While talents were worth a great deal, the actual worth of the talents were not as important as the emphasis is on the accountability for differing levels of responsibility based on what has been entrusted to an individual.
- Because the parable illustrates the kingdom of heaven, the man in the story represents Christ who we know from John 14:1-3 has gone away to prepare a place for us.
- What they have been given and entrusted, was not theirs personally. What they were given was given from their master who went on a journey. They were however, given charge and responsibility over what was entrusted, and they needed to steward well.
- So too for me and for you, all that we have been given is from God, that being the case, it is important that we remember this and are sure to see ourselves as stewards.
Romans 11:36, For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
James 1:17, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…
- We are all stewards, meaning nothing that we have is ours, and ours alone. And this parable is a reminder to us that all we have been given is from God.
- The time, energy, ability, and money we have is given from God. Those are the things that we have been entrusted and we are to steward.
- When we stand before Jesus, at the judgement seat of Christ, He will hold us accountable for how we lived and what we did with what we have been given.
- If we don’t realize that we are stewards, then we can easily compartmentalize what is ours, and what is God’s, but the reality is, it is all His!
- In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul says, “you are not your own.” In Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” In Romans 14:8, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Psalm 50:10-12, For every animal of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and everything it contains.
- From what He has, He gives, but the parable being presented illustrates the importance of our understanding that it is all His, every good and perfect gift.
Colossians 1:16, For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Colossians 3:23-24, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
- God has given it all, with our all, in whatever we do, we work heartily, as unto the Lord, recognizing that it is all for and from Him, and from Him we will receive a reward. Jesus wants us to really be ready. He is saying the way you live with what He gives matters.
- So, we have the three servants, one gets five talents, one gets two and the other gets one.
- There was a day of accountability, a day of reckoning and this is what the Lord wants us to see.
- Invest What Has Been Entrusted
- We see the importance of this principle clearly on the day of accountability.
- Each of the servants took the money and did differently.
Matthew 25:16, The one who had received the five talents immediately went and did business with them and earned five more talents.
Matthew 25:17, In the same way the one who had received the two talents earned two more.
Matthew 25:18, But he who received the one talent went away and dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
- When the money was given, each one did something with it immediately. The first two went and got more, the third buried it.
- What is evident is that each of the three upon receiving the talents, knew immediately what they wanted to do with them.
- The first two immediately went out in order to made more, and the third immediately went to bury it in the ground somewhere.
- The accountability came after a long while and wait. Whatever the servants were doing with what had been given was what they had been doing with it for a long time.
- Each one had a determined disposition in the way they lived out their lives and handled what had been given.
Matthew 25:20, After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
- The expectation of all three was that they would take what they were given and get more. That they would be profitable with what was entrusted.
- With what has been entrusted to us, there is an expectation as to what we do with and when we go to be with Him, or for those who are on earth when He returns, all of those things will be processed through God’s system of accounting.
Matthew 6:20-21, But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- If what is most important to our lives are the earthly treasures, we must know that they are temporary and will pass away.
- Jesus tells His followers to place their treasure in heaven. Why? Your heart follows what you treasure.
Illus. What is happening?
- It is not wrong to possess things in this earth, that is not the point. It is, however, wrong to let the things of this earth possess you.
Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
- No one can serve (belong to) two masters.
- Here Jesus highlights the impossibility of serving God and wealth. Essentially, our treasure is either in heaven, or on earth.
Illus. Give it to the Lord.
- The important truth is, we can live our lives today, with eternity in view. Knowing that we have an opportunity, albeit a short one in comparison to eternity to make a real, significant, and genuine impact for God’s kingdom.
1 Timothy 6:17-19, Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
- It is not about what you have or what another has or doesn’t have, but about who or what has your heart. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
- In this life, we store up treasures in heaven when we treasure Jesus most of all. When He is our treasure we commit our time, energy, ability, and money to His work in this world.
Hebrews 6:10, For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
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.
- For the servants entrusted talents, the interesting thing about the increase that came was that the first two gave their increase back to the giver.
- The giver, however, would give them much more than they could ever get personally.
1 Peter 4:10-11, As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- There will be a day of reckoning, a day of accounting. A judgement day, when we will stand before Jesus, the judgement seat of Christ and give an account of what we did with what we were made responsible for.
2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.
Romans 14:10, But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
- What we must understand however, and the picture Jesus is painting powerfully, is that on that day it’s not just about what we did with what He gave, but also what we did not do with what we had.
- In investing we also understand there is a risk vs. reward factor and it is so easy to go and bury what God has given, rather than understand that there is a way He wants us to live our lives and invest all He has given.
- Choose Faithfulness
- There is a distinct difference in the disposition and also the ultimate destination of the first two servants and the third.
- Those two lived faithfully, the third lived fearfully.
- To those who live as faithful stewards for Him with all that He has given, they will enter into His joy!
- The servant who hid his talent had his talent then taken from him, and his destination was not joy, but verse 30 says outer darkness.
- The picture of the third servant is of one who understands some things about God but chose to live His life unconcerned about what will happen on the day of His return.
- It is clear the third servant did not really know the master. On the day of reckoning, he gave excuses for what he didn’t do what he was supposed to do and offered excuses and the reality of his lack of relationship with the master.
Matthew 11:28-30, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
- The man offers misconceptions and excuses for why he did not do what he knew he was supposed to do.
- The master responded, “did you know I am one to reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed?” If so, you should have put the money in the bank and you would have received interest.
- In reality, the man simply did not know the master, and was not interested in doing anything with what he was given.
- In contrast to the one who buried his talent, we see those who gained more, and joy comes as a result of living faithfully. To both the first and the second he says, “well done good and faithful servant!”
- What makes them good servants is that they were faithful servants.
Psalm 16:11, You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Next week we will see that at His return those who are His will be set at His right hand!
- In His presence there is fulness of joy. Its not lacking, temporary, or a choice we need to make at that point, there will be fulness of joy!
- To those who live for Him with all that He has given, they will enter into His joy!
- This joy comes as a result of living faithfully. To both the first and the second he says, “well done good and faithful servant!” What makes them good servants is that they were faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man regarding us in this manner, as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful.
- 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.”
In the book “Mere Christianity” C.S. Lewis wrote, “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.”
- God has entrusted to each of us this life, each day and moment therein. As the body of Christ, let us live with faithfulness in all things. Jesus is telling us this so that we would make our lives ready, really ready…
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. The one who had received the five talents immediately went and did business with them, and earned five more talents. In the same way the one who had received the two talents earned two more. But he who received the one talent went away and dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 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 earned five more talents.’ 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 the joy of your master.’ “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have earned two more talents.’ 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 the joy of your master.’ “Now the one who had received the one talent also came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed. And I was afraid, so I went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you still have what is yours.’ “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You worthless, lazy slave! Did you know that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed? Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore: take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “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. And throw the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.