misunderstand what we teach; We are not teaching salvation by works!
But, by golly, your works will reflect the sincerity of your belief in the Lord!
In our last study Jesus Christ told us in a parable what the difference is between a wise virgin and a "moros" or foolish virgin. Hopefully you have determined which kind you are or which kind you will be from now on! Many people claim to "know Jesus" and yet they do not know what the Word of God has to say on different matters of either individual or national counsel. As a simple example, if someone who claims to know Jesus Christ cannot tell you so basic a precept as to what He has to say regarding the penalty for premeditated murder, then that someone cannot claim to know Jesus Christ, the Word of God, very well, can he? Then too, if someone claims Jesus Christ can return at any moment, even though He Himself has plainly stated that the abominable one comes first to deceive the whole world into believing he is Christ, then that person either knows his preacher or church doctrine better than he knows the Lord, or he doesn't believe Jesus Christ knows what He is talking about. A word to the wise and now let's move on.
The next question is: As a wise Christian, do you know why you are here at this time? Would you consider yourself a servant of the Living God, one who has been sent by the householder to do some work and labor in his vineyard or is there nothing you need to do to please Him other than to say you love Jesus and go around being sugar-sweet to everyone? Well, that is the subject in today's study as Jesus Christ now shows us the difference between servants who willfully labor and produce fruit for the kingdom and a servant who is so concerned only about his or her own salvation that he or she is too lazy to produce anything worthy of His reward. Is Christianity a "free ride"?
Once again, Jesus is going to use an illustration, a symbolic analogy, to paint a picture in our mind's eye to give a basis on the first level to enable us to "see" His point on the higher, spiritual level. Once again however, you must have the key to understand what and who the symbols represent. To that end, there are but a few symbols which we need to understand to see what He would have us know. And like the Parable of the 10 Virgins where He showed us both the reward for the wise and stiff recompense for the foolish, He is going to show us the reward of the happy productive servants verses the punishment of the wicked and slothful and unprofitable one. So grab your oil vessels and let's once again go up to the Mount of Olives and let His oil flow into the buds of our minds that we might be illuminated by His Spirit!
Jesus Christ is that one who has journeyed into a "far country" and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He has left His set of instructions and easy to follow work orders and has entrusted His servants, those who believe on Him, with His precious gems of truth and knowledge and wisdom to carry on His business, His work, of declaring the gospel of the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Ps. 22:30-31), i.e. His work of bringing salvation to whosoever will.Matthew 25:14
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
Our Father is loaded with all sorts of resources, both spiritual and physical, to support and enable the willing laborer to do His works.John 14:12-13
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
If the purpose in your asking is to fuel your lamps so as to let your light shine that others may see your good works, i.e. His works through you, and therefore "glorify your Father which is in heaven", (not you) then He will see to it that you are given what you need. Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." The point is, He is expecting His servants to produce fruit from their labor that He might reap an increase when He returns at the sound of the 7th Trump. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
First of all, it is His "goods" (vs. 14) that He delivers unto His servants and the talents are the "measure" of those goods that He gives to each individual according to that person's several ability, which is according to each person's own strength and capability.Matthew 25:15
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
This demonstrates the complete and utter fairness of our Father in that He will not "overload your donkey" so to speak and give you more than you are able to handle. This principle applies to the "goods", the "labor", and even to the degree of trials and tribulations He permits you to suffer. 1 Cor. 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." In other words, whatsoever your Father has given unto you, He knows that you are capable of handling it. So if you are a real "can do" type person who not only can but is also willing to "cut the mustard", then He can count on you to labor in the vineyard.ability, dunamis, doo'-nam-is, Greek 1411; from Greek 1410 (dunamai); force (literal or figurative); specially miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself) :- ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, might (wonderful) work.
However, it is not the degree nor the measure of goods He gives to you that determines your worth or your reward for He knows that if you are faithful in that which is least, you will be faithful in much and vice versa, i.e. he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. So never complain concerning what God has given you. Then too, you might overload your own donkey till your legs buckle under the self imposed pressure or load, but He will not do it to you. On the other hand, if you demonstrate that you can faithfully handle the talents He has given you, He will give you more as exampled in today's study.
So one servant received five talents, another two talents, and another only one talent.
How does one make increase of his or her talents? The same way you increase your income and everything else. Through hard work! You joyfully labor at it by being a wise Christian and filling your vessel with that rich golden oil and through prayer and supplication, ask for those things necessary to do His will and produce fruit for the kingdom of God. Plant seeds and/or teach and "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15). Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
In other words, you trade or use, as in work with whatever talents God has given you and you shall be just like the one who received five talents and produced an increase double that which was given unto him.traded, ergazomai, er-gad'-zom-ahee, Greek 2038; middle from Greek 2041 (ergon); to toil (as a task, occupation, etc.), (by implication) effect, be engaged in or with, etc. :- commit, do, labor for, minister about, trade (by), work.
His increase was also double that which he had received. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
Uh oh! We've got the equivalent of a "moros" here! Now it is important to understand what this servant who had received only one talent did. He "went" and he "digged in the earth" and "hid (covered up) the goods"! Hey, you can't produce an increase if you have nothing to work with. However, in this case it is not that the servant had nothing to work with because he did, he was just too wicked and slothful to use what God had given him. Another analogy to this would be for a servant to hide his light under a bushel. Do you know what work you do when you do that? You aid the darkness! But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
This servant "went off track" and departed from the instructions given to Him and "followed" after the crowd, working with the traditions of men instead of the talent of goods our Father gave him. Thus he covered up His Lord's precious truth and knowledge and probably helped promote the killing, chilling, lie, that you don't need to study the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation, etc. Just believe in Jesus and have love in your heart and you will be reaped just as you are when the Lord comes to fly you away!went, aperchomai, ap-erkh'-om-ahee, Greek 565; from Greek 575 (apo) and Greek 2064 (erchomai); to go off (i.e. depart), aside (i.e. apart) or behind (i.e. follow), literal or figurative :- come, depart, go (aside, away, back, out,...ways), pass away, be past.
This is akin to Ezekiel 13:17-18 where the false servants sew pillows over the outstretched saving arms of our Father and hide His precious truth while teaching people to "fly to save their souls" (vs. 20)! Our Father doesn't like it one bit and He says so very plainly in Ezek. 13.hid, apokrupto, ap-ok-roop'-to, Greek 613; from Greek 575 (apo) and Greek 2928 (krupto); to conceal away (i.e. fully); figurative to keep secret :- hide.
So this servant who received just one talent went astray and did not even try to work with what God gave him. Ok, let's move to "payday" which is when the Lord returns at the sound of the 7th Trump. Oh, bring your record book with you so the Lord can reckon (settle up) with you!
Time to give account of your labor! The man with the five talents joyfully steps up first and tells his Lord what he had done. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Here is his Lord's response. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
If a servant of God produces fruit in the vineyard, that means that the kingdom of God has been increased and our family has grown! That is always a wonderful and joyous thing. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
And you know what else? If you truly are a servant of God and you are not laboring with whatever measure of treasure God has given unto you, be it great or be it small, then you are not a happy camper. Think about it! Again, don't overestimate that which He has given unto you to labor with, but be a wise virgin and always use wisdom and common sense.
Then the one who had received two talents stepped forward and showed the Lord his increase, which percentage wise was the same as the man who had received 5 talents. Notice that His reward is exactly the same even as verse 21 and verse 23 are identical. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
Your reward shall not be diminished because you had fewer talents than someone else. Your reward comes from trying and doing your Father's will, His way, using the "goods", the knowledge and wisdom and truth of His Word and not the iniquitous traditions of men which make void the Word of God. Matthew 15:9 "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Now guess who is last in line? This ought to be good!
A "hard man"? He knew the "God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" was an "hard man"? Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
The traditions of men, as taught in many of our churches, teach our people that once they are "saved" there is nothing more they need do. No need to study. No need to trade with the talents God has given unto them.Just believe and have love in your heart and perhaps go to church every Sunday (with your wallet), and God will come take you away just as you are. Sure, that does not sound moros at all! What they really teach is you can just sit around the house, in your pew, for 3 or 4 decades and suck on a milk bottle (Heb. 5:11-14) instead of laboring to become knowledgeable and productive whereby you might be able to actually teach someone and lead him or her to the Living Water of Life, His Holy Word. Do not misunderstand what is being said. We are not teaching salvation by works at all. We are talking about "His own servants" (vs. 14), "those who already believe on Him (Jn. 14:12-13)". The point is, if you are a servant of the Living God sent to labor in the vineyard, then you are not here so much to save yourself, for He has already justified you and chosen you and called you to your labor (Rom. 8:30), but rather to bring forth the "goods", i.e. the "good treasure", Old Testament and New, which He has entrusted you with and given you a measure (talent) thereof!hard, skleros, sklay-ros', Greek 4642; from the base of Greek 4628 (skelos); dry, i.e. hard or tough (figurative harsh, severe) :- fierce, hard.
Do you remember the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13? If you are a wise virgin and you have been instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, then you have work to do! Trade with His goods, His treasure, in loving your brothers and sisters! Matthew 13:52 "Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Seems some are more concerned about themselves and flying away into the clouds than their brothers and sisters who are steeped in traditions and have need of His truth to set them free of their bondage. Again, we have already learned that our Father's labor is not grievous for He does not give us more than we can handle.
He was fearful for his own salvation. What a shame! This is his lame excuse, but the real reason is known by the Lord and revealed in the next verse. You "see", he was a wicked and slothful servant saying "Here I am Lord... just as you found me, and here is your one talent back!" And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
This man expects God to do all His reaping miraculously without any sewing and without any laborers. He obviously did not understand the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Nevertheless, he at least knew God wanted to reap so he should have at least been wise enough to invest His goods in a bank and allow some interest to accrue, wouldn't you think? His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
A wise person should be sharp enough to know that if there is no labor of sowing and reaping required, then why would the Lord even bother to give talents unto His servants? What purpose would it serve? Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Nevertheless, if a servant is not going to produce anything with the talent God has given unto him, do you think He is going to keep him on the payroll? Hardly! He is going to take his talent from the non-producer and give it to someone who is not only capable but has demonstrated that he is trustworthy and will use it to produce fruit for the kingdom.
The man with ten talents proved himself to be a faithful servant and God knew he could handle another talent's worth of His goods. In fact, everyone who has increase shall be given reward and shall have great abundance! But the slothful, spiritually dead, I'm-only-concerned-about-me servant who works iniquity and therefore covers up the truth of our Father's life saving Word, shall lose out big time and take his place outside the wedding door for a thousand years. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
Weeping and gnashing of teeth occurs during the Millennium which begins as "crunch time" for both the "moros virgins" and the "unprofitable servants". We certainly do not wish that fate upon anyone and neither does our Father, so let's be about our Father's business and continue to labor for our brother's and sister's sake. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In our next study, Christ will go one step further and show us exactly what was the actual labor of the profitable servants and vice versa!
... to be continued.
E-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to have your essay
as part of the American Wisdom Series
submit your manuscript to Rhine Publishing Co
at the address above for consideration, or e-mail us
at the address shown on our home page.
Click Here to Return to "The American Wisdom Series" home page.