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1. Accomplishing the mission of our Master

1.1. The mission of our “Master” = Using our potential to be a value-add to His (new) kingdom (i.e., the church) through the

cultivation of its assets (14-17). (14) “entrusted his possessions…talents [literally, weights of value]”, (27) “money” = Kingdom assets, those things determining the kingdom’s value. (15) “each according to his ability” = Potential based on one’s resources and opportunities. (16, 17) “traded and gained”, (27) “money back with interest” = Cultivation.

1.2. Accomplishing the mission of our Master is necessary to being ready when we meet Him (24:44 w/25:13 w/14a “for it is just like…”). IOW: it is necessary to receiving (final) salvation (versus damnation) (21 versus 30).

1.3. Adding to the value of Jesus’ (new) kingdom/church is the reason He (the Master) purchased (redeemed/saved) us out of this condemned world. IOW: the gracious gift of our salvation (i.e., forgiveness/escape from hell/eternity in heaven) is reciprocal (26 = Jesus expects a ROI).

1.4. Maintaining our salvation therefore includes this aspect of obedience. We must make sure we are the kind of Christian whose life is a value-add to the mission of our Master. Consider:

1) Christians are the “slaves” (14) of God (term used most frequently in the Bible to describe God’s people). Slaves have no rights or reason to live beyond the mission of their master (again, this is why they are purchased).

2) Our potential (“ability”) plays a crucial role in determining whether we were faithful to our Master’s mission – i.e., did our potential match our performance? (15 w/29).

3) The third slave is considered “wicked” and sent to hell not because of living an unholy life (e.g., he didn’t steal the master’s talent), but rather because he refused to be productive – or productive according to his master’s preference (Mat 7:21-23 = Those condemned chose to serve Jesus according to their preference versus God’s preference [“the will of My Father”]).

1.5. According to Jesus, failing to be productive (according to your potential and God’s will for your life) means you are still wicked and worthy of hell.

 

2. Kinds of Christians: value-add (v-a) and value-bad (v-b)

2.1. “Lions” (v-a Christians) (16-17):

1) they make good use of their “ability”/they live up to their potential/they have a great ROI. In the case of the first two servants in our parable, they had a 100% ROI!

2) they view Christianity like the military: they respect authority and live for the mission (20, “Master… you entrusted to me…see I have gained”).

3) they are bold and courageous: they capitalize on their fear versus being controlled by their fear (25, “afraid”).

4) they have sense of urgency and always execute the mission (16 “immediately”).

5) their value is determined by the value of the church (Phi 2:3-4; this is what removes selfishness; it is how we die to self and live for Christ).

6) lions love pain (their perspective: pain = gain).

7) lions know – and are good with, God’s love being conditioned upon performance (Joh 17:4).

8) lions are like/imitate Jesus and so go to heaven (23 “joy of the master” = Heaven, where “the Lion from the tribe of Judah” lives – Rev 5:5; Joh 17:4).

2.2. “Chickens” (v-b Christians) (18):

1) they do not live up to their ability/potential. Like chickens who bury their eggs, the wicked servant buried his ability/potential so that others [in this case, the master] cannot benefit from them (25-27). Important point NOT to miss: it’s not enough to serve if what we do falls short of our ability/potential-i.e., we possess a poor ROI (e.g., pastor becoming a lay-teacher in the church – Would that be an acceptable ROI? Could I say I had been faithful w/my ability/potential?).

2) they view Christianity like a book club: no one is boss, we exist to discuss what we like in God’s book/complain [squawk like chickens] about what we don’t.

3) they are big talkers/squawkers who end up being nothing more than lazy cowards and emotional wrecks (26 “lazy” = cowardly = selfish)

4) they hate anything urgent, make excuses and often fail to execute the mission (24 w/26 = Servant rejected the urgency of the mission assigned by his master).

5) their value is determined by what others think of them/how they view themselves in relation to others (in the church) (e.g., 24 = The wicked servant’s value was determined by how superior he felt to others [“a hard/harsh man”]).

6) chickens avoid pain (their perspective: pain = not necessary for gain) (24 w/25; e.g., pastor chooses a different career path because of the pain and effort required).

7) chickens delude themselves into believing that God’s love for them is unconditional/not performance-based – i.e., they are evangelicals (25 = the wicked servant assumes his master will be okay w/his lack of performance).

8) chickens go to hell (30 “outer darkness…weeping and gnashing of teeth” = Hell; Mat 13:42 see also Rev 22:18).

2.3. “Hogs and dogs” (very v-b Christians) (Mat 7:6):

1) they are worse than hell-bound chickens. Hogs and dogs have no genuine interest in adding value to Jesus’ kingdom.

2) they despise the “holy” mission given to them at their conversion and anyone who attempts to push them in that direction they will “tear…to pieces”.

3) though citizens of Jesus’ kingdom, they hate His rule/authority (Luk 19:14)

4) hogs and dogs not only fail to execute but drain (“devour”) the resources of the church.

 

On Judgment Day, all farm animals (chickens, hogs and dogs) will be thrown into the lake of fire by the angels (Mat 13:41-42; “stumbling blocks” = Chickens, those who by their cowardly selfishness and laziness promote the same in others; “those who commit lawlessness” = Hogs and dogs, those who despise God’s holy law and those who practice/enforce it [“they will devour you – Mat 7:6]).

Only royal animals (lions) make it to heaven (Mat 13:43; “the righteous will shine forth as the sun” = V-A, royalty language – see Dan 12:3 w/Psa 80:1, 132:17-18])

 

3.Cultivation of the Kingdom’s assets

3.1. How we cultivate the Kingdom (or Church’s) assets = Through the bold AND consistent promotion of her 3 main assets in our lives, church, and the world (boldness and consistency = cultivation)

3.2. Why boldness? Boldness brings conviction, and conviction – not conversion is the goal. Only the HS can bring conversion. We are called to create conviction not conversion (Ecc 10:4 [“allays” = removes]; Act 2:47, 4:29). boldness = conviction

Signs associated w/boldness (how you know you are being bold, and people are convicted):

1) They want to hear more/get right with God (Act 2:36-37)

2) They get angry, say mean things, avoid or condemn you or seek to hurt you (Act 7:52-54).

3.3. Why consistency? Past victories/faithfulness only counts if you keep producing in the present (Eze 18:24; Mat 21:19). consistency = perseverance

3.4. The 3 main assets of Jesus’ (new) Kingdom (the Church) that must be boldly and consistently promoted in our lives, church and the world:

1) TRUTH (the reality of the K) [God’s Word – most esp. His gospel] (Mar 16:15 [v20]; Luk 24:46-48 w/Act 1:8 – Notice it includes those who already think they are saved [“Jerusalem and in all Judea” = the Jews]; Lev 19:16-18 w/Psa 34:12-13; Isa 8:20; Joh 17:17; Eph 4:15; 1Pe 2:22; 1Jo 3:18; remember Rev 22:15).

2) JUSTICE (the function of the K) [God’s prescription] (Psa 34:14 [“peace” = justice]; Psa 37:30, 97:2, 106:3; Pro 21:3, 28:4; Isa 1:27, 9:7, 16:5, 42:1, 4, 51:4, 56:1; e.g., Mat 5:21-48).

3) BEAUTY (the setting of the K) [symmetry](Gen 2:15 [“Eden” = Paradise – place of beauty; “cultivate” = to promote/spread abroad]; Exo 28:2; Psa 27:4 w/Psa 50:4 w/Psa 96:6; Eze 16:14 “your fame went forth among the nations because of your beauty”; Isa 62:1-12 [v3]w/Hos 14:6-7= Messiah’s coming kingdom/people will be characterized and conquer not only by truth and justice, but beauty; hence the prophets’ lament in Lam 2:15; “Beauty will save the world” – Dostoevsky).

 

CLOSING CONTEMPLATION:

1)     Based on the resources and opportunities provided to you, are you making good use of your potential in boldly and consistently promoting truth, justice, and beauty to those in your home, church and the world? IOW: are you a value-add to Jesus’ (new)kingdom, the church?

2)     Based on your present state, where do you best fit in: with the lions, the chickens, or the hogs and dogs?

3)     Would your pastor – or others in the church who know you (and will be truthful with you), agree with your answers?

4)     Imagine a church filled with lions.