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The Two Jerusalems April 3, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Abraham, Galatians, Hagar, Isaac, Palm Sunday, Promises of God, Sarah.
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TWO JERUSALEMS
Galatians 4:19-31

When Jesus rode the donkey on Palm Sunday, the people were celebrating because he was riding into Jerusalem. The Jews knew that Jerusalem, specifically the Temple, was where God had chosen to place His name. They knew that from Mount Zion the Messiah would set up the kingdom where he would rule in justice over Israel and that it is there where the nations would come and worship God and submit themselves to His Messiah. It is no wonder that they were so excited.

Yet Jesus on that first Palm Sunday did not set up a throne at the Temple but rather did a house-cleaning, driving the money-changers and the animal-sellers off of the Temple grounds. You see something had happened at the Temple. Money had become more important than prayer.

Later on that week Jesus was talking to the disciples. As they admired the Temple, Jesus told them that it would be destroyed and all of Jerusalem with it. This happened less than forty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.

When Paul wrote Galatians though Jerusalem and the Temple was still standing. It was a symbol for every Jew of their special relationship with God. In fact, the Jews had fallen into a special type of false worship. They had begun to worship their relationship to God as symbolized by the “present Jerusalem,” the place where God’s Temple had been built.

1. If we worship what we do to maintain our relationship with God; we are enslaved by those works (verse 21-25).

Paul uses two women to illustrate his point: Hagar and Sarah. Both had sons by Abraham. Hagar was a slave. The son she bore was not promised by God. Sarah was Abraham’s wife and bore a son because of God’s promise. Her son would carry the blessing that God had given to his father. Hagar remained a slave for the rest of the time she lived in Abraham’s household. She was probably a good mother but she remained a slave. Paul says that you who are trying to keep the Old Testament law to maintain your relationship with God are like Hagar. You are slaves.

There is probably no one here trying to keep the Old Testament law but there may be someone trying to maintain their relationship with God by works. We encountered this in Europe. There were people who refused to leave the state church they grew up in because they were afraid they would lose their relationship with God. This happens in America also though. This may be out of fear, that is, they have been taught that if they make a mistake or too many mistakes or too serious of a mistake then God will forsake them.

It may, however, be because of pride. Spiritual pride is often behind the works of the law. The people, who crucified Jesus, were a proud people. They were convinced that no one else could be as close to God as they were. They were quite convincing. All over the Roman Empire there were Gentiles like the Ethiopian eunuch and Cornelius who were longing for a God who they could respect and worship but they were shut off unless they were willing to undergo circumcision, to establish that special relationship with God.

These Jews were enslaved by their pride. We think of those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and we often think of them as enslaved by their addictions. Their addictions drive them to do irrational things. Some of the Galatians had become enslaved by the works of the law and it had caused them to do the most irrational thing of all, leave Christ for the works of the law.

Imagine that someone has been given an unlimited gift card for a five-star restaurant. They go in and they order the finest of food and drink but then they feel compelled to go out on the street and start cleaning the sidewalk in front so that they can earn their meal. Once inside they brag to everyone about how industrious they were and how they had earned this fine meal. We would say they are crazy.

Are you enslaved by the pride of your relationship with God? None of us can earn a relationship with God. God does not give away brownie points.

2. If we worship the God who promises spiritual freedom through Jesus Christ, we are free because He has kept His promise (verses 26-28).

Relationships can be joyous but they can be enslaving. There is no joy in enslavement but there is joy in a promise. When in Lynchburg, I looked for a souvenir because I knew that my daughter was rejoicing in the promise of one. Just because we have a relationship is not guarantee of joy. There are lots of daughters who dread their father coming home but she had received a promise and she rejoiced in that promise.

If you were to choose between your relationship to God and the promise you have in Jesus, which would you choose? If you hold to maintaining that relationship, you may miss out on the promise, on the Jerusalem that is above; but if you hold to the promise provided through Christ’s death on the cross, you will also have the relationship.

(Here is an illustration taken second-handedly through Ray Pritchard.) “It goes something like this. Consider for a moment the deeds of Jeffrey Dahmer…he was a pervert, a murderer, and a cannibal. After he was arrested, he professed faith in Jesus Christ. That is, he claimed to have seen the error of his ways, confessed his sins, and cried out to Jesus to save him. We’ll never know the full story of what happened because he was beaten to death in prison not long after that… [Does God’s promise of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ apply to Jeffrey Dahmer?] …When we think about Jeffrey Dahmer and the possibility that he might truly have been saved after those heinous crimes, our first response may be to say, “There is grace even for people like Jeffrey Dahmer.” That statement, true as it is, reveals at least as much about us as it does about him. All of us would like to think (and in fact do think) that we are “better” than he is. Or we’re not as “bad” as he was. I make no bones about the fact that I think I am “better” than Jeffrey Dahmer. I’ve never done the things he did. I’ve never even thought or dreamed or imagined about some of them. So when I say there is grace “even” for the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, while I’m willing to include him in the circle of those God might save, I’m not putting myself on his level. I truly believe I’m better than he is…But then (as you can tell I’m partly telling the illustration and partly thinking my way through it at the same time) the preacher said it’s not enough to say there is grace even for the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer. In truth, he said, there is grace only for the Jeffrey Dahmers of this world. They alone can be saved” (taken and slightly adapted from “Amazing Grace,” a sermon by Ray Pritchard, found at http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/1999-10-03-Amazing-Grace/ ).

This is the promise we have of eternal life through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is by grace not by maintaining our relationship with God. Will you claim God’s promise as to you? A promise is no good if it is not claimed. It gives no hope unless you believe it.

Believer, are you living according to promise or in the pride of your relationship to God?

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Zechariah’s Prophecy Concerning Palm Sunday April 5, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Palm Sunday, Religion, Sermons, Zechariah.
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JESUS, THE COMING KING (Zechariah 9:9-17)

The old prophecies of Isaiah concerning the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah, were two hundred years old and unfulfilled. During those two hundred years, God’s people had fallen deeper and deeper into sin. Finally, God sent the Babylonians and took his people into captivity capturing and pillaging Jerusalem, tearing down its walls, and destroying the temple of God and taking all of the valuable instruments that were found in it. For seventy years God’s people lived in exile. During that time the Medes and the Persians took the Babylonian empire and expanded their empire even further. At this point in history, the Persians dominant the world landscape but on the horizon is Alexander the Great who will do to the Persians exactly what they did to the Babylonians, take their empire and expand it even further.

The captivity came to an end after seventy years. God’s people returned to Jerusalem and through many starts and stops rebuilt on a modest scale the temple of God. Their city still has no walls. They are still exposed to their enemies and they have many in the region. They had hoped that the Messiah would come and restore them to their former glory, establishing the worldwide justice and peace that is promised through Isaiah. That has not happened. They are a weak people and there is no greatness for them on the horizon.

Two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, were raised up by God, both assuring His people that the promises made through Isaiah would be fulfilled. That is the point of the passage we are considering. Based on those promises, there are two commands God’s people are to obey.

I. God’s people are commanded to cheer their King victoriously (verses 9-11). Occasionally, someone will ask if it is okay with me if they raise their hand or hands in worship during the church service. We need to learn to praise the Lord. We need to learn to rejoice loudly, to shout. Why? Because our king, Jesus Christ is victorious. He rides in as the just one (verse 9b), the one who establishes justice, who corrects injustice. This identifies this king as the Servant prophesied two hundred years earlier, the one who establishes justice in the world.

Yet His victorious entrance is modest (verse 9). This is the what happened on Palm Sunday. Jesus rode in on a donkey, lowly. Normally, the victorious entrance of a king would be on a white stallion, a magnificent animal capable of great speed and endurance but this king rides in on a peacetime animal. Donkeys are not normally wartime animals. They are meant for modest, even lowly work. When Jesus rode in on Palm Sunday, He purposely chose to ride in modestly, bringing justice to His people and to this world.

It is also significant that He comes in “having salvation.” Literally, the word means that the King is saved. Again, we find echoes of Isaiah prophecies. Who is it that promises protection to the King in Isaiah 42? The LORD God Himself. Who is it, according Psalm 91:11, that promises that angels would be sent to save the Messiah from harm? The LORD God Himself.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem, not displaying His military might, but as the modest, Messiah, protected by God, bringing justice to His people and to the world.

His victorious entrance promises peace to all nations (verse 10). God’s people at this time were surrounded by enemies. They could not depend on the far off Persian government to protect them. They had no walls of their own to hide behind for protection. God promises, though, that they would have peace. Military implements would not be necessary. Is that not the way Jesus rode in on Palm Sunday? He came in as the Prince of Peace to all who would submit to Him. It is the only time in history that peace was promised and could have been delivered. In less than a week, the rulers of the Jews and the representatives of the Roman empire rejected that offer of peace.

Is it over? Was Jesus just another dreamy eyed visionary disconnected from the reality of this world. No! Zechariah says that His dominion is from sea to shining sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. His kingdom is greater than that of Persian Empire, of the Roman Empire, of the American Empire. Jesus will rule the world, He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is at this point, that we as God’s people can put ourselves in the place of these people. We look around us and see that there is no possibility of peace in this world. There is no power that can dictate peace to the world, much less justice. There will never be a power that can dictate peace and justice but when Jesus returns the second time, the world will submit itself to His peace, to His justice.

We look at our country and realize that whatever principles we may have been founded on, they were forsaken long ago. Our government: both conservative, moderate, and liberal is opposed to God’s rule. Our neighbors and our family members reject God but there is hope. He will come again and establish peace and justice in this world.

His victorious entrance is the fulfillment of the blood covenant (verse 11). These people know about the blood shed to establish God’s covenants with Abraham and under Moses. What they did not yet know but that we now know is this. Jesus shed His blood to establish a new covenant. He said so Himself. We celebrated today the act, His death on the cross, whereby He established that covenant. The result of that act is true peace. Romans 5:1 tells us that “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God…” When Jesus died on the cross, He made it possible to be justified, that is, proclaimed innocent, that is, to have our sins remitted, forgiven and because we are justified, proclaimed innocent, forgiven, we have peace with God.

When Jesus rode in on Palm Sunday, He rode in to establish the blood covenant by which we can have forgiveness, that is, peace with God.

This is something to shout about! Justice, peace, forgiveness. No wonder the people shouted, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” When is the last time you obeyed this command. When is the last time you sung, not caring whether it was good or not but because you wanted to bless the Lord for His victorious entrance bringing justice and peace and forgiveness.

When is the last time you did something extraordinary, let yourself get carried away because of your King? We can and should rejoice aloud in our King.

When we sing songs of praise to our God and you refuse to open a songbook, when we read from the Scriptures and you just mumble the words, when we stand to sing praise songs and you choose not to participate, the question arises, “Will you not honor your King? Does the victory He has one mean nothing to you?”

II. There is in this passage a second command. God’s people are commanded to return to their King for protection (verses 12-17). Why?

A. Because their King will defend them (verses 12-15a). He is referred to as a stronghold. These people live in a city without walls, without protection. They have no stronghold. God says, the King will be your stronghold. He will protect you. Should even the up and coming Greeks come up against you, I will protect you. I will deliver you. I will be your stronghold.

He refers to His people as prisoners of a waterless pit, prisoners of hope. The situation around them does not look good, there is no way out but there is hope. Their King can deliver them.

He does this through His mighty power. His power is describe in verse 14. Like the lightning across the sky and the mighty storm from the south, so is His power against the enemies of His people. They can depend on Him, they can trust Him to deliver them.

B. Their LORD will be decisive (verse 15b). The enemies of God’s people will be destroyed and any who might be left over will be subdued. It is interesting that these verses paint God as the winner of the victory but that His people participate in that victory. This is the description we have also in Revelation 19. Jesus Christ will come and rescue His people and subdue the nations of the earth but those who believe in Him will participate in that victory. His victory is our victory also. Our joy in our victory will be with great shouts of joy, like the shouts of one who has no inhibitions because he is drunk with wine. We will not be drunk though but rather victorious in Jesus Christ and will sing that victory on that day when it is ultimately one.

C. Their Shepherd will exalt them to be seen by all (verse 16-17). What comes after our King’s ultimate victory over the evil forces of this world? His people will be exalted, lifted up before the universe for all to see. They will flourish for all eternity. Certainly, these verse describe the millennial reign of Christ but they also indicate what eternity is all about. We will be exalted, we will be glorified with Christ.

There are no peons in heaven. Every believer in Christ will be held up to the praise and the glory of Christ. Undeserving sinners made righteous will for all eternity be proof of the greatness of our God in His justice, in His peace, and in His forgiveness through His covenant with His people.

We have covered thousands of years of history, much of it in the past, must of it still in the future. God through the death of Jesus Christ has established a covenant. Will you turn to Him for release from your prison? Some of you need to depend on Christ for salvation from your sins, others of you need to depend on Him for protection in the midst of a wicked world? He commands, He implores you to return to Him as your stronghold, as your protector.

Two commands: rejoice and return. You really cannot obey the first if you are not willing to obey the second. Obey God and turn to, depend on Christ today.

NEXT WEEK: Psalm 16 – Where Was Jesus?

The Emotions of Jesus (A Palm Sunday Sermon) March 17, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Luke, Palm Sunday, Religion, Sermons.
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THE EMOTIONS OF THE KING

Luke 19:41-48

 

Jesus was a man of a wide range of emotions. We have evidence of this in several places in Luke’s gospel.

Compassion (7:12-13 – as an emotion not as an action. Jesus performed an action when he resurrected the widow’s dead son but it was a deed performed out of compassion).

Amazement (7:6-9 – at the belief of the centurion who sought to have his servant healed. As strange as it may seem, we find the Son of God shocked. He who knows all things is surprised at the faith of a man).

Sternness (multiple times; in 8:24 he rebukes the wind and the waves – snorting like a horse. We sometimes have a picture in our minds of Jesus almost whispering, “peace, be still…” or of Him standing and commanding long and loud, “Peeeeeeeace!!!!! Beeeeee stiiiiiiillll…! No, this was an abrupt, stern rebuke, “Peace!…Be still!).

In this passage we see two other emotions of Jesus Christ. They are unexpected emotions. This should be a day of joy and happiness. Jesus is proclaiming Himself king. Verse 37 tells us that as Jesus approaches the descent from the mountain, the multitude of His disciples started rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice, saying, “‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ {#Ps 118:26} Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” In the crowd were a group of Pharisees who called out to Jesus. They were demanding an emotional response from Jesus. They cried out, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” In the same way that you rebuked the wind and the waves, in the same way that you rebuked the demons as you cast them out, speak sharply, reprimand your disciples, tell them to shut up! Jesus, of course, refused to do so. It was a time for loud praising, for joy.

There should be no room for what we call negative emotions but we find that as Jesus came to the descent from the mountain, riding the donkey, with shouts of praise ringing in His ears, tears began to well up in His eyes and He began to weep.

 

JESUS WEPT BECAUSE HE WAS MOURNING OVER JERUSALEM (verses 41-44) – Usually, in the Scriptures this type of weeping is associated with death and mourning. The passage in chapter 7 that we just looked at, where Jesus had compassion on the widow, we find that He tells the woman not to weep, not to mourn. There is no one, though, to comfort Jesus. They do not understand the depth of His sorrow or the cause of His pain.

Jesus was weeping because of their spiritual blindness (verse 42) – Perhaps His mourning was in direct response to the Pharisees and the understanding as He looked over Jerusalem, that those who had control there would not have Him as king over them. Deeper though was the sorrow He felt because He knew that there was no way to win those men, the leaders of Israel over. They were blind and blind by choice. They could not see the peace that was available to them. This does not mean they were ignorant of what was being offered. The disciples were praising Jesus because they believed that He was the one who was bringing the peace of heaven down to earth (verse 37). The multitude had become bearers of the gospel of peace through the victorious coming of the Messiah, the one who at birth had been named Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins and guide them into the ways of peace (Luke 1:70). This was the hope of Israel. The angels proclaimed at His birth, “Peace on earth, good will to men!” They recognized that Jesus, the Messiah was the peace of Jerusalem. But the leaders, who knew exactly what the peace of Jerusalem meant, said, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” They were blind because they would not see, they refused to understand the truth that was before their eyes.

Max Lucado tells of being on an airplane. The flight was turbulent and bumpy, hardly a reason for humor. But some fellow behind him kept bursting out in laughter. No one else, just him. Finally, Lucado turned to see what was so funny. He was wearing headphones and apparently listening to a comedian. He reacted differently than everyone else on the plane because his focus was different. Could the man feel the turbulence. No doubt. Was he aware that the flight was not smooth, Absolutely. He chose, however, to ignore his circumstances.

Jesus was also weeping because of the consequences of their blindness (verses 43-44) – Jesus gives a fuller description of this event later during the week. It is recorded in Luke 21:

20 ¶ “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.

21 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

22 “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

24 “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

This all happened in 70 A.D. One of Rome’s legions was stationed on the very mountain where Jesus foretold Jerusalem’s destruction. The seige lasted about five months and ended with Jerusalem and its temple destroyed, over a million Jews killed and 97,000 shipped off as slaves to other parts of the world. As people starved within the city, they would live the city, be caught by the Roman soldiers, and crucified in numbers of around 500 per day. For more information see http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/jwar04.html.

Why did this happen this way? Because their rulers did not recognize the day of visitation. They should have recognized that day. Look at what Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist had to say.

Lu 1:68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited <1980> and redeemed His people,

Lu 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited <1980> {NU–Text reads shall visit.} us;

Remember the resurrection of the widow’s son. Look at what the people said afterwards.

Lu 7:16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited <1980> His people.”

 

John puts it this way in his gospel, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.”

 

Jesus Angry over the Temple (verses 45-48).

His anger was controlled by God’s will (verses 45-46).

His anger was not like the self-seeking leaders (verses 47-48).

 

Jesus rides on to Jerusalem to the Temple. There we find a much different emotion. We find Jesus angry in the Temple (verses 45-48).

His anger was controlled by God’s will (verses 45-46). Three years earlier Jesus had driven the moneychangers and salesmen out. At that time He had asked why they had turned His house into a house of merchandise. This time His condemnation is even harsher. Why have you turned my house of prayer into a den of thieves. Now the multitude had expected Jesus to be a man of action but this was not exactly what they had expected. I can imagine Judas, the treasurer of the disciples looking at Jesus’ actions and seeing his glorious financial future go up in smoke. No word about revolution against the Romans. No call for the nation to follow Him in battle but rather a condemnation of the dishonest practices of hardworking Jewish merchants who would change Roman coins for Temple coins and charge exorbitant prices for sacrificial animals for those Jews who had traveled from afar to celebrate the Passover. I can hear them say, “Jesus, you are going to need some financial resources if you are going to fight the Romans. You are going to need the backing of the political elite, the priests and the rulers of the people. Jesus, you are cutting your own throat.” Jesus, is challenging the status quo by obeying His Father’s will. The sternness that the Pharisees wanted Jesus to show to His disciples, He is showing to those who have made the worship and service of God into a money making proposition.

Jesus was not the only one who was angry. The self-seeking leaders of the Jews were furious (verses 47-48). They had long sought for a way, an opportunity to destroy Him. That time would soon come. Events would happen fast but first our Lord must teach the people. Because Jesus allowed His Father to control His anger, we find that He was able to return to the teaching the people. We have seen Jesus sad and we have seen Jesus angry but now we see Him compassionate. These people need the truth of the word of God. They needed to understand that He was the Messiah. Jesus did not rejoice in their near future nor did He condone their current leadership. He spent His time trying to bring people to God.

 

INVITATION: Jesus came that you might learn the true way to God. It is not based on religious leaders, as necessary as they are. It is based on trust in Jesus Christ alone. He died for you and rose again, that you might worship the only true God. Trust Christ as your Savior from sin today. Let us show you how to be saved, how to accept this message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

Believer, do your emotions reflect Christ? Do you mourn over those who are headed for destruction? Do you get angry at those things or those people who are leading them to destruction? Are you modeling the emotions of God. Emotions are not sinful if they are focused on pleasing God. Our emotions and our energies and our desires should be directed to those who are watching us who need to learn the truth and the reality of our faith in Christ: our young people, our young believers, and the unbelievers with whom we have contact. Will you commit yourself to feeling as Christ would feel?

Continuing on to Palm Sunday (Spiritual Investment) March 9, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Luke, Palm Sunday, Religion, Sermons.
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SPIRITUAL INVESTMENT

Luke 19:11-27

 

Jesus talked a lot about money. Often he talked about its relationship to spiritual things but in this parable we have a situation where Jesus is using money, not to make a point about money but to make a point about faith in Christ. What Jesus is doing in this parable is evaluating faith by the spiritual investment that one makes.

 

The Background of this Parable

The Political Background (verses 12, 14, 27). This parable is one of the few times that Jesus makes reference to historical events. The details spoken of in verses 12 and 14 actually happened. Herod the Great died shortly after his attempt to kill Jesus by having all the children younger than two years old in the area of Bethlehem killed. Of course, Jesus was in or on His way to Egypt at that time. Herod was succeeded unofficially as king at the age of eighteen. The people, led by the Pharisees, demanded the punishment of the former councilors of Herod who had brought about the martyrdom of the Pharisees Matthias and Judas and demanded on the day before Passover—a day when all Palestine, so to speak, was in Jerusalem— immediate action. In the massacre that ensued, three thousand were left dead upon the Temple pavements. As soon as the tumult had been somewhat allayed, Archelaus hastened to Rome to secure the required confirmation of his succession from Augustus. Among the opposition to his confirmation were the Jews of Palestine, who sent a deputation of fifty persons who petitioned for the exclusion of the Herodians from any share whatever in the government of the land, and for the incorporation of Judea in the province of Syria.

You can imagine that this beginning got people’s attention. What political statement is Jesus going to make? Is He going to set Himself up against Herod’s family and the Roman soldiers who back them up? As you can see though, Jesus goes a different direction with this parable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spiritual Background (verses 11, 13-14, 26).

The people were expecting Jesus to set up His kingdom (verse 11). There are those who claim that Jesus never really offered Himself as the Messiah to the Jews. They are making the same mistake that these people made. These people did not understand that the offer of the kingdom of the Messiah was an offer of both a spiritual kingdom and an earthly kingdom. Although Jesus repeatedly tried in those days to clarify to the people the complete nature of the kingdom of God, most of them did not get it. In fact, it is likely that none of them fully understood it until Christ ascended into heaven and He was no more with them on the earth.

The parable is not directed towards those who hated Jesus but towards those who considered themselves His followers (verses 13-14). This parable represents one of the apparent failures of Jesus. It is obvious that he tells this parable for the purpose of defusing this exuberant crowd of kingmakers whose ringleaders happen to be His own disciples. Not that Jesus did not present Himself as the King and Messiah of the Jews, He did? He wanted, however, those following Him to understand that His coming was about more than political power but about spiritual faith.

The subject of the parable is faith while waiting (verse 26 compared with Luke 8:18 following the Parable of the Four Soils). Can you imagine Judas as he is listening? He has not yet betrayed Jesus. That will happen in just a few days. Perhaps he is still loyal to Jesus. He along with some of this crowd who are rejoicing and praising God and glorifying Christ will turn on Him when He does not set up His kingdom as they are expecting. Others like Peter will slip away claiming that they have no knowledge of Jesus Christ. This parable is a warning to those people. Jesus is saying, “If you do not spiritually investment in me, you will lose the truth that I have given you.” In other words, Jesus is drawing a line in the sand and demanding that they cross over, no matter what the cost may be.

 

The Expected Investment – As I mentioned before, although Jesus is using money to illustrate spiritual truth, His point is not really about money. He is talking about the investment of faith in Him. He is clarifying to His disciples, both the Twelve and the multitude that is following Him, what it truly means to invest in Jesus Christ.

The expected percentage of spiritual investment (verses 13-23). The nobleman gives each servant a mina. “A mina was a Greek coin. The coinage system worked like this: The lowest level was the drachma, equal to one day’s wages. One hundred drachmas equaled one mina. Sixty minas equaled one talent. Therefore, a mina represented approximately 100 days’ wages, or about three months pay. In today’s terms, that might equal [several thousand dollar]. It’s not a fortune, but it’s enough to invest if a man knows what he is doing“ (Copied from Ray Pritchard). It is obvious what he wants them to do with the money and it is also obvious that he expects 100% of the money to be invested.

Now this is consistent with what we have seen of Jesus’ teaching. Look back at 18:22-23, 29-30. Christ demands total investment. Sometimes we read of those who have believed in vain. This seems to be what Jesus is addressing in this parable. There are those who believe but for some reason their faith has no root. For one, the tough times come and he turns his back on Christ. For another, prosperity is showered on her and she gets her eyes off of Christ and drifts away from the truth. Jesus is saying those people are not 100% spiritually invested in me.

The expected length of time for spiritual investment (verses 11, 13, 23). They are to invest until the nobleman returns. This is the core of the truth that Jesus is teaching. He is telling them that there will be a delay. They do not hear this but he says it anyway. He does not tell them how long the delay is. What is asks is, when I am gone and I am no longer doing miracles in your presence, where will you be?

The expected reward for spiritual investment (verses 24-26). They will receive more than they invested. Jesus referred to this fact in 18:30. In that verse he mentions that what they will receive is many times much more that what they will give up. He also mentions that they will receive both in this life and the life to come. This parable explains for us how that works. If you have the truth and receive the truth, there will be a spiritual investment. If you have the truth but do not receive the truth, there will be no spiritual investment. There is no middle ground.

 

 

 

 

 

Why did this servant not invest his master’s money? He knew the master on a superficial level (verses 20-23). Do you know why Judas betrayed Jesus? He had a superficial understanding of who Jesus is. Why did the multitude forsake Him? They had a superficial understanding of Christ’s character. Even the eleven who remained faithful to Jesus showed by there reactions that they still did not know their master as they should have and the Bible makes it clear that they, unlike Judas, were believers.

 

What is amazing is the answer that the man gave to his master. It is almost as if he is blaming his master for the lack of responsibility that he has shown. There are many who seem to be blaming God for their lack of faith, for their lack of response to the truth but Christ will not allow such an excuse.

 

Now there are three possibilities here as to what type of person this man is. Some would say that he is a believer who loses rewards because he did not use the gifts and talents and time and money and relationships that the Lord has given him. In other words, he did not invest Himself into the Lord’s work. While this is certainly taught in other places, I do not believe that is what is being taught here.

 

Others would suggest that this man is losing His salvation. Certainly he is maintaining some type of connection with the master and he is not in open rebellion against the master but we see from his characterization of the master that he does not really have true faith. During the last few weeks we have looked at true faith in Christ and this man does not appear to have true faith. He has a faith that is without works. His faith is dead.

 

I would submit to you that this man is not a believer. He’s a hanger on. He fits in well with the other servants but he has no true faith.

 

This is the message of this parable. Jesus is telling them, I am the king but my kingdom will not be set up immediately. Can your faith endure until it is?

 

Now if you know that you have accepted Christ as your Savior, that you are 100% invested in Jesus Christ, you may be asking yourself, what am I to do until He returns. Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1 before He returned to heaven.

 

6 ¶ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

In other words, tell the world about me.

 

There are three categories of people seen in this parable: Christ’s enemies, those who totally reject Him; then there are those who are 100% invested in Jesus Christ; and finally there are those who like Jesus, think a lot of Him but when push comes to shove they have hedged their bets. In which category are you? Unless you are 100% invested in Jesus Christ, you need to put your faith in Him. Do this today.

Holiday Sermons from Hebrews 1:1-2:4 (from Christmas to Easter) August 31, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Ascension, Christmas, Crucifixion, Easter, Good Friday, Hebrews, Humor, Messiah, Palm Sunday, Religion.
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Compared to last week there were just too many good sermons on the few sites that I gather from to include them all. Don’t forget to read the humorous quote at the bottom of this post justifying the ignoring of the chapter divisions. It’s good!

Christmas from Ray Pritchard

Palm Sunday from John Piper

Maundy Thursday (could also be used for Good Friday) from John Piper

Easter Sunday (could also be used for Ascension Thursday) from John Piper

Okay, not a holiday sermon but very powerful covering 2:1-4 from John MacArthur

A different approach covering the same verses as I will be on Sunday. This one is from Ray Stedman. Great quote from this one: “We shall ignore chapter divisions as we go through this book for, on the best tradition, those were put in by a drunken man riding on horseback.” Not very spiritual but I like it.

A New “Terrible Parable” – A CHANGE OF FUR May 22, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Palm Sunday, Terrible Parables.
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http://mysite.verizon.net/bizsopu4/2007.05.01_arch.html#1179797488351

For other Terrible Parables, see the blogroll on the right. Carolyn Houghton thanks you for reading.