Not Speculation But Faithful Service
Text: Matthew 25 : 14 - 30
Jesus’ approach to eschatology was not speculative in any sense of the word. He gave straightforward information where He thought it would be helpful. He refused to comment further as to when He would return. He avoided speculation! Instead He focused on encouraging His disciples to bear in mind that they were to be faithful and fruitful in service.
RECALLING AN OLD TRUTH-PRINCIPLE
Jesus once taught His disciples an important truth-principle. He said,
“For whoever has, to him more will be given,
and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have,
even what he has will be taken away from him.”
These words were spoken with reference to knowledge of the Word of God. If a person is faithful in the studying of the Scriptures, he will understand more. However, if he proves delinquent, he will find that the Scriptures are difficult to comprehend. In fact, he will find it increasingly difficult to understand and apply the Lord’s Word in his life. What little knowledge he has of the Scriptures could fade away into insignificance.
Once again Jesus brought up this truth-principle and applied it to the realm of service. It was equally applicable.
“For to everyone who has, more will be given,
And he will have abundance; but from him who does not have,
even what he has will be taken away.”
To the servant who proves himself faithful and fruitful, there will be great reward! To the servant who makes excuses, even what he has been entrusted with will be taken away!
COMPREHENDING JESUS’ TEACHING ON PUNISHMENT
As we read the parable of The Wise and Foolish Virgins, and the parable of The Talent, we cannot but notice that punishment was meted out. We would probably not have difficulty in understanding the reward part, but we might have some difficulty in comprehending the punishment angle.
1. Who will be punished?
The obvious answer is that the indolent and the irresponsible would be punished.
2. Who are the Foolish Virgins and the Lazy Servant?
We need to figure this out, or we may worry that we can lose our salvation!
a) “I do not know you” Matthew 25:12
This is the first clue that we must note carefully. Jesus cannot be making a reference to true believers when He said that. We are reminded of what He said on another occasion.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father in heaven…
And then I will declare to them,
‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness.’
MATTHEW 7:21, 23
b) The general audience
Jesus was speaking not only to His disciples, but to all and sundry. Not all who followed Him were true believers. The scribes and Pharisees, the Herodians and the Sadducees all took turns in “following” Him too. However, they were not believers at all. These were brought up in traditional Judaism. Thus they were acquainted with the Scriptures Jesus employed in His teaching ministry. They would have a fair amount of academic knowledge of God as well. Yet, for all that, they remained unregenerate.
They too were given invitations to enter into the kingdom of God. They heard Jesus’ words inviting them to believe in His teachings and to become his followers. In a sense they were given some roles to play in serving God. However, the scribes and Pharisees abused their rights and privileges as custodians and teachers of the Laws of God. They proved to be most unfaithful and unfruitful.
These may be likened to the foolish virgins and the wicked and lazy servant in the two parables Jesus taught. The scribes and Pharisees were rebuked on more than one occasion for their hypocritical ways (Cf. Matthew 23).
“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying,
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honour Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me,
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
THE NEED TO CHECK IF WE HAVE TRUE SALVATION!
How do we know if we are not like the scribes and the Pharisees? How do we know that we are not hypocritical in our ways? It is vital that we examine not just our hearts but also our lives!
Are we serving the Lord, or are we making excuses for not serving. We are all held accountable and responsible for the lifestyle we adopt! If we are true believers, we will want to do our utmost for the Lord! If on the other hand, we are always making excuses and we end up being unfaithful and unfruitful, did we have true salvation in the first place? Let us examine our hearts and our lives honestly! Salvation could be at stake!