The Second Coming of Christ
Part 7: While We Wait for the Lord's Return
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 29, 2015
*In vs. 13, Jesus tells us to "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." Jesus is coming again, and it could be tonight! But what if it's not tonight? -- While we wait for the Lord’s return, be sure to answer these four questions:
1. First: What gifts do I have from God?
*This question comes from the Lord's words in vs. 14-15. Here Jesus said:
14. . . "The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
15. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey."
*Notice here that God gave some of His goods, (His possessions, His property) to all of His servants. They didn't all get the same amount, but all of them got something. And God wants us to understand that He has given some valuable gifts to us. He wants us to understand our worth. He wants us to explore our gifts and abilities.
*God wants us to discover our potential, and when we do, we will learn we are worth more than we dreamed. One servant here received 5 talents, one received 2 talents, and another received one talent, "to each according to his own ability." This reminds us that God is not going to give us more than we can handle, and praise the Lord for that!
*But how much is a talent? -- Turns out, it's a lot. A.T. Robertson tells us that just one talent was equal to 6,000 days pay for an average worker. By that measure, one talent was about 20 years of work! Two talents was 40 years of wages, and 5 talents was worth a hundred years of labor. (1)
*We need to find out what good things the Lord has put in our hands, and we will see we are worth more than we imagined. Chuck Swindoll explained that common items can rise to the level of almost priceless, when they are "connected with someone powerful or famous. . ."
*And Dr. Swindoll asked, "Would you pay $21,000 for an old, plaque encrusted toothbrush? -- Someone did, because it was Napoleon's toothbrush. Hitler's personal car sold for over $150,000. Winston Churchill's desk, a pipe owned by C. S. Lewis, sheets of music handwritten by Beethoven, and many other items sold for many times their original value.
*Years ago, Sotheby's auctioned the belongings of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Jackie's fake pearls, not real ones, sold for $211,500. JFK's set of old golf clubs went for $772,500. Extraordinary value placed upon ordinary things, because they belonged to someone important. And I would like to remind you," Swindoll said. "You may be common, or you may feel common. But you, my Christian friend, belong to someone famous and powerful -- Jesus! Jesus, who is God, owns you.
*And because you belong to Jesus, you are infinitely more valuable than you ever would be without him. You are precious and priceless." (2)
*And you have been given valuable gifts from God above. May God help us to learn that we are worth much more than we can imagine, and we can be more valuable to His Kingdom than we know. While we wait for the Lord's return, ask yourself this question: What gifts do I have from God?
2. But also ask yourself this: Am I gaining all I can for God's Kingdom?
*This question rises from vs. 16-18, where Jesus said:
16. "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
17. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
18. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money."
*Am I gaining all I can for God's Kingdom? God has surely given each of us gifts and abilities, but are we using them for the glory of God?
*Please don't bury your talents! Use them for God's Kingdom! We must get busy, and put our talents to work for God. Verse 16 says the man with 5 talents "went and traded with them." The idea behind this word "traded" is somebody working, somebody carrying out a task.
*Jesus told a similar parable in Luke 19, and said:
12. . . A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
*We might say: "Get an occupation" or "Get busy" or "Get a job!" Jesus Christ wants us to get enthusiastically involved in serving His cause: praying, going, giving, helping, teaching, leading, serving any way we can.
*While we wait for the Lord's return, ask this question: Am I gaining all I can for God's Kingdom?
3. But also ask this question: What is our ultimate goal?
*Jesus tells us in vs. 19-23:
19. "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'
21. His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
22. He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'
23. His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'"
*We see it twice in these verses. -- Obviously our ultimate goal as Christians is to hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."
*Please notice here Christians that we are accountable to our Lord. We will give an account of our lives to Jesus Christ. God's Word makes this truth very clear in Romans 14, where Paul wrote these words to Christians:
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.
11. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.''
12. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
*Also in 2 Corinthians 5:8-11, the Word of God says this to us as Christians:
8. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
9. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well-known to God, and I also trust are well-known in your consciences.
*"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Paul is not talking about lost people. He is talking about saved people. But understand that this is not a judgment of our sins. Christians, all of our sins are washed away by the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid it all! He paid the full price for our sins when He died on the cross for us.
*John 3:18 tells us, "He who believes in Him is not condemned. . ." And in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life. . ." The judgment seat of Christ is not a judgment of our sins. It is a judgment of our service to the Lord. "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
*God saves us to serve Him. And while we wait for the Lord, He wants all of us to be occupied in serving Him. We should be occupied serving the Lord in Sunday School, choir, children's church, Upward, Orange, the nursery, Ladies' Ministry, committees and more.
*We should be also be occupied serving the Lord where we live, work and play. And Christians: "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
*Our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ will take place in Heaven, after the Rapture and before Christ returns to rule on the earth. It will be a time of rewards. It will be a time when many of the Lord's servants will hear Him say: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." This is our great goal: To be good and faithful servants.
*Today I was thinking about some of those servants in my life, and it took me back to my high school days, over 45 years ago. It took me back to the two guys who were the most faithful to witness to me: Wesley Humphreys and Sandy Giles.
*When it came to being Christians, they were the real thing. And they were the most faithful to witness to me. No matter how much I argued with them, no matter how much I ridiculed them, they never gave up on witnessing to me.
*They were always willing to speak the truth to me. And they always did it with a patient, kind, friendly spirit, especially Wesley Humphreys. He sat in front of me in one of my classes, but I haven't seen him since 1969. Wesley had no idea that I got saved six years later, and was later called to preach.
*Ten years ago I started thinking about all of this, and I decided to try to call Wesley, and thank him for being a great example to me. I wanted to thank him for being so faithful, and for planting some seed that helped me get saved.
*So I Googled his name. Thank the Lord his name wasn't Bill Smith! There aren't too many men named Wesley Humphreys, and I found him in Orlando. Then I called to say thanks. What a shock; what a pleasant surprise for him!
*Wesley was a grandfather by then, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He was overjoyed to hear from me. He was amazed to learn what God has done in my life. And I believe that for all his prayers, for all his patience and kindness to me, one day soon, Wesley will hear the Lord say: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."
*Don't you want to hear that too? -- It should be our ultimate goal in our lives, so while we wait for the Lord's return, ask this question: What is my ultimate goal?
4. But also ask this question: Do I really know God?
*This question rises from vs. 24-30, where Jesus said:
24. "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26. But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27. Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
28. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29. 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.
30. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
*In vs.24, the wicked and lazy servant said, "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown." But let me ask you this question: Did that man really know the Lord? -- Not a chance. Our God is merciful, kind and gracious! Listen to part of King David's prayer in Psalm 86:
1. Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me: for I am poor and needy.
4. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
7. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
8. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
9. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
10. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
12. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
13. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
14. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.
15. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
*Our God is merciful, kind and gracious, and He proved that forever by the cross of Jesus Christ! God is so good that He came into this world and died on the cross for our sins. Now the Risen Savior will surely save anyone who trusts in Him. This is the merciful God we know as Christians. This is the God who wants to know you as Lord and Savior, Father and friend. Do you know Him?
*Pastor Jim Wilson told about a lost man who was dying from lung cancer. His brother called the church one Saturday, and left this message: "My brother Hubert is in intensive care at a hospital near your church. I am concerned since he is the only family member who does not know Christ. His condition is extremely serious; he has lung cancer. Will you come and share Christ with him?"
*Tom and Gary from the church went. Hubert's brother greeted them in the hallway. He told them that his rebellious brother, then in his mid-fifties, had left the family at 18. When Hubert left, he vowed to make it rich in the oil fields. He also vowed to never attend church again. He kept both vows.
*Hubert's brother made the introductions and Tom sat next to Hubert. They shared their likes, dislikes and concerns for the future. After a few moments Tom asked Hubert to tell him about his relationship to God. Hubert talked about being in church every service when he was growing up. He also talked about his anger toward his parents for forcing him to go to church. He told Tom of his vow to never return to church as soon as he turned eighteen.
*Tom's second question was the same as the first. He reminded Hubert that he had asked him to tell him about his relationship with God, not his relationship to the church. Hubert began to cry. He didn't have a relationship with God.
*Tom shared how he could begin that relationship right then and there. And after hearing God's plan of salvation, Hubert immediately prayed to receive Jesus Christ. (3)
*Have you done that? Do you have that personal relationship? Do you really know God? This is really the most important question of all. Open your heart to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
*And while we wait for the Lord's return, be sure to answer these questions:
-Do I have any gifts from God?
-Am I gaining all I can for God's Kingdom?
-What is my ultimate goal for life?
-And do I really know God?
*Please think about those questions as we bow again for prayer.
(1) "Robertson's Word Pictures" by Archibald Thomas Robertson - Matthew 18:24
(2) "The Common Becomes Priceless" from "The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart" by Charles Swindoll - p. 300 - Source: http://www.churchchrist.net/Sermons/Jesus.htm
(3) "Transformations", pp. 62-64 - Source: Fresh Church illustrations from Pastor Jim Wilson