In recent weeks, we have been looking at the application that Jesus gave us of His second coming. He has told us to "be ready" (Matthew 24:32-44). He has told us to "be faithful" (Matthew 24:45-51). He has told us to "be prepared" (Matthew 25:1-13). This morning, the message again is simple: "be fruitful" (Matthew 25:14-30).
For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, "Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents." His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master." The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, "Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents." His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours." But his master answered and said to him, "You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents." For to everyone who has shall [more] be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Once again, we encounter Jesus telling a story and relating it to the kingdom of heaven. Verse 14 begins with the words, "For it is just like." Jesus is referring to the "kingdom of heaven" as found in verse 1. The people and events in this parable ought to be compared with the people and events in the kingdom of heaven, which means that the first character we encounter is a man who was preparing to leave on a journey (verse 14). Before He did so, He first set the things in order at his house.
We all do this before leaving on a journey. This past week, as many of your know, my wife and oldest daughter joined grandma on a trip to Tahiti, where they will see some relatives and manage some business affairs. Before my wife left, she had many things to set in order. For me, this meant a big "to-do" list to pick up on all of the responsibilities that she normally handles. She recently planted a bunch of plants around our house. I need to water these plants every day. I need to put some fertilizer on them. With the affairs of the house, I need to return some videos to the library. I need to cook the meals for the children. With the children, they will be spending much of next week with their cousins. I need to make sure that they pack the appropriate clothing, especially for Stephanie, our 2 year old. For the house to run appropriately, these things need to be done.
For this business man, he also had some things to do to keep his affairs running smoothly. He "called his own slaves" (verse 14) around himself and distributed his possessions to them to be responsible for them. In verse 15 we see the first of these distributions taking place. He gave his slaves some "talents." Now, when we hear that word, we think immediately of abilities. We have those in our congregation who are talented in music or kitchen design or computers. Some can spin a basketball on their finger or juggle strange objects. This is how we use the word, "talent." But, in the ancient world, a "talent" was simply a measure of weight. Our best estimates put the weight at somewhere between 60-80 pounds. In this context, it is clear that weight is referring to a weight of money because verse 18 refers to these talents as the "master's money."
In the days of Jesus, money was measured in weight. Even today, the standard currency in Israel is the shekel. In Hebrew, the word, Shekal, means "to weigh." This idea is used today as well. In England, the currency is the pound, a unit of weight. Jesus said that these slaves were given a weight of money. We aren't told exactly what sort of money was weighed. It could be gold, silver, or copper. My guess is that it refers to silver, as the word for "money" in Greek (argurion) is the same word used to translate "silver." Sixty to eighty pounds of silver is a lot of money! It's about twenty years worth of wages! You may think that your job doesn't earn you much money. But add up all of the wages that you make in twenty years, and you will have a lot of money.
As this man distributed his wealth among his slaves, he didn't give each slave the same amount. Verse 15 tells us that "to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one." There was a reason why he gave unevenly to his slaves. He gave ... "each according to his own ability" (verse 15). To those with greater ability, he gave more. To those with lesser ability, he gave less. But to all, this owner was very generous. Even the slave that receive only one talent still received a bunch of money.
This is a picture of the kingdom of heaven. The master represents the Lord Jesus. His slaves represent all of us. We all have received from the Lord. There is much question about what these talents represent. Like the oil in our parable last week, it is difficult to know exactly what these talents represent. But, like the oil last week, I don't believe that there is one thing that it represents. I believe that it represents everything that the Lord has given to you. D. A. Carson puts it well. He said, "Attempts to identify the talents with spiritual gifts, the law, natural endowments, the gospel, or whatever else, lead to a narrowing of the parable with which Jesus would have been uncomfortable. Perhaps he chose the talent ... symbolism because of its capacity for varied application." 1I believe that this is the point: the talents represent everything that the Lord has entrusted to you.
So, you say, "What has the Lord given to me?" ... Everything. The Lord has given you everything that you have. The Bible is clear that the Lord owns everything. "The earth is the Lord's and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it" (Ps. 24:1). "Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains; and everything that moves in the field is Mine" (Ps. 50:10-11). "The earth is full of Your possessions" (Ps. 104:24). This means that everything that we have is the Lord's. He has simply entrusted it to us (for a while).
Here are a few things that Lord has given to you (in no particular order). The Lord has given you abilities, time, personalities, parents, health, talents, relationships, air, money, jobs, husbands, wives, children, computers, books, churches, radio, internet, school, teachers, preachers, food, water, technology, houses, apartments, recreation, friends, phones, email, indoor plumbing, refrigerators, airplanes, automobiles, shovels, garden hoses, restaurants, ... (The list could go on and on). When you realize everything that you have is a gift from the hand of God and given as an entrustment to be used for His glory, you begin to understand a bit about the immensity of this application that this parable has for all of us!
Here is my first point (backing up to verse 14)
1. We all have received (verses 14-18).
I say that we all have received abundantly! All of it has come from the hand of God! Consider 1 Corinthians 4:7, "What do you have that you did not receive?" The heart of my message this morning is this: "What are you doing with all that you have received from the Lord? Are you putting the things that you have receive to good use? Are you using your life for the good of your Master?" The hymn is true:
Only one life, 'twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ will last.
The point of the parable is to bring us to our final day when we will return to Jesus all that He has entrusted to us. It we have been fruitful with our lives, it will be joyful! But, if we have been unfruitful with our lives, it will be most sorrowful. John Piper wrote a book entitled, "Don't Waste Your Life." In the very first page of the very first chapter, he tells the story of a man who was converted under the ministry of John Piper's father, who was an evangelist. He writes, ...
For me as a boy, one of the most gripping illustrations my fiery father used was the story of a man converted in old age. The church had prayed for this man for decades. He was hard and resistant. But this time, for some reason, he showed up when my father was preaching. At the end of the service, during a hymn, to everyone's amazement he came and took my father's hand. They sat down together on the front pew of the church as the people were dismissed. God opened his heart to the Gospel of Christ, and he was saved from his sins and given eternal life. But that did not stop him from sobbing and saying, as the tears ran down his wrinkled face--and what an impact it made on me to hear my father say this through his own tears--"I've wasted it! I've wasted it!"
This was the story that gripped me more than all the stories of young people who died in car wrecks before they were converted--the story of an old man weeping that he had wasted his life. In those early years God awakened in me a fear and a passion not to waste my life. The thought of coming to my old age and saying through tears, "I've wasted it! I've wasted it!" was a fearful and horrible thought to me. 2
I could easily have entitle my message this morning, "Don't Waste Your Life!" for that is the thrust of the parable that Jesus told.
In verse 16, the parable continues by describing what these slaves did with the talents that they received. We read that "immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents" (verse 16). The slave who had been given the most was fruitful to gain more for the service of his master! He had done well! There was no waiting. There was no hesitation. Verse 16 tells us that he did this "immediately." When he was given the money, he put it to work. This was a lot of work to double his master's money. It took a bit of diligence, but that's the point. He worked hard for his master and doubled his master's resources. We read that he "traded with them." We ought not to picture a financial planner playing the stock market. Rather, we ought to picture and industrious man, who invested some of the money in some up front capital, produced a product, which others would willingly purchase, and entered into commerce with others. In the end, he turned a profit. He actually doubled the money allocated to him!
In verse 17 we see the exact same thing with the one who was given two talents. Jesus said, "In the same manner." Just at the one who worked to produce five more talents, "the one who had received the two talents gained two more" (verse 17). This slave acted just as quickly as the other slave (i.e. "immediately"). This slave acted just as diligently as the other slave (i.e. he "gained ... more talents") Though this slave wasn't given as much to begin with as his friend was given, he was equally as fruitful. He doubled the resources entrusted to him.
Then comes verse 18, which gives us the big contrast which has been so typical of all of these parables we have seen these past few weeks. The contrast isn't in the differing amounts that were given. The contrast is in the differing usages to the amounts that were entrusted to each of these slaves. The slave who was given five talents went out and worked hard to produce another five talents. The slave who was given two talents went out and worked hard to produce another two talents. But this slave, who was only given one talent, was wicked and lazy (as verse 26 indicates). Rather than using the talents given to him to produce more talents, he "went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money" (verse 18).
As strange as this sounds to our ears, this wasn't unusual in the days of Jesus. The ground was about the safest place to keep things. The ground was more safe than any safety deposit box in any bank. Back in Matthew 13, Jesus told a parable of a man finding "a treasure hidden in the field" (Matt. 13:44). It was hidden in the field, because someone had put it there for safekeeping. This has taken place all down through the ages. Even two hundred years ago, this was still a reality. Many of us men in this church have just finished reading Adoniram Judson's biography, "To the Golden Shore." He lived in the early 1800's. He went off to Burma to be a missionary there. At one point, when the British were attacking Burma, Adoniram was suspected as being a slave and captured and taken into captivity. His wife, Nancy, dug a hole and place it in his only copy of the scriptures in the Burmese language, which Adoniram had worked so hard to translated. 3 It was immensely valuable to them and they didn't want it stolen. This is why it was placed in the ground. Only when things calmed down a bit, did Nancy dug it up and found another place for it. She was fearful that the paper might deteriorate in the ground. But it certainly was safe when it was in the ground. And things that don't deteriorate, like silver coins, can remain a long time in the ground, which was how long it took for the master to return from his journey (verse 19).
Today, there are many times that we do the same thing. As I said earlier, my wife and daughter left on a trip to Tahiti this week. The day before they left, we were talking to our neighbors about their upcoming trip. And then, one of them said, "Hey! I went to Tahiti over twenty years ago and brought back some money. I have tried to exchange it here in Illinois, but even the banks downtown Chicago couldn't exchange it for me. I'll go get it. Perhaps you can use it." So, she literally ran off to get this money and came back, huffing and puffing. She gave this money to Yvonne. (I kept some of the change as an illustration--you can see how old these coins appear). We were standing outside our house, looking that the bills that our neighbor had given to Yvonne. As we looked at it, it didn't mean much to us. We all figured that it wouldn't be worth much, but it was something that Yvonne could use, which our neighbor couldn't. It has been hidden away in her drawer for more than twenty years! After talking with her mother (who has made frequent trips to Tahiti to see her relatives), Yvonne called me from California and said that she this money was worth about $75! That's not a great amount of money, but it is a bit to simply leave hanging around for twenty years in your drawer. In twenty years and a bit of conservative investing, you can easily quadruple your money.
As we shall see in a bit, it was very foolish of this man to hide his master's money, because he had to give account for his use of the money, which leads to our next point. My first point is that (1) We all have received (verses 14-18). My second point is that ...
Verse 19 tells us that the master came back to settle accounts. The talents that were given to the slaves weren't gifts. They were resources that were entrusted to them to be used by them. When the first slave came to settle accounts, it was a good scene. It is a scene of (1) joy and (2) reward.
The slave had the pleasure of explaining to his master how fruitful he had been with his talents. He said, "Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents" (verse 20). Upon hearing such a good report, the master said, "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master" (verse 21).
You can feel the joy in this encounter. It is experienced in both the slave as well as in the master. There is something about pleasing your master that brings a joy to us all. This past week, my son had done an especially good job one day of doing all that he was told with a great attitude. When it came time to tuck him in bed at night. I told him, "SR, you have been a great help today. You have done everything that I asked you to do. You have done it with a good attitude. You did these things quickly and efficiently." Across his face came a big smile! Then I said, "SR, it feels good to have done a good job, doesn't it?" He said, "Yes" and went to bed a very happy boy that night.
Similar feelings would have came upon this slave. When he heard the words, "Well done, good and faithful slave!" a big smile would have come across his face. His heart would have been filled with joy at knowing that his master was pleased with his efforts and labor. But, it wasn't only the slave who was pleased. The master was as well. We read that the slave was invited into his master's joy, where there would be complete harmony and happiness. The slave and the master would both be happy over a job well done.
The reward is equally as apparent as the joy. "You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things" (verse 21). The five talents that this slave had been entrusted with were seen as "a few things." This is astonishing when you realize that five talents was probably equivalent to a hundred years of wages! This was viewed as "a few things!" His reward is to be entrusted with "many" things.
This speaks of the abounding wealth of eternity! When John was trying to describe the riches of the New Jerusalem, he used phrases such as, ... streets of gold (Rev. 21:21), gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21) (each gate being one giant pearl), walls of jasper (Rev. 21:18), pure gold all around the city (Rev. 21:18), the foundation of the city possessing all kinds of precious jewels (Rev. 21:19-20), and the presence of the Lord filling the city (Reve. 21:22-23). The riches of heaven are unfathomable. It makes a hundred years of wages seem like only a little thing.
When Jesus returns, The Bible is very clear: there will be a day in which we all will give an account to Jesus for our lives. On that day, Jesus will decide who it is that gets into the kingdom of heaven, and who it is that will be cast out from the kingdom of heaven. On that day, Jesus will decide who will be rewarded, who won't be rewarded, who will be rewarded a lot, who will be rewarded a little. This is the day spoken of in verse 19. It is the day in which we all settle accounts with Jesus. We have no idea when this day will be. In the parable of the ten virgins that we examined last week, we found out that his return would be delayed. In this parable, we again see that the return of Jesus being delayed. It is "after a long time" that the master returned. The delay was sufficiently long enough for his slaves to put the money they had been entrusted to work for them. The delay was sufficiently long to double their money. In this parable, we're not talking days or months. Rather, we are talking years!
It's been two thousand years of wait for us. We don't know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36) of His return. But, the point of this parable isn't on when He returns, but upon what will take place at His return. We will have an opportunity to make our speech to Jesus. "Jesus, you gave me these resources, I used them to further your kingdom. You gave me Yourself. I have believe in You and trusted in Your sacrifice until this very day. Jesus, You gave me a Bible, and I read it and believed it. In the course of my lifetime, I gave away hundreds of Bibles to others and encouraged them to read it as well. You gave me a church, and I faithfully attended that church and served the people in the church. You gave me books, and I read them and applied them and gave them away to others, who could use them as well. You gave me a thousand close friends in my lifetime. I spoke the gospel with every single one of them. You gave me an intellect. I learned much about you in my days and was faithful to teach many others what I learned. You gave me a body. I faithfully took care of it, eating properly and exercising every day. You gave me a free nation in which to live. I used my freedom to help others. You gave me the skills to provide for my family. I have provided for them and have given a third of what I earned to the work of your kingdom. You gave me other skills. I used my free time to help Your people. You gave me eighty years of life. I labored for your kingdom until the very end. You gave me children. I have read the Bible to them often and have trained them in the ways of the Lord. They are now fitted arrows, ready for your use. You gave me a house. I invited many people into my home and fed them and cared for them." Your speech might well go on and on and on and on, describing all fo the fruit that you bore in your life from the things that the Lord had entrusted to you.
Such things that I just mentioned are typical of a fruitful life. They are simply using what you have received to advance God's kingdom upon the earth. To be clear, I'm not saying that any of these things will merit your way into heaven, in any way. There is only one way in which to enter into heaven: through faith in the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God. Even if you did all of these things (and more), it would still be insufficient for you to earn your way to heaven. It simply can't be done. The only way to enter heaven is by the merit of another person, the God-man, Jesus Christ. But that's not to say that the things that you do here upon the earth is unimportant.
Sometimes people will so uphold the grace of God that they will essentially deny the importance of works at all! At Rock Valley Bible Church, we deny any work at all to be meritorious before the Lord. But, we do affirm that works are a product of a grace-filled heart. Works done for God is the fruit and evidence of a work of grace in the heart. Jesus places much importance upon the fruit that we bear. What these slaved did was all--important to their future joy and to their future reward.
Your greatest happiness will be on the day in which the Lord finds you fruitful in that final day. Nothing will compare with the joy that you will receive on that day! Not your sixteenth birthday. Not your graduation from college. Not your wedding day. Not the day your first child is born. Not the day when you move into your own home. Not the day that you received your greatest promotion at work. Not the day of your first grand-child Not the day of your retirement. All of those days have a certain amount of joy that come with them. But, their joy is small in comparison to the day in which you are face to face with Jesus Christ and He says, "Well done, good and faithful slave, ... enter into the joy of your master."
Crucial to this parable is that everyone will not be fruitful to the same degree! Some will put forth much fruit and some will put forth less fruit. Verses 22-23 repeat the exact same scenario with the one who had been given two talents. He gained only two talents more. Yet, He received the same commendation from the master: "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master" (verse 23).
I want for you to picture in your mind two apple trees. One was planted by a stream of water. It's roots are constantly nourished by the ever-flowing water. It's down in a little gully, safely protected from the harsh winds of summer. It's the tallest tree around, which means that it absorbs the full impact of the sun's rays. It's in an area that is fenced in, protected from any animals that might stunt its growth. When it was a small tree, there was a man, who took great care of the tree to make sure that it grew strong and straight. It is a giant apple tree. Now, I want for you to imagine another apple tree. This one is located high upon a hill, where water is scarce. The hot winds of summer hit it head-long. It's surrounded on the south by a row of very tall pine-trees, which shade the tree during much of the day. It's located in a pasture-land with a bull, who loves to rub its horns upon the base of the tree. When the tree was small, it was damaged in the wind, so it's trunk isn't so straight. It is a small apple tree. But it is a good tree, and it still bears fruit.
How much fruit would you expect from the first apple tree? You would expect a lot! You would expect bushels and bushels and bushels of delicious, crispy, juicy apples. How much fruit would you expect from the second apple tree? You wouldn't have so great of expectations. You know of its dis-advantages. If you received a few good apples from the tree, you would be satisfied. This is exactly how it is with us. God knows where it is that He has placed every one of us. He knows whether or not you were raised in a Christian home, where the Bible was believed and taught. He knows whether or not your father and mother really loved you and cared for you. He knows whether or not you had to work your way through school, or whether your parents provided everything for you. He knows when you were saved from your sin (whether early in life or late in life). He knows the exposure that you had to sound teaching. He knows the church in which you had opportunities in which to serve. He knows of how many Christian friends you had to encourage you to press on and go further in the faith. He knows whether he gave you five talents or whether he gave you two talent or whether he gave you one talent. If He gave you two talents, He will be delighted if you gain two talents more. He doesn't expect you to gain five talents. But, He does expect you to be fruitful. For the one who is not fruitful will face an angry master, not a joyful one!
We see the anger of the master come out in verse 24, which is the great
contrast in this parable. The master has already settled accounts with two of his three
slaves. And now, he comes to the third slave, who took his talent and buried it in the
He justified his actions by saying, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours" (verses 24-25).
This speech is simply a big excuse to justify this man's laziness. He accuses the master of being hard, which probably means that his master is mean and ruthless. This slave accuses him of being like Pharaoh, who demanded the same allotment of bricks, though he didn't provide any straw (Ex. 5:7, 8), or like Rehoboam, who said, "my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" (1 Kings 12:11). He accuses the master of poaching on another man's hard labor. He doesn't sow the seed. He doesn't weed the field. He doesn't water the plants. He simply takes the plants, which others have planted. He is like the birds, who watch us plant the strawberry patch, remove all of the thistles, and faithfully water the plants. The day before the we plan on picking some strawberries out of the patch, we find out that the bird has already been there and picked off the juiciest of the fruit that we were looking forward to enjoying.
Needless to say, these aren't kind words that this slave speaks to his master. Instead, they are attacking, condemning words. Now, in this story, Jesus tells nothing about the character of the man who went on a journey. But, as this obviously represents God, we know that these things simply aren't true. He is lying and slandering the character of his master. Perhaps he isn't lying when it comes to being afraid. He knew full well that the master had entrusted him with a talent of silver. If he invested it unwisely and lost it, he knew that the master would require it of him. This is probably true. When God entrusts us with resources, he expects us to use them, not to lose them. This man was so afraid of losing this talent, that he tucked it away safely, so that he might have it to give back to his master.
This is comparable to the life that takes no risks at all for God. This is comparable to the life that always takes the easy road. How many there are in conservative, Christian circles, who are so concerned with every last detail of ministry, that they actually end up doing no ministry. They search hard for reasons not to be involved in certain ministries. They find subtle things in which they disagree, and so keep far away from ministry. Sure, they maintain doctrinal purity. But at what cost? At the cost of burying their treasure.
I remember hearing the story of a man who came up to D. L. Moody, criticizing him for his evangelistic methods. He said, "Mr. Moody, I don't like your evangelistic methods at all." The humble Moody replied, "You know, I don't like them either. What else would you suggest? How do you evangelize." To his shame, the man replied, "I don't know. I don't evangelize." Moody then said, "Well, I like my method of evangelizing better than your method of not evangelizing."
This slave had buried his talent in the ground to insure that he would have something to return to the master. His plan worked. He said, "see, you have what is yours" (verse 25). He gave his talent back. The master was far from happy with this slave. He called him a "wicked, lazy slave." We don't often link these two adjectives: wicked and lazy. But, the Bible does. Proverbs 10:5 says, "He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully." To sleep in the harvest is a shameful, wicked thing. Proverbs 18:9 says, "He ... who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys." To be slack in your work is a destructive, wicked thing. Proverbs 26:16, "The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer." The sluggard is a proud, arrogant, wicked man.
To be lazy is to be wicked! Parents, don't let your children be lazy. They are learning wickedness. As you let them watch television for hours, or play video games for hours, or let them sit in their rooms, talking on the phone. In all of these things you are teaching them to be wicked. They will suffer the consequences of their wickedness.
Far from showing any kindness and patience and mercy at this point, the master rebukes this slave, turning his own language against him. "If I indeed reap where I do not sow, then you should know that it would have been best for you to invest your money, so at least you could have provided me with a bit of interest" (a paraphrase of verses 26-27). Instead, this man lost his master's money. Those in the financial world know that if you want to have a dollar in the future, you only need to have a portion of a dollar today. In other words, 75 cents today is worth the same as a dollar three years from now. So, if three years from now, you only have a dollar to show for your dollar, you have actually lost money! That's exactly what this wicked slave did. By holding on to his master's money, he actually lost his master's money. The master took away his talent, gave it to the one who had been fruitful! (verse 28).
The principle of the parable comes in verse 29 and bears repeating: "For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away." In other words, if you are bearing fruit, the Lord will give you an abundance when He returns. But, if you are not bearing fruit, if you are not investing the resources that the Lord has given to you, if you are not taking what you have received and turning it around to produce more, then, it will be taken away from you. Then, you will be "cast out ... into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (verse 30). One last time, we encounter Jesus as describing the place of hell, as a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is the sixth time that Jesus has mentioned these awful words. Do you think that He is serious? This will come if you are not bearing fruit in your life.
When you bring this parable down to real life, it is really quite simple,
1. We all have received (verses 14-18).
2. We all will account (verses 19-30).
Jesus is teaching us in this parable how we ought to live now so that we might be ready when Jesus returns. The return of Christ to this earth is so practical for us. Are you being fruitful?
This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church
on May 29, 2005 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.
 The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Matthew, p. 516.
 John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, p. 12.
 Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore, p. 315.