Matthew 25: 1-9, 14-30
I would like with the Lord and the Spirit’s help to say something about responsibility - the Christian’s responsibility. When God created man, man was not just another one of the animals. Man was God’s crowning creation - “Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1: 26) - He never said that about an animal. He created the garden as well, and He set man in it. It says He, “took Man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to till it and to guard it”, Gen 2: 15. That was man’s responsibility. God immediately put man into responsibility. Now I hope to address what I have to say to those who are believers today, those who say that they are Christians.
If I were to ask you, 'Are you a Christian?' what would be your answer? It is an important thing, you know, to take up your responsibility. There are persons who say that they are Christians, and in what I read there are five of them who took oil for their torches. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. I would like to say to every one that it cannot be emphasised enough that you must have received the Holy Spirit to be here rightly. It is possible to take on the things of God, to take on the terms of the gospel, to speak right, to go to church, or to come to meeting, or even to break bread, but just in terms. In this allegory Jesus is pointing out the need for reality, and it is your responsibility to be sure. “Use diligence to make your calling and election sure”, 2 Pet 1: 10. So I would just like to begin with those words of warning, because it is very important. Young people, ask for the Holy Spirit. If you are not sure, ask for Him and you will find that the things that we have had in the meetings earlier today will become meaningful. The very mention of the name of Jesus will cause something to leap up in your heart - that precious Name. There is no name like it - the Name of Jesus. The Spirit will soften your heart and make it impressionable to that wonderful Name, the Name of Jesus.
I would like to speak mainly about the talents. Back in chapter 24 of Matthew Jesus leaves the temple and goes out and sits down on the Mount of Olives, and His disciples come to Him and ask Him to explain these things. I think that is a wonderful thing. This chapter now is part of what Jesus was sitting there restfully explaining to these disciples, privately. He was not now talking to the Pharisees and the scribes. Jesus would like to sit down with us today privately and talk with us - with each one of us. The first thing He does is to warn about merely professing to be a Christian. That is what this first allegory is. These ten virgins were all professing, five had oil and five did not. The five without oil were not real Christians. The other five had oil and they went in to the wedding. Take oil! Dear brother or dear sister, get oil in your vessel. Be sure you have the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus goes on and He says there is another thing. There was a certain man who was going away and he delivered to his bondmen his substance - five talents, two talents, and one talent. I would like to say that this is not an insignificant amount. This was probably a talent of silver, which would be worth perhaps about ninety thousand US dollars. I say that so we can understand - he was giving them something very valuable. The meetings today were about what is “more excellent.” This master gave the bondmen something excellent, and Jesus is giving everyone who has come to Him something excellent. That is Jesus - He is speaking of Himself in this allegory - He was going away and He was giving something to His disciples. He gave them five talents, two talents, and one talent. Some of His disciples we hear much about in the book of the Acts - Peter, for example. Others you do not hear about quite so much. Some you hardly hear of at all. That does not mean that they did not trade. The man who got the one talent, we will talk more about later. But they all were given talents.
You have been given talents and I have been given talents. That is not talent in the sense of being able to perform some sort of act, or ability - we are not talking of natural talents. He gives you something - He gives you a gift. He gave the first man five talents - he must have known he was a capable man. The second man, he gave two - he knew that he could handle two. He gives you what you can handle. So what will you do with it? That is the question today. The first man, with the five talents, went out and he traded, and he got five others. That is a 100% increase - he doubled his money. The second man went out and he did the same - he had two talents, and he doubled it. Now I would like to ask you, what are you doing with your talents? Are you trading? What do we come to these meetings for? I had an old brother years ago tell me that when I went to meetings, fellowship or three day meetings, (and I was young at the time) I was to think about it before I went and see what I would suggest if I were to take the meetings. Well, I have actually done that, and of course I prayed about these meetings, and thought, what would the Lord indicate for these upcoming meetings? That is called coming under exercise. I wonder how many of us came to these meetings under exercise. Our brother spoke about young people or brethren taking notes and that is a good thing. (I would suggest as an aside to what I am saying and a little off the subject: when a reading meeting is progressing and various scriptures are being referred to, and a chapter and verse are mentioned, be sure to look it up, turn to it and see what it says.)
Well, I think that is how you get an appreciation of what your talents are, what you are holding from the Master, what the Master has given you. One tremendous and wonderful thing about this trading is that you do not lose your initial investment when you trade. You keep it. The man says “here are your five talents” — so he had still the five talents he had been given, and had gained more - he had traded. What I would propose this weekend is that we use it to trade. What an opportunity we have for trading. Speak to someone else about an impression that has been on your heart, and they will reply with something that has been on their heart, and now you have an extra talent. I am not suggesting that the young people should not have a good time and we do need social interchange, but trade - use your talent or your talents and start trading. What we need is to use what we have been given, whatever it may be. Each one has something different. Sisters have something, brothers have something, even young children can have something to trade. We can speak about Jesus, say some word about Jesus, this wonderful Man that we have been speaking about. That is all you need; that is a talent, use it for Him — for His glory. And what comes out of this is, “enter into the joy of thy lord.” I have thought a lot about what that means. Is it not a realisation that your Lord is pleased with what you have done? “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Well, I prefer not to talk about the man with one talent. I already spoke about taking oil. If persons take oil, they will know the master. This man did not know him - he said, ”I knew thee, that thou art a hard man” - he certainly did not know him. I know Him, and He is not a hard man. I think there are a number of others here who would say the same thing. He did not know him, so he went and hid it. Are you hiding your talent? There are consequences for that decision. What I want to focus on is that the master gave them what they could use. He knew the character of each one. “He knoweth the way that I take;” Job says, “he trieth me, I shall come forth as gold”, Job 23: 10. He knows you and He will not give your talent to someone else. When you received the Spirit you would normally receive your talent, so now trade with it. You say, ‘Oh no, I am satisfied, I have the Spirit, I have oil in my vessel, I have my torch, I am ready to go.’ The Lord says, 'Trade with it, use it'. I trust it will mark this weekend. May we be trading, not just in the meeting - but between and after the meetings. Young people will be together and maybe having some good times, but remember Him and do not forget to trade, so that when He comes you can say, 'here are five other talents'. I think that is a wonderful thing and especially to get His approbation when He says to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The Lord’s words bring up another matter - faithfulness. For example, you may sit at your computer, and through it you could get just about anything that the world has to offer - will you be faithful? Nobody may know what you are browsing — nobody but you and God. I think that is the issue that the Lord is raising at the present. I would just like to encourage each one of us including the older ones, and especially the young people, to think of this matter of faithfulness, especially because of the way that the world is piping stuff in - into your ears, into your eyes, and into your mind. In every way the enemy is attacking. John Bunyan has a book, called The Holy War, and it is about how the enemy attacks the believer - how he comes at you from every angle, from every possible way. Will you be faithful? I think the key to it is to be trading actively; then you will not want what the world has. What we have is so much better! And I think that is what our brother has in mind for this weekend - the things that are more excellent. They are so much more excellent than anything the world can give you. Let us have Jesus before us. He said, “the ruler of the world comes, and in me he has nothing” (John 14: 30) - not a thing!
What a Saviour He is: praise His Name!
29th June 2007