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Home arrow Daniel arrow Luke 19:11-27: Stewards of the Gospel
Luke 19:11-27: Stewards of the Gospel Print E-mail
Luke
Sunday, 29 September 2013
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It has been 2,000 years since Jesus walked the road from Jericho to Jerusalem.  Decades have come and gone.  Kingdoms have risen and fallen.  Generation after generation has passed.  And during that entire time, people have given their lives to following Jesus.  They have turned from their sins and trusted in His death and resurrection.  They have faced persecution and loss and death.  They have given their money to the poor and to taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.  They have committed themselves to local Churches and loved their brothers and sisters in Christ like family.  And they have all expected and awaited the return of the King, only to die without seeing it come to pass.  In fact, there are those who have used the delay of Christís return as an excuse not to follow Him.  They conclude: ĎSurely He would have returned by now.  Surely the Kingdom would have already come.í

Apparently, even while Jesus was here on earth, there were people who had false expectations about the Kingdom.  They thought that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to set up the Kingdom.  They figured that the Kingdom would soon arrive through His victory over the Romans.  But they were mistaken.  The Kingdom would not come in all of its fullness until after a delay.  Luke tells us that Jesus told a parable to prepare them for this delay.  Look at verse 11.  Jesus knew that the Kingdom was not going to come immediately.  He knew there would be a delay.  So He tells us a parable about what we should be doing during the delay.  Letís look at that together.

The Parable

Jesus introduces the story in verses 12-13.  Look at those with me.  There is some historical background that possibly stands behind this particular story.  Herod the Greatís son had to go to Rome to gain control over his fatherís lands.  That story would have been familiar to Jesusí listeners.  What directions does the nobleman leave for his servants?  He gives them some money (about three monthsí wages) and tells them to put it to work and engage in business.  In the same way, when Jesus ascended to the Fatherís right hand, He left instructions for His disciples.  They were to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:6-11).  While He was gone, they were to labor faithfully in preaching the gospel.

So then, what happens?  Jesus goes on to tell us three different responses to the nobleman.  First, there were those who completely rejected his reign.  Look at verse 14.  This is what happened to Herod the Greatís son and would have again been familiar to the listeners.  There were some who just did not like the nobleman and rejected him as king.  Many respond in this way to the good news of Christ.  They reject Him as King.  They do not want Him to reign over their lives.  They donít want Him telling them how to live.  They reject His rule. 

Yet, second, there were some who obeyed the noblemanís command.  Look at verses 15-19.  These two servants were faithful with the money that the nobleman had given them.  And the return they received was outstanding: 1,000% and 500% respectively.  These men represent those who are faithful with the gospel.  They believe it and practice it and preach it.  And it produces greatly.  It exceeds all expectations.  It multiplies and multiplies.

Third, there was one who did nothing.  Look at verses 20-21.  This servant simply hid the money and refused to do anything with it until the nobleman returned.  His reason for doing nothing is that he was afraid of the nobleman.  He feared the noblemanís severity and that led him to inaction.  This seems to represent those who are close to Christ, maybe even Church members, but the good news of Christ has not moved them enough to share it with others.  Their fear of making a mistake or doing something wrong has led them to inaction.

How does the nobleman respond to each of these groups?  First, as we saw, the nobleman rewards those who are faithful.  And the reward is hard to comprehend.  The first man gets ten cites and the second gets five.  Amazing.  Jesus is highlighting the glorious reward that is given to those who are faithful with the gospel.  They are faithful with little and they are rewarded with much.  They live their lives for the gospel and God graciously gives them eternity in Heaven.  We should note that one is given more than the other.  It is hard to know exactly how this will work out in eternity, but the New Testament does teach that our rewards will vary according to our works (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).  We are not saved by our works and we cannot earn our way into Heaven.  But the Bible does teach that we will receive various rewards along with Heaven.  How amazing is that?!!?

How does the nobleman respond to the one who did nothing?  Look at verses 22-26.  The nobleman condemns this man for doing nothing with the money.  Even by his own confession, the servant should have at least put the money in the bank to draw interest.  But he did nothing.  And because of that, the mina he had was taken away from him and given to the one who had ten.  The consequence for his inaction was to lose all.  From this we see that it is not enough to just hear the gospel or be a member of a Church or believe certain ideas about God.  We must be faithful with the gospel.  We must believe it in such a way that it changes us and causes us to tell it to others.  If not, we may end up like this wicked servant.

Finally, how does the nobleman respond to those who outright rejected his reign?  Look at verse 27.  Those who rejected the reign of the nobleman were put to death.  Those who reject the reign of King Jesus will be punished as well.  These verses make us cringe inside.  It seems harsh and violent.  Yet, we need to keep in mind what the Bible tells us about humanity in God.  We are not Ďgood people with just a few flaws.í  We have gone our own way.  We have rejected Godís rule in our lives and done our own thing.  We have lived with no regard for God.  Thus, it would be just for God to punish us for our sin and rebellion.  The ending of the parable places the all important question before us: ĎWhat have you done with the gospel?í  Have you rejected Jesus?  Or have you turned from your sins, trusted in His sacrificial death and resurrection, and committed your life to following Him and telling others about all that He has done?  The noblemanís response to those who rejected him illustrate the dire consequences of making the wrong choice about Jesus.  I plead with you today, do not make that mistake.

Lessons for faithful stewards of the gospel

What lessons can we draw out from this parable?  First, we learn that the delay in the Kingdom demands faithful stewardship of the gospel.  Some may think that he is never going to come back since so much time has passed.  But they are mistaken.  Jesus is going to return.  And when He does there will be a reckoning.  We cannot afford to reject Him or grow weary because of the delay. He will come back and we must be ready!

Second, Godís severity should motivate our faithful stewardship of the gospel.  It is hard to know what to do with what the servant says about the nobleman.  He calls him severe and the nobleman does not deny it.  Yet, some do not see this as an admission of severity but simply as a way to condemn the wicked servant with his own words.  Such an interpretation is possible and is perhaps best.  Yet, even so, it does not take away from the severity of the judgment found in verse 27.  Those who reject Christ will face everlasting punishment.  They will be condemned for their refusal to follow Him.  So then, we must warn them.  We must love them enough to tell them that the King is coming.  We must take to them the good news that the King has already paid for their sin and rebellion if they will just trust in Him.  And we cannot delay because we do not know when the King will return.  The delay has been 2,000 years, but it could be over today.  So donít walk but run to tell the good news that Jesus saves.

Third, faithful stewardship of the gospel will be rewarded.  Again, I am not saying that we are earning our way to Heaven.  But the parable does teach us that what we do matters.  Some want to believe that sharing the gospel is optional as a believer in Christ.  But not sharing the gospel places us in a precarious position.  It could be evidence that we have not truly believed in the gospel in the first place.  The servant who did nothing was not well-received.  And I donít know about you, but I donít want to end up like him.  I want the Lord to say to me: Well done, good servant!  I want to be faithful with the gospel.  I want to believe it like I should.  I want to know that my sins are forgiven because of what Jesus did for me on the cross.  And I want to practice the gospel.  I want to hate my sin and be quick to repent.  I want to obey the One who gave His life for me.  And I want to preach the gospel.  Not just in the pulpit, but every time I get the chance.  I want to preach the gospel in the park tonight.  I want to preach it to my neighbors and those I see at soccer games.  I want to preach it to my friends and family members who have yet to believe.  I want to be a faithful steward of the good news!

Of course, one final question that we might ask takes us all the way back to the beginning of the parable: ĎWhy is Jesus given the Kingdom in the first place?í  To answer that question, we must keep following Him to Jerusalem.  For when He gets there, He will do the most amazing thing that has ever happened in the history of man: He will give His life to secure the Kingdom for sinners like you and me.  All of our rebellion, all of our rejection, all of our living for ourselves, all of our selfish decisions, every single sin, was paid for by Him at the cross.  Jesus is given the Kingdom because He paid for it with His blood.  He has purchased us by His death and resurrection.  The coming judgment should motivate us to warn others.  But it is not our only motivation!  We should also tell them the glorious good news of Jesus our Savior.  He has died to save them.  And all who turn from their sins and believe in Him, all who are faithful stewards of the gospel, will be received by Him into His Kingdom when He returns.  So then, letís take this good news to anyone and everyone that we can!  Letís be good stewards of the good news until the good King comes back to welcome us into His Kingdom.  Amen.         

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 October 2013 )

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