Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling: Eternal Reward, part 6.



Class Outline:

Thursday January 14, 2021

 

The five parables in the Olivet discourse would all seem to associate with the second coming, and yet in our age, watchfulness, readiness, and labor are just as important. We are to fix our eyes of Jesus, the Author and Completer of our faith. We anticipate an imminent Rapture of the church. The principles of watchfulness, readiness, and labor apply to us as it would to believers in the Tribulation awaiting the return of the Lord.

 

The Faithful Slave - emphasizes laboring. The previous emphasis on watching is not to be misconstrued as doing nothing but looking at the sky.

 

1CO 15:50-58

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

 

The previous parables, the Porter (MAR 13:33-37), and the Master of the House (MAT 24:43-44) emphasized watchfulness and readiness respectively.

 

MAT 24:45-47

“Who then is the faithful and sensible [phronimos = practically wise] slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”

 

It is not necessarily true that God will put these believers in charge of all His possessions. That is only a part of the parable. The truth is blessing and reward to those who in the Tribulation are doing the will of God while watching and ready for the return of Christ.

 

God’s rewards center around the work itself, the discoveries themselves, and the close relationship with God itself. God’s work does not lead to something else.

 

Next we look at the Parable of the Pounds or Minas. Mina is a transliteration from the Semitic word mna╠Ĺ meaning “weight” or “sum of money.” It was equivalent to 100 shekels, a little more than a year’s wage for a laborer.

 

Again, context is important in understanding. The parable opens, LUK 19:11 And while they were listening to these things, He went on to tell a parable

 

The context is the anger of the religious toward Christ after He determined to be the guest of a tax-collector.

 

LUK 19:7

And when they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."

 

The man is Zaccheus, the vertically challenged chief tax-gatherer.

 

The problem, and the point of the parable, is that these Israelites did not know God, though they claimed to. If they had known God, they would have rejoiced that Jesus dined with Zaccheus.

 

The ignorance of God has been the grave problem of the human race from the beginning.

 

The Parable of the Minas - they who don’t know God can do nothing with the life God has given them. Those who can (fulfill their calling as believers) are rewarded.

 

LUK 19:11-12a

And while they were listening to these things, He went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore,

 

It is also important to understand that the multitude of people, some literally following Jesus and others traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover, were confident that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately since Jesus had been performing miracles for over three years as He roamed the countryside, the kingdom of God had been proclaimed by Him and His disciples, and some millions (stated by the historian Josephus) were flocking to Jerusalem for this Passover.

 

He just said: LUK 19:10

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

 

Perhaps this meant the political emancipation that they imagined the Messiah would give them and now was the time. We have to try and imagine that for three and a half years Jesus had been traveling up and down the countryside, teaching on the kingdom of God and performing a great many miracles. From the gospels we conclude that even His disciples imagined something like this; that Jesus would overthrow the corrupt Sanhedrin and the Roman government and literally set up the material throne of David in Jerusalem, sitting as King eternal. After all, He was on His way to Jerusalem and it was known that more people were attending the festival than probably ever before. They were all sure something big was going to happen, and they were not wrong - however, it wasn’t the something they imagined.

 

Israel, including the disciples, misunderstood the mission of the Messiah and His kingdom. They misunderstood God.

 

This is not a death sentence so long as when the truth is clearly shown later on in God’s forbearance that it is believed.

 

LUK 19:12-14

He said therefore, "A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 13 "And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business with this until I come back.' 14 "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.'

 

The citizens might refer to the general crowd who will soon call for Jesus’ crucifixion.

 

JOH 15:25 (PSA 69:4)

'They hated Me without a cause.'

 

Archelaus, a tetrarch around the time of the birth of Jesus, had built his palace in Jericho, where Jesus is now speaking (19:1). From there Archelaus made his pilgrimage to Rome to ask that he might be named king. Moreover, when he went, he left a man, Philippus, in charge with money to maintain the revenue while he was away. And further, when he was gone to Rome, they sent a special deputation of fifty Jews from his tetrarchy to Rome to inform the emperor that they did not want him to be king and would not have him as such.

 

Everyone would have known this recent history and Jesus uses it in a parable to push home a truth. Unlike Archelaus, Jesus received His kingdom and His kingship, and He will return in victory and authority, and when He does, those who knew Him and followed His will, will be rewarded.

 

The slaves are told what to do, “Do business until I return,” meaning to invest the mina. We are given and told the way to follow by God.

 

The difference between this parable and the parable of the talents in Mat 25 is that in this one each slave receives the same amount and different rewards while in the talents they receive different amounts and the same rewards.

 

LUK 19:15-27

"And it came about that when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done. 16 "And the first appeared, saying, 'Master, your mina has made ten minas more.' 17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.' 18 "And the second came, saying, 'Your mina, master, has made five minas.' 19 "And he said to him also, 'And you are to be over five cities.' 20 "And another came, saying, 'Master, behold your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 'Then why did you not put the money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?' 24 "And he said to the bystanders, 'Take the mina away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.' 25 "And they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas already.' 26 "I tell you, that to everyone who has shall more be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27 "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence."

 

Often enough, more is read into a parable than there should be. Here they are forced to try and understand God as a man who takes what he did not lay down and reaps what he did not sow. But that is the depiction of the nobleman and not God. The point, and each parable has one, is that the worthless slave did not know the master at all.

 

The context would make the worthless slave a person who, not knowing God, could not do the smallest thing with the life God had given him.

 

Whether this could refer to a believer (he is a slave and not an “enemy”) or is referring to an unbeliever (the Parable of the Talents - the worthless slave is cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth) is not made clear. As is the case with parables, there is one theme or message and we are not to make doctrines out of the details.

 

In the parable the nobleman takes what he does not lay down and reaps what he didn’t sow, so then he is a conqueror of others. For this reason, the worthless slave is afraid of him. But, if he did the will of the nobleman, he would have nothing to fear. So then, he knew something of the nobleman but didn’t know him. The man only feared what he perceived from a superficial knowledge. Putting the mina in the bank would have been an easy thing to do, but he seems to have thought that the best thing to do was to tuck it away and give it back, having nothing to do with the nobleman or his mina, perhaps thinking that it was best to not get involved. But in doing this he disobeyed the instructions.

 

The nobleman said “Do business.” He didn’t say, “You better make a profit or else!” Putting it in the bank would have involved no risk. The smallest interest would have been paid. The ones earning ten and five minas are to be understood as having risked the mina more so, but in that they are simply following the command of the nobleman. Business is, and always has been, understood as involving an aspect of luck. The one who made five may have worked and risked as much as the one who made ten, but the latter happened upon a better market.

 

So then, the bottom line is that the worthless slave was afraid, causing him to disobey the command, and create his own solution for the problem. He didn’t really know the nobleman.

 

The main thrust of the parable is that people who don’t know God or His way cannot invest what He has given them. Those who do know Him through faith in the gospel and subsequent spiritual growth to maturity, will be rewarded with a life beyond dreams. For those who are on this “new and living way” (HEB 10:20) there is confident and joyous expectation of fulfillment - the one hope of our calling.

 

"Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God," [Tozer]