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How to Wait for the Lord's Return

May 16, 2021 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:

Topic: Eternal Gains Verse: Luke 19:11–19:27

Theme: Christ desires to seek and save sinners through His saints. 

I. Accept the Need for Patience – 19:11

A. The Underestimations of God’s Purposes

  • We are told that Jesus was speaking about the spiritual priorities of why He came – “to seek and to save that which was lost” – v. 10.
  • It was “while they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable …” – apparently, knowing their thoughts, Jesus knew He was not connecting with them.
  • The people were completely oblivious to why Jesus had come – “they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.”
  • Jesus had a vastly more important purpose for coming than the temporal, political, and social priorities that occupy the interest of most people.
  • Unbelievers are clamoring for a “best life now” achievement – thinking that life is always about justice, equity, fairness, and temporal priorities when God has a far more eternal purpose to which He is committed.
  • If Jesus were a social activist, seeking to accomplish the reform of social justice He was a miserable failure – but He didn’t come to improve our existence on this earth but in heaven.
  • Jesus came to save sinners from sin, not to overthrow the Romans and elevate the standard of living of the Jews.

B. The Overestimation of Man’s Priorities

  • Yet people are so tied to the present circumstances of life that if God is to be considered “worthy” of their praise, He must improve their lives today.
  • The Jews of the day had a fixation on the Messiah fulfilling their temporal priorities – otherwise, a claimant could not be considered credible.
  • This is the very scenario that played out throughout the rest of this chapter through the Triumphal Entry and the subsequent repudiation of Jesus at the crucifixion only four days later.
  • People care less about being saved from sin than they do about being “saved” from suffering or injustices.
  • This does not mean that temporal justice and harmony are not important, but only that they do not compare with the purposes of God to save sinners from sin and its consequences.

Application:

  1. Do you care more about social justice today than you do about the eternal deliverance of sinners? 
  2. What would commitment to God’s purposes instead of man’s priorities look like if you were to become properly committed?

II. Aspire to Realize Faithfulness – 19:12-13

A. The Sketch of God’s Plan – v. 12

  • In this section, Jesus attempts to correct their temporal priorities by focusing them on God’s eternal purposes by means of a parable.
  • A parable seeks to move people from familiar concepts to unfamiliar truths through analogies, illustrations, or stories.
  • He does so by providing a very simple story by saying: “a nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.”
  • This is something that was a common occurrence as the occupied region of Israel knew a distant ruler (Caesar) who gave the right to rule to “noblemen” who did something to merit the kingdom.
  • A notable example of this was Herod the Great whose kingdom was given to his three sons upon his death in 4 BC – Archelaus was made ruler of Judea.
  1. Before heading to Rome to have the title “King” conferred by Caesar Augustus, he slaughtered 3,000 Jews simply to instill fear in the Jews.
  2. The Jews registered a complaint against him before Caesar.
  3. Caesar refused to give him the title of “King” and instead gave him the title of Ethnarch [“ruler of the people”] until he could gain the favor of the people – which he never did.
  • Jesus used this story to summarize His own plan – however, instead of him killing others, He himself would be killed on their behalf and then go to the Father only “to return” to rule in the Millennial Kingdom after the time He is “away.”
  • On that glorious day, He will come in glory and the right to rule will belong exclusively to Jesus Christ – cp. Revelation 11:15. 

B. The Stewardship for God’s People – v. 13

  • In the intermittency, while the “nobleman” expected his slaves to serve Him and His interests – which focus upon the eternal destinies of sinners.
  • Jesus establishes what faithfulness looks while He is away – “And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’”
  • To each of “his [ten] slaves,” the master “gave” a “mina” – which was about 100 days wage – a significant amount.
  • These “slaves” were told to “do business” [πραγματεύομαι] – a reference to being practical, innovative, and productive – the word from which we get the English word “pragmatic.”
  • Out of love, respect, and loyalty to the Master who was away, these slaves were called upon to manage the Master’s interests and resources entrusted to them in a way that will honor the Master.
  • This represents the calling of the believer today to seek the increase of those who are rescued from sin through the Gospel and the deliberate efforts to advance the interests of the King in such a way that will receive his approval, endorsement, and reward when He returns – “… until I come back.”

Application:

  1. Are you busily engaged using the opportunities that Christ provides you to faithfully represent him and His interests?
  2. When Jesus returns, will you find His commendation for how you have practically served Him with your time, talents, and resources?

III. Anticipate the Accountability for Service – 19:14-27

A. The Fight against the Kingdom – vv. 14, 27

  • There are those who have absolutely no interest in Jesus Christ – like the Jews who opposed Archelaus – they defiantly oppose Jesus – “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’”
  • “his citizens” in this story would represent the Jewish people who refused to receive Him – cp. John 1:11.
  • They “sent a delegation after him” – a reference to the religious leadership who initially called for His crucifixion, but subsequently exists through those who resist the efforts of Christians to advance the Master’s interests in building His church.
  • Their response was “we do not want this man to reign over us” – cp. John 19:15.
  • However, their rebellion against Jesus does nothing except intensify their accountability to Him – everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not is accountable to Jesus – Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 2:8.
  • This accountability is seen at the end of this story in v. 27 – “But these enemies of min, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”

B. The Fruitfulness in the Kingdom – vv. 15-19

  • However, “when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done.”
  • The accountability was positive – the Master desired to reward the faithfulness of His servants during the time He was away.
  • We are told that faithfulness was a delight to the Master and He rewarded it generously – “The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’” – claiming no personal credit, but gave credit to the Master Himself.
  • The Master was pleased – “and he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’” – a reference to the Millennial opportunity to help the Lord administrate the Kingdom.
  • Another slave was likewise faithful – “The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas’ And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’”
  • Although the second’s fruitfulness was not as dramatic as the first’s, he had done well, demonstrating that not everyone has the same abilities, opportunities, or outcomes as everyone else.
  • In the modern vernacular, there is equality (both received one mina and were approved for their faithfulness) but equity is not a goal (Jesus seems to be a capitalist).
  • The issue here is faithfulness in striving to bring glory to the Master – maximizing the opportunities that He gives to you to bring Him glory.

C. The Fakery in the Kingdom – vv. 20-26

  • It seems that the other slaves were likewise brought before the Lord with similar reward.
  • However, one slave was a fake – not devoted to the advancement of the interests of the Master – “Another came” – [ἕτερος] – a slave of a different kind altogether – a fake slave.
  • He said “Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 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.”
  • He accused the master of several faults:
  1. He is intemperate – “I was afraid of you …”
  2. He is intolerant – “because you are an exacting man” [αὐστηρός] – austere or unfair.
  3. He is impious – essentially a thief – “you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.”
  • Such a perspective is not possessed by a true servant of Christ – and as a result, he has his mina stripped from him and he is not included in the Kingdom in any way – “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? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’”
  • Then Jesus declares the principles of grace – “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”

Application:

  1. Does your service to Christ represent those who are rewarded by the Master or by those repudiated by the Master? 
  2. What fruitfulness can you see in your ministries as you await Jesus’ return? 

So What?

- The work of “seeking and saving the lost” has been committed to those who are servants of Christ Jesus.

- The one “mina” entrusted to us is the Gospel of Christ and we are to put it to work until He comes.

- Our fruitfulness in the Gospel is the primary purpose we are still here as we await Christ’s return.

- A passiveness regarding the Gospel is the mark of a “false slave” of Christ.

- Genuine Christians rejoice that the power is in the Gospel itself and not in any of us!