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CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
A. If you were to ask, "What is the most famous parable that Jesus ever told?" I would answer that it is the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
When parables are mentioned we often think first of that parable where the Prodigal son went into the far country, squandered all his money in riotous living, came to himself, went home, & found his father waiting for him.
Literature has called this "The worldís most perfect short story." It has been told & retold around the world because of its universal application. Almost every family knows of some such experience. So this is the most famous of all the parables that Jesus told.
B. If you were to ask, "What is the most tender parable Jesus ever told?" I would say, "the Parable of the Lost Sheep." The shepherd went out looking for the sheep that had gone astray, looking through thickets, climbing jagged rocks, searching, until finally he found the one that had gone astray. Then he brings it home, rejoicing. It is a tender story.
C. Or if you were to ask, "What is the most comforting story for the helpless?" I would choose Lazarus & the Rich Man. Lazarus sat outside the gate, his clothing tattered & torn, his body wracked with disease & pain. Dogs came & licked his sores. The only food he had came out of the garbage pails from the rich manís table.
Then he died, & found himself in Abrahamís bosom. There all of his misery was over, & he saw an eternity free of pain & suffering. And we learn that the sufferings of this world are as nothing compared to the joy that will be ours for all eternity.
D. But if you were to ask, "What is the most practical parable Jesus ever told? What parable applies more to how we live our lives today, & how God acts & reacts to us, & how we act & react to Him?" I think it would have to be this parable that we find in Matthew 25.
It is a rather long parable, vsís 14-30, so Iíll not read it to you. You already know the parable. Youíve heard it many times.
Let me condense it to just a few sentences. Jesus said that a master was getting ready to take a long journey. So he called in his servants & distributed his wealth among them. Then he left. And then he came back. And when he came back he called for an accounting, & those who had invested wisely, he rewarded. And the one who did not invest is condemned. Thatís the parable.
As I said, it is practical. It applies to our lives because it shows how God treats us, how He reacts to us, & how we oftentimes treat His blessings.
I. THE MASTER ENTRUSTS HIS WEALTH TO THE SERVANTS
A. Scene one opens with the master calling in his servants. He says to them, "I am going to entrust you with my wealth." So he gives 5 talents to one, 2 talents to another, & 1 talent to the third. "Talents, money, dollars," - all are synonyms for the same thing. He distributed his wealth among them & said, "While I am gone I want you to be stewards of this wealth."
He is the master. They are the servants. He owns everything. They own nothing. They depend upon him. If he were not generous with them, they would not be able to live. Now he has called them in & said, "I have been watching you. I have studied you. I have concluded that you are faithful stewards."
Now I donít
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