Summary: Do you want to coast through your Christian life just serving God out of duty or do you want to go beyond fulfilling your duties out of sheer devotion for Christ?
BEYOND MERE SERVICE
1. Jesus, here, makes a startling statement!
2. He compares how earthly masters treat their servants—even if they do a great job!
3. He then applies it to His disciples’ lives.
4. If you do everything that is required by Scripture, you are still unprofitable servants!
5. That means you have not profited the kingdom of Heaven yet!
6. Of course, you must keep in mind the prevailing philosophy of that day.
7. The Pharisees had convinced the people that religion was really a bunch of do’s and don’ts.
8. They had broken down the wonderful revelation of God’s love in the Old Testament into list of laws that were to be kept.
9. The Pharisees also prided themselves in keeping every iota of those laws.
10. One other observation, those laws were mainly outward.
11. Well, I believe it is important for every servant of God to do what is merely his duty:
b. Bible Reading
d. Church Attendance
e. Holy Living—ten commandments
12. But Jesus is calling us to something higher, above mere service!
13. If you look at the verses before and after the parable of unprofitable servants, I believe you will see what Christ is teaching us, here.
I. Influence (v. 1-2)
A. Jesus said, "Offenses will surely come."
B. Why? Because we are merely humans and we all have a sinful nature.
C. But we should try our hardest to keep from being the source of offense toward other people!
D. Paul preached on this topic many times.
E. He once said, "If meat maketh my brother to offend; I will eat no meat while the world standeth."
F. I wish Christians could really develop this attitude in their lives—me included.
G. One of the hardest things I have to do is to give up my preferences if they are offensive to others!
H. Jesus said, in essence, if you are doing things which you know are causing others to stumble—especially younger people or even younger Christians—everybody would be better off if someone tied you to a great big slab of cement and threw you off a cliff into some deep water!
I. Why? Because, if we are influencing others away from Christ, we are influencing them toward Hell!
J. Because of our unforgiving spirit, our lack of faith, our Pharisaical attitude, we may be influencing people to reject the Gospel of Christ!
K. We must be mindful, not only of law-keeping and holy-living, although those things are important, but we must remember our influence—don’t be a stumbling block to anyone.
L. If you realize that you are causing some to stumble, change the behaviour.
II. Forgiveness (v. 3-4; Matthew 18:21ff)
A. Because Christ has forgiven you a debt you could never pay!
B. Because forgiving is Christ-like.
C. Remember, we did not deserve to be forgiven by God either!
D. "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).
III. Faith (v. 5-6)
A. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
B. Faith is one of the most important things for a Christian to understand.
C. Here in this story, I believe the gist of Jesus statement on faith can be understood by comparing His statement to the disciples’ question.
D. They asked for Jesus to give them more faith—Jesus told them of what a very small amount of faith was able to do.
E. What is the moral?
F. We need to use the faith we have today more than we need more faith.
G. What does that mean?
H. Let me illustrate:
1. How many of you believe that if you pray, God will answer that prayer?
2. How is your prayer life?
3. See what I mean?
4. How many of us believe that every word of God is inspired and infallible?
5. Do you believe God’s word will help you to live a happier, more successful, well-rounded life?
6. So, if you come to a part you do not particularly like, will you humbly bow before the authority of the word or get mad and reinterpret it according to your preferences?
I. Most of us believe correctly about God and His word, but the important question is, "Are we acting according to what we do know to be true?"
J. I believe that is what Jesus was illustrating here—the very small amount of faith which you already possess can move mountains if you would just put it into action!
1. Faith is an action not merely an attitude.
2. …behaviour, as well as belief
IV. Gratitude (v. 11-19)
A. I read a sermon or two on this idea, "Where are the nine?"