Summary: This sermon unpacks the parable of the talents and how our God-given talents are to be creatively used in various ways to advance his Kingdom building agenda.
1.INTRODUCTION - OUTREACH DEFINED
2. THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS – OVERVIEW
3. APPLICATION – LESSONS REGARDING USING OUR “TALENTS”
A) God owns everything so everything we have is on loan from Him
B) God gives talents according to our ability
C) God expects you to use them creatively
D) God rewards the faithful use of those talents
4. CONCLUSION – WHICH CHARACTER ARE WE IN THE PARABLE?
A) One of the two faithful servants who used their talents wisely
B) Or the one-talent person who buried it in the ground?
Good Morning. If you have your Bibles with you and you want to follow along, we will be looking at the Matthew 25:14-30. As a reminder, we are going through our four core values of worship, discipleship, outreach, and community. Today, we are going to swing back around and focus on the value of outreach. Outreach, in a simple definition, is simply reaching out to a lost and dying world with the good news of Jesus Christ in very practical and very real ways. Reaching out actually begins inside the church and then expands out into the church, into the community, into Pittsburgh, and ultimately to the world through the various world missions that we support. In order for it to be sustainable, in order for it to be effective, each of us is required to give of ourselves. Specifically, we are each required to give of our time. In other words, we are to make room in our calendar or our day planner or whatever. We are supposed to give of our treasures, which means our money. We are supposed to support the church in its various ministries. We are also supposed to give of our talents. As we see today, we are supposed to give of those unique God-given traits that God has given us to be able to partner with him as he extends his reach throughout the world.
Today, we are going to look at the parable of the talents. As you may recall, a parable is nothing more than an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. An earthly story in that it usually involves some earthly people, but it has some sort of a heavenly application. The parable of the talents follows a few other parables; parables that speak of the need for people, for disciples to be ready and alert and waiting so that they are not caught off guard when the bridegroom comes back for the bride. In other words, when Jesus Christ comes back for his church. But as I have said before, the church itself is not some sort of a waiting room for heaven. In other words, we don’t come in to church and just wait to be taken off someday into heaven. We are all going to go there, but in the meantime, the church is supposed to be a productive place, a very productive place, where we are supposed to use our talents, our God-given talents, to partner with God as he continues to build his kingdom here on earth. That is what we are going to look at today in this parable. I am going to read starting at chapter 25, verse 14 all the way down to 30 and then I am going to come back and highlight a few key passages. (READ MATTHREW 25:14-30)
There are a lot of verses there, but the story is really quite simple. It starts off with a very simple introduction. It says (what we are talking about here is the kingdom of God) “Again it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money and to another two talents and to another one talent, each according to his ability, and then he went on his journey.” We have a brief introduction that kind of sets up the characters. We have a master and his three servants. Another name for the servants is slaves. As I have said before, back then in the first century, it was very common for people to have slaves. In fact, it was almost an economic necessity. Even though we abhor it, back then some of them were treated very well. Some of them lived obviously in the estates of their masters and ate the same food and drank the same wine.
To me, it kind of reminded me of the show Downton Abbey. Anybody watch that show? As a side note, we made it through season 3. We are ready for season 4, so all is well in the Gohn household. We are all caught up. Anyway, if you watch that show, I don’t really get caught up in the drama, but there is something neat about it because you’ve got these servants living in this massive estate with these aristocrats, and they just kind of comingle with them. It is kind of neat because the servants maintain this element of respect, but they are always kind of mixing together and comingling with each other, eating the same food, and enjoying a lot of the same type of activities. Really, I think it is a picture of what the first century was like. There were some slaves that had it pretty good, and they were treated pretty good. Because they were responsible people, they were given authority and responsibility to take care of the property of the master. That is what is going on here.