Summary: Are you a good servant of Jesus Christ? Today’s message is for everyone who cares about the answer to that question. The fear of being a failure haunts every one of us.
How to be a Successful Servant of Christ
Purpose: To show that serving Christ is rewarded and brings assurance of salvation.
Aim: I want the listener to diligently use whatever the Lord has given them for God’s glory.
INTRODUCTION: Are you a good servant of Jesus Christ? Today’s message is for everyone who cares about the answer to that question. The fear of being a failure haunts every one of us. Even one of the greatest preachers who ever lived, C.H. Spurgeon, struggled with this possibility.
“When I was exceedingly ill in the South of France and deeply depressed in spirit—so deeply depressed and so sick and ill that I scarcely knew how to live—one of those malicious persons who commonly haunt all public men and especially ministers, sent me anonymously a letter, openly directed to “That unprofitable servant, C. H. Spurgeon.”
This letter contained tracts directed to the enemies of the Lord Jesus, with passages marked and underlined—with notes applying them to myself. How many Rabshekahs have, in their day, written to me! Ordinarily I read them with the patience which comes of use and they go to light the fire. I do not look for exemption from this annoyance, nor do I usually feel it hard to bear, but in the hour when my spirits were depressed and I was in terrible pain, this reviling letter cut me to the quick. I turned upon my bed and asked—Am I, then, an unprofitable servant? I grieved exceedingly and could not lift up my head or find rest.”
Spurgeon mentioned RABSHEKAH because he was an enemy general who did everything he could to make Hezekiah who was King of the small country of Judah after Israel had split into two kingdoms, feel like he was a failure.
Isaiah 36:1-3 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria made war on all the fortress cities of Judah and took them. Then the king of Assyria sent his general, the "Rabshekah," accompanied by a huge army, from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah. The general stopped at the aqueduct where it empties into the upper pool on the road to the public laundry. . . .
4-7The Rabshekah said to them, "Tell Hezekiah that the Great King, the king of Assyria, says this: ’What kind of backing do you think you have against me? You’re bluffing and I’m calling your bluff. Your words are no match for my weapons. What kind of backup do you have now that you’ve rebelled against me? Egypt? Don’t make me laugh. Egypt is a rubber crutch. Lean on Egypt and you’ll end up flat on your face. That’s all Pharaoh king of Egypt is to anyone who leans on him. And if you try to tell me, "We’re leaning on our God," isn’t it a bit late? Hasn’t Hezekiah just gotten rid of all the places of worship, telling you, "You’ve got to worship at this altar"?
8-9"’Be reasonable. Face the facts: My master the king of Assyria will give you two thousand horses if you can put riders on them. You can’t do it, can you? So how do you think, depending on flimsy Egypt’s chariots and riders, you can stand up against even the lowest-ranking captain in my master’s army? 10"’And besides, do you think I came all this way to destroy this land without first getting God’s blessing? It was your God who told me, Make war on this land. Destroy it.’" (The Message)
Jesus is telling us a story so we could know what it takes to please Him. First, Jesus explained the,
➽Vs.14-15 I. The Process of Getting Responsibilities
➽Vs.14 A. God is the only source “entrusted his possessions”
The point of using talents for this story is that God gives to each of us generously. A talent was a sum of money; it had nothing to do with special abilities, although abilities are part of what the Lord gives us to us. The one with 5 talents got about 100 year’s wages! 2 talents = 40 years – 1 talent was still 20 years wages!
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (NAU)
Everything we have belongs to God. If that is true, shouldn’t we ask God for His direction every time we use His resources? Nothing really belongs to us.
➽Vs.15 B. God decides who gets what “he gave…each according to his own ability”
1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. (NAU)
John Calvin, 14th century reformer, warns us:
“For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self-love, that everyone thinks he has a good reason for exalting himself and despising all others in comparison.”