Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Kingdom Investments and Rewards
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Kingdom Investments and Rewards
April 11, 2010
I want to talk to you today about kingdom investments and rewards. God gives all of us one life to live and expects us to live a life of faith and a life of faith is one of risk and reward. Taking risks, stepping out in faith is not for certain personality types but is for all of us.
Can you identify with that at all? At times I have felt that I am living for a safe and secure life and don’t want to extend myself so as not to risk my own comfort and security. Sad thing is many Christian believe it is worthy life to live hugging the balance beam but it is not.
Big idea – Faithful living is not living a life of safety and security but living by faith. If all of us believed God was as big and powerful and reliable; we would all take more risks.
The good news is that Jesus addressed this issue in Luke 19:11-27. As Jesus headed toward Jerusalem, everyone expected him to establish a political and earthly kingdom. Jesus tells this parable to teach that he will be rejected and killed and then return as King in full power and authority. Until then his servants are to engage in kingdom work. Jesus addresses three groups of people: there are the citizens, Israel, who hated, rejected, and ultimately killed him. Then there is the good and faithful servants who faithfully engage in business until he returns and are generously rewarded. Last there is the unfaithful servant, who wasted his resources because of fear. The point of the parable is that God has given each of us one life to live and he expects us to use our lives for Kingdom purposes until he returns.
The first group uses their talents faithfully, taking the necessary risks, trusting and therefore obeying Jesus and so they are commended as good and faithful servants. Faithfulness requires some level of risk, stepping out, believing God is big enough and good enough to cover us. God even motivates us to take risks with the promise of rewarding us in the age to come, the next life.
The other servant is called a wicked servant because he is unfaithful. He sees the nobleman as harsh and hard and severe and so he is afraid of the nobleman and takes no risks, ie no steps of faith. He wasted what was given to him and so is judged by his own words. On top of it, what he had is taken from him and given to one of the faithful servants. This servant was familiar with Jesus, hung around Jesus but did not obey or trust Jesus.
There are two kinds of fear in the bible. “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die." 20 Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin." 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was (Exo 20:18-21).” The first kind of fear, a fear that flows from faith, draws us to God and obedience and the stewardship of our lives. This kind of fear flows from rightly understanding God and the necessity of obedience that flows from faith. Faith produces the desire to obey and to please him. The other kind of fear flows from unbelief and causes one to fearfully obey him because we see God as harsh and severe and a hard man to ‘work’ for. This kind of fear cripples our ability to live a life of faithful obedience. It repels us from him in cowering uncertainty wondering how he is going to react. Paul tells us that, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
God has given each of us a life that consists of time, talents, treasures, etc. He expects us to use them for his purposes.
The last group are citizens, representing Israel, who hated him and rejected his rule over them and so they are rejected. The unfaithful group are identified as wicked because of their unfaithfulness; the citizens are enemies because they rejected him. Jesus is coming back and it will not be pretty for those of us who are not taking him serious.