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Summary: Why were the five foolish and the Goats excluded?

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Parables of the Ten Virgins/Sheep and the Goats

We are coming to the last in this series of sermons on Jesus’ Parables

 Turn with me to Matt 25

 This chapter contains three Parables of Judgment, the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Separation of the sheep from the Goats

 Unfortunately these three Parables have been misused by some to coerce Christians into behavioral reform by putting an emphasis on the “Good works” mentioned in these parables

 And you could be forgiven because a superficial reading may give this impression

Before we look at them in more detail there are some common themes we need to keep in mind

First - is the point already mentioned in the earlier Parables - none is excluded before being included

 Talents, Marriage Supper, and we will see it mentioned again here in the Ten Virgins, Sheep and the Goats

 God’s desire is for all to be included, and those who are eventually excluded are those who refuse to play the game of “faith” and “grace”

Second - The Lord is absent in all these accounts

 This corresponds to the time between the resurrection and the Second Advent

 In order for the kingdom to advance Jesus had to leave as He was limited by the constraints of time and space – one place at a time

 However by sending the Spirit, He is able to accomplish so much more as he is not limited by time and space and Christians everywhere can enjoy his presence

But this absence also introduces an interesting dynamic

 It provides the mechanism to see how a Christian responds to an absent Lord

 We see this dynamic at work in the lives of our children or workers when the boss isn’t around

 We have already seen how the one servant responded to his absent Lord in the Parable of the Talents when he placed his talent (treasure) in the ground while the other two worked without supervision

 but as we learnt earlier in the Parables of the Kingdom, although it may appear the Lord is absent He is working mysteriously behind the scenes

 And one of the things he is doing is observing how we respond to His gift of Grace

 Now on the surface this may sound punitive and give credence to the interpretation of observing our behavior or “Works”

 But is this really what is being observed or is it something much deeper

When salvation by faith and Grace is preached correctly there is the tendency to think it is all too easy

 If Jesus has done it al for us, why bother trying to be good, caring and loving etc when its all been done for us

 Or to put it in Paul’s words, “why not sin so grace may abound?”

 The fallacy of this type of thinking is to regard faith as simply a theoretical agreement to a wonderful concept

 But faith in Jesus Christ is much more than just a beautiful theoretical concept in our heads

 Expressing faith in Jesus’ saving work sets in motion a chain of events: repentance, baptism, being born of the Spirit, becoming a new creation, God living in us

John 14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

 If Christ comes and lives in us something is going to happen to our lives

 We begin to think differently, act differently, become more Christ-like

 The lesson of the lazy steward who hid his talent in the ground in the Parable of the Talents drives this point home

 He presumed faith was just a nice concept - that ought to give us pause to think

 “You wicked lazy servant”

 Doing nothing – is not a viable option, it is not genuine faith as James tells us (Jas 2:20)

 but notice something else in this verse – the connection between “Love” and “obeying my teachings”

Let me explain it this way

 Expressing Faith in Jesus Christ is very much like a Marriage commitment

 That commitment should bring about a change of behavior - we no longer act like a single person, no more dating around, no more big drinking parties with the boys because I am now a married man – my status has changed

 Ideally, the motivation for the change of behavior comes about because of the commitment to the relationship with another person, the husband or wife

 If I were to continue to date around and binge drink with the boys, how would my wife regard my commitment to her?

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