Jesus Brings Results
April 05, 2020 | Randy Smith
Jesus Brings Results
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Pastor Randy Smith
Here we are, unbelievably entering our fourth week of home church. From what I have heard, I trust all of you are staying spiritually strong. It is my prayer that this time on Sunday morning is simply the overflow of your life that has been walking faithfully with the Lord throughout the week – reading the Word, praying, sharing your faith, meeting over the Internet and serving others to the degree it is possible.
Let’s face it, everybody is struggling these days. People are laid-off. Businesses have been closed. Money is tight. The economy is tanking. Schools shutdown. Plans cancelled. And it is often resulting in boredom, anger, uncertainty, fear and depression.
As I was driving to the church this week, I noticed a sign in front of a house that simply read, “Hope.” That’s nice and I am sure these homeowners are trying to keep community morale high, but hope in what? Luck? Fate? Mother Nature? The goodness of man? Political leaders? Medical professionals? Sure, some may help, but none of these are an ultimate guarantee of hope.
Here is your hope from Isaiah 45, “Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory” (Isa. 45:20-25).
Our ultimate hope is that God is sovereign, and all this is working toward His perfect plan for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. His word never returns void (Isa. 55:11). No one is His counselor (Rom. 11:34). “He does according to His will” (Dan. 4:35). “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains (Psm. 24:1). And when He sets out to do something it always comes to pass. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever” (Rom. 11:36). God wills in perfect wisdom. God’s acts in perfect omnipotence.
Discussion #1 – Discuss how you are personally finding hope in God through this present trial.
The title of this sermon is, “Jesus Brings Results.”
Jesus brings results when He creates. He brought results when He chose to create the world and He brings results when He chooses to spiritually re-create His people.
A great example of this was seen last week. The greedy, immoral thief named Zaccheus in an instant became a cheerful giver with a heart for the poor and desire to right all the wrongs he committed.
In verse 9 of chapter 19 Jesus said regarding Zaccheus, “Today salvation has come to this house.” The timing of that was very significant. Of course, we are saved by faith alone and grace alone and Jesus alone, but isn’t it interesting that the proclamation of his salvation by Christ (in verse 9) is tied not to Zaccheus’ proclamation of faith, but rather Zaccheus’repentance (in verse 8). When Christ saves a person, there is evidence of His powerful presence. Jesus brings results.
The way I look at it, there are only three types of people in the world. There are those who outright hate Christ. There are those who have a fake relationship with Christ. And there are those genuine with Christ. And the only way to tell the genuine from the fakers and the haters is the results, the evidence that God is truly working in a person’s life. Jesus brings results. Christians are known by their “fruit.” Everyone on the planet is in one of these three categories.
So, three sermon points today. First, we will begin with two historical facts. Then we will explain the one parable. And then we will look at the three people groups: the haters, the fakers and the genuine.
The main point? Jesus brings results.
Two Historical Thoughts
Let’s begin with two historical points.
The first one is found in verse 11. “While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.”
So, according to verse 11, we know this is going to be a parable and we also know that Jesus is now approaching Jerusalem. As we have mentioned repeatedly, the Jews expected the Messiah to enter Jerusalem and establish His earthly kingdom. You know, overthrow the Romans, restore Israel’s supremacy, etc. So, when Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, it was natural that many (verse 11) “supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.”
Yes, Jesus was going to Jerusalem to secure His Kingdom, but no, it would not come this time in its expected form. Jesus would enter Jerusalem as the Lamb of God prepared to be the sacrifice for the sins of His people. His mission for now is to (verse 10) “to seek and to save that which was lost.” The kingdom would not be in power as expected this time, but it would soon come in power as King Jesus sets up His throne in people’s lives and demonstrates His presence through them. Again, Jesus brings results.
The second important historical thought is found in verse 12. “So He said, ‘A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.’”
This is the introduction to the parable. Parables are teaching devices that use earthy situations that people knew back then to teach spiritual lessons. Interestingly, this situation explained in verse 12 follows very closely with a current historical event.
When Jesus was born, the ruler over Israel was King Herod. King Herod died when Jesus was a baby, but in his will, he desired to have his three sons rule over his empire. Caesar Augustus of Rome respected the terms of Herod's will. Herod’s son Archelaus was conformed not as king, but as ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea after his visit with Caesar. Yet the Jews sent a delegation to Rome to oppose the rule Archelaus because of his cruelty. In 6 AD, Caesar Augustus judged Archelaus incompetent to rule and removed him from power.
Keep that current event, which was familiar to the people, in mind.
So, with the history explained, I think we can make sense of this parable. Verse 12 again, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.”
Just like Archelaus as he went to Caesar in Rome (“a distant country”) to receive a kingdom for himself and then return to rule in Israel, Jesus also went to a “distant country” (i.e. heaven) after His work on the cross to receive a kingdom for Himself as well.
Of course, Jesus is always Lord and King, but after His work on the cross, Romans 1 tells us He was, “Declared theSon of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Then, Philippians 2, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). And first He returned in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to establish His church, His invisible Kingdom as He rules in their hearts when some will submit to Him as Lord. However, the day will come when He returns bodily, the Second Coming as the Lion of Judah to rule with power for all to see and for every knee to bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
And another comparison – just as the people in Israel sent a delegation to Rome in opposition of Archelaus, verse 14, “[The] citizens hated him [Jesus] and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’”
There was reason to want the cruel Archelaus removed (historians tell us Archelaus slaughtered 3,000 of his own people), but Jesus did nothing wrong to demand His removal. This goes in line with John 15:25 when Jesus said, “THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.” This also correlates with what we know from His time in Jerusalem when the crowd cried, John 19:15, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!... We have no king but Caesar.”
Again, do you see the parallel?
So, let’s dig into this parable. The King (or “Nobleman” – represented in Jesus) before His departure, verse 13, “Called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’” So, the King before he leaves summons 10 of his servants and gives then a stewardship to use his money to make more money. Each is given the same amount of one mina. A mina is different from the talent seen in the parallel account in Matthew 25. A mina is about 1/16th of a talent, some have suggested a three-month wage. Each were told to “do business” with the investment, make more money for the master. Reason being, the master one day will return and call each servant to account. In verse 15 we see the day of reckoning had come. Three of the ten men here are recorded as being called into account.
Verse 16-17, “The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ He was rewarded greatly for his faithfulness.
Verse 18-19, “The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’” A little less, but He was rewarded for his faithfulness.
Then the third servant. Verses 20-21, “Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’”
In a nutshell, do you know what he is saying? “Master, you are a thief. You take from others what you did not earn and then you take credit for it as if it were yours. Because you are a predator, I feared serving you and therefore I did nothing with your mina.
And the master’s response? Verses 22-23, “He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’”
The master does not affirm that he was such a person, but rather uses the servant’s argument against the worthless servant.
Verses 24-27, “Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already. I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.’”
Discussion #2 – Read Matthew 25:14-30 and discuss the similarities and difference between the two parables.
Three People Groups
Let go to the final point, “Three Groups of People.” As I stated earlier, all people on the planet are represented in this parable and they can be broken down into three categories. In which category do you find yourself?
First there are the “haters.” These are the people that leave no doubt. They attack God and His people. They are the people that wanted Jesus dead and the people in verse 14 that demanded, “We do not want this man to reign over us.” To them, Jesus is offensive. He is nothing more than “this man” as we see Him referred to in verse 14. If Jesus is the “stone,” these are the builders that rejected Him (Psm. 118:22). And their destiny, verse 27, “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” And if this seems harsh, consider the fact that Jesus said much harsher words about their eternal destination in hell in the parallel in Matthew 25. “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat. 25:30).
Then there are the “fakers.” There are the people that claim to have a relationship with the Master but do nothing to show their love for Jesus or demonstrate His power in their lives. In staying with the parable, these are people who claim to serve the Lord as Master but give no proof of it in the way they use the “minas” given to them, namely their time and treasures and talents. There are no results that the King is working in their lives. Remember, true salvation will display evidence of God’s presence. Jesus brings results like He did with Zaccheus, a total change of heart.
Along these lines, what a joy it is to see people in this church still serving others, still praising the Lord, still meeting together via the Internet, still sharing their faith and still sending in their offerings. Good stewards are best revealed in desperate times. Times like this really make evident the fakers from the genuine. The fakers are just putting on a show and though their rejection seems less blatant, they are still, verse 27, “these enemies of mine” as they will receive the same punishment reserved for the hater.
One author said, “If one is filled with revulsion at the thought that such vengeance is ascribed to a Savior whose love and tenderness are beyond all imagination and description, might not the solution be that these very attributes make hating and rejecting such a Savior worthy of supreme retribution?” (William Hendricksen, Luke, Baker, 1978, p. 863).
And then lastly there are the genuine believers. These are the ones that seek to honor their Lord with their “minas.” They seek to grow and multiply what God gives them. They live for the Master’s glory. They demonstrate God at work in their lives. And they receive not condemnation, but rather more as seen in the parable in “cities” (verses 17 and 19) and in more minas from others (verses 24-26). Rewards, blessings and affirmation. “Well done, good slave” (verse 17).
Discussion #3 – Discuss your thoughts regarding the three classifications of people I just presented.
So, Jesus makes it clear (in verse 11) that His coming to Jerusalem this first time was not to set up an earthly kingdom. Rather He came to lay down His life to provide salvation. And He freely comes to all who receive Him by faith. And evidence of our salvation is the power He works in our lives, by giving us the desire to serve and honor and love the Master Himself. Remember, Jesus brings results. He didn’t slay His enemies on the cross. He pleaded for their forgiveness.
But make no mistake about it. Jesus is returning when He will set up His eternal kingdom, reward His servants and judge those who have refused to bow to His lordship.