Sunday, May 20, 2012

Occupy Until I Come – Christian Responsibility

Please note: Luke 19:11-27 is copied at the end of this message

Sometimes I’ll relate to Christian hospice patients the parable of Christ about the master (nobleman) who went on a journey to acquire a kingdom. This parable is often referred to as the “Parable of the Minas.” [In the days of Christ, a mina was an exchange of money] But, before the nobleman left, he entrusted his three servants sums of money to be used for constructive and productive, trade. His parting words were: “Occupy until I come” [back]. I’ll tell Christian hospice patients that in spite of their condition, there are family members to visit and prayers for those family members, to be offered. I relate to these Christian dying patients, that they can utilize the remaining time the Lord gives them by being God’s faithful servants, “occupying” until the Lord summons their soul to His heavenly graces.

This parable of Christ about the nobleman, who went to another country to acquire a kingdom, is somewhat similar to another – the one about the talents. But, this parable of Christ introduces a fourth element, besides the 3 servants. The fourth element was those people who made it clear that they did not want the Master to rule over them.

Now, I don’t portend to interpret this parable of Christ and then say that I correctly interpreted it. The parables of Christ were earthly stories with heavenly meanings, which Christ utilized to teach the people of His day. These parables are now codified in Scripture for our learning and benefit. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Sometimes Bible scholars and others, take a parable of Christ and attempt to analogize it down to the knat’s eyelash. They will see this and that comparison and then claim to tell others the exact meaning. I will not claim to be either a Biblical scholar or one who claims to have the last word on the meaning of Christ’s parables, and, also, this message’s highlighted parable of Christ.

However, - be that as it may, I believe that this parable refers to Christ’s disciples’ responsibilities here on earth with handling the divine revelation gift – God’s Word (the Bible), which He left to His people. Christ, after He lived that perfect life and suffered and died as God’s perfect sacrifice for human sin, then rose from the dead. He then ascended into heaven. But, before He left, He gave the promise of His Holy Spirit to be with His disciples to guide them into all the truth. John 14:1f ; John 16:1f. He also, gave His disciples and to His present day disciples, the commission to spread the Scripture Word – His Gospel (good news) to the world, in every age and century. Matthew 28:18-20.

It is this parable of Christ, which gives us present day Christians a clear vision of what the Lord expects of us. It is clear for those who have ears to hear and spiritual vision, to see. Luke 19:11-27

How Christians and [so-called] “Christians” bungle the Holy Scripture Revelation

The primary manner, in which Christians are disobedient to God’s revelation Scriptures as the one servant in Christ’s parable was remiss with his monetary portion, is that Christians fail to genuinely understand their place in “God’s economy.” Christians fail to act accordingly, as members of God’s kingdom. Jesus stated to Pontius Pilate that His “kingdom was not of this world.” [John 18:37] And so, Christians today, fail to understand the great expanse of God’s spiritual kingdom. They live and move in their church buildings as if that were their proper and only place. They fail to understand that they were called to be God’s royal priests in a sinful and dying world. They fail to integrate themselves into the culture to be spotlights of Christian witness in their employment and in social gatherings.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying it is wrong, nor improper to attend church worship services and to participate in some way in “church life.” But, as with anything, some Christians have gone hog wild and invest all their time between two activities, - employment and time at church with all its many and seemingly endless preoccupations (meetings, volunteer activities, etc).

I’ve said it before and I might as well say it again, - many Christian church people know how to be sociable, but they don’t relate in a very friendly fashion. New church members are often treated like second class citizens. Sometimes, they are ignored, altogether. In order for some of these new church members to be fully recognized, they would have to wait 30 years to finally be appreciated, loved and accepted as equal members of Christ’s church going people. Sadly, too many Christian churches are rife with their pecking orders and their own totem polls of self importance. Hence these Christian churches have little effect upon the very communities and culture, in which they exist.


How are Christians to occupy themselves until they die, or, until the Lord returns?

There are three Scriptures with which I like to refer. They are as follows. They (at least to me) best exemplify how Christians are to “occupy, “ – how they are to live responsible lives as caretakers of God’s blessings to them:

(1) Faithful Christians are to feed their faith with God’s Word

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

(2) Faithful Christians are to spread God’s Word, in keeping, with Christ’s Great Commission charge:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20

3) Faithful Christians are to defend the Christian Faith

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude1:3;4

Think of a three legged chair. Without one of the legs, the chair is virtually useless. Also, Christians, who only read and study their Bibles but don’t disseminate God’s Word and defend it, become like cesspools of stagnant water. Christians who only defend God’s Word, without feeding their faith on it and spreading the good news of Christ, become useless. Often these Christians are involved with only debating and discussing Christian doctrine (teaching). That endless parade of exchanged personal commentaries about various Biblical teachings becomes unproductive and doesn’t carry out Christ’s Great Commission Call to a world of dying priceless souls. Wrangling about Scriptures, certainly doesn’t give time and opportunity for Christians to defend and contend for the Christian Faith in their communities out in the decadent culture.

You non-Christian – You are also represented in this parable which Christ, related

Here’s the end of the parable which relates the verdict and judgment of those who did not want the Master nobleman to rule over them:

But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’” Luke 19:27

You non-Christian – You unbeliever – your very unbelief and disloyalty to your Creator God will spell your perdition doom. [Mark 16:16 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:6;7;8;9] Your unbelief in Christ the Savior will lead you to a forever hell, because you will have rejected the One who died for all your sins. Only through faith in Christ, will you be set free from your arrogant and stubborn unbelief.

You may try as you may to reason and say that, such is unfair and unjust. But, as much as you object and make yourself the object of your own reasoning, you will further dig your way to perdition. You must have God’s cleansing for your sins against His holiness, His commandments and your sins of commission and omission which you have committed against yourself and your fellowman. Without the forgiveness of sins for all your transgressions against God, His commandments and your sins against yourself and your fellowman, there is no eternal life for you, - only eternal death. You must come to faith in the Savior who was God’s perfect sacrifice for your sins. Without faith in Christ, your soul will not enjoy heaven’s glories but be ravaged by the torments of hell. Luke 16:19-31

Sinner friend, I cannot whip up a prescriptive “sinner’s prayer” for you as a chef readily whips up some scrabbled eggs. In fact there is no step by step prescriptive plan for you to walk from your wide road of unbelief into the narrow path of belief in Christ, your Creator, Savior and Lord. You can’t even pray, because you have no faith.

However, I can tell you how you can attain faith. I can direct you that way, although I cannot guarantee that you will come to faith, - as I am not (of course) God’s Holy Spirit. But, I will tell you this – “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” [Romans 10:17] Other Scriptures that you can look up, for you to recognize your need to expose yourself to the Scriptures, are, as follows:

Hebrews 4:12;13 ; Romans 1:16 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Colossians 1:4;5;6 ; James 1:18;19;20;21 ; 1 Peter 1:23;24;25

May God grant you His grace (undeserved mercy and kindness) as you avail yourself of His life giving Words. May you, by those Scriptures and others, come to the point where you finally believe in Christ your Savior.

Amen.

Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:

The Parable of the Minas

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”

_____________________


Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

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Pastor (emeritus) Nathan
Bickel

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The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian]


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