Message: Series Title
‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Watching & Waiting’ pt.2 Text: Luke 12:35-48
Introduction: Pastor Ed Taylor tell the following story:
By all accounts, Edward Kimball was regular guy.
- He worked a regular job. Attended a regular church. He even faithfully taught a regular Sunday School class.
One day a young man named Dwight visited his class. It was clear Dwight didn’t know the Bible. One Saturday as Ed was preparing his Sunday school lesson, the Lord put on his heart to visit the shoe store where Dwight worked and share the gospel with him.
That day a Boston shoe clerk surrendered his life to Jesus. The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, later became an evangelist.
- In England in 1879, D.L. Moody awakened an evangelistic zeal in the heart of Fredrick B. Meyer, pastor of a small church.
- B. Meyer, preaching led a student named J. Wilbur Chapman to Christ.
- Chapman, working for the YMCA, hired a former baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work.
- Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, N.C. And a group of local men were so enthusiastic afterward that they planned another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to town to preach.
- During Hamm’s revival, a young man named Billy Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ.
We know the D.L. Moody’s, the Billy Sunday’s, the Billy Grahams in the church… but the Edward Kimballs? Well they faithfully serve behind the scenes and they get little attention.
- While attention is turned to the great evangelists, the eloquent mega-church pastors and the talented Worship Leaders.
It’s the faithful servants who serve behind the scenes, that truly are the heart of the church.
- Those who can be counted on.
- Those who care for your infants in the nursery.
- Those who come Wednesday night to stand in the gap, offering heartfelt prayer for you.
- Those who weekly provide food at Calvary Café so we can fellowship with each other.
- Those who sacrifice their time to serve at VBS each year.
- Those who fold & stuff the Bulletins each week, who put together our Welcome Packets, who use their talent on the Worship Team, who teach our youngest students during Bible BLAST, who… you get the idea.
You can call them volunteers, you can call them workers, but Jesus calls them…servants.
(Adapted from Ed Taylor)
A servant is one who is given the responsibility of doing something for someone else. What they do benefits, helps others.
So, what does the Bible call the Edward Kimballs in the church who do things to help and benefit others? Faithful servants
- Luke 12:41-48 Be faithful
- Luke 12:41-44 Faithful servant
OK, if you remember from last week in Luke 12:35-40, Jesus is teaching about life after He returns to heaven and before He returns to earth for His church.
- On a positive note, He’s encouraging His disciples to be ready for His return.
- On a negative note, He’s warning the crowd and religious leaders what happens if they aren’t.
In verses 41-44, Jesus uses a parable to describe His expectation of all those who are His disciples, and who are watching & waiting for His return. Jesus says:
- You must be My faithful servant.
PP: Luke 12:41-42
- Peter said, “Lord, are You telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?
Peter, hearing Jesus teach about being ready for His return, asks Jesus if He’s referring to His disciples or everyone else who’s listening in.
- Jesus doesn’t answer Peter’s question.
Instead He tells another parable.
Jesus begins by mentioning a faithful and wise manager. He’s referring to a specific kind of servant in the household, a steward.
- That’s someone who’s over the other servants in the home, who gives them their daily ‘to do’ lists. In many ways, he oversees the running of the entire household.
- He is charged with doing the will of his master, particularly in his master’s absence.
Jesus then tells His disciples, and us, how that servant, can be blessed by God.
- We already know he needs to be faithful, because that was in his description,
- but what does that faithfulness look like in how he serves his master?
PP: Luke 12:43-44
- Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. “Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. (Luke 12:43-44)
First, blessed, is the same word Jesus uses in His beatitudes in Matthew 5. So it’s something to be desired.
Second, when Jesus says Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions it sounds more like a promotion rather than a blessing. Is there something else? Given the context of watching & waiting for Christ’s return, perhaps it’s what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:34
- Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Third, the blessing is for those servants whom his master will find so doing when he comes.
So doing what? What he was told to do by the master.
In other words,
- Blessed in the faithful servant the master finds doing his will when he returns.
And Christian, nothing has changed from the time Jesus said that.
- Servants of Jesus, then and now, have the same requirement of being faithful to receive God’s blessing…
- Obedience to God’s word and will.
Remember in Luke 11:28 Jesus said
- …Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!
So, Jesus is saying
- If you want to be My servant,
- then be a faithful one, who continually does what I have charged you to do,
- as you watch and wait for my return.
- Because it’s that servant, that faithful, obedient servant, that the Father will bless with life in My kingdom.
- Luke 12:45 Unfaithful servant
PP: Luke 12:45
- But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk,
ILL: Commentator William Barclay tells the following story about this verse.
- There are 3 apprentice devils coming to earth to finish their apprenticeship.
- They tell Satan “We want to go down and ruin men.” Satan said, “What’s your plan?”
- And the first devil said, “I’m going to tell them there’s no God.” “That will not delude many,” Satan said, “because they know there’s a God.”
- The second said, “Well I’m going to tell men there’s…there’s no hell.” Satan said, “You’ll deceive few that way, they know there’s a punishment for sin.”
- The third one said, “I’ll tell men there’s no hurry.” Satan said “Go, you have found success.”
And that’s been happening since Jesus returned to heaven in Acts 1. And it’s been extremely successful… particularly in the church:
- We’ve failed to watch/wait for Jesus’ return.
- We’ve failed to do all that He has commanded us to do until He returns.
- We’ve lost our sense of urgency our sense of expectance of Jesus’ promise to return.
- We’ve chosen to focus on our own will rather than God’s will in our lives.
First, I believe this is a warning for all Christians.
- God’s grace in the delay of Jesus’ return is not only for those who will be saved, to actually get saved.
- It’s grace for those who are saved, to become faithful servants before Jesus returns.
Time and time again in Scripture we’re told to ‘remember’ to ‘put on’ to ‘keep on doing…’ so many things.
- That’s because we’re not consistently doing them. But there’s still time to become a faithful servant.
Second, it doesn’t seem the unfaithful servant in Jesus’ parable is saved. The word unfaithful can also be translated unbelieving. We see that from the time his master leaves, the unfaithful servant acts sinfully and is not watching or waiting for him to return.
- He’s thinking his master won’t be back for a long time so he can do what he wants.
- There’ll be plenty of time to clean up the house and get things in order later.
While there certainly is application to Christians who get saved, but live like they aren’t,
- I think Jesus’ intended audience is the crowd
- who because of their unbelief are in effect missing Jesus’ first coming
- and thereby refusing to be His servant.
Rather than blessing, there’s severe punishment waiting the unfaithful servant.
- Luke 12:46-48 Judgment
PP: Luke 12:46
the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.
Like the thief in verse 39 who came at a time the master didn’t expect, the unfaithful servant’s master returned before he had time to clean up his act. And the consequences were devastating.
Jesus said the master will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. That’s pretty harsh, but then again that’s what hell will be like for those who are unfaithful (unbelieving).
In the parable of the talents, Jesus describes the fate of the wicked servant this way:
- And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
Jesus will talk more about the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth in Luke 13. This tells me that because of His extravagant grace, He’s not done warning those who reject Him, of the consequences of their unbelief.
PP: Luke 12:47-48a
And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating.
Jesus then speaks of two other kinds of unfaithful servants:
- One who knew his masters will, but didn’t get ready or act according to his will.
- One who didn’t know his masters will, but still did what deserved a beating.
Both of those servants get a less harsh punishment than the one who knew his masters will, but never intended to do it.
Kind of confusing I know. Here’s how I see it. As Luke has been doing time and time again in his Gospel, he’s doing yet again here in chapter 12.
You see, the Jewish people in Jesus’ day thought there were just two kinds of people: Jews and Gentiles.
- The Jews were God’s faithful servants… by because they were Abrahams seed
- The Gentiles were unfaithful servants because they weren’t Abrahams seed.
Jesus is showing them and us that there are just two kinds of people in the world:
- Those who are faithful servants of Jesus, who are saved by faith in Him.
- And those who aren’t faithful servants of Jesus, who, by their unbelief, are not saved.
And throughout Scripture, were told there are just two responses from God… blessing and cursing.
- The faithful servants will be blessed by God.
- While the unfaithful servants will be cursed (punished) by God.
But in verses 47-48 it seems that God’s varies His punishment.
- Speaking of this text, Spurgeon writes: So that there are different measures of responsibility; there are degrees of guilt and degrees of punishment.
If I don’t say this you’ll have questions for me at Calvary Café… When Jesus says But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Is he talking about those who have never heard the Gospel? Is He saying that they too will go to hell?
- The short answer, I believe is yes to both questions.
Steven Cole aptly puts it this way:
- The final category for judgment are those who did not even know the Master’s will. They will be judged less severely, with a few lashes, but judged nonetheless.
- Even those who have never heard of Christ have enough revelation through creation and conscience to know that there is a righteous God. But they have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).
What I see is this.
- It’s not so much about the degrees of punishment in Hell as it is that Jesus is showing that you are either His or you aren’t and if you aren’t, there is no in-between.
- And He has the authority to judge where and how you spend eternity! We can discuss it further during CC if you like.
PP: Luke 12:48b
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
This seems to be a direct reference to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.
- Many times in Luke’s Gospel, particularly in chapter 11 with the woes to the Pharisee and lawyers,
- Jesus mentions the responsibilities the religious leaders had and how they abused them all.
The idea is the unrepentant religious leaders will be included in with the unfaithful servants who will be cut into pieces and sent to hell.
Sidebar: As a side point of application, I take that verse very seriously as applying to pastors as well.
- James the brother of Jesus in James 3:1 warns us:
- Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
OK, let me close with a fundamental, absolute truth of Christianity, a clear and consistent reality for each Christian, for every follower of Jesus Christ:
PP: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Here’s what that means, bottom line…
- If you call yourself a Christian
- Then you are Jesus’ possession, His servant, His steward.
As stewards of Jesus Christ, all of your possessions, all that you have, belongs to Him… w/o exception.
What is it that we have that actually belongs to Jesus and therefore should be used for His glory first and foremost?
PP: Our finances, absolutely!
- You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, (Deuteronomy 8:18a)
PP: Our life, particularly our witness to the world.
- Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6–7)
We are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God. We are the highest of all of God’s creation…
- That means the privilege of being God’s children through faith in Jesus
- comes with an equally great level of personal responsibility to live for Christ and to die to self.
PP: The mysteries of God
- This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1)
We have the responsibility to be faithful stewards of God’s Word. That means we need to read it, know it and use it in our lives and in our relationships with others. It’s our basis for well, everything!
PP: We are stewards of the church, the Body of Christ.
- For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them… (Romans 12:3–6a)
If we truly believe that we are a family, then each member of the family is responsible for and to each other.
- We need to find ourselves investing in each other;
- through our love, care, support, and involvement with each other
- in and outside this building.
This tells me that we need to evaluate our level of faithfulness as servants of Jesus Christ, and do it… regularly.
PP: Finally, take out the insert in your Bulletin that says ‘Covenant Prayer.’ I’ve given this to you before, but some things are worth repeating and this is one of them.
This is what a faithful servant of Jesus looks like.
- I bet Edward Kimball looed like that.
- How about you?
- Are you a faithful servant of Jesus?