It's these kinds of Christians that Jesus is describing in Matthew 25, in the parable of the wicked servant.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
So, when it comes to faith, most of us are just playing it safe. And after the times I have been this third servant, you know, if you look at his life and, in the profile, here, he doesn't really do anything wrong. Like, what does he do that's wrong? He took the one talent. He kept it. He didn't go and spend it.
He didn't go off and just waste it. He returned the master's talent back to him. So, what did he do wrong? Verse 26 it says,
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
So, I don't know if the master was like, you know, you should have called my financial advisor at Edward Jones and like, move to the money into a more aggressive investment plan, you know, how can you just bring it back? You haven't really doubled its I don't know if that's what's going on here, but he says in verse 28,
“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Why was the servant called wicked? He didn't lie. He didn't steal. He didn't cheat anyone out of anything. The reason that he is called wicked is because God expects us to use what we have for His purposes and for His glory.
He is not called wicked because he took the one talent and didn't turn it into ten.
God doesn't expect us to do with our life what someone else does with theirs. There is no comparison when it comes to what God has called us to do and gifted us to do and expects us to do.
The servant is called wicked because he plays it safe.
He takes what he has and keeps it and then takes no risk, does not step out. There's not a measure of faith. There's sort of, you know, relying on God. It's just basically pull it close to the vest and saying, we're just going to ride this thing out, wait until he comes back.
Who would blame him for that? But there are sins of commission and there are also sins of omission. And I believe that the servant has committed a sin of omission. These sins of commission are sins that are obvious since we commit by doing something, we, we, we commit an action. The sin. We lie, we have greed. We cheat someone outside of something.
We commit sexual sins. Those are sins of omission like sins that we are actively doing. But there are also sins of omission. Sins of omission are things that we don't do, that we are commanded to do by God. But when we don't do them, that is a form of disobedience. That is what we never talk about. We often talk about sins of commission and that we really sort of build our lives around avoiding those sins.
Right? The fire insurance like as long as I avoid the sins of commission, I'm good with God. But the sins of omission, I would say, are just as destructive disobedience. Either way, sins of omission, including like in this parable in Matthew 25, using our life and talents for the kingdom, that's the sin of omission. When we don't when we fail to do that, when God calls us to be generous and we're not generous, that's a sin of omission.
When God calls us to share the good news of Jesus Christ and we don't share the good news, that's a sin of omission. So spiritual intensity is not just about avoiding the sins of omission, avoiding the sense that are the sins and, you know, the sins that get us fired or tear up our marriage or tear up our relationships.
Spiritual intensity is about pursuing a relationship with God passionately in his presence and offering our resources for other people in his kingdom.
Using what God has given us for what really matters is how we live a fully devoted life.
We need to start getting spiritual. We need to start doing something different. We want change in America. If we want to change our schools, if we want to change our state, if we want to change in our cities, the church needs to change and needs to go back to where we started. The church needs to go back to prayer.
The church battles. The church fights with our knees. And it is okay if we want our country to change. We cannot depend on politicians. We need to pray for those who are in politics, who work for those who are in government.
I believe that if we want a change in our schools, if we want a change in our church, if we want revival in our church, something needs to change. And a change starts with you. The change starts with me saying, I want more. Start with me. It's going to start with me. I'm going to start at my house. I'm going to start praying in my house. I'm going to start making a difference in my house. I want the glory of God.
I want to see God's glory. I want to be hungry for more. When the people of God praise, then the land is healed. Then he responds. But it's time for the church to wake up once again and believe in the word of God that we proclaim. It’s time that we start believing in the songs that we sing, that there is freedom in God, that there is hope in Jesus, that love is in Jesus, that there is joy in Jesus, and there's people out there that are oppressed.
Do we really want our church to change? Do we really want our society to change?
It starts with this uncommon community living in holiness, living in love. We're not perfect. So, I want us today just to meditate on what the Holy Spirit is telling you today.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, now the Lord is Spirit. And when the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
I believe that God is here. I believe that the Spirit of freedom is here. I believe that the spirit of love is here, that the spirit of love, joy and peace is here. But do you believe it? We as Christians, we live by faith. I don't move. I don't go by what I believe. I only move. I don't go by what I see or what I feel. I only move for what I believe. And regardless of what you feel, regardless of what you're going through, just believe. Believe that he can do it again. Believe that he will do it again in your family. Believe that he will do it in your marriage.
Believe that he will do it in our church.
Believe that he is going to do it in our city, in our state, to be free to be who God created us to be, to do what God wants us to do and enjoy the life through the spirit that God wants us to live.
That’s real freedom.
Our relationship with God is always connected to our horizontal, our relationship with others. And when there is dis-harmony and dis-unity in one of those aspects, the other is affected. When there is this disruption in our relationship with others, in the horizontal, there's going to be disruption in our relationship with God. We cannot separate or segment those things.
And that's why vengeance is so dangerous and so powerful. First, it disrupts our worship. But it also ignores the reality of rejection. I don't know if this is a surprise to you, but following Jesus faithfully involves rejection. And there's this kind of almost sidebar or passage in Luke 9, in which Jesus is approaching Jerusalem, and His disciples see it as an opportunity for revenge.
And Jesus has something different in mind. It says,
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village. Luke 9:51-56
I think if I were in that moment as one of Jesus's disciples, I would be looking for the fireworks with Jesus. If I were with him I would ask the same question. You want us to, like, do something here? I mean, we're ready like Jesus's henchman, like gangster style.
But Jesus says, No, no, no. He rebukes them because ultimately the mission of Jesus was about expanding beyond Jerusalem to the Gentiles through Paul and and through his ministry, that the saving message of Jesus would be expanded. What harm would have been done had his disciples just gone all gangster and called down fire from heaven in that moment?
See, we ignore sometimes the reality of rejection. Vengeance is uncomfortable with rejection. Vengeance wants to fix the situation. That's what the word in Greek means. It literally means to fix something. And how often, and especially in relationships where we experience harm or hurt or something done to us, do we want to fix something? And Jesus here says, No, no, no, there's a bigger picture in mind.
You may want to just sort of fix this current situation right in front of you, but there's something bigger and more important for us ahead. And the reality of rejection is a part of following Jesus faithfully. And so we deal with rejection. But thirdly, in vengeance we seek to play God. This is perhaps the most destructive part of vengeance.
In vengeance, we want to trade places with God and do what is reserved for only God. The Lord tells us in Leviticus 19:18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Christ followers in Rome who were under the severe oppression of the Roman Empire. They were basically trying to just huddle up in these small communities and and faithfully follow Jesus. That's the background of this text. And Paul writes,
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. Romans 12:19
Often times we want to take into our own hands what is reserved for God.
And that phrase is so interesting to me to “leave room for God's wrath”, meaning that God will avenge evil. God will avenge what is wrong. God will make right all the things that have been wronged. But it is God's responsibility to do that. The reason why God says to leave room for God's wrath that He is the one that avenges is because we cannot handle the burden of seeking vengeance.
And is it that the wisdom of the Lord says that vengeance is mine, I will repay? Because you and I, in our frailty and our sin, in our brokenness, cannot possibly take on the way of vengeance. Maybe you've experienced this where you sought vengeance and you let that vengeance or that desire to seek vengeance sort of dwell and linger for maybe months or even years.
You are broken by the weight of that, crushed by it. You're having a conversation with someone and you could just see on their face maybe the burden of something they were carrying. There is no more clear sign of that than when we are carrying vengeance. I mean, vengeance literally changes our disposition. And maybe, just maybe, God in his wisdom knows that we cannot possibly carry it with us.
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