Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday, September 4th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Philippians 3; Proverbs 6; Isaiah 7-8
Today's scripture focus is Luke 12:41-48

Luke 12:41-48

English Standard Version (ESV)
41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wisemanager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 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, 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. 47 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. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. 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.

Accompanying Mars Hill sermon by Dr Ed Stetzer: Waiting Ready: Between the Times
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Reward and Punishment at Christ's Return

In our passage today, Peter asks Jesus who the previous parable was for, the disciples or everyone? Who needed to hear the message?   Yesterday's passage/message was to be ready for Christ's promised return because it would come at any time.

Christ's return was promised by God (OT prophecy), the Holy Spirit (who inspired the writings of the OT prophecy) and Jesus Himself.  As MacArthur summarizes, this is a crucial point....
God's promise, Christ's promise, the Spirit's promise, the future of the church, the future of the world, the future of Israel, the future of Christ, the future of Satan, the future of believers, and the future of creation itself all demand that Jesus return. This is not a minor issue, this is the end of the whole story. And He is coming.

He is coming.  The message is clear and unmistakable.

So, Peter wants to know, who the parable is for. Who needs to be ready? Jesus doesn't answer this question directly, but rather with another parable.

The parable shows us that there are basically two groups of people - the faithful and therefore ready, and the unfaithful and therefore not ready.  The first group will be blessed, and the second group will be punished.

every person in the world has been given a stewardship, a stewardship of time and talent and opportunity to follow the path of conscience and reason. Everyone of us have been given the blessing of common grace and to one degree or another, an opportunity to follow the path of truth to the knowledge of God.
But faithful are those who have followed that to the truth. The faithful are those who are ready....What does it mean to be ready? It means if you go back in chapter 12 and look at all that we've already covered, it means you've rejected false teaching and false teachers, you've turned to fearing God instead of fearing men. You've confessed Christ. You've put your life in the trustful care of the Holy Spirit. You're turned away from materialism and the love of money and the love of the world and you've pursued the King and His Kingdom of salvation and you now understand that you must do that with urgency because He may come at any moment. And those who are ready are here depicted and called the faithful and sensible steward, or servant......They understand the urgency of this reality. They understand what matters. And that faithful steward when his master comes back, he's going to show him that when he was put in charge of his servants to give them their rations at the proper time, he did exactly what he was told to do. This particular servant was given the responsibility of general management of the food supply and he had the responsibility to make sure everybody in the family and everybody in the extended family and all the servants in the estate were cared for. And he is a representative of every human being. You've been given resources. You've been given knowledge. You've been given the Law of God in your heart. You've been given an understanding mind that reasons you back to the first cause. You have been given talents and capabilities and gifts. You can see the creation around you and the handiwork of God. You have been given opportunities, you have been given spiritual experiences. You have been exposed to the truth and the gospel. The question is...what have you done with it? 
It's all about stewardship as we live between the times (between the 1st and 2nd comings).

The faithful will be blessed with the kingdom.  Not just of the kingdom - the entire kingdom!  v32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

I think we probably all know people who seem to live life with the attitude of - I'll party and live how I want to now, and I'll worry about getting things right with God when I'm old, right before I die.  That is obviously a very foolish way to live.  First, because no one knows how long they'll live, and when they need to make it right with God.  And secondly, because the further done the sin road you go, the harder it is to break free of that sin and willful disobedience and turn back to God - you've hardened your heart too much.

The reality is, the unfaithful will be punished.  And apparently by degrees.  This is an incredibly intense, descriptive and horrific portrayal of punishment.  The most severe punishment - cut into pieces!  The a severed beating, or a light beating.  The degree of punishment appears to be based on how much was entrusted to you.

And the principle is, from everyone who has been given much, shall much be required and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. And here we find a very interesting principle, folks. Truth is dangerous. Truth is dangerous. Better to have never known than to have known and rejected. Better to have never known than to have known, rejected and rebelled.

This is a warning, plain and simple.  And warning to the unbelievers not to harden their hearts to the point of no return, but to take the truth they've been given and follow it.

And it's a reminder to the faithful to persevere, and to continue to preach the gospel to a world in need while we still can.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 12:49-53
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Philippians 4, Proverbs 7, Isaiah 9-10

1 comment:

Miriam said...

The last four-and-a-half lines of the first excerpt jumped out at me. It doesn't matter if you're not the next Beth Moore or Mother Theresa. What have I done with what I've been entrusted with? Am I faithful in my responsibilities? In some ways yes, in others, not so much. Ouchie.