Olivet Discourse…..Part IV
By Pastor F. M. Riley
July 25, 2013
“STUDY to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.
CONTINUED FROM PART III
Parts I, II, and III will be sent to any reader upon request. Our postal mailing address and email address is at the end of this study.
In Part I of this study Matthew 24:1-31 in the Olivet Discourse given by our Lord was examined verse by verse and sometimes word by word. In Part II, Matthew 24:32-51, the beginning of the Lord’s own commentary on the first 31 verses, was examined in detail. In Part III, Matthew 25:1-13, the Parable of the Ten Virgins was examined in depth and detail. After much prayer and heart searching, and in order to keep the studies shorter, I decided to break up chapter 25 into the subjects set forth in the chapter itself. Thus you have Part IV which in detail deals with The Parable of the Talents.
My prayer is that our readers will be enlightened and blessed in reading this exposition of this portion of the Olivet Discourse. I would appreciate your prayers.
The Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14-30…..Those of our readers who have a correct grasp of the chronological order of prophetic events already know that immediately following the rapture of believers to glory, the very next thing that will occur is “the bema judgment.” And right here in these Scriptures the Lord sets forth an account of it in the form of a parable.
Notice how this parable begins, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called His own servants, and delivered unto them His goods,” 25:14. Compare Luke 19:12-13. Each of the “servants” then being dealt with in this parable are the Lord’s servants, whether some want to believe this or not. The Lord placed His Word and His gospel in the hands of “His servants” 2,000 years ago before He ascended back to Heaven, Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:36-53; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:6-11. We today refer to this as Christ giving His church the Great Commission to carry the gospel of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth.
It should then be obvious that following the resurrection and rapture the Lord God will require an accounting from His own servants, 25:19; Luke 19:15. No man requires an accounting from another man’s servants. The accounting is only taken of those “servants” who truly belong to the Lord.
Today this is referred to as the “bema” judgment. In other words, the judgment of the believer’s works done for Christ, or in the name of Christ, while living in this present life. We are told explicitly in the inspired Word, “For we [believers] must all appear before the judgment [bema] seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad,” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
The inspired Scriptures are explicit that this “bema” judgment is of the believer’s works done while living in their fleshly body and this present earthly life. It is not a judgment to determine whether a person is saved or lost, or whether one spends eternity in heaven or hell. The question of your eternal destiny is settled right here and right now while you are living, based on whether you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, or whether you have rejected and refused to call upon
Him for salvation.
The “bema” judgment is to give rewards to those believers who have faithfully lived for and served the Lord Jesus Christ during their earthly lifetime. The inspired Apostle Paul told God’s people plainly that he had “laid the foundation” [of Christ Jesus…3:10-11] that we New Covenant believers are to build upon, and Paul gave a stern warning, “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon,” 1 Corinthians 3:9-15. There is a right way and a wrong way to “serve and live for the Lord,” and we believers need to learn the difference early in our Christian life and walk.
Christ summed up this entire judgment of the believer’s works by using three servants as illustrations of how the “bema” judgment will be carried out. Each servant will be required to give an account for what he has been given by the Lord, to serve the Lord. Our gracious Lord God never requires more of us than what He has given us or made us capable of using for His honor and glory, John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The Lord God graciously gave the first servant “five talents,” the second servant “two,” and the third servant “one.” The Greek word translated as “talents” in these Scriptures is the word, “talanton.” This Greek word literally means, “a weight; an amount of money equivalent to a talent in weight.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 614, Strong’s No. 5007. The “talent” in ancient times was a fixed weight used to maintain accurate and honest weights in commercial transactions. The word has no relation to the modern meaning of the word “talent.” In other words, as originally set forth in God’s Word, this word does not refer to one’s intellectual and physical ability to sing, dance, speak, preach, pray, paint, perform, play a musical instrument, build, etc., even though some today assign this modern meaning to it. It was a measure of money equivalent to a talent in weight. I highly suspect that the Lord God used this monetary term to illustrate the truth He wanted to present here, because He know that mankind values most everything in life in monetary terms.
Whatever material possessions and physical abilities each believer is blessed with in this life, comes with a responsibility to use our blessings for the Lord and for the furtherance of His gospel message to humanity, Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 10:31. As “stewards” placed in charge of the Lord’s possessions, each of us believers will be required to give an account of our “stewardship.” Compare Matthew 25:19 and Luke 16:1-8.
In this parable each of the three servants are brought before the Lord at the “bema” seat of Christ. The first servant to whom the Lord had given the “ten talents” had used his blessings wisely and gained a 100 percent return on the Lord’s investment in him. Likewise for the second servant, 25:16-17. Remember that the inspired Scripture explicitly states, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him,” Psalm 126:5-6. Folks, we are speaking about the eternal souls of men and women, boys and girls, here in this reference to sowing and reaping.
Dear readers, what does the cause of Christ mean to you? What do the souls of lost men and women, boys and girls, mean to you? Do you really care where they are going to spend eternity? Do you care enough to agonize and weep over their souls in prayer to God daily and often? Do you care enough about them to share the “precious seed” of the Word of God with them, when you have an opportunity to do so? Remember Romans 10:17? Without the Word of God they cannot be saved! This passage in Psalm 126:5-6 explicitly promises the true believer that is broken hearted over the lost to the extent that we will weep over them and share the “precious seed” of the Word of God with them, that when we concerned believers stand before the Lord at the “bema,” there will be other believers there who have been saved as a result of our witness and our caring for their souls. We will literally have “sheaves” [of the harvest of believers] to present to our Lord at that glorious day. What a day of rejoicing that will be!
No, this is not just my theory or “interpretation!” The inspired Apostle explicitly stated that the Thessalonian believers that he had won to Christ, would make up his “crown of rejoicing…..in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming [parousia]? For ye are our glory and joy,” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. See also Philippians 4:1. The “crown of rejoicing” is the soul winner’s crown, which will be received at the “bema” judgment by every New Covenant believer who has ever led, or even had a part in leading, another precious soul to a saving knowledge of Christ. What glory
that shall be! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Thank you Lord Jesus!
I want every reader to notice that the servants are not rewarded for what they have accomplished, but rather for their “faithful” obedience in carrying out what the Lord commanded His servants to do when He gave His church the commission to “be witnesses unto Me” some 2,000 years ago, Acts 2:8. Notice what the Lord explicitly said to both of the “faithful” servants, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” 25:21. Dear readers, you may not have any special skills you can use in the Lord’s service, or even the physical health to use the skills you may have once had, but any true believer of any age or physical condition can exercise their “faith” given to them by the Lord, Ephesians 2:8-10. If you cannot do anything else you can pray for the lost until your last breath leaves your body. Any believer can be “faithful” in obeying what the Lord has chosen for YOU to do for Him at any given time. Are you listening?
Both of these “faithful servants” are rewarded, not only with one or more of the five crowns promised as rewards to believers in the New Testament, but with the privilege of ruling and reigning with Christ over the nations during His Millennial and eternal Kingdom, “thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of Thy Lord,” 25:21; 25:23. Compare Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:8-10.
But now let’s look at the third servant to whom the Lord had given only “one talent.” . In this parable the Lord did not overlook or ignore that “worthless and useless” servant that we first pointed out in 24:48-51. At the “bema” seat of Christ the Lord will “reckon” with that servant, just as He will with those of His “servants” who have faithfully served Him. Read 25:24-30.
Carefully notice this servant’s statement to the Lord, “Lord, I knew thee that Thou art a hard man, reaping where Thou has not sown, and gathering where Thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid Thy talent in the earth: lo, there Thou hast that is Thine,” 25:24-25.
 This servant boldly claims that he “knows the Lord,” even to the extent of describing the characteristics of the Lord. How could he possibly have known these things about the Lord separate and apart from a saving knowledge of the Lord and a working knowledge of God’s Word? 1 Corinthians 2:11-14.
 This servant honestly admits that he was “afraid” to use his talent for the Lord. “Fear” is the exact opposite of “faith.” And what does God’s Word say to God’s people about “fear?” “Herein is our love made perfect [brought to maturity], that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love [love brought to perfection or maturity] casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love,” 1 John 4:17-18.
I would point out to our readers that 1 John was written directly to “born-again” believers, about spiritual truths that concern believers, 1 John 1:1-4. It is a sad truth that some true believers never “grow in the Lord,” because they refuse to get serious about studying the Word of God and living for the Lord after they have been saved, 1 Peter 2:1-3.
Just as natural food feeds our body, so spiritual food feeds the soul of the true believer, Matthew 4:4. Neglect a daily intake of natural food into your body and you will not only lose weight, but keep on neglecting it and your body will ultimately die of malnutrition and starvation. As a believer, neglect a daily or regular intake of God’s Word into your soul, and you will never “grow” in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, and will ultimately lose your desire for the Word of God. The things of God will become unimportant to you, even as a believer.
It is more than “coincidence” that Jude wrote his epistle exhorting God’s people to “earnestly contend for the faith” in view of what he foresaw happening “in the last time,” Jude 1:3; 1:18,” exhorting believers, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life,” Jude 1:20-21. Folks, becoming a real lover of God and His Word to the point of being dedicated to Christ Jesus is not something that just happens when one gets saved. Such faith and love and dedication to Christ has to be cultivated, worked at, and desired. Sadly, we are living in a time of Laodicean apostasy among the churches and in the ranks of Christianity, when many who receive
Christ today never get the encouragement and leadership they need in the churches and from many pulpits. Will they then turn out like this sorry “worthless and useless” servant? Will they have to hang their head in “shame” when they stand before the Lord at the “bema” judgment? Read 1 John 2:28.
Now let’s carefully examine the Lord’s reply to this “servant!”
 “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put My money to the exchangers, and at My coming I should have received Mine own with usury.”
Notice that the Lord refers to him as a “servant” and explicitly confirms that he “knew” [had knowledge of] how the Lord works. The Lord labeled him as being “wicked and slothful,” but still a “servant.”
 The word translated as “wicked” in this Scripture is the word, “poneros.” This word literally means, “bad; the negative quality of an object; the negative moral quality of a person or action opposed to God and His goodness; full of labors, annoyances, hardships; pressed and harassed by labors.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, pages 530-531, Strong’s No. 4190. In other words, this “servant” was fed up with the labors and hardships that God’s people are sometimes called upon to suffer in order to serve the Lord, and was having none of it.
 This is entirely in harmony with the Lord then referring to him as a “slothful servant.” The Greek word translated as “slothful” in this Scripture is the word, “okneros.” This word literally means, “lazy; idle; not active; troublesome; sluggish; reluctant.” This tells us that he was too LAZY and worthless to get off his behind and put forth the effort required to carry the gospel and witness to others. This kind of “servant” got all he wanted from the Lord when he genuinely received the Lord as his own personal Savior, and thereby was guaranteed that he would not go to eternal damnation. But was he grateful enough for his salvation in Christ to allow the Lord to become the “Lord of His life?” No! That might require too much effort on his part.
 But the Lord reminds him that he is without excuse! If he did not want to put forth any personal effort in serving the Lord, he could have put the Lord’s money in the hands of “the exchangers” and there would still have been a profit to the Lord. So who are “the exchangers?”
The “exchangers” are those “men [and women] of God” who have put forth the effort and made the sacrifices necessary to spread the gospel of Christ all over the world. We listen to their evangelistic TV and radio programs today, read their evangelistic newsletters and magazines and books, and their articles and studies on the Internet, and listen to their tapes and CD’s and DVD’s. The “exchangers” are those true believers who have abandoned themselves and “sold out” their very lives to the Lord in order to give His Word to a lost and dying world.
Folks, if any believer is just plain too lazy to make the personal sacrifice necessary to spread the Word of God, and too fearful of their own time being infringed upon if they devote themselves to the service of the Lord, then the very least they could do is to give some of the Lord’s money to their fellow believers who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get out the Word. The Lord clearly indicated in his reply to this “wicked and slothful servant” that if he had put the Lord’s money to “the exchangers” there would have been a profit made. In other words, souls would have been brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord through the efforts of “the exchangers.” But as this “useless and worthless” “servant” stands before the Lord, he has not one “sheaf” [not one saved soul] to present to His Lord, and not one single thing for which to receive a reward.
Sadly, there are some true believers in the world today exactly like this third “servant” described in these Scriptures. Now do our readers understand why the inspired Word, when speaking of this future “bema” judgment of the believer’s works, explicitly states, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire,” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15. Folks, I cannot even comprehend the depth of “shame and loss” that will be felt by such believers when they stand before the Lord and have nothing; not one thing, to be rewarded for.
The Lord then takes the reward that this “wicked and slothful servant” could have had, and gives it to the servant who had been “good and faithful,” 25:28-29. How many of our readers have ever given
any real attention to the inspired warnings to God’s people clearly stated in Colossians 2:18-19 and 2 John 1:7-8? Those warnings were not placed in the Word to be overlooked or ignored!
Then to complete the judgment of this “servant,” the Lord commands that the “unprofitable servant” be “cast into outer darkness:” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Ho boy! Here is where those who teach that a true believer can lose their salvation really rejoice and gloat! Sorry! It still won’t work!
I think I am safe in saying that most of God’s people have never bothered to look up the term, “outer darkness” in their Concordance or Lexicon to see what the expression actually means in the Greek Bible. They should have, before beginning to run off at the mouth about a true “born-again” believer “losing their salvation.” No true believer in human history has ever “lost their salvation,” and no true believer ever will! Is this stated clearly enough? The Lord God whom I love and serve in truth does not "save to the uttermost” [Hebrews 7:24-25] with a “patched up” salvation that one can lose if they don’t just “measure up” to what God expects of them.
This term, “outer darkness” is translated from the Greek words, “exoteros skotos.” This literally means, “The darkness outside the limits of the beautifully lighted palace.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 226 and 580, Strong’s No’s 1857 and 4655. Read it for yourself!
Carefully notice that following the judgment of their works, the Lord said to both of the “faithful servants,” “enter thou into the joy of Thy Lord.” Where does He say this to this “wicked and slothful servant?” Well…??? This expression used by the Lord in this passage does not refer to a believer who lost their salvation being cast into hell fire and damnation, but rather to an “unfaithful” believer being shut out of the beautiful palace in the New Jerusalem where the wedding and wedding festivities of Christ and His bride are to take place. It is also evident from what is said about this “wicked and slothful servant” in both 24:48-51 and here in 25:26-30 that instead of ruling and reigning with Christ over His Millennial Kingdom, this servant will not be given the privilege of reigning with Christ, but rather will be ruled over. The Lord Himself explicitly stated in Luke 16:11, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, [money; talents] who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Well…??? Take heed!!!
Dear readers, our precious Lord is worthy of our wholehearted devotion and service to Him! He left the glories of Heaven to come to earth, taking upon Himself humanity in order to pay our “sin debt” with His own precious life’s blood, and He did pay it in full as our Kinsman Redeemer. In view of what He has done for us, is what little we are able to do for Him too great a price to pay?
Every true believer who reads this study will SOON stand in the presence of the Lord at the “bema” judgment seat of Christ. Every believer! There your rewards and future position in His Kingdom will be determined. Do you want to live in the palace in New Jerusalem with the King of Glory, or will you be satisfied living in the “outer darkness” outside of the beautiful palace? The choice is yours, and you will make a choice by your very response. Are you living a life devoted to the Lord? Or is it just too much trouble and bother? The judgment [bema] seat of Christ is dead ahead! Are you ready to face it?
TO BE CONTINUED…..
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
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Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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