Morning. I have a friend who’s really into Bitcoin.
If you don’t know what Bitcoin is…it’s a cryptocurrency.
It’s all online…not regulated by a bank or a national government…and there’s a limited amount of it.
Some think it’s the currency of the future.
Anyway, my Bitcoin friend gave a speech about Bitcoin to me and a few of my friends this summer about why we should invest in it.
I had barely even heard of BitCoin at the time.
He gave a compelling speech, made really solid points, and I truly believed that if I invested some of my money into it, that I would make money.
And yet, I didn’t.
Cuz, well, risk, right?
This week, I saw BitCoin in the news, so I texted my friend, and I said, “Hey, if I would have put $1,000 into BitCoin this summer after your talk, how much money would I have right now?”
And he said, “$5,000.”
Before you get all nervous, this is not a commercial for Bitcoin.
I really know nothing about it, and for all I know, that same $1,000 will be worth 40 cents in 6 more months.
So, do not take my investment advice.
But you should take the Bible’s advice on what you invest your life into.
And this morning we’re going to talk about spiritual investments.
It really doesn’t have much to do with your money, so you can relax.
But it does have a lot to do with your life, so maybe, un-relax. J
We’re going to cover a passage in the Book of Luke in the Bible today that’s a challenging one.
Luke is 1 of 4 books in the Bible about the life, teachings, death & resurrection of Jesus.
One of the things we do here at Renovation Church, is we go right through books of the Bible…verse-by-verse-by-verse.
We don’t just hop around and read the verses on God’s love.
There are plenty of those (don’t get me wrong), but there are also plenty of passages in the Bible about sin and judgment and God’s wrath.
And today, we come to a hard passage.
One that would normally be skipped over by many, probably most churches.
We’re not going to skip it
Because if I do that…
If I just talk to you about God’s love, and I tell you (like many claiming the name of Christ will do today)…that God just wants you to be happy and everyone’s going to heaven…
Then, I’m just editing the Bible.
I would be crafting God in my own preferred image.
I would be no different than the ancient Egyptians, or Greeks, or Romans who literally crafted gods and gave them the characteristics that they all felt most comfortable with.
No, we must look at ALL of the Bible if we are going to uncover who the real God actually is.
So let’s get out our Bibles and dig in
If you were here last week, we covered the story of Jesus forgiving the hated tax collector, Zacchaeus, in the city of Jericho near Jerusalem.
Jesus is now going to teach a parable.
Parables are easy-to-remember stories that have deeper spiritual meanings behind them
And presumably Jesus is telling this parable while still at Zacchaeus’ house.
Let’s take a look at the whole passage…and then we’ll unpack it
(Luke 19:11-27) – NIV
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.
14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
Jesus is telling this parable for reason.
As he’s getting really close to Jerusalem…and Passover is near…
…everyone was thinking, “Here we go! Jesus the Messiah is only a week away from overthrowing the evil Roman Empire and establishing himself as King!!”
But instead, Jesus is going to give them a parable where a nobleman is going to go away for a while…and then come BACK as King.
And by the way, this is what people did at this time in history.
The Herods for example, who ruled much of that area at the time, would have had to travel to Rome, to be appointed to rule by Caesar.
And this is the teaching (about the delayed coming of the King) is the teaching of Scripture
Jesus was here on earth, He went away (to heaven) where he sat down at the right hand of the Father…
And one day, when human history as we know it wraps up on earth, this same Jesus will come back on the clouds
But although he came in like a lamb, he will come back like a lion…the King of Kings.
And when He comes, he will deal with his own servants, and also with his enemies (just like this parable)
And so, in the meantime, we, as His servants, must invest our lives wisely…because the King is returning.
INVESTING YOUR LIFE
Now, in this parable, each one of the servants gets 1 mina, which if you look at the footnote in your Bible for verse 13, it’ll tell you (at the very bottom) that 1 mina was worth about 3 months’ wages.
So let’s just say it’s about $10,000.
It’s not a small amount the King graciously left with these servants.
Well, the first servant took that 1 mina, and invested it so well, that it was now worth ten more
In other words, he took the $10,000, and made $100,000 with it!
And the second servant, took the 10 grand, and made 50 grand
But the 3rd servant, didn’t obey his master.
He didn’t put the money to work at all.
We’re told that he just put it in a piece of cloth and didn’t touch it the whole time the master was gone.
And the point here for Christ-followers is that God has put a spiritual investment in you, and He wants a return on it.
If you are a believer in Jesus, the Bible teaches that God’s Holy Spirit has come into you, and not only that…
….God has gifted each of you to do certain things, and He therefore wants to use YOU to extend His Kingdom and Glorify Himself.
The #1 goal of your life should not be to make a lot of money, or to be happy, or even to raise good children who like you when they grow up…
The ULTIMATE goal of your life is to do God’s will and live a life that glorifies Him, the King who is returning.
The goal of your life is that when you die and meet Him face to face…
That He would look at you, like that first servant, and say, “Well done, my good servant!”
“Well done, there are many here with us today because your life and testimony!”
Or, “The hungry were fed because of you”
Or, “Your children grew up to serve me and do even more good for my Gospel! What an exponential investment!”
But I fear that many of you in this room…even though you may have claimed to be a Christian for much of your life…you simply aren’t making any spiritual investments into Eternity
If the King were to return on the clouds this afternoon, you’d be handing him back the one coin he handed you when you were saved.
Truly, you haven’t done much with it.
Surely, you’ve done things for yourself…to make your life better.
But what have you done for the King?
If you are a Christian, I trust that the Holy Spirit has been telling you something you need to do for Christ.
Are you listening?
This is not a secondary question in your life!!
Have you been asking Him what He wants you to do, or have you been stuck in the American version of Christianity where we just ask God to bless what WE want to do?
God has a plan to use you.
Do you know what it is? Have you asked Him?
Not that long ago, I read about Dr. Scott Kurtzman, chief of surgery at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut
One morning, Dr. Kurtzman was on his way to deliver an 8 a.m. lecture when he witnessed one of the worst crashes in Connecticut history.
A dump truck, whose driver had lost control, flipped on its side and skidded into oncoming traffic.
The resulting accident involved 20 vehicles; four people died.
Thanks to years of emergency-room experience, Doctor Kurtzman immediately shifted into trauma mode…and began saving lives.
He worked his way through the mangled mess of people and metal, calling out, "Who needs help?"
This was not the first time Dr. Kurtzman has assisted those in need.
Over the years, he's stopped at a half-dozen crashes and assisted at three. "
When he was interviewed afterwards, Dr. Kurtzman said this, “A person with my skills simply can't drive by someone who's injured. I refuse to live my life that way."
My friend, God has given you His Spirit…
And He has revealed to you the good news that anyone can be forgiven if they trust in Jesus for salvation.
Do not hold that to yourself.
Do not drive by a hurting world and keep this life-saving knowledge to yourself…simply because you fear what might happen if you begin to put these God given gifts to use
Jesus uses the theme of investment in this parable because there is RISK to investment.
Many of us are afraid to risk sharing the Good news of Jesus with other people
Or were afraid to use what God has given us because we’re afraid of failure…
And so, we resign to just do nothing.
And then, we rationalize our inaction by looking at other people who are out messing up their lives in outward sins like adultery, or drunkenness, or some other really visible sin.
But remember, sometimes sin is not what you do, but what you don’t do.
Jesus says that the 3rd servant didn’t OBEY the King.
The King generously gave Him a gift…
And He didn’t do anything with it.
By doing nothing.
Others do almost nothing for Jesus because they’re instead prioritizing earthly things like building their careers, their families, and activities
And in doing so, they’re making incredibly short-sighted investments.
They’re investing in the things that will pay dividends for 40 years instead of the things that will reward for 40 million years
Because listen, the Lord isn’t just using you to invest in His own returns, he’s investing in you.
See, by you taking risks and putting what He gave you to use…He’s making you into a Godly woman…a Godly man.
…one worthy of serving him in an even greater capacity in eternity.
Today, you may be just a small group leader who is putting all they can into shepherding their little flock of 6…
Or you may be a light for Christ in your office of 4 people…
Or a mother that’s striving to do all she can to help her young children fall in love with Jesus.
That’s who you may be today, but tomorrow, you may be governing 10 cities in God’s kingdom because of who He is shaping you into.
A lot of people have this misconception of heaven that all we will do is sit on the clouds and play harps…
But you see right here that we will work…and serve the King…as God renews our old imperfect earth into a new heaven that will come down to a new earth.
And there we too will be made new and we will reign with him…not just sit on clouds.
But before that happens you will be judged.
Everyone will be judged.
Even the Christians.
If you are a follower of Jesus, and you believe that He paid for your sins, you will not be guilty for your sins, and will be granted eternal life with God…
BUT…each Christian will have varying rewards in eternal life in light of how they served in this short life.
It’s right in this passage, and in other places as well.
The one who took God’s gifts and put them to work, will govern 10 cities!
But to the one who did nothing, they lost even that gift.
Now, they’re still the King’s servant, still saved, and we trust that for them there will be eternal joy and no pain or sorrow.
But that servant proved that they were unable to manage their master’s things on earth, and so they will be given nothing to manage in eternal life.
THE ENEMIES OF THE KING
Now, it wouldn’t be right of me to leave this passage without talking about the enemies of the King.
In this parable, both at the beginning and the end, the King has enemies who don’t want Him to reign.
They don’t want Him to be their King.
And notice in the passage, that when the King comes back…and judgement happens…He deals first with His servants.
And then, after he disburses the rewards (or lack thereof) to his servants…
He then judges his enemies.
Those who did not want him to be king of their lives.
And the enemies are judged and killed.
And we learn, from the teachings of the Bible, and from Jesus who speaks on hell incredibly often, that those who do not submit to him, are his enemies.
Now, Timeout: I know that this language is different than what many in American churches are used to hearing…but I’m simply using the language that we read together in the Bible today…
…and that you can read elsewhere in the Bible.
The Bible teaches that our sin…makes us enemies to God.
We’ve sinned against a holy and perfect God with our lives…and our thoughts.
We’re not living as if He is King, but as if WE are in charge.
And listen, Jesus isn’t asking if you want Him to be your guardian angel…
His offer to you in the Bible is not to be a “guardian angel on call” to whom you can offer a prayer to if you go to the hospital or need a new job.
He wants to be King of your life.
In the Bible, there are only 2 classes of people:
Servants of the King
Or Enemies of the King
There isn’t some middle ground of people who mildly approve of Jesus but are still, in reality, running their own lives.
The truth of Scripture is that God loves you so much that He sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins.
And if you would believe in that, and bow your knee to Him, letting Him be King of your entire life, He, in his mercy, He will forgive everything you’ve ever done.
And you can go from being an enemy of God, to not just a servant, but to a friend of the King, a CHILD of the King
But if you will not surrender your life to Him by letting Him pay for your sins and turning your life over to Him, you will remain his enemy.
And when the King returns someday, the judgment for your sins will come upon you instead of upon Himself.
I beg of you, surrender your life to Him.
EXPLAIN BAPTISM (AT THE END OF MY MESSAGE)
What we’re going to do right now is show you some people who’ve surrendered their life to Christ.
For us, today is a Baptism Sunday
As we prepare for those baptisms, I’m going to ask our Baptismal Team to come on stage and get our baptismal ready.
We’re so excited to be able to use this baptismal for the 1st time
This is a day we’ve dreamed about for a long time…to see new believers baptized right here, in church, on Sunday mornings!
There’s a lot of modern-day confusion about baptism, but let me tell you what the Bible itself actually teaches on it.
Baptism is meant to be done AFTER someone makes a personal decision to accept Jesus as their Savior.
Baptism is a symbol of what Jesus did for you when you, personally, believed in Him
Baptism doesn’t save you.
But it’s an incredibly important symbol that, through your faith, Jesus has washed away your sins.
And so we’re baptizing two different people at each service today who’ve made a decision to follow Jesus.
You’re going to hear their testimonies of how they came to this decision, and then they’re going to be baptized by their sponsor (someone who’s had a spiritual impact on them) and someone else from our church.
And so, we’re going to begin our first testimony… (I’ll grab the microphone and you can come on stage)
GOSPEL AFTER BAPTISM
(Keep up Baptism Slide)
What you just heard were powerful testimonies of people who were once enemies of God.
Their sin had separated them from God and his forgiveness.
There was nothing they could do to earn their way to heaven…because what would be done about their sin?
The Bible says it this way:
(Colossians 1:21-22) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!!!! - KEEP UP UNTIL END OF SERVICE
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
We sometimes explain the truth of Scripture this way:
You are far more sinful than you ever dared believe, and yet far more loved by God than you ever dared imagine.
That’s the paradox of the Bible.
But if you keep on believing that you’re a good person and that God will just usher you right into heaven because you never murdered anyone or anything like that…
I’m warning you now, you’ll be shocked when you meet the King and find out that your sin has indeed made you an enemy of God.
But God in His love is willing to forgive your sin.
To have mercy on you.
If you would only believe that His Son Jesus died for you then will be “blameless” at the judgment
All of your sin will have been put on Jesus and washed away
And He will turn you from an enemy to His beloved child
Will you accept His forgiveness today and let Him be your King?
Let me pray
As I’m praying right now…if you need to turn your life over to the King today for the first time.
To admit your sin has made you his enemy…
To ask for his forgiveness..
And become His follower…
You can do that right now…
And He will forgive you.
Your life can be transformed just like the people you saw.
It truly can.
Your sin makes you an enemy of God, but God’s love for you is so great that He would die for you…His enemy!
That’s how much He loves you!
But he will not force you to accept his love for you.
Only you can accept Him as the King of your life
Will you accept Him into your life as your Savior?
If you want to turn your life over to Him, in just a second I’m going to ask you to stand up while we’re praying.
As a way for you to mark this moment…and accept His gift.
Is it time for you?
You cannot be forgiven on your own…you can’t pay for your own sins.
If you need to accept his gift of forgiveness, become his follower, to turn your life over to Him.
I want you to stand up right now.
For those of you standing, we want to pray with you.
Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.
You won’t walk out there alone.
There are others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you
And I, and our follow-up team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, you can all go now.
As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.