Dr. Jack L. Arnold Lesson
THE FAITHFUL AND
- The Lord Jesus Christ has told His disciples to be
ready for His coming
(24:44) and because no one knows the day or the hour except God
(24:36) they are to be constantly watching for His return for the Church
(24:41). Our Lord’s coming
for the Church or as it is sometimes called the Rapture of the Church can
come at any moment; it is imminent and at any moment in history Christ can
call His Church home to be with Himself. This will be a glorious day for those members of
Christ’s Church who are alive when the Lord returns. They shall be translated and
snatched away to be with Christ.
- In view of His imminent coming, Christ gives four
parables to instruct His people on their attitudes and behavior until He
comes -- the parable of 1) the thief, 2) the ten virgins, 3) the talents,
and in 24:45-51 the parable of the faithful and wicked servants. These parables are very important
and if we do not understand them then we will not watch for his coming in
the way He expects us to watch.
And if we do not watch we will be deceived and miss much, if not
all, of the exciting possibilities of the present hour.
FAITHFUL SERVANT --
then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his
household, to give them meat in due season?” --
This parable is clearly instruction for those who are waiting for
the Lord’s coming. The master of
the household is gone but he has entrusted certain work to his servants or
stewards until He returns. The
master is Christ and the household is the Church. The servants work is to the rest of
the household, and his task is “to give them meat (food).” This meat is spiritual food for the Church,
and we conclude, therefore, that the servant is a minister of God’s Word to the
Church. This parable, then, is
addressed to pastors, elders and all who have the ministry of feeding and
shepherding the Church of Jesus Christ.
By application this would include
Sunday School teachers,
Bible class leaders,
editors of magazines,
youth workers and nay person
who has a teaching ministry to the Church.
- “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he
cometh shall find so doing.”
Just as the servant is to feed the household, so the teacher
of God’s Word is to give spiritual food to the Church. The watching servant feeds the
Church the Word and in return the Church grows strong and keeps watching
for Christ’s coming. Every
servant of the Lord must be teaching.
ILLUSTRATION: True ministers of God want to be
doing the work of teaching the Church.
When John Calvin was persuaded to give up his ministerial labors because
of ill health, he said with some resentment, “What, would you have my Master
find me idle?”
The well taught
Christian will be ready when the Lord returns.
NOTE: Every teacher and minister should so
prepare the Word of God that he set a feast before God’s people that both the
babes and mature can grow. God has
designed the Bible so that when it is taught through verse by verse it meets
the spiritual needs of all Christians.
Also the Bible taught through consecutively will cover a wide variety of
subjects and yet keep truth wonderfully in balance. NOTE:
It is obvious that one of the supreme tasks of the Church during the
time she is anxiously awaiting Christ’s return is Bible study and Biblical
doctrine. The Bible is divine
revelation to Christians and presents the only sane, realistic and “down to
earth” approach to life. Only
Bible truths can produce mature Christians (II Timothy 3:16-17). NOTE: All evangelism, worship, obedience and
prayer flows out from Bible doctrine understood and applied to life. The Bible is not an end in itself but it
is the means God uses to take us to Christ and give us an understanding of
God’s plans and purposes. The
Bible is a book that takes us to a person. We cannot neglect the Bible and grow in Christ but we can
have knowledge of the Bible and not be involved with the person of Jesus
Christ, for knowledge must be applied to one’s experience.
ILLUSTRATION: It is said the D. L. Moody, near the
close of his ministry, made this statement: “The next revival will be a revival of Bible study, and it
will be brought about by a teaching evangelism.”
- “Verily I say unto you, That
he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” -- The faithful servant, who is watching for
Christ’s coming and instructs the Church in the Word so they too will look
for His coming, is “blessed” or “happy.” He is blessed by God and has a happy feeling that he
has served his Lord faithfully.
Then the Lord makes a staggering promise, one that boggles the
human mind. This faithful
servant will be made ruler over all the Lord’s possessions. The faithful servant will rule
with Christ in His earthly kingdom and through all eternity in the eternal
kingdom. What adventure and
challenge this promise holds out to the faithful servant! NOTE: 1) The hours of study, 2) the
passing up of earthly pleasures, 3) the times of loneliness, 4) wrath of unbelievers and 4) the
scorn of believers are not worthy to be compared with the reward that God
has in store for the faithful servant who teaches the Word to please God. I Cor. 4:2 says,
“It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.” Faithfulness means that a man
teaches the whole counsel of God.
WICKED (UNBELIEVING) SERVANT -- Matthew 24:48-51
- “But, and, if that wicked (evil) servant,” -- This servant is called
“wicked” not because he was a believer who failed to be responsible but
because he was an unbeliever who called himself a Christian and
minister. He is a unbeliever because he 1) denied the coming of Christ,
2) abused the people of God, 3) intimately fellowshipped with unbelievers
and 4) was appointed to hell.
This servant is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a mere professor but
not possessor of Christ. NOTE:
It is evident that the wicked servant had the same ministry committed to
him as the faithful servant.
He had the Bible and authority in the household to teach the Word,
and the Church depended upon his ministry. But he was not faithful!
ILLUSTRATION: Matthew Henry said, “The vilest of
creatures is a wicked man, the vilest of men is a wicked Christian, and the
vilest of them a wicked minister.
- “Shall say in his heart,, My
lord delayed his coming;”
-- This wicked servant
only gave intellectual assent to Christ and his Christianity was only
superficial and external. He
was a minister but a professor and false teacher. Apparently he fooled a lot of
people for a long time, but the seeds of his apostasy came when he began
to deny the coming of Christ.
What was the thing he gave up? He gave up the conviction of the imminent and moment
return of Christ, and from that point on he went consistently downhill in
doctrinal beliefs finally denying all of the Christian Faith. NOTE: The Lord Jesus
has delayed His coming now for many centuries. Many who claim to be teachers, ministers, elders and
pastors have given up not only a hope of the imminent return of Christ,
but have given up the belief in a literal and bodily second advent of
ILLUSTRATION: The late Bishop Pike who was a minister
in the Episcopal Church gave up any belief in the return of Christ and stated that “only 24% of Episcopalians, by survey, believe
- “And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to
eat and drink with the drunken;”
Having given up the hope of the imminent return of Christ,
the affects of his life became obvious. Christ, the effects of his life became obvious. This servant begins to visibly
fall away from the truth by becoming a tyrant and a despot and he begins
to abuse or smite the true children of God. He begins to take a stand over against his fellow
ministers. Perhaps he calls
them 1) religious fanatics, 2) Bible Thumpers, 3) unscholarly, 4)
super-naturalists, or 5) psychologically unbalanced. Whatever the accusation, he
definitely opposes “to eat and cook with the drunken:” He Himself indulges in
excesses and riotous living and begins to run with the “wolf pack” of
unbelievers. NOTE: Undoubtedly this servant is
minister over some group that calls themselves Christians but he is not
giving them the true Word of God.
This minister fails to teach the Bible and the household stays
unsaved or grew carnal and weak.
Therefore, the local church manifests itself in quarreling,
injustices, and excesses of every sort. NOTE: The widespread ignorance of the Church and its nature
and purpose is directly traceable to a lack of systematic Bible teaching.
ILLUSTRATION: Ray Steadman, the late pastor of
Penninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, Ca. makes this
But how much does the average
Christian know of this? The blunt
answer is scarcely anything! In
church after church the congregation hardly knows that the Bible exists. The degree of biblical illiteracy
prevalent in American churches is beyond belief. And the widespread effect, visible everywhere, is a
powerless, quarreling, materialistic church whose knowledge of its Lord’s
living presence is almost nil, and whose hope of his soon return has long ago
burned out into gray embers.
The cause of this sterile mediocrity is, says Jesus,
faithless and wicked servants who have never assumed or have given up the task
of feeding the household at the proper time.
- “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he
looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,” -- The Lord Jesus is going to
come unexpectedly and the wicked servant will not be prepared. At the coming of Christ, He will
reveal the secrets in men’s hearts and He will be able to tell whether
there is a genuine faith or not.
(I Cor. 4:5). At His
return, Christ will show what was really in the hearts of men all the
time. False teachers and
prophets may fool men but they will never fool an all
wise, omniscient Christ.
The shocking thing is that what a person has been in the secret
places of the heart through life must now be displayed as the true self
- “And shall cut him asunder, (cut him off) and appoint
him his portion with the hypocrites:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” -- The end of this wicked
servant is death and eternal damnation (punishment). The Master, Jesus Christ, is in
furious rage with this servant and His eternal wrath comes against
him. The wicked servant will
be cut off from any of Christ’s possessions and shall be appointed with
the hypocrites. Luke’s
account says, “appointed with the unbelievers” (Lk. 12:46).
The wicked servant will weep out of frustration and lost
opportunities, and he shall gnash his teeth out of bitter rage and
defiance of God. This is a
horrible description of eternal punishment but let us remember that it was
Christ who made this description.
- The faithful servant was faithful because he believed
in an any moment return of Christ and lived his
life accordingly. An imminent
return of Christ produces a readiness to serve on the part of those who
- Yet the wicked servant first questioned and then
denied the imminent return of Christ. He got tired of waiting for the Master and forgot about
him. The Lord Jesus Christ
has been away almost two thousand years from His Church but He is
coming. Remember, God’s clock
is not like our clock and that a day with the Lord may be a thousand years
or a thousand years as one day.
Just because some are saying that Christ is not going to return
does not mean that He is not going to return. Christ says He is coming again! Are you ready to meet Christ? If you are not, you can get ready
by trusting Him as your personal Lord and Savior. The consequences of rejecting
Christ are devastating and are of eternal significance. Get ready and stay ready for
therefore: for ye know not
what hour your Lord doth come.”