Dr. Jack L. Arnold Lesson
- As we have expounded the Olivet Discourse, we have
seen how the Lord has given three parables to tell the Christian how to
watch and be ready for the coming of Christ. The Parable of the Faithful and Wicked Servants told us
the necessity of knowing and teaching God’s Word in Christ’s absence. The Parable of the Ten Virgins
taught us that spiritual life comes from the Holy Spirit and believers are
to claim this power in their experience. Now in the Parable of the Talents Christ teaches us the
necessity of serving the Lord through a life of good work as we wait for
Him to return for the Church.
- The Parable of the Talents also teaches that the true
believer should be prompt, active and efficient in promoting the interests
of his Master, Jesus Christ.
PROVE THEMSELVES FALSE OR TRUE BY THEIR ACTIONS -- Matthew 25:14-18
- “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.” -- This parable is about
a master who goes away and leaves a certain company of servants to fulfill
a task until he returns. The
task was to care for and use the master’s goods (his property and capital)
until he returns. What are
the symbolic meanings in this parable?
The “man traveling into a far country” is Christ who is
absent from the Church during the period that intervenes between the first and
The “servants” are professing Christians who give some
kind of allegiance to Christ but not all are genuinely saved but are within the
sphere of the visible Church but all are genuinely saved but are within the
sphere of the visible Church.
parable is not dealing with ultimate rewards for Christian service, but
salvation is the very thing that is at stake in this parable. The last line of this parable makes
this crystal clear, for it is said of the slothful servant who failed to use
his talent, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness there
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (25:30). This worthless servant really never saved at all.
“His goods” refers to the servant’s responsibility in the master’s
household. Christ appoints
Christians to work for and serve Him faithfully.
- “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two,
and to another one; to every man according to his several (various)
ability; and straightway took his journey.”
The first thing that must be cleared up is that talents
are not natural gifts such as endowed intelligence, athletic ability or
artistic talent. This is the
English meaning but it is not the Biblical meaning. The “talent” was a specific sum of money, a weight of silver
worth about a thousand dollars.
The second observation is that the talent represents
more than money. Certainly there
is the surface meaning that money is to be invested for the Lord so that it
brings spiritual profit. However,
there is a deeper meaning. NOTE: I am going to suggest that these
talents represent spiritual opportunity to produce good works for God. Talents are the opportunity to prove
one is a true servant of Christ by producing good works in the service of the
Master. Why? The talent (money) that the master gave
to the servants was to be invested so as to produce a profit. It was something that could be invested
with risk, with the possibility of producing gain or loss. This is more than money. It refers to spiritual opportunity to
produce good works. It is the
decision of the servant to risk his life for Christ.
A third observation is that there are various degrees
of talents (money) given. Some
were given five, others two and still others one. NOTE:
Not all believers have the same spiritual capacity for producing good
works for Christ but all are expected to use the capacity they have.
The fourth observation is that these talents are not
only distributed to true believers in Christ but also to unbelievers. They are for those who profess Christ
and in any way recognize His authority.
The real issue is not that one has talents but how he uses them. NOTE: Professing Christians are given
spiritual opportunity to prove with their lives that they are Christians, but
how they use their spiritual opportunity is a matter of life or death. A person’s whole eternal destiny hangs
on what he does with these spiritual opportunities.
- “Then he that had received the five talents went and
traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received
two, he also gained other two.”
The faithful servants immediately applied themselves to
their business, put their money to use and made a profit. They had something to show or
prove that they had used the master’s gift well. NOTE: The servants of Christ are to invest their lives and
make a profit of good works with the spiritual opportunities He gives
them. The necessity of good
works to prove or demonstrate that one is saved is spoken of all through
the New Testament (James 2:26; II Peter 1:10; Eph. 2:10). NOTE: There is a risk that must be taken
when one decides to invest his life for Christ. Decisions must be made daily. The Christian must venture forth in faith to serve his
ILLUSTRATION: Every day the Christian has spiritual
opportunities to prove the reality of his faith in Christ. Will I live for self or God? Will I serve Christ or yield to the
pressure of the ungodly masses?
Will I step out in faith or will I play it safe and get what I can for
myself? Will I risk my reputation
or even my life if that is what God wants? Will I yield to the passions of my flesh or will I be true
to Christ? Will I accept a
promotion even though it involves some shady ethics or will I refuse it and
trust God to meet my needs? Will I
give time to do the Lord’s work or will I take that time and belong to some
social group? Will I watch T.V. or
take that time for Bible study and prayer? These are just some of the decisions Christians have to make
in order to demonstrate the reality of their faith.
- “But he that had received one went and digged in the
earth, and hid his lord’s money.”
The servant who had received one talent hid his money and
brought forth no profit. He
did not steal it, squander it or misspend it but he did nothing with his
talent. NOTE: The professing Christian is given
spiritual opportunity to produce good works but instead of actively
serving his Lord, he either regresses into his old patterns of life or
simply becomes a neutral in Christian things. He sets a low spiritual standard and becomes so lazy
that he has no desire to live for Christ and produce spiritual works for
SERVANTS WILL GIVE AN ACCOUNT TO CHRIST
- “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh,
and reckoned with them.” -- Again it
is implied from this parable that there will be a very long period of time
before Christ returns for His Church. It has now been 1971 years but He is coming back. And when He does, He will “reckon”
with His servants. All
professing stewards of Christ will one day give an account to Christ for
their stewardship (I Cor. 3:13; II Cor. 5:10).
- “And so he that had received five talents came and
brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five
talents: behold I have gained beside them five talents more.” -- The first faithful servant
invested his talents and had a one-hundred percent return. He made full use of his spiritual
opportunities, not for his own advancement but for the Lord’s kingdom. He put Christ first and was
blessed of God (Matt. 6:33).
This faithful servant made the crucial decision about the
investment of his life for Christ and in so doing risked the possibility
of loss to himself. He took the leap of faith and realized that he might
not have the place of prominence and power he wanted in this secular world
but he was doing the will of God and producing spiritual works for Christ.
- “His lord said unto him, Well done, thoug good and
faithful servant: thou has been faithful over the few things, I will make
thee ruler over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” --
The Lord commends the servant for his life of good
works and faithfulness. He did not
say “good and successful” but “good and faithful” for faithfulness was at the
base of this servants success.
will never be a success in spiritual things until he learns how to be
faithful. NOTE: At the judgment seat of Christ, each
Christian should long to hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful
servant.” This will be reward
enough for me.
This servant was to be a ruler in the master’s
kingdom. NOTE: Because the servant was faithful in a
few things, Christ will make him ruler over many things in his yet future
Kingdom in both its earthly and eternal forms. NOTE: The reward for this faithful servant is not rest but more
noble employment in Christ’s kingdom.
God’s people will be serving Christ through all eternity.
Because of faithful service, this servant was invited
to enter into the joy of the Lord.
This probably refers to the joy of accomplishment arising from the doing
of the will of God in one’s experience.
It is the joy of having produced results for God, knowing that the heart
of God has been satisfied. It may
also refer to the joy of the marriage feast of the Lamb in the millennial
- “He also that had received two talents came and said,
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside
them.” -- The servant with just two
talents also had a one hundred percent increase because he was operating
according to his capacity. He
did not have as many talents originally given to him by the master but he
was equally committed to the task. NOTE: This servant of Christ put Christ first and risked loss
to himself to produce spiritual good works for
- “His lord said unto him, Well
done, 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.” -- This second servant was
equally rewarded by Christ.
There is not one bit of difference in commendation and praise
between what the Lord said to the first and second servants. There is the same reward because
rewaret is not based on amount but on faithfulness. NOTE: Both of these servants of Christ
brought forth a spiritual profit of good works to demonstrate prove, and
give evidence of real salvation. NOTE: These faithful servants produced works because they
were saved but they did not produce works to keep saved, for that would be
salvation by works. They worked
because they had the Life of Christ in them.
SERVANTS WILL GIVE AN ACCOUNT TO CHRIST
- Then he which had received the one talent came and
said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast
not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed (scattered). And I was afraid, and went and hid
thy talent in the earth: lo,
there thou hast that is thine.”
This slothful servant tries to blame his failure to
make a profit on the character of God.
The problem was not in God but in his own laziness, for he had no real
desire to invest his one talent.
professing servant thought Christ was a mean Master and understood nothing of
His unchangeable love for all those who are the true children of God. If this lazy servant were a true child
of God, he would have been motivated to serve out of love, but he confesses
that he was motivated by fear.
Fear not of God but fear of what might happen to him.
The servant is lazy with his talent because he had no
desire to use it to make a profit for the master. The servant had gained nothing because he had risked
nothing. There was no increase
because there was no investment.
NOTE: As a
professing Christian, this lazy servant had many opportunities to risk his life
for Christ and in so doing would have proved with his works that he was a true
child of God. But he would not
venture forth and commit to Christ even thoug he had all the external veneer of
being a servant of the Lord. He
was afraid to put his life on the line. NOTE: Since he took no risk for Christ’s sake he had also no
spiritual power, no spiritual influence, no impact for
good. His life counted for
nothing. He had lived every moment
of his life for self even though he called himself a believer.
- “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and
slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather
where I have not strawed (scattered): Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the
exchangers (bankers), and then at my coming I should have received mine
own with usury (interest). -- The Lord
turns the argument of the slothful servant against him. If he knew that master was hard,
this should have been motivation enough to at least put the money in the
bank and get some interest, making some increase of his talent. NOTE: This lazy man never had any real
intention of being a servant.
He was a phony and He never really desired to do the will of
Christ, for he was never saved.
He was living for self and not the Lord. NOTE: He had many opportunities to
prove that he was really a child of God but he would not venture out in
faith. He would not risk his
life for Christ.
- “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto
him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have
abundance: but from him that
hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” -- The lazy servant had his
talent taken from him and it was given to the servants who had put their
talents to work. NOTE: Christ gives every professing
Christian spiritual opportunity as a good Master but reserves the right to
take away all opportunity as a Judge if there is no fruit evidenced in the
life. The principle is
plain: those who are doing
the will of God shall be given more grace to do it. But those who profess Christ but
show no desire to live for him, God will remove that opportunity for
spiritual service and the servant shall be proven to be reprobate.
- “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer
darkness: there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Eternal judgment is the end of the hypocrite who with his
lips calls Christ the Lord but his heart is far from him and he has no
desire to do the will of God.
This useless, unproductive servant is cast into outer darkness which speaks of complete and eternal
separation from Christ. In
the dark, no man can work for Christ. Part of the punishment of the slothful servant is that
opportunity for eternal service to Christ is taken away. In this place of eternal
punishment is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” which speaks of great
vexation and indignation.
This is the just reward for the faithless servant who failed to
take advantage of spiritual opportunity to back up his profession of faith
in Christ with spiritual works.
- To The Christian: Christ is telling the person who professes faith in
Christ to step out!
dangerously! To prove that
one is a true Christian he must take chances and put his life on the line. One should never try to hang on to
his own life, for, in so doing, he will loose it. The true Christian will surrender
himself to Christ again and again so as to demonstrate with his life that
Christ lives in him.
- To the Non-Christian: It is possible to be a professing Christian and not be
saved. It is possible to be a
good church member but really have no desire to please Christ. You are not really saved until you
have invested your life for Christ, until you have invested you life for
Christ, until you have risked your should into Christ’s hands. Salvation is trusting Christ to
completely save you from your sin and the judgment to come. And after having trusted in
Christ, salvation is proven to be a reality by one’s commitment to Christ
with a genuine desire to do the will of God.