Investing in the Kingdom

Luke 19.12-27

Jesus is going away to receive His kingdom which He will establish upon His return. As His followers, we are commanded to carry out Jesus’ mission until He comes back…seeking and saving the lost. For the faithful, His return will be a time of rejoicing and celebration, but for the unfaithful and for the those who reject Him it will be a time of judgment.

We’re not told, but I have to believe that the first two slaves are not surprised by the response of the King at His return. I believe they know Him to be gracious and compassionate and generous. That’s what frees them up to operate from a place of confidence and courage rather than from a place of fear. There’s an excitement on their part to serve the Master and to take huge risks for the sake of the kingdom. And just like these two slaves, Jesus invites us into an ever-deepening experience of contentment, joy and confidence in our everyday lives with Him. He wants us to serve Him with joy and excitement and not fear. He wants us to get to know Him better through His Word and time spent with Him in prayer and in fellowship with other believers. Each of us has been entrusted with a mina…the gospel…the word of the King. And each of us is responsible for how we invest it…boldly, courageously, fearlessly, intentionally taking big risks for the kingdom.

The third slave, the other slave, did not invest in the kingdom. Instead of seeing the King as generous and compassionate and gracious, he saw the King as stingy and selfish and greedy. He did not know the King, and he did not trust the King, so what he had was taken away. So is the third slave in the kingdom? Can you be in the kingdom if you don’t know the King? Is it possible that there are those who think they’re in the kingdom for whatever reason, but will find themselves on the outside because they didn’t know the King? Folks who are relying on their good works or church attendance or status in the community or relationships…who like Judas who was one of the twelve, but really wasn’t one of the twelve…but do not really know the King?

Do you know the King? Do you know Him as gracious and compassionate and generous? Do you believe that He cares about you and your circumstances? Do you know that He loves you? If you know the King, how are you investing in the kingdom? How are you using your resources…your time, your gifts, your finances…to further Jesus’ mission? Are you being intentional about sharing the gospel with folks on your impact list? Are you eagerly awaiting Jesus’ return? Do you know the King?

Jesus is coming back. He will either be your King or your Judge. Which will it be for you? If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, don’t wait. Recognize your need for repentance. Believe that Jesus can save you and trust Him to do so. Then you too can hear, “Well done, good slave…” and share with Him in His kingdom reign.

Let’s pray.

This post is based on a sermon from our series in the book of Luke. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Success or Faithfulness

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today, we turn our attention to the book of Jeremiah, one of the Major Prophets and the longest of the Prophetic books.

So, who was Jeremiah?  The text teaches us he was a son of a priest called to be a prophet from his mother’s womb.

We know that Jeremiah prophesized during the years leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and exile into Babylon. The overarching theme of the book is judgment.

We call Jeremiah the “Weeping” Prophet for good reason. As we read through the book, we feel his anguish, lamenting over the fallen people of Judah and its capital city, much like Jesus laments over Jerusalem in Luke 13:34-35.

Despite some valiant attempts at reform by kings such as Hezekiah and Judah, this process of decline is irreversible and ends with the ultimate destruction of all the visible element’s of Israel’s covenant relationship with God, such as Jerusalem and the temple.

We feel Jeremiah’s frustration in dealing with the stubbornness of the people. The people felt immune to any threat of divine judgment, but Jeremiah repeatedly warned them about the vanity of their reliance on ritual and external formalism.

Jeremiah’s story is one of courage and endurance. Imagine, preaching for 40+ years and it doesn’t appear that there was even one convert!

His enemies cast him in a dungeon, his family and friends rejected him, other priests and prophets made fun of him. He was beaten, humiliated, and ridiculed.

At times in the text, we see how Jeremiah grows tired of bringing God’s message of judgment to an unresponsive people.

But God’s word would bring blessing to Jeremiah’s own soul, we read in Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found, and I eat them, and Your words became to me a joy and a delight of my heart…”.

Jeremiah’s message carried three main points as did most of the Old Testament Prophets – The Lord will judge His people for their sin, God is faithful and merciful, and will bring about restoration and salvation.

Faithfully, he preached and proclaimed the message that judgment was coming to the nation of Judah. Judgment would indeed come.

We see also the gospel foreshadowed in Jeremiah as he points to the sovereign grace of God in His control over world history and his faithfulness to His covenant – fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Jeremiah, we learn a great lesson when it comes to ministry. Ministry isn’t so much about success as it about faithfulness. The Lord doesn’t ask us to be successful. He asks us to be faithful. Each of us has a job to do and the Lord isn’t asking for success, for only He can bring that about. He simply asks us to be faithful—to do what He says.

Until next time… Keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken directly from The Gospel Transformation Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, and Courson’s Application Commentary, Volume 2.

June 21 – Weekend Passage

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)