Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Sin of Buried Talents

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Sin of Buried Talents



Why Are We Failing the Great Commission?
The Sin of Buried Talents

The dynamic of spiritual ministry is like teaching sheep how to fly!

 Perhaps one of the greatest failures of present Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism is the failure to see the broad spectrum of professing Christianity from the perspective of the New Covenant epistles such as I Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, Hebrews, I and II Peter, II Timothy, and Jude.  When the substance of these epistles is ignored, the fact that MOST of professing Christians are still lost in their sins is totally missed.  Churches, calling themselves Christians, are filled with lost people who have never been “born again.”  In fact, when this subject is even addressed, many Evangelicals and Fundamentalists will become enraged against those pointing out the substance of these epistles.  The point of these epistles is that there is a vast and constantly growing mission field amid professing Christianity.  The second issue is that faithfulness to Christ has been redefined by Ecumenicism and Pluralism so as to exclude faithfulness to the Great Commission in reaching these churched lost souls. 

11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds {one pound to each}, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading” (Luke 19:11-15).

Luke 19:11-27 (like Matthew 25:14-30) is a remarkable and frightening portion of Scripture.  The parable of “ten pounds” (“talents” in Matthew; both words refer to weight of coins) is a parable about what defines faithfulness in earning rewards for faithful “born again” believers determining their positions of authority during the Kingdom Age.  Jesus expects a return upon His Blood bought redemption of the believer’s soul.  Unfaithfulness is failing to invest one’s “born again” life in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. 

In the text of Luke chapter nineteen, Jesus has just passed through Jericho on His way to Jerusalem (19:1).  He is accompanied by a large crowd of disciples (19:2).  The crowd is very excited.  Until we understand what this group of disciples thought was going to happen, we will not understand the degree of their excitement.

Zionism means Jesus will physically rule over a literal worldwide Israeli Empire from Jerusalem during the Kingdom Age.  Jesus will share His rule over the world (Kingdom) with faithful believers from throughout the Church Age.  Faithful Church Age believers will constitute a new consecrated Melchizedekian priesthood under their Great High Priest Jesus.  The metaphor of Jesus as the Bridegroom and the “church of the firstborn” as His Bride is integral to our understanding of the Kingdom relationship of Christ to His Church.  The espoused Bride becomes the wife of the Bridegroom when the Bridegroom brings the Bride home to His Kingdom.  The “marriage supper of the Lamb” takes place in Heaven during the seven years of Tribulation on Earth.  Obviously, if the “marriage supper of the Lamb” takes place in Heaven before the Bridegroom brings His Bride to His Kingdom to reign with Him, the Bride must be in Heaven for the “marriage supper of the Lamb” to take place.

          From Luke chapter twelve to this point, Jesus had been teaching about the coming Kingdom on earth.  These disciples thought “the Kingdom of God should immediately appear” (Luke 19:11).  Most of these disciples were Jews. Their anxiety was because they were familiar with Zechariah chapter fourteen.

1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee {glorified believers that return to Earth with Jesus}. 2 For I will gather all nations {of the world} against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle {Armageddon}. 4 And his {Jesus’} feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. 6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark {not light on certain parts of the Earth and dark in others; the whole world will be lighted by the glory of Christ’s coming}: 7 But it shall be one day {never ending daylight from this point throughout the Kingdom Age}which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the LORD {Jehovah/Jesus} shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:1-9).

          This group of disciples of Jesus were excited.  As they approached the city of Jerusalem the excitement was growing to a frenzy.  They thought they were standing on the brink of a monumental change in the course of history.  They thought the prophecies of Zechariah would be fulfilled at any moment.  

          Jesus decides He must calm the storm of anxiety raging in the souls of these disciples.  In the middle of all this excitement, Jesus stops.  He wanted to restore order and establish the reality of His entry into Jerusalem.  He uses a parable (teaching truth through illustration) to correct and instruct these people about the establishment of the Kingdom on earth.  This parable was intended to instruct disciples from all generations of the Church Age about what defined faithfulness to the Great Commission.  The parable is both a promise and a warning. 

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath {gained profit} shall be given; and from him that hath not {gained no profit}, even that he hath shall be taken away from him {Kingdom poverty and shame}. 27 But those mine enemies {Christ rejectors; John 1:11}, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:16-27).

The “Nobleman” is Jesus (Luke 19:12).

“Nobleman” refers to someone of noble birth who is heir to a kingdom.  “Far country” emphasizes the time span before his return, more than the distance.  During this period of history, distance was measured by the time it took to make a journey.  The purpose of the journey was “to receive for himself a kingdom.”  Once he received his kingdom, he would “return.”  This is a key word to understanding the parable.  The parable begins with Jesus going to His Father in heaven to receive the prophesied Kingdom on earth. 

The parable details Jesus testing/proving His disciples for their positions in the coming Kingdom by their faithfulness to His investment in their redemption.

This parable is extremely relevant to all believers during the Church Age.  When we talk about the Kingdom, it should not be confused with heaven.  This is not talking about salvation, but rewards.  There will be a time span between His going and His return.  During this time span, the faithfulness of His servants is being tested.  

The ten servants represent all believers of the Church Age (the number “ten” represents the completion of a cycle in Scripture).  By the test, we understand Christ has the same expectation of all believers equally.  He expects every believer to multiply (“bring forth fruit”) to some degree. 

“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23).

“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:6).

The servants would be rewarded proportionate to the degree of their faithfulness as measured by the gain they make upon the Lord’s investment in them (read Luke 19:16-19).

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.” 

This “authority” refers to the rule over literal cities of the Kingdom Age.  The disciple who multiplied himself by ten will govern ten cities in the Kingdom Age.  The disciple who multiplied himself by five will govern five cities in the Kingdom Age (compare Revelation 2:25-27).

25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he {the faithful believer given rule by Jesus over cities} shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they {the nations} be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.”

As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers” refers to the city/nations of the world.  They shall be “broken” into smaller areas and given to individual faithful Church Age saints to govern.  “Even as I received of my Father” means these believers will be given the same authority as Jesus possesses to govern their groups of cities.

Luke 19:13, “Occupy till I come;” Christ has expectations regarding His investment in redeeming your soul.

Christ expects a profit on His investment.  He expects gain (Luke 19:15b, “gained”).

10 As every man hath received the gift {indwelling God-kind righteousness and enabling grace in the indwelling Spirit of Christ}, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:10-11).

Luke 19:15, “And it came to pass.”  What Jesus says will come to pass.  He will come again and He will establish His Kingdom on earth.

Every believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and receive God’s accounting of what they invested themselves in during their lifetime.

“For we must all appear before the judgment 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” (II Corinthians 5:10).

You are presently determining your Kingdom position each day of your life.  The faithful disciple will be given position directly proportionate to the degree he multiplies himself in life.  The emphasis is that all believers have one basic task.  They are to live their lives in such a way as to multiply themselves to their highest potential for Christ. 

Luke 19:20 “I have laid up in a napkin;” the disciple who buried his treasure.

          The doctrine of grace is the supernatural enabling work of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the lives of consecrated and sanctified believers.  This supernatural enabling is what distinguishes the Age of Grace (the Church Age) from every other dispensation of God.  For most Christians, the doctrine of God’s supernatural enabling (Grace) has been so distorted we find Christians arguing Christian “liberty” to the point of license to sin.  

One of the great truths of the New Covenant is that EVERY believer is a Priest before God and is responsible to live consecrated to God to offer sanctified service/ministry before God.  Consecration and sanctification are what prepares the believer to be supernaturally enabled for the service/ministry God has commissioned us to do.  Apart from complete consecrated and holy living, the “light” of God’s glory and Power is trapped inside the “earthen vessels” of these human bodies in which we presently live. 

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Corinthians 4:3-7).

A Broken Ball of clay

My life was just a ball of clay
Tightly packed with diverse sin.
One day I turned things all around
When I asked the Savior in.

Once saved I was told to yield to Him
And through my life He’d shine,
This ball of clay was so tightly packed
His “light” was trapped inside.

I prayed and said, “What ere it takes,
Any trial, struggle or scrape,
Make me Lord, break me Lord,
And let your light escape.”

The trials came in steady flows,
I wrestled with Divine.
Then God, He finally broke my heart,
Now through the cracks He shines.

The Lord Jesus has indwelled us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  The “ten pounds” represents the believer’s potential in the Holy Spirit.  Every believer has the same potential to multiply himself.  The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit provides every believer with the enabling power of God.  Everything we need to live successfully and fruitfully for Jesus is ours in the Holy Spirit.  There is no excuse not to multiply.

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:3-4).

The business of the Church is to “perfect the saints for the work of the ministry.”  That means the Church is about teaching Sheep to fly.  That means the purpose for the existence of any local Church is to teach people how to live enabled by the supernatural power of the indwelling Holy Spirit so as to be enabled to do things completely beyond their human capabilities (the “impossible”).  The continual enabling power of the indwelling Holy Spirit is Christ’s investment in you. 

          When you live your life yielded to His will (“filled”), you will bear fruit and multiply yourself for Christ.  When you live your life selfishly according to your own will, you will bury the treasure of the indwelling Holy Spirit and your life will be fruitless for Christ.  

If you are a sheep that has never learned to fly, it is because you have never learned the dynamic of the doctrine of Grace.  If your life is fruitless, this is the reason.  You have buried Christ’s treasure.  You are living selfishly.  Buried treasure brings no profit.  Buried grace is abused grace.  It is selfish and it is carnal.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame(I Corinthians 15:34).

          If your life has never multiplied itself, your body is nothing more than a hiding place for Christ’s buried treasure of enabling grace.  However, the potential is still there.  Begin to realize that potential by making it your daily goal to win one soul to Jesus Christ.  Go into each day prayerfully looking for that one soul.

          Every family member, friend, neighbor, and co-worker should be included as part of your goal.  You should have a Soul Winner’s Prayer Card made out for each of them.  You should be praying for them daily.  You should be living your life under the control of the Holy Spirit each day.  Then, when the time is ripe for the harvesting of one of these souls, your potential can be realized. 

          Every Christian is Christ’s grace-investment.  Then, every Christian must invest in others what Christ has invested in them.  If you do not, your life is just a buried treasure chest.  Christ did not save us to be a treasure chest for truth.  He saved us to be a distribution center.  He did not save us to be vessel to contain His love.  He saved us to be a funnel through which His love flows to others.  

          Only you can decide in what you will invest your life.  It will be invested in what you determine to invest.  The worst kind of action is in-action.  

Christ expects fruit from His disciples!

6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Matthew 21:6-9).



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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: 
http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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