Saturday, 5 November 2011

Faith Applied is Faith Invested

Print Friendly and PDF
Parable of the Talents 

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7

Bottom line! Share Your Sandbox And All That's In It.

The paradox of the Promises and Faith

Here’s a paradox.  What came first? Is it the chicken or the egg?  For the evolutionist, it is a continual debate.  Millions of dollars are spent to research the origin of mankind.  What a waste.  As for Christians, it is not a paradox.  We believe in a God who created earth and heaven, man and woman, therefore the chicken came first. 

Here’s a paradox for Christians.  What came first, faith or God’s promises? Is it God’s promises that cause us to believe, and to have faith, or is it faith first then God’s promises?

I like most Christians doubt God’s promises. I'm like a yo-yo. "Doubt, trust, doubt, trust... etc.  The Old Testament is full of examples of people refusing to trust God, to believe in Him, and therefore taking the matter in their own hand.  To believe and to trust only at our five senses is easy.  We refuse to obey, to trust, to believe and therefore to have faith. To wait on the Lord is a blessing, (Isaiah 30:18).  Faith is the substance of the thing to hope for.  What are we to hope for?  We are to hope in His promises.  According to this statement, promises came second. 

Inasmuch as the chicken came with the ability to produce eggs, faith came first with the ability to believe in the promise.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them," Ephesians 2:8-10 



Jesus’ Parable of the Talents can explain this paradox. 

Matthew 25:14-30

I will be using the New Century Version (NCV) for simplicity.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was going to another place for a visit. Before he left, he called for his servants and told them to take care of his things while he was gone. He gave one servant five bags of gold, another servant two bags of gold, and a third servant one bag of gold, to each one as much as he could handle. Then he left. The servant who got five bags went quickly to invest the money and earned five more bags. In the same way, the servant, who had two bags invested them and earned two more bags. But the servant who got one bag went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid the master's money.
After a long time the master came home and asked the servants what they did with his money. The servant who was given five bags of gold brought five more bags to the master and said, 'Master, you trusted me to care for five bags of gold, so I used your five bags to earn five more.' The master answered, 'You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me.' Then the servant who had been given two bags of gold came to the master and said, 'Master, you gave me two bags of gold to care for, so I used your two bags to earn two more.' The master answered, 'You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me.'
Then the servant who had been given one bag of gold came to the master and said, 'Master, I knew that you were a hard man. You harvest things you did not plant. You gather crops where you did not sow any seed. So I was afraid and went and hid your money in the ground. Here is your bag of gold.' The master answered, 'You are a wicked and lazy servant! You say you knew that I harvest things I did not plant and that I gather crops where I did not sow any seed. So you should have put my gold in the bank. Then, when I came home, I would have received my gold back with interest.' So the master told his other servants, 'Take the bag of gold from that servant and give it to the servant who has ten bags of gold. Those who have much will get more, and they will have much more than they need. But those who do not have much will have everything taken away from them.' Then the master said, 'Throw that useless servant outside, into the darkness where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.'

In the NKJ the talents are referred to as a type of currency used at the time of Jesus among men. I have heard many interpretations of what the talent represents. I heard sermon where talent actually represents personal ability, literally talents received from God to share with others, such as the ability to play a musical instrument, to sing, or special qualities used in one’s carrier. Some refer to talents as sole savers. In this case, we have the responsibility to save souls by preaching the gospel.   I also read comments about the talent representing God’s word. By investing time in studying and thereby increasing our knowledge of God’s word, we are rewarded.  I also heard that the talents represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

What really derails these interpretations is the consequences of not investing: perishing in eternal condemnation in hell, (Matthew 23:33, Mark 3:29, John 5:29).  It just does not make sense. Especially to those who received gifts of the Holy Spirit, only those who believed and accepted Jesus receive the Holy Spirit.  It is clear that once saved we are always saved, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit,” Romans 8:1. 

Jack Kelly from (gracethrufaith.com) explain this clearly:  
“If salvation is by grace thru faith Eph 2:8-8, and faith come from God, and if the one condition to believe in the death and resurrection, Jn 3:16, Rom 10:9 and the Holy Spirit is seal within us Eph 1:13-14 seal until the day of redemption and God Himself accept responsibility for our security 2 Cor 1:21-22 and if He is faithful to complete the good work that He began in us Phil 1:6 and that no one can snatch us from His Hand Jn 10:29, and that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord Rom 8:38-39, then how can one fall away?” Get the point? 
  
Who then can fall into eternal condemnation, “into the darkness where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain?”  The answer is found in (Mark 3:29);


“but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”  

It is well understood that those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit are those who refuse the teaching and the declaration that Jesus is Lord, Son of God.  The Sadducees and the Pharisees refused to accept Jesus as Son of God after all the power demonstrated by the Holy Spirit manifested thru Jesus to prove His deity.  They are condemned.  And those who believed are saved as Peter testified, (Matthew 16:17).  It is obvious that this useless servant in the Parable of the Talents was never saved.  So what does the talent represent?

Now open your eyes and see how great God’s grace is.


“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:6-7

The faithful servants in the Parable of the Talents represent those who accepted Jesus.  They are the servants who received 5 bags of faith and 2 bags of faith.  Compare to the unsaved that received one bag of faith.  According to the scriptures, faith is measured and given in portions.  Here some example:

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith," Romans 12:3

"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;" Romans 12:6

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, (Matthew 17:20), but have not love, I am nothing," 1 Corinthians 13:2

"If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?" Luke 12:28

"So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you," Luke 17:6

Faith: A choice to use it or not to use it.

Faith is a gift of God.  Surprise! Every living being, man and women have a portion of Faith; (Ephesians 2:8), 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” 

It requires only one measure of faith to be saved by grace.  Each individual person ever exists and to come have received and will receive the testimony that Jesus is Lord, the Savior, the Son of God.  


Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,” Romans 4:16. 

“All the seed” meaning the saved and the not saved.  Everybody is guaranteed to receive one bag of gold, talent- faith. It only takes one measure of faith to be saved.  The servant who refused to invest it or to use it was secular in his way of thinking.  He/she refused to use this one portion of faith given to accept Jesus as the redeemer and Lord.

Listen again to his excuses: 
I knew that you were a hard man. You harvest things you did not plant. You gather crops where you did not sow any seed. So I was afraid and went and hide your money in the ground.” 

 You hear that complaint every day.  “God is unfair, and if there is a God why does He allow suffering?  How can He condemn those who never heard of the gospel?”  Secularism society does not understand God’s grace, therefore ignore Him instead and do not use the one measure of faith given to them to be saved, (John 3:16).

Salvation is only the beginning. Faith Applied is Faith Invested


There are many in this world who received one bag of faith, yet hate God (Luke 19:14, 20 - 27).  God's grace and faith are toward all man/woman with no exception. It is enough to make a choice: enough to invest in the bank in heaven and return faith back with interest, (Matthew 6:20).  That choice to invest in the bank in heaven is to believe, to accept Jesus, and to trust in Him.  The interest received guaranteed not only salvation but also rewards.  The one who buried the bag of gold made the choice not to believe, and to reject Jesus.  Those who refused to believe are condemned and are to be thrown into hell.   As the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it”.  


Faith is useless in hell,
therefore faith is taken away from them
and is given to those in heaven to enjoy for eternity.

The other servants, who have received five bags of faith and two bags of faith, are those who not only believed and accepted Jesus as their savior but also invested their portion of faith in any opportunities given to them according to their calling, (Ephesians 4:7, Titus 1:1, Hebrews 2:4, Hebrews 11:7, 2 Timothy 1:9).  They were not stagnating in being satisfied with salvation only but invested their faith all through their Christians life.  They are the ones that learned to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for everything they endured with joy.   They are the ones that learned to walk with the Lord.  They followed the example of the Macedonians in Chapter 8 and verse 2 of the letter to the Corinthians.  They are the ones that invested abundantly in treasures in heaven, (Matthew 6:20).  Great rewards are awaiting them, (Matthew 10:42, Matthew 16:27, Luke 6:23, 1 Corinthians 9:18, Colossians 3:24).

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6
“Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward,” 2 John 1:8 
 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work,” Revelation 22:12.  

Works by faith. "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead," James 2:20? (1 Thessalonians 1:3, James 2:18).

Conclusion

We all have a measure of faith. Some have more than others according to our calling. Those with less have enough to make a decision to accept Jesus and receive salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.  

Those who received more faith have the responsibility to help those who have less faith.  These are the ones called into His ministry for different important positions, (1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 8:28, Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 7:17). 

Here is an example in James 5:14, 
“if anyone among you sick, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” 


Jesus stated that if we had faith inasmuch of a mustard seed we could relocate a tree.  I have not seen nor heard of anyone doing so.  None have faith in that. What was Jesus point?  The point is 'on our own, we can do nothing'.  It is all Jesus doing.  


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13. 

Inasmuch Jesus was counting on the Holy Spirit to do all things through Him while He was a man; we are to be the same “humble as a child”.  Get it?


God has given you, your own little sandbox.  That sandbox is your present condition and circumstance that you are experiencing now.  Saved or not, you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be.  You have received a measure of faith according to your calling.  All have been called, Jn 3:16. It is up to you to invest it and reap your reward.  Therefore, if saved, use faith. For those who refused salvation, you will lose what you have. “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matthew 22:14).

Listen to Dr. Robert Dean a bible study titled "Overcoming the World" : Overcoming the World