Marching Orders

Journey to Jerusalem  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:47
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God's true servants will not be caught unawares but will always be found doing their master's will.

Those who were here last week were introduced to a story that Jesus starts in v.35 set in preparation for a wedding feast.
During this time between covenant and consummation there was much work to be done. The bride was watching and making herself ready. The groom was preparing an abode for the couple and the servants of the families were busy compiling the guest list and the food.
Knowing that a deadline is approaching, last week we saw the need to watch. This week we focus on the need to work. We don’t labor to get invited to the wedding. We strive to please the master to whom we belong.
Transition: V.41 presents the outline of the next 19 verses in the form of Peter’s question. The first 8 verses are for disciples, and the next 11 verses are for all. So, If you consider yourself a follower of Christ this first part is especially for you.

Words for Kingdom Workers (42-48)

Promotion for Those who do Well (42-44)

A servant who managed the other servants was a steward – e.g. Joseph in Potiphar’s home.
Not only the wise manager, whom the master will set over his household, but also the distribution of food seems to me to be alluding to Joseph in Genesis 39:4-5
In a similar story elsewhere Jesus measures results, but resultsare not part of this story. This story is relentless about looking at faithfulness.
The wisdom and faithfulness of v.42 is rewarded as a promotion in responsibility in v.44.
V.43 speaks of pleasure or blessing that belongs to the person who obeys our God.
How do you treat the gospel that you have received? Do you use it as a club to beat others into conformity? Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many immature believers use their inadequate knowledge of the Scriptures to heap guilt upon others.
In Contrast, the faithful steward of the riches that we have received leverages the beauty of the gospel to further our God’s purpose until Jesus comes again.
Contrary to current western thought, the problem with the punished manager is not having slaves (most likely this would have been a slave who managed other slaves). v.45 describes the mistreatment of slaves.

Punishment for Sins of Commission (45-46, 48a)

1. Those who knew better (45-46)
a. V.45 pictures a servant who becomes more concerned with personal wants and appetites than with his master’s affairs.
b. Craig Keener writes, “Drunkenness was despised, especially when slaves became drunk at the master’s expense. A slave who abused the other slaves was viewed as mistreating his master’s property.”[i]
c. This is normally the situation when believers fall into temptation today. When we substitute our desires for God’s will, we fall into the sin of idolatry in one of many forms.
· I want the perceived pleasure more than the known reality.
· It speaks of the moment on the lips being more important than the lifetime on the hips.
d. Darrell Bock writes, “The dismembered servant, then, describes someone associated with the church whose attitude shows no faith and no relationship to the master in any positive sense. He does not lose what he has; rather he shows he never had a proper relationship to begin with. His very attitude toward the master reflects a disregard that can hardly be equated with trust. His punishment is his ultimate exclusion from the community (the same as that reserved for “unbelievers”).[ii]”
2. Those who didn’t know (48a)
How many times have you heard of someone who gets a medical diagnosis and says they had no idea of the condition? A few years ago I got a CT scan of my brain to rule out some possible causes of some symptoms I was experiencing. I found out that I have a cyst on the top of my brain about the size of a quarter. The doctors said I most likely have had it for decades without knowing about it. Fortunately, in my situation my unknown condition has little influence on my daily life. On the other hand, I’ve seen stories of women who gave birth and claim they had no indication they were even pregnant. When I was finally diagnosed as diabetic, I found out that insatiable thirst is a symptom. I knew I drank a lot of water and tea, but had no idea it was because my blood sugar was way out of bounds.
a. V.48 describes the person who has broken God’s laws without knowing it. My lack of knowledge does not change the fact that I have an arachnoid brain cyst or that I was pre-diabetic for years.
b. People claim that it is unjust for God to hold people who never heard the name of Jesus, guilty for their sin.
c. I believe this verse give a hint that people can be guilty before God, even if they don’t realize it.

Punishment for Sins of Omission (47)

1. This verse specifies that punishment is severe for the woulda, coulda, shouldas.
2. We are all aware of the times that “if I find myself in that situation again, I would have…;Those times at the end of the day when we recount, “ could have…; regrets line the halls of our memories with the times I should have…
3. I don’t want to get too literal about this beating. I do believe God’s grace covers all sin (past, present and future) for those in Christ. But there is also a sense in that a person can be saved yet suffer loss (1 Cor 3:15).
Transition: The rest of v.48 states a principle of accountability for what we have received then Jesus turns his attention to the larger crowd that was gathered.

Warnings for the Watching World (49-59)

Living in a Binary World (49-53)

Binary means “one of two options”
V.49 Jesus teaches that his message includes judgment, expressed as fire.
V.50 anticipates suffering that would totally envelope him like cloth being dipped into dye.
Micah 7:6 had prophesied a time when families would be divided. In Matthew 10 Jesus is unashamed to be identified with a message that causes division (even within families).
I know there are families in our own congregation who can identify with this division. Settings where a spouse, sibling, or child do not agree with our commitments to the Lordship of Christ.

The Signs are all around Us (54-56)

West of Judea would be the Mediterranean Sea. When Clouds build above a body of water of that size, it is reasonable to expect moisture in the clouds.
South of Judea is nothing but desert. When wind comes from the desert, heat is a fair assumption.
These are not observations that require exceptional talent, it is a simple awareness of one’s surroundings.
In the Fellowship Hall Sunday School class we are taking 8 weeks to consider the world that is around us. Are there indications that we may be setting up for a time of judgment?
For those of us who believe the rapture of the Church precedes the Great Tribulation, these signs encourage us to be more faithful in our witness!
Jesus says that they were experts in the weather, but couldn’t even see that the day of salvation was standing right before them.
The present time was a time of repentance, but they chose to stick their heads in the sand.

Be Aware of What is Coming! (57-59)

Jesus says to the crowd, If you were on your way to be judged, wouldn’t it be better to find a way to avoid the full measure of justice?
He is offering the world a way to avoid the full judgment on our sins. If we accept His offer to settle our guilt by transferring it to the cross if we would only turn to Him in repentance and faith, we can avoid the penalty of paying to the very last penny.
God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Vv.58-59 is an offer for you to receive His offer of salvation so that you don’t have to pay for your sin into eternity.


The only reasonable response for watchful workers is obedience.
The first requirement to become a watchful worker is to enter by faith.
You may notice the graphic for our final song includes a soldier at attention. While tomorrow is a day when we honor the soldiers who have fallen, today is a day when we must choose to enlist in His command, and choose to obey His orders!
[i] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Lk 12:45. [ii] Darrell L. Bock, Luke, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 358.
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