Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Waiting and Gathering 11.16.2014

In life we soon learn that the best things in life are worth waiting for. We learn this by experience from many different aspects of life as through trial and error we strive to learn to control the impulses of our fallen nature which promise instant gratification. We may hear someone say, "Now, that was worth waiting for." In the parable of last week which focused on those who were waiting for the bridgroom to come to the wedding, we were reminded of the importance of being watchful while we are awaiting the glorious return of our Dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have been reminded in the 24th chapter of this Gospel that His awaited appearing is certain, it will be sudden, it will be visible and He will come when life is going on in a normal fashion.

Even though there are those today who do not look for the appearing of our Lord, we are encouraged in the midst of looming persecution, in the midst of those who scoff at the possibility of his return, and in the midst of life continuing as usual. And we with the Thessalonian Christians await eagerly the glorious return of our Lord. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

Not knowing when He will return, we lean forward on our seats of watching and waiting as we look up for our redemption, knowing that He promised to come back for us. For just as the bride awaited the coming of her bridegroom for the consummation of their marriage and all the expectations that goes along with that union, we await the fulfilment of the promise that Christ sealed with His own blood on the cross of Calvary. The complete consummation of our union with Christ has yet to be completed, but it will be so when He returns for us, according to His promise.

May this expectant hope keep us steadfast so that we may perserve during our waiting time, as we patiently and quietly dispense the deposit of the Gospel to all with whom we have opportunity to do so. May the abundance of His grace toward us continue to fill us to overflowing so that others may be gathered into His great kingdom of God. For our Father wants to gather all...

In our gathering, He calls upon us to be faithful to Him. He does not want us to put fruitfulness ahead of faithfulness.

Here is an overall outline for our text today:

1. God Entrusts us with His Grace/The Gospel v 14
2. He Apportions His Gifts in Us v 15-18
3. He calls us to give account of our stewardship v 19-25
4. He rewards our stewardship according to His standard v 26-30

Introductory Notes:

In these times, slaves worked for their masters, depended upon them to take care of them and all of the fruits of their labors were given to their master. They were to labor faithfully for the benefit of their master and he would reward according to how he saw fit.

A talent is a monetary unit. It is a trust that is given to a person with which increase is expected. It would be similar to a bank deposit.
True apprehension of life is faithful stewardship of that which God has entrusted us with: The Gospel

1. God Entrusts us with His Grace

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
We have been given grace, we are participants in his kingdom and Our Father has entrusted us with the Gospel through the Word of God. He has entrusted us with this most valuable deposit which is called the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Cor 5: 19. He has entrusted us with the most powerful substance ever: His Word, which when believed brings one from darkness to light.

2. He Apportions His Gifts/His Trust in Us

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

3. He calls us to give account of our stewardship

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 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.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou 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.
22 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.
23 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.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

He rewards faithfulness, not fruitfulness. If there is fruit, it must flow out of one who is faithful to God.

Our gifts are to be used for the benefit of the overall body. I remember reading one of Louie L'amour's books in which there one of the cowboys when questioned about his loyalty to his boss, replied in this manner: "I ride for the brand."

By using our gifts, we cultivate them so as to increase them

A reward for faithfulness is receiving greater trust by God

4. He rewards our stewardship according to His standard

26 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:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 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.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The faithful servants were told" "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," but this man was called wicked and slothful/lazy. The man maintained that he "knew" who the master was, but in reality he did not "know." For he had created in his own mind of who the master was and so therefore he acted accordingly, by in fear burying that deposit that had been given to him to trade on. He was not faithful to his master.Our perceived insignificance of one's gifts never excuses neglect.

In conclusion, let us be reminded that our Lord desires faithfulness to Him and His Word while we are awaiting His return for us. May we keep our eyes on Him as we await that glorious day. Yes, He wants faithfulness from us.

When we lived out west I used to regularly listen to a certain minister, whom I will refer to as Ron, on the radio as I drove to work in the early mornings, a drive that sometimes would be for nearly two hours one way. This particular minister had a large ministry in the state of Oregon and by listening to his regular broadcast I received much encouragement and teaching. After we moved here nearly 14 years ago, I lost contact with him until a year ago when somehow his name came up and my interest was perked. As I researched his life for the last 14 years I discovered that he had died 5 years ago of leukemia.

Was I surprised... As I continued to look into his life and ministry I discovered that he had been serving in the ministry all those years that I listened to him while battling leukemia. As I read more and more of this pastor Ron, and as I learned of the reason for his being so compassionate, I grew more interested in knowing more about him and his life. So I ordered a few books that he had written. It was in one of those books that I read a story that he told that seems to be the illustration that would best fit here today to bring this teaching of Jesus into our hearts and lives.

Ron shared of the life of a fellow pastor who was a faithful teacher and preacher of the Word, who was the pastor of a small country church that struggled with a lack of attendance. He said that the pastor was faithful to the Word, worked hard in his duties of pastoring and caring for the small flock that he had been entrusted with by the Lord. As the pastor served faithfully preaching and teaching the Word, for some reason the attendance kept dropping so that his wife had to go to work and then he had to take a part time joy inorder to support himself. If that was not enough, the middle aged man contracted cancer and then died at 54 years old......

As Ron sat at this fellow pastor's funeral in the small church with very few people in attendance, at struggled with the ways of God in this pastor's life and death, truth came to him in this way: "I could sit here and think according to my ways that this man's life was not very fruitful, if I used human standards to judge. I could think on the fruitfulness of the ministry that I have been serving in as the measure of success, but that would not be according to God. My dear fellow pastor was faithful to His Lord, and that is the standard by which God rewards his servants: Did they faithfully handle the deposit of the Gospel that the Lord placed in them and also entrusted them with?"

Our God wants faithfulness, not fruitfulness.

1 Tim 1:14 I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Regardless of our age and station in life, we are called to trust God in what He has done for us through His Son for the forgiveness of our sins. We are also called to live in this experience as we daily face the struggles and challenges that exist in our world today, demonstrating that we are His through trusting in Him to deliver us through each day.

We are also called share the Word of God with others which releases captives from captivity and from slavery to self and sin. We must not put fruitfulness ahead of being faithful to our Lord despite what our flesh may pull us toward, regardless of what Satan may try to entice us with or regardless of what the culture of this world might pressure us into.

We must stay faithful to the Word of the Lord, so that His releasing
Gospel will have its good and true effect: The forgiveness of sins and the deposit of faith in the heart, which then comes forth in love.

May the Lord bless us in our thoughts and meditations in His Word today and always.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 16 Nov 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Temptation of Jesus
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