Message Notes1). As we have seen in past weeks salvation in scripture is presented as a past, completed act, a present continuous act and a future act.
a). We have seen that our presently possessed eternal salvation is a result of Christ?s completed work at Calvary and pertains exclusively to our spirit. That this is accomplished entirely by grace through faith and is completely apart from works on our part. It is eternal, secure and irrevocable.
b). And we saw last week that we are in a present process of being saved, a salvation that will be realized in the future, that is based on our works of faithful obedience and pertains to the salvation of our soul. That this salvation is inherited and is not eternal, but Millennial in scope and that this salvation may or may not be realized.
c). The realization or non realization of the salvation of our soul has no impact whatsoever on our eternal security, but exclusively determines whether we will occupy a position as joint heir with Christ in His Kingdom or not ? thereby fulfilling God?s purpose for our creation, or failing to fulfill that purpose.
2). Remember the absolute truth of scripture - Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
b). But then note the following verse which relates to our experience after we have been saved - Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
c). We are not eternally saved by works, but we are eternally saved in order to perform ?good works, which God prepared beforehand? for us.
3). And it is then on the basis of these works, done following our eternal salvation, that we are judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
a). In Revelation as the complete Church stands before Christ as Judge, the Lord prefaces His judgment in all seven letters with the statement
Re 3:1 ? ?.."I know your works,
b). Works are the basis for judgment throughout scripture
c). Job 34:11 For He repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way.
d). Ps 62:12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
e). Re 22:12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
f). Even the eternally lost are judged according to their works at the Great White Throne Judgment at the conclusion of the Millennial Kingdom, just before eternity future begins? Re 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
g). And let?s remind ourselves again of what we read concerning ourselves at the Judgment Seat of Christ in - 1Co 3:11 ? For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
h). Please note here the contrast between reward and loss.
4). And this is exactly the thing the Lord taught to the disciples within the context of His offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens to the nation of Israel.
a). Mt 16:24 ? Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone[of you] desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 "For whoever[of you] desires to save his life[psuche] will lose it, but whoever[of you] loses his life[psuche] for My sake will find it. 26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul[psuche]? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul[psuche]? 27 "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
a). So let?s understand some things here ? the instructions Christ gives are given to those who are already eternally saved ? within this specific context His disciples, but by extension all the saved of this dispensation.
i/ Note again here the contrast between profit and loss
b). If those who are eternally saved want to ?come after? Him, which must bring us to the place of being a joint heir with Him ? sharing in God the Father?s plans and purposes for His Son for the ages then three interrelated things must happen.
i/ Firstly, that saved person must ?deny himself?.
ii/ Deny = Greek word ? aparneomai = utterly deny, disown
iii/ This presents emphatically a turning away from the self-life. That to do with our soul life. Our attitude towards our own desires, wishes, agendas must be to completely disown them.
iv/ Secondly, that saved person is to ?take up their cross?.
v/ The cross is the place of death, it is the place where the flesh is crucified. And this cross we are to take up, not as a one time event, but rather as a continual process. This is the same thought as our being a living sacrifice - Ro 12:1 ? I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
vi/ The sacrifice would be bound to the altar and then slain ?
it?s blood, it?s life/soul being poured out until it was dead.
v/ As a living sacrifice we are to remain throughout the course of our Christian journey bound to the altar with our life/soul in the constant process of being poured out until we are dead to self. This is never to stop.
vi/ Then thirdly the saved person is to follow Christ.
vii/ This would of necessity encompass being His disciple, but must just as importantly be seen as following Him into death that we may also follow Him into glory ? Ro 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
viii/ Ro 8:17 ? and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
c). The Lord then continues by drawing attention to the result of denying our self, taking up our cross and following Him, and the result of not doing so.
d). 25 "For whoever[of you] desires to save his life[psuche] [in this present day] will lose it[in that future day ? at the Judgment Seat], but whoever[of you] loses his life[psuche] [in this present day] for My sake will find it[in that future day ? at the Judgment Seat].
e). We can by our own actions save our soul/life now in this present day by gratifying our self focused aims, desires, wishes. Allowing our soul to rule our actions. Something that, because ?salvation is of the Lord?, can only be rejected by God. That will result in the loss of our soul/life in the age to come.
f). Or we can, by subjecting our will to His, lose our soul/life now in this present day ? an action that will be rewarded by God with the saving of our soul/life in the age to come.
g). We can have it now in this day or then in the seventh day, but we can?t have both.
5). Then continuing with the overall scope of this teaching, in v26, the Lord adds further detail by presenting a picture having to do with building upon or refusing to build upon an initial investment revealed through the words ?profit? and ?exchange?.
a). The absolute zenith of man?s aspirations, desires and goals ? gaining the whole world in the self-life is contrasted with losing, in the sense of giving up, the self-life for the sake of Christ.
b). There is no profit to be made in gaining the whole world.
c). Profit can only be made in denying the self-life.
d). The initial investment and the profit to come from it can only be realized in the realm of the spirit, never, ever in the realm of the flesh.
e). Making a profit on the initial investment will result in the salvation of our soul/life ? failing to make a profit on the initial investment will result in the loss of our soul/life.
f). Exactly what we saw in our 1 Corinthians 3 scripture.
g). There are however, many Christians who will exchange their soul for a whole lot less than gaining the whole world.
6). There are two parables that the Lord gives that further explicitly deal with this teaching ? the first of these we shall look at is the parable of the minas or pounds - Lu 19:11 ? Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 "So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.' 15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 "Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 "And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'
19 "Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.' 20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 'Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?' 24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 'But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'"
a). So, firstly let?s note the context in which the Lord gives this parable - because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.
b). The parable then is given to correct their misunderstanding concerning the immediacy of the Kingdom, and also to teach them what they, and all subsequent Christians, need to be doing until His Kingdom is established.
c). There is clear evidence for us here to see that the Kingdom of God and eternal salvation are not one and the same thing.
d). The nobleman of our parable ? the Lord Jesus Christ ? must go to a far country ? ascending to the right hand of the Father - to receive for Himself a Kingdom and then return - Ps 110:1 ? The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." 2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
e). And in respect of ourselves we are ?to do business? till He comes
Ac 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."
f). Now the nobleman, before He goes to receive the kingdom calls 10 of His servants and gives them 10 minas with the instruction to do business until he returns. And as we see in the parable doing business is to accrue a profit on the minas they were given.
g). 10 servants, 10 being the number of ordinal completion, denotes all his Servants and 10 minas likewise denotes all His goods. And please note that the servants were His servants ? those in His household.
h). In other words the Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted into the hands of all His servants ? every eternally saved Christian, all His ?goods? that we might do business until He returns.
i). In other words again, He has made in us an initial investment on which we are to make a profit.
j). Now this initial investment cannot be the free gift of eternal life, because it is given to those who are already servants in His house, those who are already eternally saved.
k). This picture would be much more in keeping with what we find in Ge 24:10 ? Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, for all his master's goods were in his hand. And he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.
l). A Chapter that presents in a type the Holy Spirit?s present search for a bride for God?s Son from amongst God?s family ? Christians.
m). Ge 24:53 Then the servant brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah.
n). And here in this verse, if you can see it, is the initial investment where we see the inheritance that could be hers shown to Rebekah.
o). And then in this verse the profit - Ge 24:58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go."
p). Having seen what would be hers if she would consent to be the bride of the master?s son, Rebekah then organizes her life towards the fulfillment of that purpose and accompanies the oldest servant on a journey that leads to his master?s son and a marriage relationship.
q). In the antitype of this we have the Holy Spirit revealing to us the inheritance that would be ours if we would follow His leading - Ro 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
r). 1Co 2:9 But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
s). And of course this revelation can only come through the Word of God. So from another perspective, the initial investment given to us is the word of God, the scriptures, that can only be spiritually discerned as the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth concerning the journey, the inheritance, the marriage, the age to come.
t). So how would we accrue a profit on this investment? By denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Christ ? dying to self, being transformed by the renewing of our mind, walking in the good works that God prepared beforehand for us to walk in them. Simply, seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and organizing our lives to the accomplishment of that purpose ? aligning ourselves with spiritual truth instead of the wisdom of this age.
7). As we go back to our parable we see that on the nobleman?s return, having received a Kingdom, he calls his servants to him to see what they had done with what they had been given
a). It is not rocket science to work out that this is a picture of the Judgment Seat of Christ where we will be held accountable for what we have done with what we have been given - 2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
b). Now please note that all the servants were given exactly the same initial investment - "So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas,
c). When the first servant comes he has profited by making 10 additional minas - 16 "Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities
d). The servant is commended for his faithfulness and rewarded by his master, a reward that pertains to rulership, commensurate with the profit he had made.
e). The second servant likewise - "And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'19 "Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
f). This would be exactly what we see in the Parable of the Sower in Mt 13:23 "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word [of the Kingdom - cf v19] and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
g). Then there is the third servant who has done nothing with what he has been given and the master?s response to him is quite different - "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant.
h). It is this third servant that we can classify as the carnal Christian, the one who chose not to profit by laying down his life for the sake of Christ, but chose instead to allow his soul/life to dominate his actions. And within the context of the parable this would have to be a Christian who has had the word of the Kingdom presented to them.
j). Reality check - Ro 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
k). And note then the judgment passed on the third servant - "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
l). This is exactly what we have seen in our Matthew 16 scripture where the soul/life is lost in the future because it was kept in the present.
m). And exactly what we have seen in - 1Co 3:15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
8). Then the second parable is found in - Mt 25:14 ? "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 "And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 "And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 "But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. 19 "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' 21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 22 "He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' 23 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' 26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 'So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 'Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 'And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
a). Please note two things here ? this parable again, is explicitly about the Kingdom of Heaven, and must be seen in conjunction with the parable of the minas.
b). The talents entrusted to the servants here are monetary units just as the minas are, and are not a reference to the natural ability people have whereby we would call them talented.
c). And of course as we look at this parable the format is the same as that of the minas.
d). The man traveling to a far country is again the Lord Jesus Christ, who calls ?his own servants? to him before leaving and delivers his goods to them ? the talents.
e). The servants are then expected to trade with His goods in His absence realizing a profit on that which they have been given.
f). Just as in the parable of the minas, the servants who exercised faithfulness and used the talents entrusted to them accrued a profit on the initial investment and received a reward.
g). The servant who did not exercise faithfulness with what had been entrusted to him accrued no profit, and rather than being rewarded he suffered loss and found himself cast into the outer darkness.
9). In our Matthew 16 scripture and in the parables of the minas and the talents we have clearly laid out for us issues surrounding the salvation of the soul. A salvation that emanates from works of faithfulness subsequent to the salvation of the spirit resulting in rewards in the coming Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
a). Jas 2:14 ? What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
b). And here in our James scripture we see once again the inextricable link between profit, works and salvation ? the salvation of the soul.
10). Clearly the Lord has been gone in a far country for almost 2000 years now and the time of His return is near and when he comes He will call His servants to Him and we will give an account of what we have done with that which He has entrusted to us.
a). The question remains for each one of us today ? ?What profit have we made thus far?? And if we are called into account this minute, what will the Lord?s response to us be? Have we lost our soul/life now that we might save it in that coming day or are we still content to let our flesh dominate us?