Sermon Transcript – From Worthless to Children of Light

Series A – Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Sunday, November 15, 2020 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:23The holy gospel according to saint
0:30matthew the 25th chapter [Music]
0:39Jesus said the kingdom of heaven will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted to them his property to
0:47one he gave five talents to another two another one and each according to his ability then
0:52he went away he would receive the five talents when it once and traded with them and he made five talents more
0:58so also he who had the two talents made two talents more but he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground
1:04and hid his master’s money now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them
1:10and he who had received the five talents came forward bringing five talents more saying master you delivered to me five talents
1:17here i have made five talents more his master said to him well done good and faithful servant you have been
1:23faithful over a little i will set you over much enter into the joy of your master
1:28and he also who had the two talents came forward saying master you have delivered to me two talents
1:33here i have made two talents more his master said to him well done good and faithful servant
1:38you have been faithful over a little i will set you over much enter into the joy of your master he
1:45also who had received the one talent came forward saying master i knew you to be a hard man
1:50reaping where you did not sow gathering where you scattered no seed so i was afraid and i went and
1:56hid your talent in the ground here have what is yours but his master answered him
2:01you wicked and slothful servant you knew that i reap where i have not sowed and gather where i’ve scattered no seed then
2:08you ought to have instead invested my money with the bankers and at my coming i should have received what was my own
2:13with interest so take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents for to everyone who has will more be
2:20given and he will have an abundance but from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away
2:26and cast that worthless servant into the outer darkness in that place there will be weeping and
2:33gnashing of teeth this is the gospel of the lord in the name of Jesus
2:39all right you all remember the star wars movies darth vader had this terrible ability to kill people by choking them out he
2:45didn’t even have to touch him he would just go like this he could be like on a different star destroyer
2:50altogether using a video feed of all things he would use zoom to kill people you know it was a
2:55terrible thing have you ever noticed that when Jesus pronounces a stern judgment and casts
3:02somebody into hell that you have that nervous feeling about you almost as if darth vader’s
3:09special powers have squeezed around your neck and you’re you’re a little at a loss for breath well often that happens as a
3:16result of the fact that we all recognize that like this poor fellow who was cast into outer darkness each and every one
3:23of us deserve the same fate and so let’s consider our text
3:28in light of that but we’re going to do a little bit of a word study Jesus said these words at the tail end
3:34of our gospel message cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness
3:40in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth worthlessness if you do a little bit of
3:46a biblical study in the old testament worthless is a word that comes up often
3:52worthless is a word that is often described i used as a scripture for those who are
3:57unbelievers who are steeped in sin enslaved to sin
4:02and unbelief think of it this way if we were to kind of do a little bit of a study along these lines we’ll do a little old testament work here today
4:09proverbs 6 verses 12 through 15 says this a worthless person a wicked man goes
4:16about with crooked speech winks with his eyes signals with his feet points with his finger
4:22with perverted heart devises evil continually sowing discord therefore calamity will come upon him
4:28suddenly in a moment he will be broken beyond healing isn’t that interesting proverbs
4:356 12-15 parallels what Christ was saying that worthless man well in a moment he was broken beyond
4:43healing and calamity came upon him the calamity of hell and so in reading this description of
4:49worthless folks yeah well if you’re like me have you ever woken up in the morning
4:55not quite gotten out of bed haven’t decided to make that cup of coffee yet but the thing going on in
5:00your head is you’re planning something and the thing you’re planning is sin
5:05yeah that’s a common thing and it proves something that scripture is right that
5:12each and every one of us well our old adam is worthless and that’s the state that we were born in
5:18consider then another description of worthlessness found in the old testament first samuel chapter 2 talking about eli the high priest’s sons
5:27hofney and phineas these are fellows who were levites and served as priests were the linen ephod
5:35at the tabernacle of god and scripture says of them in verse 12 of first samuel 2 the sons
5:42of eli were worthless men they did not know the lord
5:48and that’s the issue they didn’t know the lord they were worthless in fact their
5:54worthlessness is on display that even serving as priests they were quite sinful in the way they treated and
6:02mistreated the people who had brought the sacrifices to the tabernacle it says this cuff some of the priests
6:08with a people was that when any man offered a sacrifice the priest servant would come while the
6:13meat was boiling and with a three-pronged fork in his hand he would thrust it into the pan or the kettle or the cauldron or pot
6:20and all the fork brought up the priest would take for himself now here’s the issue the mosaic covenant
6:26clearly permits the priests to have a portion of the sacrifice for themselves to consume and to eat and
6:33also to take back to their family members the priests made their living as priests
6:39but these fellows you know let’s just say that they had a hankering for barbecued meat rather than boiled meat
6:46and the requirements of the mosaic covenant was that they couldn’t take the meat unless it was at a particular point
6:52and so over what ended up happening is is that the text then says before the fat was
6:58burned the priest would servant would come and then say to the man who was sacrificing
7:04give meat for the priest to roast for he will not accept boiled meat from you but
7:09only raw and if the man would say to him well let them burn the fat first and then take as much as you wish
7:17the servant would say no you must give it now and if not i will take it by
7:22force say what that’s no way for a priest to be
7:28behaving in the temple of god so the text then says says this the sin of the young men was
7:35very great in the sight of yahweh for the men treated the offering the sacrifice of the lord with
7:42contempt so worthless fellows enslaved to sin enslaved to death they
7:48don’t know the lord and you can kind of think of it this way another hallmark of those who are worthless
7:53is they treat the offering the sacrifice of the lord with contempt and the offering the sacrifice of the lord is not some
7:59animal on an altar somewhere it’s Christ himself on the cross who bled and died for our sins and then
8:06we have the final oracle the last words of king david recorded for us in second samuel
8:12chapter 23 and in the last prophetic oracle that david gives
8:17david addresses and talks about the concept of worthlessness here’s what he says in second samuel 23
8:24verses to 7 it states these are the last words of david the oracle of david the son of jesse the oracle of the man
8:30who was raised on high anointed of god of the god of jacob the sweet psalmist of israel and here’s
8:36the oracle the spirit of the lord speaks by me his word is on my tongue the god of israel has spoken the rock of
8:44israel has said to me when one rules justly over men ruling in the fear of god
8:49he dawns on them like the morning light like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning
8:55like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth for does not my house stand so with god
9:02for he has made with me an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and secure for he
9:07will not cause to prosper all my help and my desire but and here’s
9:13verse six worthless men worthless men are like thorns they’re thrown away they cannot be taken
9:20by the hand but the man who touches them arms himself with iron in the shaft of a
9:26spear and then they are utterly consumed with fire worthless men are consumed with
9:31fire david writes the very last words of king david
9:36so in order to rightly understand this parable we must understand
9:42and come to grips with the fact that we were all numbered with the worthless i know that
9:48there are preachers out there who say things that are ridiculous say things like well the reason why Jesus died for you
9:56is because you were so worth it you were so valuable it’s as if the
10:02Jesus they’re describing had just got done walking on the beach in order that that poem footprints in
10:08the sand could be written so he was still barefoot and while he was heading back to his car
10:13he tripped and fell on the on the ground fell on the sand and then looking back he saw a treasure box and the treasure box was
10:20you this is how people talk but scripture gives us a different
10:25picture altogether scripture says in romans 3 also twice in psalms
10:31that none is righteous not even one no one understands no one seeks for god all have turned
10:37aside and together they have become and here’s the phrase
10:44worthless well if we’re worthless then why did Jesus die for us
10:51because of his great love because of his compassion because of his mercy because of his pity
10:58for poor lost sinners like you and like me so this is something we must embrace and
11:06this is the reason why this parable that the end of it when Christ sends that worthless fellow
11:11into the outer darkness where there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth it sounds to us like a thunderclap from
11:18heaven it shocks us it jolts us because each and every one of us recognize we don’t want to suffer that same fate
11:26and at the same time if we’re honest with ourselves we recognize that we deserve that same fate
11:32so then looking at this parable the question i have to ask at the moment is does this parable have any hope to offer
11:38us any good news to tell us or at the end of this we’ll be we we be left thinking well we better get
11:44busy i mean after all Jesus is about to return so we might as well keep our hands busy while we’re awaiting
11:51the inevitable or else we’ll suffer the same fate as him but you’re going to note when we are tempted to think along those lines
11:57getting busy and really working hard all of a sudden works righteousness has leered its ugly
12:03head yet again is this a parable that teaches us works righteousness no it does not and so Jesus says the
12:11kingdom of heaven will be like a man going on a journey and Jesus is that man who has gone on a journey he
12:16is ascended into heaven sits at the right hand of god the father he has been given a kingdom all
12:21authority in heaven on earth has been given to him and he’s well a little bit delayed in his coming back so he has gone on a long
12:27journey so he called his servants and entrusted to them his property to one he gave five talents to another two
12:34another one each according to his ability important to note here we english speakers always get hung up
12:40on the word talent we think that what Jesus is divvying out is well skills these skills that are
12:46useful in work or skills that are useful in sports you know Jesus was handing out talents
12:51like the ability to dunk a basketball the ability to punt a football or things like that’s not
12:58what this is talking about the greek word is talantan and talantan is not that thing that luke skywalker
13:04was writing on hoth i’m just saying okay a talantan is a measurement of money
13:12and the good way to think of it this way is imagine if you would that you lived in the united kingdom
13:18that you were a citizen of the commonwealth and that queen elizabeth was your queen this will be the equivalent of queen
13:23elizabeth knocking on your door and saying i’m heading off to australia
13:28for a bit of time probably be delayed while i’m gone i’d like you to have the crown jewels or at least portion of them and
13:35see what you can do with them now that’s a pretty tall order and
13:40anybody receiving from queen elizabeth par a portion of the crown jewels would immediately be a little bit trepidatious
13:46but this is where the rub comes in what’s your relationship with elizabeth what do you think of her
13:52do you think she’s evil do you think she’s mean are you afraid that she if you screw up she’s going to say off
13:58with your head you know what’s your what’s your thinking regarding elizabeth what’s your relationship to you do you like her do
14:04you hate her do you have faith in her do you think she’s evil do you think she’s good same way here
14:10so Jesus is handed out large portions of money and these are not insignificant amount even the guy who
14:16gets one talent one tilanton gets a lot a tilanton
14:21it’s it’s like a hundred pounds of gold all right if i had a hundred pounds of
14:28gold i would no longer be more than a million dollars away from being a millionaire you get the idea here that’s a lot of
14:35money one fellow gets five 500 pounds of gold what are you going to do with 500 pounds
14:41of gold i’d be nervous as all get out it’s not my goal that’s somebody else’s some guy gets
14:46two one guy gets one everybody gets a lot and a good way to think of it is is that
14:52these talents these talantans being the property of the one who has gone away these are god’s word
14:59and the sacraments the proclamation the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ
15:05what are you going to do with that what are you going to do with those things that’s kind of the idea here
15:10so the one who had received 500 pounds of gold
15:15went at once and traded with them and he made five talents more that’s a risky thing to do
15:23all right i don’t even like it when i borrow somebody’s electric drill i get nervous and want to
15:29give that thing back as soon as possible but 500 pounds of gold and the guy sits there and goes you know
15:34i have a good idea let’s engage in some risky business with this stuff let’s go out and trade with it and see what happens
15:40what if you lose the whole thing right well he doesn’t seem to care he’s confident that this
15:47master of his that upon his return even if he lost it all he’d still be okay that’s the confidence
15:54the faith the trust that he has in the master the guy who was given 200 pounds of gold
15:59does the same thing crazy he goes out and trades with him does business and here’s what happens
16:05the five talent guy he makes five more the two talent guy he makes two more but then you get to
16:12well this other fellow the one who is worthless and what does he do with it he takes the
16:19talent and he digs in the ground and he hid his master’s money
16:25why’d he go and do that it has everything to do with how he viewed the master so
16:34eventually the master came back to settle accounts with them this is by the way part of the reason
16:39why i’ve never liked accountants never liked them okay they always seem very grumpy to me
16:44and there were two departments when i worked in the corporate world that i never really warmed up to hr
16:51and accounting all right hr always telling me well as a manager you can’t do this you can’t do that you better do
16:57it this way not that way otherwise you’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings and if you hurt somebody’s feelings well you know then we could have some kind of
17:03legal liability it’s like what are you kidding me so hr was always teaching me to walk on eggshells drove me
17:09nuts right but then the accountants it was terrible i worked in marketing my job
17:14was kind of like the jobs of these guys my job was to make the company more money get us more clients and more stuff
17:20like this but the accountants would sit there and look at me and say listen you marketing guy you
17:26need to make us more money and you’re not getting any money to do it
17:31how is that possible right this is the reason i’m still working through this in therapy but you get the idea here
17:37okay so we all are nervous when it comes to the day of
17:42judgment because we know that there’s going to be an accounting right and we think it’s going to be like
17:48well hr or the accounting guys it’s not at all listen to this this accounting this settling of
17:54accounts so he who had received the five talents came forward bringing five talents more and you could just see him
18:00going bring in the carts man we’ve got a thousand pounds of gold here and i can’t carry this myself
18:06and you could just see him almost like sitting there going look at all of this look at all this right and what does he do he says master and
18:13he’s excited to see the master absolutely thrilled to see him master
18:22you delivered to me five talents here i’ve made five talents more what’s his
18:28relationship to this master what’s his relationship to Jesus he thinks that Jesus is the bee’s knees the
18:34best thing ever he totally trusted him risked it all and wouldn’t you know the whole thing doubled and he couldn’t
18:40wait to share the good news with the master and so his master says to him well done good and faithful
18:46servant and then listen to these words you’ve been faithful over a little i’ll set you over much and here’s a
18:52little bit of hint about this keep in mind we’re not saved by our works and at the same time Christ rewards them
18:59isn’t that interesting isn’t that interesting how Christ rewards our works and so you can see here a little bit of
19:05a glimpse have you ever read in scripture where it talks about how who those who are the saints will rule
19:10and reign with Christ all right new earth we who are
19:17having the faith now who trust in Jesus now apparently we’re all going to be given really cushy government jobs and how
19:24easy is that going to be could you imagine being a government official in a world without sin without disasters
19:29without criminals without law breakers what are you going to do every day well i’m here to announce as the
19:36governor of in such a territory well it’s all good news again you know it sounds like the best job
19:43ever right ruling and reigning with Jesus in a world without sin yeah yeah bend my arm a little bit more
19:50let me think about it but that’s kind of the idea and so you’ll note that there are rewards in heaven the authority
19:57given here is as a result of what we do with what we’ve been given each according to our
20:03ability and you’re going to note the same reward is given to the guy with two
20:08all right he had the ability to handle two he was given two and what happened he went out and traded
20:14with two and made two more right and he gets the same treatment and
20:19by the way he was just as excited as the other guy have you ever had like one of those school things where he had to like give
20:25a presentation and you had to go after that person who like knocked it out of the park you know he said they go ugh man i don’t
20:31want to have to follow that right i always made sure i was the guy that people were saying that about that’s kind of my wife and i rolled when
20:38we were in high school but anyway the whole point is is that you’re going to note he doesn’t sit there and go oh man i only have four
20:44what am i going to do no not at all because watch his relationship to the master master master you gave me two talents you gave
20:50me two and look i made two more and what does Jesus say well done good and faithful servant way to go
20:56you’ve been faithful over a little i will put you over much same reward and you’re gonna note the
21:03joy that these men have in reporting to the master i’ve never had a meeting with the accounting
21:10department that went like this but on the day of our accounting and things are settled with Jesus
21:16it’ll be a day of great joy for us who are in Christ and then we get to this fellow the
21:22worthless one and so he would receive the one talent came forward saying master
21:27i knew you to be a hard man reaping where you did not sow gathering where you scattered no seed so
21:33i was afraid and i went and hid your talent in the ground here have what’s yours
21:39you’re afraid of Jesus what that’s not the Jesus i know
21:46what would you have to be afraid of Jesus Jesus is the one who gladly
21:54laid down everything that he had in heaven he is god the son second person of the
22:00holy trending and he humbled himself taking on the form of a slave bore your
22:06sin and mine on the cross so that we can be forgiven pardon reconciled to god
22:12all because of his great love his great mercy his great kindness
22:17for wretched sinners like you and like me and you’re afraid of Jesus
22:22who is this Jesus you’re talking about because that’s not the Jesus i know it’s not the Jesus i see revealed
22:30in scripture and so you can see the problem here this guy has no faith he’s steeped in
22:35sin he holds with contempt the offering the sacrifice of god and that’s the issue he doesn’t
22:43believe and because he doesn’t believe he believes some crazy false narrative about Jesus Christ
22:50it doesn’t make any sense so what does Jesus do he decides to judge him using this man’s
22:56own words he says to him you wicked and slothful servant
23:01you knew that i reap where i have not sown gather where i scattered no seed well then you ought to invested my money
23:07with the bankers and at my coming i should have received what was mine with interest so take the talent from him and give it
23:13to the one who has 10 talents now listen carefully to the next sentence because
23:20the question is what is being referred to and here’s what it says everyone who has will be given
23:28more and the question i have to ask you is has what everyone who has will be given
23:36more and he will have an abundance but from the one who has not listen to this even what he
23:44has will be taken away from him so you’ll note there’s two reference there in the houses
23:50all right so you’ve got to get your hazes right otherwise you’re going to get this wrong he who has what has faith
23:58so you’re going to note the last fellow he has a talent but he doesn’t have or has
24:05faith just to kind of keep it all consistent there right he doesn’t has faith so therefore what
24:12he has was taken from him to the one who has more will be given and he will have an
24:18abundance from the one who has not even what he has will be taken from him
24:24and that’s the issue what do you believe about Jesus and then we hear those terrible words
24:30cast that worthless servant into the outer darkness in that place there will be weeping
24:35and the gnashing of teeth so what do we make of this well i think
24:41a good place to try to wrap up the point of this parable is
24:46that this is a parable really designed to well create
24:51a fear of god in those who do not believe in Jesus while at the same time offering comfort
24:57to those who are in Christ you’ll note that last week there were five foolish
25:02virgins and there were five wise virgins and so somebody sit there and go oh so at the end of the world there’s going to
25:08be only 50 of humanity that’s saved and it doesn’t work that way because you’ll note in this parable
25:13two-thirds two-thirds of the people saved are are the ones who believe in Jesus two-thirds only one-third end up in hell
25:20so you can’t kind of work it all out but you’ll note where two-thirds are receiving with joy
25:25the joy of their master and hearing well done good and faithful servant we ought to pay attention to that
25:31because everyone focuses on the last guy but i’m assuming that if the reason why you’re here
25:36to hear the word of god to hear this gospel preach to you it’s because you like those other two
25:44have absolute faith and confidence in the mercy and the grace of Christ and so consider our epistle
25:51text as we kind of wrap up this meditation on this gospel lesson paul writes in first thessalonians 5
25:57concerning the times and the seasons brothers you have no need to have anything written to you you yourselves
26:03you’re fully aware that the day of the lord will come like a thief in the night indeed it will indeed it will but while
26:09people are saying there’s peace and security sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman
26:14and they will not escape and here’s the best part but but you are not in darkness
26:21notice he doesn’t says you are potentially not in darkness he says you are not in darkness present dense you are
26:27not in darkness brothers for that day to surprise you like a thief you are in the know
26:32your master has let you know what to look for so that that doesn’t sneak up on you so that you don’t have to worry
26:38for you are all now presently today children of the light children
26:45of the day we are not of the night nor are we of the darkness so brothers and sisters note then you
26:52are already the children of light Christ has made you his own he’s transferred you as paul says from the
26:58dominion of darkness into the kingdom of his of light the kingdom of his beloved son
27:04all because of his love and his grace for you in the waters of baptism your sins were
27:09washed away today you will feast on the body and blood of Christ and here again those amazing words take
27:14heed this is my body given for you for the forgiveness of your sins and so
27:20you’ll note that god has qualified you god has transferred you from darkness to light god has adopted
27:26you god has made you his children and so we have nothing to fear we have everything to be excited
27:32for at the return of Christ so then because of this let us not sleep let us
27:38not go back to sleep in the sleep of sin as others do but let us keep awake and be
27:44sober by anticipating waiting for anxiously watching for Christ to return
27:50for those who sleep they sleep at night those who get drunk they get drunk at night but since we belong to the day and we do
27:56let us be sober having put on the breastplate of faith and love and for the
28:01helmet the hope of salvation here paul makes just a little fleeting reference to well the spiritual armor
28:09that was laid out for us in ephesians chapter six and note he ref he references the
28:15breastplate of faith and love but also then the helmet of the hope
28:20of salvation have you ever stopped to think that our hope of Christ’s return the anticipation the
28:26excitement the joy of thinking that Jesus will return in glory to judge the living and the dead
28:31thinking about what it’ll be like to be in a world without sin death and the devil a place without
28:38disease or suffering that that hope of our salvation is like a helmet that protects our faith from a
28:45mortal wound to our head and so you can see here how hope is one of those things
28:50that is a vital part of our Christian faith you see and here’s the reason why because god has not destined you for
28:57wrath and he hasn’t he hasn’t destined you for wrath instead he has destined you to
29:03obtain salvation through our lord Jesus Christ and it is Christ who died for us
29:08so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him and then the text says therefore
29:15encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing so brothers and sisters be encouraged
29:21you are in Christ you have nothing to fear from his return even though it’s coming like a thief in the night
29:26be excited for his return and then with joy on the day when the books are settled and there’s an accounting
29:33you will stand before Christ and say master look what you gave me and look
29:39what i did with it and you will hear from him on that great day well done good and faithful servant
29:47enter into the joy of your master in the name of Jesus amen
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