As we come into the New Testament we are brought
face to face with Herod the Great. Being crowned in his early twenties
he quickly established his position. Ruling with an iron fist of cruelty
he eventually went the way of all flesh. His son Archelaus wishing to succeed
him he was forced to come up before the emperor in Rome. Presenting his
credentials objections were heard not only from the Jews but also
from a delegation of Samaritans. Even his own two brothers conspired against
him. However, eventually overcoming every objection he received permission
to wear his father's crown. Returning to claim his kingdom he rewarding
those who had faithfully supported him he poured out his wrath upon his
This incident still fresh in the minds of his hearers the Lord told them that he also would leave them for a season. Eventually returning to claim his kingdom he rewarding those who had served him faithfully he would pour his wrath upon those who had not used their talents or opportunities.
Despite the objections of men the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. Setting up his throne he will demand of men what they have done with their gospel opportunities. Indeed, taking up this subject Paul said in Hebrews 9:27 "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement". What opportunities you have had in the gospel. In that day you will have to give answer as to what you have done with them. You will have to explain your reaction to every gospel appeal. While those that have used them wisely will be rewarded those who have misused them will be ruined.
1. HIS CORRUPTION: Passing sentence upon him he described him in v26 as 'wicked' and 'slothful'. Heaping adjective upon adjective he then described him in v30 as 'unprofitable'. Exposing his wickedness notice there was:-
a) A Failure In His Works:
While he had received from his master's bounty yet he said in v25
“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there
thou hast that is thine.”. The talent was a unit of weight,
weighing between fifty and eighty pounds. It's exact value depended upon
the metal from which it was made. In receiving this talent he had been
given a unique opportunity to promote his master's wealth and glory. However,
instead of taking advantage of it he buried it beneath the soil. Failing
to use this opportunity his master now described him as wicked. Being wicked
he was cast out.
The mere neglecting of gospel opportunities is not only foolish but foul in the eyes of God. It is sufficient to damn the soul. Indeed. in the days of Deborah the city of Meroz was exceedingly strong and well placed. However, failing to come to the aid of the children of Israel we read in Judges 5:23 “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.”. While did they did not go out to battle against the Lord yet doing nothing they became wicked and cursed in his eyes.
The failure to use your opportunities in the gospel is not only despicable but damnable. It is sufficient to corrupt and crush your soul. An old Greek legend speaks of a statue called opportunity. A traveler passing by one day he asked it "why art thou standing on thy toes". Answering 'to show how quickly I pass by' he then asked "But why is thy hair so long on they forehead?'. Answering he said "so that men may seize me when I pass by. He then asked "but why is thy head so bald at the back". He answered "to show that when I have passed by I cannot be caught". All you have to do to be damned is to let those gospel opportunities go by. Your failure to use even this opportunity to seek the Lord is sin in his eyes.
b) A Failure In His Words:
Seeking to defend himself we read in v24 “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:”. He accused his Lord of being a hard
man with a sordid, griping disposition. Oppressing the poor forcing
them to sow for him and reaping all the benefits for himself. While he
unlike the prodigal had not wasted his substance in riotous living nor
used it for his own advantage yet harboring these hard and evil thoughts
in his mind his master described him as being wicked and unprofitable.
The mere thinking of evil is evil. With God there is no difference. Indeed, Solomon enlarging upon this he said in Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” While they outwardly were professing kindness yet inwardly their hearts were seething with anger. Rebuking them he reminded them that their true state was not their outward pretense but their inward rebellion. Again the Lord warned in the sermon on the mount that the very thinking of adultery was adultery.
A man is not what he thinks is but he is what he thinks. His heart is no better than his thoughts. Plumer rightly said "thoughts, even more than overt acts, reveal character". You are no better than your thoughts. You can take a gallon of paint and apply it to an old rotten boat. When you are finished it may look well and even attract many to sail in it. However, going out into the choppy waters its timbers splitting it will sink. You can paint over your life so that people think you are a Christian but if your heart is filled with evil and harsh thoughts of God you will sink into the eternal abyss. You may not have driven the nails through his hands but if you have thought of rejecting him you are just as wicked in his eyes.
c) A Failure In His Wisdom:
Being confronted with his wickedness we read in
v25 “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there
thou hast that is thine.”. Rather than acknowledging his unprofitableness
he shifted the blame. Accusing his master of being overbearing and oppressive
he argued it was all his fault. After all he made him afraid to speculate.
He genuinely could not see wrong he had done.
Sin not only depraves but darkens the mind. It covers its tracks. Indeed, the prophet speaking from experience he said in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”. The word "deceitful' means 'to supplant'. Becoming a supplanter Jacob putting goat's hair upon his arms deceived his father.
The heart is more cunning than even the devil. Taking disguises it fools and deceives the mind. A well known store placed an advert in a local paper. Instead of wording it "Bargain Basement sale on shirts with flaws for men" they wrote "Bargain Basement Sale on shirts for men with flaws." They wondered why no one responded. The heart does not like to acknowledge its failures. It blames society, God etc. Indeed, John Calvin said "No one knows the one hundredth part of the sin that clings to his soul." Because you feel you haven't sinned does not mean you have not sinned but merely that you have been deceived. Do not trust your heart.
2. HIS CONDEMNATION: His master finally returning after many years he was taken unawares. Being called to account for his lack of action:-
a) His Talent Was Seized:
Condemning his slothfulness we read in v28 “Take
therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents".
he had not received as many talents as the other servants yet in those
there were many bankers. Displaying their money on benches they were commonly
known as 'benchers'. As well as exchanging money they paid interest. Failing
to take advantage of their offers his talent was now taken away.
What you do not use spiritually you will lose eternally. Your gospel opportunities will be taken away. Seeking to emphasize this he taking up the parable of the fig tree told them how year after year it brought forth no fruit. Giving it yet another opportunity he commanding the servants to dig around it we read Luke 13:9 “And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”. Failing to bring froth fruit the next year he commanded it to be cut down.
While God strives with men extendedly he does not strive with them eternally. His spirit is eventually withdrawn. A young man many years ago attending a gospel mission got saved. The next day going to work at a sawmill he got caught in a piece of the machinery. Dying he said "send for the preacher". The preacher taking his hand he said "Charlie, I have come; what would like to say". He said "Wasn't it glorious that I settled it in time". Those opportunities will eventually be taken away. Just as when as person does not use their the muscle they eventually waste away so you continue to neglect the opportunities God has given you and they will waste away. As this man continued to live but had no more opportunities you will have no more opportunities to get saved.
b) His Tongue Was Silenced:
Seeking to defend himself his master responding v27
“Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then
at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.”. In
defending himself he argued that his master was a harsh and cruel monster
demanding that which he had not given. Taking up these words his master
now argued it that was so then instead of hiding the talent he ought
to have exerted himself even more. His own arguments collapsed.
In the day of judgement the sinner will be silenced. His every argument will be demolished Indeed, in the parable of the wedding feast the man having no wedding garment being challenged we read in Matthew 22:12 "And he was speechless".
There is no justification for rejecting Christ. In that day every argument will fall. You say but "I couldn't keep it". In that day he will answer but I promised to keep you. You say "my sin is to great". He will say but I promised to save to the uttermost. You say 'but thee are hypocrites in the church". He will say but I warned you every man will give an account of himself. Your own lips will condemn you.
c) His Treachery Was Sentenced:
v30 “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into
outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”.
He was not merely cast into darkness but 'outer darkness' where there is
not a ray of light. Of course, light speak of hope.
Being condemned the sinner is not only cast into darkness but despair. All hope is taken away. Spurgeon said "in hell there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying". Die in your sin and you will be there for all eternity. There will be no release date no hope.
3. HIS CRY:
Being cast into outer darkness his words of excuse became cries of terror.
Notice it was a:-
a) A Cry Of Anger: v30 “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”. The gnashing of teeth expresses anger and hatred. For example, the psalmist describing the attack of the hypocrite he said in Psalm 37:12 "The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth". Gnashing his teeth he was consumed by hatred.
In hell there is neither love nor affection. The souls of the damned are consumed by anger. The rich man seeking Lazarus to go and warn his five brethren he was not driven by love. He knew if they came to hell they hating him would make his hell a hundred hells.
Hell is a place of hatred. There is neither compassion nor tenderness. The daughter that loves her mother will in that terrible day hate her for not warning her to flee from the wrath to come..
b) A Cry Of Agony: v30 “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”. Pain shooting through the body it naturally gnashes its teeth. Gnashing his teeth he was in agony.
Hell is not a place of pleasure but pain. Its flames torment the soul Indeed, the very thought of it made Belshazzar to be loosed and his knees to knock. If you took all the suffering in this world and multiplied it by infinity even that is nothing in comparison with the agonies of the dammed.
c) A Cry Of Alarm: v30 “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness”. One thing the Jews feared more than anything else was darkness. They would never go out at night without a light. He was casting him into a state of fear. Hell is a place of fear. It creates horrors beyond imagination.
In reading this sermon God has given you another opportunites to be saved. Learn for the mistakes of this foolish man and use this opportunites by turning from your sin and turning to the Saviour.