THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 7-13-03

LESSON TITLE: LEARNING TO DRAW NEARER TO GOD: "WHO SHOULD USE THEIR TALENTS FOR GOD?"

WELCOME

Greetings to all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me thank each of you for joining us this morning - welcome to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?

(PRAYER)

It's now time to start our songs of praise. We want to begin by singing a hymn that tells us about something in life which can make us more beautiful than anything else. How does that sound to you ladies? So, let's join in with the congregation at this time as we sing this hymn that give us the true secret to being beautiful in life, the name of the song, "Let The Beauty Of Jesus be Seen!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Isn't it hard to forgive someone when they have done something against us? Forgiveness may be one of the hardest characteristics that we every try to acquire and conquer, as a child of God. However, the Bible is clear about it's requirements on forgiveness, if we will only look into the pages of God's Word. Another problem often associated with forgiveness is what it truly means. Probably the best explanation we have of forgiveness, under the New Law, is found in Hebrews 8:12, there we read, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." When God forgives us today He not only forgives but He forget it. Wow, that's tough isn't it? Easier said than done, because sometimes we can say we forgive someone, but putting it out of our mind is another problem all together.

Another verse which really helps us with this discussion on forgiveness is found in Colossians 3:12-13. There Paul said, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." Here we have the whole crux of the matter. We are to forgive and be forgiving because Christ first forgave us!

I might ask, what does God owe us, what have we done that He should or that He has to forgive us? The answer is nothing! It is only because of God's love and His grace that we have been given a chance to be counted worthy before Him. So, as Christ has forgiven us, we also must be willing to forgive others. I am always reminded of the verse found in Romans 5:8, there it says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus was willing to do His part even when we were not worthy of it. Furthermore, what about Christ attitude as He hung on the cross. There He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do," Luke 23:34.

May we all learn the great lesson of forgiveness and in doing so may we work every day to strive to be more like Christ - ready and willing to forgive - whether we are asked to or not. Are you willing to forgive in order to be forgiven?

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning, we will be continuing our study entitled, "Learning To Draw Nearer To Our God." Our specific lesson of the morning will answer the question, "Who Should Use Their Talents For God." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this important study from God's Word. Now let's again join in song together, as we sing the hymn, "Low In The Grave!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thanks for staying with us this morning, as we now have a chance to go to God's Word and to study a bit more deeply some things that we've been looking at together for the past many weeks. We've been looking at actually drawing near to God and trying to look at those things that a child of God or the one who loves God might do in order to get closer and closer to God. Obviously everything that we do should be a motivation, really a factor in our lives to help us to know who God is and to really do His Will more and allow ourselves as well as He to know that we are getting closer and closer, that we are drawing nearer and nearer and ultimately that we might be one with our God and striving to know that He will not only bless us now but He will bless us eternally as we have that reward that has been promised to us.

We've been looking at many things that certainly promote the idea of drawing near to God, of having God with us more and we with Him. The first things we've looked at so far was the study of God's Word. We've looked at the importance of knowing His Word and the knowledge really draws us closer to Him because we know Him better. The concept of prayer and how that we can pray to God and really have the opportunity to speak to Him in the avenue of prayer and He also speaks to us through His Word. So prayer is a great way to draw near to our God.

We also looked last week at the concept of being able to be good examples and servants in the kingdom of God so that everything that we do no matter who we are, no matter where we are from, where we live, where we are during the day, what time it is, that we're always good examples, living as God would have us to and setting an example that really gives Him the glory again and the honor.

Then today, we want to look at another good lesson I believe in relationship to talents as we ask the question, "Who should use their talents for God?" and really understand what talents are all about in scripture. There's one passage that stands out foremost in my mind and probably most of your minds as we talk about using our talents. In relationship to this, what we're talking about is being able to use those things that have been giving to us, those things we have been in a way indebted with or given in our care so that we might somehow use them to the gory of God.

There's a story found in Matthew chapter 25 that's not strange to any of us that is about a master that had servants and about talents that were used and basically given out and how they were used by the servants in order that they might be again found proper in the eyes of the master. If you'll notice there in Matthew 25 and about verse 14 is where our story begins. It tells us that this is a story, a parable about heaven, the kingdom of heaven and it mentions that right off the bat that this is about a man it seems traveling from a far country and then he says there in verse 14, "And he called his own servants," and it says, "he delivered his goods to them." A man here, a master. The concept of servants most likely here the idea of slaves, those who were under his care, that he most likely even owned and we'll know why even more at the end of the story as the outcome was clearly evident of those who did not do what was right that this man had power and authority over them and their lives and complete control of their destiny. So here this man that was traveling brings his slaves, his servants something, his goods that they might do good things with those things they had been given and also somehow may bring an increase from those things.

Now if you'll then go with me to verse 15, we find the very familiar story as it begins where it says, "And to one he gave five talents. To another, two. And to another, one. To each according to his ability and immediately he went on a journey. The man comes in. He travels in and then returns just like our God. He came to the earth and had returned to his home in heaven but He left us the treasure, the treasure of God's Word, His own Word to know His Will and to be able to use it and to use it to the best so that we might be saved and be His children.

But if you'll notice here, another point I'd like to bring out in verse 15 is the fact that it says, "He gave to each according to their own ability." It wasn't just a matter that each were given specific talents that were equal in nature to one another because everyone was the same and everybody was from the same mold, he says, "that each according to their ability were given talents." That means some were given five because he knew that they might do even more with what they were given. Some were given two because he knew according to what that servant or slave was that certainly he would use those two talents and be able to do good with what he had been given. And then to one, he only gave one talent. So again, even today, we can make the same comparison because we are given privileges and opportunities and blessings from God and talents, if you will, so that we might use them to the glory of God but none of us are the same. Some of us seem to have a lot of talents for God and some seem to be able to almost do anything for the sake of God and His praise and glory and just are very, very talented in their lives and activities for God. But then again, we might find some who say, "Well, I am just not that good of a singer. I'm not good with words or good maybe with Bibles." And some people just seem not to have as many talents, but they have to find what they can do and use them and that's the essence of this story here.

Go on from 15 though and to verse 16. It says, "Then who had received the five talents went and traded with them and made another five." So the first man uses his five talents that he had been blessed with and given by the master and comes up with an additional five, so ten total. It goes on to say there in verse 17 that "Likewise, the one who had been given two gained two more, also. The one given two talents according to his abilities also used those two talents and gained two more, four total. But then it goes on to tell us that likewise in verse 18, "But he who had been able to receive the one went and dug in the ground and hid the Lord's money." So there we see that all the situations are laid out. Three individuals. One given five talents. He doubles it. One given two. He doubles it. And one given one, and the one who was given the one talent that the master gave him one talent because he knew the abilities of this servant. He went and actually even hid and dug a hole and hid the one talent instead of even using the one he was given. You know obviously it was clear that the master knew what type of a product he had here in relationship to this servant. He knew what kind of fruit was going to be born from this servant in what he was asking him to do so he gave him very little and it was found true that what this master found about this servant was true, that what he did actually was to dig a hole and bury it.

Now after that in verse 19, after a while as the man who had been traveling again, the owner, the Lord it seems, verse 19, he returns. He comes there to the servants. In verse 20, notice what takes place. "So you had five talents, you came and brought another five saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Look, I have gained five more talents.' "I blessed you with five. I knew you could do it and now you're returning to me ten talents. Good. Well done servant of mine.'" And that's what the Lord said in verse 21. He says, "You are faithful over a few things," and he says, "I'll make you ruler over many things. Enter he says in the joys of the Lord." He says, "Because you have shown yourselves worthy of me, I am going to use you more and more and more." Isn't that the way God works? He sees what He gives us. He blesses us with talents. If we use them, we show God that we're going to do it to His glory and to His praise and do our best. What does God usually do? Well He's going to bless us more and more and more just as it says here. If we can show God that we're worthy in even few things, He's going to keep blessing us because He's going to know that we have proven ourselves and we're going to be worthy in many great things, in many works of faith.

Verse 22 continues and says, "And you who had also received the two came and said, 'Lord, you delivered me two talents and look, I have brought you another two.'" Again, verse 23 says, "Well done, you good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler..."

Notice that the one that had five talents and the one that had two talents that both of them ended up equal. Now just because the one had the five didn't mean that he was somehow better in the eyes of the Lord because the two talent was blessed just the same. He said, "I have seen you are worthy over a few things and I am going to put you over many great things." He says, "Enter into the same situation, the joys of your Lord." So here, we see the two individuals, the same received the exact identical reward because they had been found faithful with what they had been trusted with but then you also find the one who had received the one talent in verse 24.

He came and says, "Lord, I knew you were a hard man," and he says, "I was there," as it says, "reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid and I went and I hid the talent and look, what you gave me I've still got it but I didn't do anything with it." Well notice now at the Lord's answer. He says, "You're wicked." He says, "You're lazy and you knew that I reap where I have not sown and I gather where I have not scattered seed." He says, "You knew I expected you to bring the increase, not that I would do it or another one do it for you, that you would bring the increase with what you had been given." And even though he says, "You were afraid and you went and you hid it," he says there in verse 27, "you could have at least taken it to the bank and deposited it and somehow gained a little bit of interest off of it," he says, "like the others who have shown themselves worthy." But therefore because he did not use it, what did he do? It says, "He took it from him and gave it to the one who had ten talents."

So there we find clearly the things that play out in relationship to the talents of the Lord. Who was it that was given the talents? The servants, the servants of the master. If we want to be given the talents of God, we must be servants of the master.

In Matthew 7 and verse 21 it says, "The one who does the Will of God, the Will of the Father is the one who when he cries, 'Lord, Lord,' will receive the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God and be put in the kingdom of God." So if you'll notice that in relationship to our story here, those servants, those slaves are like us. We to our Lord who have been given talents are also in the same way those who are worthy when we have obeyed the Will of God.

Isn't it there in 1 Corinthians 6 and verse 20 that Paul says that "we have been bought and paid for. We have been purchased with a price, the blood of Christ itself has cleansed us." We are owned by God. Once we choose to become Christians and die to our old man. We are owned as the slave in a good way by God. We're owned by the greatest master who we could ever serve. Then when we are given talents, what a blessing it is as we see here and how we will be blessed when we use that which God has given us. So the question is, "Are we using our talents?" Because anyone who is worthy of God and of God must use his talents. So who must use their talents? Anyone who is of God.

But now let's consider how this really applies to us today. It applies to us today because we can see several passages that give us a similar type concept. If you'll turn over to the book of Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul here to the church of Corinth helped them to very clearly understand this concept of the workers of God. He talks there in verse 12 of chapter 12 and says, "As the body is one, it has many members but all the members of the one body being many are one body so also is Christ." It goes on in verse 13 to say that "we were baptized into one body no matter who we were Jews, Greeks, slaves, free. We are all baptized to drink in the one spirit through the one baptism." So if you'll notice here he says that there are many members in the body but we're all in the one body. But now what is special about it? What's special about it is that as we drop down to about verse 20 it says that "we are many yet we are one body and we each have a function." He says here clearly that "there's things that we must..., there's some that are the eyes and some that are the mouth and some are the hands and the fingers and the toes and the legs," and you know in a body we need all of these parts. No part is insignificant. We need every part to function properly. That's what God is saying here. "There should be no division in the body," as it says in verse 25, "but all the members should have care equally one for another." The hand should care for the foot and the foot for the hand, the head for the arm and so on and so forth so that when we need to work, we all are doing our part. Again, everybody is not a finger. Everybody is not a toe. We all serve and fill different functions and use our talents in different ways. But notice, when the ten talent man did his work and the two talent man did his work, look at all the good that was done for God. When we in the church, although many members and one body, do our works according to what talents we have been given, and we all do what we can according to what we have been given according to our abilities, look at all the great work that we can do for our God, and how the body joins and fits together and works so well.

It says there in verse 27, "Now you are the body of Christ and members individually." He goes on to mention that somewhere appointed is apostles and prophets and teachers who had certain different works and gifts. He says, "We all must use what we have, whatever talent we have been given." Although we don't have those miraculous things today, we all still have many great and wondrous talents given from our God to use once again to His glory.

I want you to turn with me also to the book of Ephesians. In the book of Ephesians chapter 4 after it talks early on in chapter 4 of Ephesians and how we are one by believing the same thing and being the same body once again, notice down in verse 11 what he says. He says that "He has given some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and some teachers." He said, "we all have different works. We all have different talents." Some are able to lead singing and some are able to preach and some are able to teach classes and some can drive the van and some can cook for those who are sick and needy and visit the hospital, on and on and on and on. What is your talent? Are you using that talent? Are you doubling that talent for God and using it as much as you can to His glory? And why do we do it? It says there in verse 12 of the same passage, "We do it to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." We do it for God. We do it to His glory, for His kingdom, for His body, so that when anyone sees what we're doing it glorifies our God in heaven and ultimately when they see that glory to God, they see the talents that we have used to His credit and for His sake, they are impressed and they want to know our God. Lord willing, then they will obey.

You see, we do have a reason to use talents and each of us who love God must use our talents for Him. When we all work together as the body of Christ, the one body, then our talents certainly will not only glorify God and encourage and edify us, but they will show our light to the world and allow everyone to know our God in whom we can be saved and in whom all men can truly come to in order that they might have eternal life and live forever with that same God. God bless.

(SONG # 3 - "All Hail The Power Of Jesus!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. What a blessing it has been to share this time together in Christ. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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Isn't it great to have the opportunity to use our talents for God? May each of us use our skills every day to God's praise and glory, for the furtherance of His Kingdom!

(Program closing)