Faithful Servants

Faithful Servants

Faithful Servants is a sermon teaching us how and why we should be faithful in serving the Lord. We do not know how much we can impact someone’s life by just being faithful.

Key verses:
I Corinthians 4:2
Matthew 25:14-30

We Gather Together

By way of introduction, things like this would not happen if it was not someone or someone’s faithfulness. There are people here since the church started. There have been people here for many years, people who have been here for a couple of months, and a couple of weeks. Without you there is no church here. People have to come in order for there to be a church service. The Bible does say:

Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

But if we do not gather in a place then this building is just a building. We call it the church building but it is not a church building without the people of the church.

There are people watching by Facebook and elsewhere and they are meeting with us here tonight and that is another thing to be thankful for if you are not able to get out of your house due to sickness or other reason you could still be able to have church where you are at.

When you [pastor] started, there was not a thing back when you started the ministry. This has been a tool that is more recent, but it is something to reach out to various people, we have on our Facebook Live Stream. We have our missionaries come and tune in. Dan Cadavos has been on a few times while we are having church here, and it is Monday in the Philippines, he is still getting the Word of God from here on a Sunday night. Others have tuned in from elsewhere maybe because there is not a church close by that is easy for them to get to.

Did you know there are some places in the United States where you have to travel forty-five or fifty minutes to get to a church. You are thinking that is interesting. When I was in Pensacola, there was a guy who came from Washington state, and they said that to find a good independent Baptist church was an hour-and-a-half [drive]. So, most of the time they would be watching things like this [Facebook Live], TV evangelists like “Rejoice in the Lord” broadcast from Pensacola, and things like that.

You are thinking that there are seven [churches] just on this road alone. Yes, but if you consider that, you have our church on the west side of Congress Avenue. After Military Trail there is a Mennonite church. And to the east of Congress there are five churches including Church of God, Church of Christ, Trinity Lutheran, and Cason United Methodist. That is a lot of churches but who is preaching the truth? Who is being faithful? I am not saying they are not doing their thing but are they preaching the truth?

To have a church here for thirty-nine years because next year is when we celebrate forty years of being incorporated as West Park Baptist Church, coming up in August of 2022, unless the Lord comes before that – having a church for that long, to have a continual congregation for that long.

Pastor mentioned that when he was in London, he went to the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle there. They have had a continual congregation there for 365 years, that is a while. You do not see churches do that.

I heard a statistic in ministerial class and in other things as I was getting ready to prepare to become a pastor. God called me at the age of 16 to do that. Getting the preparation, which I was thankful for, I squeezed four years into four-and-a-half, as Greek was my Achille’s heel, but it is okay. But they were telling us in ministerial classes that an average church usually only lasts about five years. Ninety percent of churches that get planted fold within the first 18 months. You might be thinking that it is a bad number. It is. Why? A lot of things can factor into that. One of them could be the faithfulness of the people. When things get difficult a lot of people will tend to run away from it instead of facing the problem head on.

I do not know of anybody who is here tonight, who is viewing by way of Facebook who would say, “I would love to have a problem today.” No one wakes up and says, “Give me the worst problem in the world.” No. Everyone prays for a good day, a safe day, a day that is good, and then next thing you know, your tire blows out on I-95. It is a great, great feeling to have in the world. I had that happen once one night when I was on the way to church. My back right tire popped, and I thought, “What is that sound?” and I am on a bridge, Escambia Bay bridge. I am in church clothes, I guess I am going to fix the tire and hopefully not get dirty. Little things like that happen and when Satan tries to discourage you, he tries to go all out, he’s going to go 100-110%.

Faithful in Service

As we look into the message here this evening, I want it understood that we ought to be faithful in service. Here is the verse I want to base it upon and then we are going to the parable to help explain this concept.

I Corinthians 4:2: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

I encourage us and submit to you this evening that we ought to be faithful. Pretty simple, pretty plain, but that is what I want to share with you from the Word of God this evening. What is the requirement that is given, the requirements of stewards? First of all, verse two starts with “moreover” – someone to be held in high regard. Did you know that as a Christian you are held in high regard? You may not know that, but you are.

The world looks at you and the world thinks, “I wonder what that person is going to do.” They are not going to say that out loud, but they will look at you and look at things that you do and think, “Will this person do this? Will this person say this word?” People are looking at us every single day. So, already, we are held in a higher regard. As a deacon or as a pastor, you are held in even a higher regard than that.

The context here is talking about ministers of Christ, ministers of the Gospel, but in application, it can apply to you and me. We are held as Christians at a higher standard and a higher regard. So, moreover, those who are in Christ, it is required in stewards. “Stewards” is a simple word, but it is an important word there. Stewards are those who are gatekeepers, those people who follow what is right and do what they are supposed to do.

The rest of the verse, “required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” A steward is a manager, a house distributor, an agent, or a preacher. And what is the requirement? That a man be found faithful, that a person be found faithful – one that is trustworthy, one that is trustful. God requires us in our Christian life to be faithful.

How faithful are we to Him? It can be hard to do that. There is this thing that is attached to us called the flesh. The flesh wants us to do anything to not follow God. It is not going to drag you but there are different things like conscience, decisions that are made that are going to be more appealing to do than to do what is right.

Three Servants

With that as a backdrop, I want us to move over to Matthew chapter twenty-five and want us to see here this parable this evening on why we should be faithful and what happens when we are faithful to Him. The context of Matthew chapter twenty-five is the Olivet discourse. It is Jesus’ last public sermon before He would soon be betrayed and arrested for thirty pieces of silver which is about $50 or $60 today, which is not even enough for a video game for those people who like to game, which I do like the video game but not as much as I used to do. It is fun, it is mindless entertainment. Do not judge me on that.

In Matthew chapter twenty-five, Jesus is giving His sermon here. We are going to skip down to verse fourteen and He gives us another parable. The way to understand a parable, Jesus will usually introduce like this in verse fourteen:

Matthew 25:14: “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.”

In the first part of the verse, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country,” Jesus is trying to give us a heavenly story with an earthly meaning. He gives this story to help teach and apply something that God wants us to know. And so, what is that? Again:

Matthew 25:14: “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.”

The setting here is that you have a master, and you have three different servants and he is going to distribute what he has to the people who are there.

Matthew 25:15: “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.”

I want you to understand this phrase. I feel sometimes that this phrase is overlooked, but this phrase is important to the rest of the context of this story here in the parable. He says he gave “to every man according to his several ability.”

What does that mean? He gave to these servants five, two, and one talents according to what he knew that person could do. People could take this the wrong way and say that the person that has five talents can do more than the person with one talent. He cannot do anything at all, he only has one talent. What good is he going to do? That person is just as valuable with the one talent as he has with the five.

This is referring to coinage but let’s put it in a trade perspective here. There are people in this auditorium here who are talented in a lot of things. There are some people here that can do things better than others. That does not mean that because you do better than others you can say, “I am better than others.”

What that means is that God has given us a specific ability that we can use for His service. One of the ones I was given was to pluck strings off of that thing [the piano] and play that [the organ] which I prefer to play. But that [the piano] is better accompanying with singing. So, God has given that ability. Whereas some others, they cannot play the piano, but they can do other things. All of us were given certain traits, abilities, that God can use.

Believe it or not, I am a relatively shy person when I am around a group of people. You think, “But you are preaching.” No way, put me in a bunch of people and I will stay quiet, and I will listen. That is just from growing up. I was never fond of being around a lot of people. I prayed to God to help out on a lot of that. But there are certain things I personally do not do well with. I do not know a lot of mechanical things. He [pastor] knows all about cars but I know just enough.

All of us have been given different abilities that God can use. They are not all the same. There are weaknesses and people that can help that weakness. As a church we can all combine together with our strengths and in helping others’ weaknesses, could be that one body that can reach the world for Christ.

So, we have the five, the two, and the one according to his ability. Once again, He was not saying that the guy with the one talent that he is nothing.

Matthew 25:16: “Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.”

Matthew 25:17: “And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.”

Here, we have two for two, people going to do what they can do, serving with their abilities, being able to multiply and double.

Matthew 25:18: “But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.”

That is not good. I do not know his mindset. We can only speculate here, or maybe he felt that he only had one talent because the master did not think highly of him. So, he thought that he would not do anything. Do you know that the one talent that someone has could be something that could change the world if we think of it in that perspective?

Using Our Abilities

If you are seven years old, we have seven-year-olds here, but there are many things a seven-year-old cannot do right now. But you know there are certain things that she could do. There are certain things a seven-year-old can do that a seventy-year-old cannot because that is the ability that God has given them.

For instance, and I tell this to children all the time. If you go as an adult and you try to talk to people about the Bible, will people automatically say, “Yes, I want to receive Jesus right there on the spot.” Will that happen to you? Sometimes. What is the thing that happens most of time when you talk to people about Jesus Christ? They shut it down. What else? They argue with you, right? They debate you.

One time, Mr. Glaude and I were out in the neighborhood here and we were door knocking and we got to this one house where we were talking about the Bible and talking about Jesus. This guy was talking to us about Ezekiel chapter three and the concept here that you can lose your salvation and take your way out of Heaven. We were showing him in the Bible and saying that he was not reading it in context. This guy was trying to go through all things and calling all people from other cities to drive over to his house to try to debate us because we are telling him that he was reading Ezekiel chapter three out of context.

Now, if a seven-year-old does that and goes to tell someone about Jesus Christ are they going to argue with a seven-year-old? No, they will not. There is a nine-year-old back there. Are they going to do that? No, there will be two things. There will be, “Oh, that is so sweet.” They are not going to say, “You are wrong kid.” They are not going to do that. Why? They are not going to damage their psyche yet; they are only seven and nine years old.

As an adult, the Bible tells us to always be ready to give an answer for the faith that lies within you, right? People are going to debate you all night because of who knows why. I do not know why people debate; I am not a debater. I do not like to get into arguments. I will but it is not my forte.

I was sitting here one night, and someone was telling me the same thing. They can take their name out of the Book of Life. I asked, “What Bible are you reading?” We were talking back and forth, and he tells me that I am not speaking to him in love, I am like a heretic. I said, “You are the one saying that you are stronger than God.”

The other thing that cracks me up is this, he says that he can raise people from the dead. I said, “Let’s go to Delray cemetery right now and let’s take somebody and raise him from the dead.” He said he was not ready yet. Aren’t you always supposed to be ready to give an answer? Now I have taken that verse out of context right there, but that is what people will do. I do not think he was ready to raise somebody up from the dead. He cannot. He could not. He was delusional most likely.

But the thing is, is that a lot of people think, “I can’t do anything now, I have this one gift that God has given me. You can probably do more with that one gift than someone who has to spread out the other ones. What I am saying is that there is no one in here, in this auditorium, viewing by way of Facebook Live, that is insignificant in the eyes of God. The only reason that happens is that people think down upon themselves so that it is an I-me mentality, or other people try to put them down. That is the only way someone gets to this point of having the one talent they themselves stick into the earth and hide his lord’s money. It is a flesh thing, it is not a God thing.

Matthew 25:19: “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.”

The lord of the servants comes to reason with them and finds out what is going on. We see the rewards of this, we see the things that are going on here.

Matthew 25:20: “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.”

Good. God gives us something and we ought to use it to the fullest and this guy did.

Matthew 25:21: “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.”

This ruler gave this one guy five talents, he has five more, now he has ten and he was able to use those and multiple them. God gives us certain gifts and abilities. He wants us to use them and multiply them and get more of them. It could be a lot, or it could be a little, but God so wants us to do it for his service. That is really what the point of this parable is all about.

Matthew 25:22: “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.”

Matthew 25:23: “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.”

Will it not be a blessed day when we go up to that bema seat and God says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Awards will be given there for we will pass those crowns right back to Jesus’s feet because He is the Lord, the one who made it worthy and possible. How much treasure have we laid up in Heaven while we try to get riches and fulfillment down here? That is what the guy with one talent was trying to do.

Matthew 25:24: “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:”

I kind of think that this is a funny excuse, this tickles me in a certain way, but this is the mentality of a lot of people who feel they are good for nothing, they feel insignificant, and cannot do anything right. In a serious aspect it is sad. But it tickles me funny how he tries to flatter this guy before he tells him the truth. He tries to take him off his step.

Being Found Faithful

People try to think that God is a hard person and God is not. Let me say that again. God is not hard. Does He expect us to have a certain standard? Absolutely. God expects us to live like Christ. He does not tell us to be completely perfect because we are still in a sinful body.

But God wants us to live like Christ, to be Christ-like. That is the word “Christian” is what that means, little Christ, to be Christ-like. We cannot be 100% perfect, again, because we are in a sin-cursed body. But we ought to do things in our body that make God things good and share God with others through our testimony.

You may think that God has all these stringent requirements. First of all, we do not live in the Old Testament way of worship because God boiled down 613 commandments into two – to love the Lord, thy God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and thy shall love thy neighbor as thyself. So, that is only two if you want to take a legalistic, hard nose approach to this whole thing.

But the other thing is that God just wants us to be faithful to Him. God wants us to serve Him, wants us to honor Him. It does not mean you have to live in a hermit shell and do absolutely nothing. No, God wants you to enjoy the things in life. God wants us to, it is a fun thing to do. God wants us to have some fulfillment in our lives, to go car shopping and go to car shows and other things like that. God wants us to do certain things, going to the happiest place on earth, Disney World for example. Some people have different views yay or nay on that. There are certain pleasures God has given and allowed that we can enjoy.

You do not need to be this grumpy person, “Oh, that is how God wants me to be.” No, God wants you to be faithful, that is what God wants us to do. It is the only requirement that God has for us, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” and to live like Christ. Back to verse twenty-four:

Matthew 25:24: “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:”

You may say, “You know, you are such a hard person and such a hard worker. I cannot live up to your standard.” This is what this guy was basically trying to say.

Matthew 25:25: “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.”

The servant said that the master was a hard man and that he could not live up to his expectations, so he gave up. That is really what he said and is what it boils down to.

Matthew 25:26: “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:”

Matthew 25:27: “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.”

Basically, if you did not want to do it, just give it back. Another person can take this passage here and apply this to salvation and say, “If you do good to God, God will keep you in Heaven and if you do not do good to God, God will kick you out.” That is not the context, but people will take it that way. Why do we know that? Let’s read the context in verse twenty-eight:

Matthew 25:28: “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.”

Matthew 25:29: “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.”

Matthew 25:30: “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

What is He saying there? First of all, be faithful. Use what you have. Do not be unfaithful. God is not going to kick you out of Heaven if you are unfaithful, He just will not let you stay here very long. He will take you home a lot sooner.

How Do We Apply This?

But how do we apply this to you and me? There was a strong rebuke given there but how do we apply this? First of all, it is to stay faithful. God wants us to be faithful. I do not know if I hammered that hard enough tonight, but God wants us to be faithful and requires us to do so.

I think of examples of faithfulness all the time and I think of many different things. I had a bunch of verses, but I left them in the office. I had some verses I was going to put out here and give you some verses on faithfulness and had them all printed out and ready to go and they are sitting on the printer right now. So, if you want them, I will give them to you afterwards. That was not good on my part, oops.

One of the examples that even an unsaved person saw faithfulness was in Daniel:

Daniel 6:4: “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”

There were princes, governors, and officers who were trying to find some way to go after Daniel, but they could not because Daniel was faithful. They eventually got him through his prayer life but even then, Daniel was faithful to prayer, and they knew that.

Another example of being faithful is our pastor. He has been here for 37 years at least; I could be off on the math a little bit. There have been highs in this church, there have been lows in this church. There have been good times and there have been struggles.

But the average pastor today is a pastor from eighteen months to five years. You may think that it is not long and no, it is not. Five years ago, I was twenty-nine. It does not seem that long ago. Eighteen months ago, I was thirty-two. It does not seem that long. That is the average lifespan of a pastor in church today in America.

If you have a pastor in church for ten years, that is pretty impressive, thirty-seven is uncalled for. You will hear people say that this guy is a retired pastor after forty or forty-five years and that is rare. How rare? Five percent in all of these churches in America.

As I said, one of the best examples of faithfulness I can think of is our pastor. It is Pastor Appreciation Day and I appreciate all the gifts that you all have given, all your kindness, thank you so much, and I am accepting something special in my life that I started up recently, and I appreciate all that. But as the assistant pastor I also get to gloat and get to lift up someone more because I need to make his job easier as the assistant pastor which means I also get to praise him as much as I want.

But if you want a fine example of faithfulness, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,” that is our pastor. Every day when I come to the office after I come from Winn-Dixie, I think to myself, “Man, can I do this a long time?” Thirty-seven years in the same church and I just got a taste of it having to do with all the things that have to be done, especially in a small church. There is a little more pressure on the pastor there than in a bigger church where usually they have more staff to handle some of the different aspects of the ministry that are going on.

But again, not a lot of pastors stay with their congregation. I have seen a lot of them, and I knew some to move on and hop to another church and pastor there, then hop to another church and pastor there. It does not mean they are not faithful; it is just they feel the need to move more.

I appreciate our pastor. I appreciate the faithfulness that he has been here all these years. I have been here for thirty of them. He did not leave in the tough times and there have been some tough times here. He is always looking out for everybody. You want someone super encouraging and super friendly and super nice? That is pastor. Have I got on his nerves? Probably, most likely. Has he voiced it out on me? Probably one percent of the time.

If you want that encouragement, he is always there to encourage you. He is always there to be there for you. He is always checking up making sure everything is good. That is something I appreciate the most from our pastor. Every day when I was sick a couple of months ago, and then I was lucky enough to pass it on to him, he was still checking up on me making sure that I was good. You are thinking that I am such a horrible guy. I am sorry, I did not mean to do it. He was still there checking up even though he was sick too, making sure everything was good, making sure everything was happening, and going smoothly.

If I want to see a definition of a faithful servant that would be our pastor. And so, what is the application? What is the challenge for us tonight? It is this, be faithful. Be faithful in the big things and also be faithful in the little things. You do not know how much you can impact someone just from being faithful.

Watch the prerecorded live version of the entire service and sermon, Faithful Servants, on Facebook.

Faithful Servants — Related Sermons

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Christopher K. Lewis is the Assistant to the Pastor of West Park Baptist Church. Rev. Lewis helps the senior pastor with various church duties and guiding others to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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