Teachings of Jesus on Discipleship
Lesson #4: Do Good Works

  by: Bill Bratt         Email: info@icogsfg.org

  A disciple is a person who subscribes to the teachings of a master and assists in spreading his teachings. A Christian is a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is our master, and the disciple has a strong desire in spreading Jesusí teachings and His message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Jesus gave His disciples some very important teachings in the prophecy that He gave them on Mount Olivet. In Lesson 3 we covered Matthew 24. In this lesson we will finish the teachings that Jesus covered in His Mount Olivet prophecy. This part of the prophecy is only recorded in the gospel of Matthew.

The Ten Virgins

In Chapter 25 of Matthew, Jesus gives three parables. The first parable involves five wise and five foolish virgins.

Jesus said: "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. {2} "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. {3}Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, {4} "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. {5} "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. {6} "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' {7} "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. {8} "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' {9} "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' {10} "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. {11} "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' {12} "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' {13} "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming (Matthew 25:1-3).

This parable is an explanation of previous comments that Jesus had made recorded in Matthew 24. Jesus had told His disciples not to be deceived by false christs, discouraged by wars and rumors of war or offended and turn from Godís truth. Jesus told His disciples to not let their love grow cold, to endure to the end and to preach the gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to return and it would happen quickly like lightning flashing from east to west. Jesus admonished His disciples to watch and pray because they would not know what hour He would return. Jesus said only His Father in heaven knew the day and hour in which He would return.

Be Prepared

Letís ponder the meaning of this parable. First of all, Jesus is the bridegroom (Matthew 9:14-15). All ten of these virgins represented Jesusí converted disciples. The apostle John revealed that those who were redeemed and were firstfruits to God and Jesus were called virgins (Revelation 14:3-4).

Matthew 25:3-4 reveals the purpose of this parable is to be prepared. All of the virgins had oil in their lamps but only the five who were wise were prepared with extra oil. Jesus had instructed His disciples to watch and pray and to be prepared for His return.

Jesusí disciples must maintain a readiness by being prepared for His return. In verse 5 we see that all ten of the virgins slumbered and slept. No disciple can stay awake until Jesus returns. The only difference between the wise and unwise virgins was their preparedness in that the wise virgins had extra oil. In verse 13 Jesus again tells His disciples to watch and be alert because no one knows the day or the hour in which He will return.

The Parable of the Talents

Letís continue in Matthew 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' (Matthew 25:15-30).

Be Productive

From this parable we see that we are to be productive. God weighs us and does not give us more than we can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). Notice in this parable that three people were given different amounts of money. This shows that God gives us responsibility and He expects us to do the best we can with what He has given us. We can not approach the Kingdom of God carelessly thinking that we donít have to do anything. Some people believe that all you have to do is to believe on Jesus and you will be saved and others believe that all you have to have is Godís grace to be saved. The apostle James said that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). Jesus is saying in this parable that you have to be productive and produce more from what He has given you so that He, who in this parable is the "lord of those servants" (vs. 19, 30), will be pleased, otherwise, you will lose salvation.

Notice in verses 26 and 27 that the "lord of those servants" was not pleased at the man who hid his talent and called him a "wicked and lazy servant". This lazy servant didnít even put the masterís money in the bank so it would draw interest. There is "time value" related to money and the master actually lost the interest that he could have had if the money had been deposited in the bank. Notice in verses 28-30 that the one talent was taken from the "wicked and lazy servant" and given to the person who produced the most. If this was your money and you had it invested with three financial institutions and one of them lost some of your money, would you take what was left and reinvest it with the one that had made the most money for you?

Notice that in verse 30 that the "wicked and lazy servant" is called an unprofitable servant because he was not productive.

God knows that if you are faithful in the little things then you will also be faithful in the big things.

The Third Parable

Letís continue in Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. {32} "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. {33} "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. {34} "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {35} 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; {36} 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' {37} "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? {38} 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? {39} 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' {40} "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' {41} "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: {42} 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; {43} 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' {44} "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' {45} "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' {46} "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:31-46).

Notice that this parable begins with word "when" and indicates that this is an explanation of the first two parables. This parable reveals that Jesus Christ who is the "Son of Man" will judge all the nations and will reward His sheep, His righteous disciples, with the kingdom of God (verse 35).

Notice the word "for" in verse 35. This indicates that this is a conditional statement. This ties in with the first two parables that you have to be prepared and be productive. What are the conditions that are required for Jesusí true disciples to inherit the kingdom of God? Notice the answer in verses 35 and 36. We are to DO GOOD WORKS. We are to feed the hungry, help the stranger, help clothe people, visit the sick and elderly and visit prisoners. In verse 40 Jesus said: "inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." We are to do good works to our Christian brethren who are in the faith. But we must ask the question who is my brother? If we do "good works" for others outside the Church then they may become our brothers in the faith. This is a part of evangelism that we must not overlook.

In Conclusion: Jesus is telling His disciples in these three parables that we must be prepared and productive to inherit the kingdom of God and that we are to DO GOOD WORKS.

For more information on this topic,
please read the following article by Ronald L. Dart
titled:  Doing Good
Pick the link:  Do Good  


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