The parable of the faithful servant versus the evil servant is found in Matthew 24. This is the beginning of 4 parables that we will look at one after the other. So the four parables are these:
- Faithful and evil servant.
- The 10 virgins.
- The talents.
- The sheep and the goats.
What’s interesting is that the difference between the faithful and the wicked, the good and the bad, are very close. There is hardly any difference between these two groups.
- The faithful and evil servant – they are both servants to the same master. But there is a clear distinction of faithful and evil.
- The 10 virgins – they are all virgins. Sounds like they are all good right? It’s just that one is wise and the other is foolish. The difference between the 2 groups doesn’t seem a distinct.
- The talents – they are all servants again of the same master that all received talents of varying amounts. It’s just that one is an unprofitable servant. Doesn’t seem like anything moral. All he did was hide his talent.
- The sheep and the goats – similar family of animals instead of sheep and dog or sheep and pig. There is nothing to say of them that they are wicked.
- So we see this progress through all four parables. The distinction between the two groups is getting less and less defined. And it seems like in the last days, the difference between the righteous and unrighteous will become harder to distinguish.
Keep this in mind as we study all these four parables together over the next four weeks.
Now let’s have a look at the introduction that Jesus gives before He jumps into the parables.
- Matthew 24:42-44
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
- Jesus tells us that no man knows the day or the hour of His second appearing. So what do we need to do? We need to be watchful so that we can be ready.
- What is the example that is given? A thief coming in the middle of the night. But the characteristic of the thief is that we don’t know the hour they will come. They try to come at the time that we least expect it.
- And really the whole chapter of Matthew 24 is about last day events and the second coming of Jesus and throughout the whole chapter we are warned to watch and be ready. God has given us signs like earthquakes and famines and pestilences. These are the things that we can watch for to know how close the day is approaching.
- Even the example of Noah was used in Matthew 24. He didn’t know when the flood was coming so even he had to be watchful.
With that let’s study the parable of the faithful and evil servant.
- Matthew 24:45-47
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
- The parable begins with looking at the faithful and wise servant. He is a good servant.
- What are the characteristics that are outlined of this good servant here in the passage?
- It says that this servant gives mean in due season.
- That is all that is highlighted about this faithful servant.
What does it mean to give meat in due season?
- The word meat simply means nourishment or food.
- And so to give meat in due season it means that we give nourishment to people at the right time, even in proper amounts.
- So for example, the nourishment that a new born baby requires is much different from a full grown adult. One requires only the mother’s milk, whilst the adult needs solid food. And not only that, but also the right types of varieties of foods.
- As the baby grows, it must go from milk to eventually solid foods. The season changes. It must be given meat at the right time, in due season.
- What is the proper nourishment that the Bible refers to though? Surely it is not referring simply to physical food right?
- Hebrews 5:12-14
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
- So even in Hebrews it says that a baby must drink milk and not eat the solid meat or food. And in contrast, those that are of full age, that are full grown adults, they should eat strong meat which is rightly translated as “solid food.”
- What is the milk referring to? What does Hebrews say?
- Milk is the first principles of the oracles of God. It is eaten by someone who is unskilful in the word of righteousness.
- This is the basic teachings of the Bible.
- If you’ve never studied the Bible before, you should start off with the most basic of principles, basic studies, foundational stories and topics.
- So remember, the faithful and wise servant, he gives meat in due season. Which means he is not being fed. He is feeding others! This faithful and wise servant is a teacher of God’s word.
- If we want to be a faithful and wise servant we should aim to be involved in teaching and preaching the word of God. It’s not a requirement, it’s not something that we MUST do in order to be saved. But it is highlighting a characteristic of what a faithful and wise servant does. He/she gives meat in due season.
However, do you remember what Jesus said before starting this parable? It was related to the second coming.
- He said we need to watch! If we want to be ready, we need to watch.
- Now what does watching have to do with teaching?
- Well you see, when we teach the scriptures, or really when we teach anything, the lesson is hit home a little more than just if you are sitting there listening. It stirs your heart. It makes you to think more and it seems like God speaks to you more.
- Why? You have to study beforehand, you have to make sure you understand so that you can teach it to others. And in that process as we study more the Bible, God speaks to us even more clearly. And even in the process of teaching, it hits home to your heart more. The words of God become even more alive in your heart because you aren’t just reading it or listening to it but it is reinforced when you say it.
- I know for myself many times even when I teach the doctrines, for example when I teach the lesson on the second coming, and I’m giving an appeal at the end, it reminds me even more that I need to watch and to pray and to spend more time in the word of God.
- Teaching reminds us and help us to be more watchful.
- We need to teach as we wait for the second coming of our Lord. This is part of the gospel commission.
- Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
- Matthew 28:19-20
- So somehow the gospel commission is not just a command for us to go out there to share the gospel with others, but in the process of doing that it becomes a tool to remind us as well that we need to be watchful and be ready because Jesus is coming back really soon!
- This means that teaching is not a spiritual gift. If it was then Jesus would not give it as a gospel commission to all of us. But He has! And He knows that each and every person can be involved in teaching and needs to be involved in teaching the scriptures – not for the benefit of others only, but also for our own spiritual benefit.
There are actually two other characteristics of this good servant actually. He is called what type of servant? He isn’t actually called a good servant in the parable. What is it?
- He is called a faithful and wise servant.
- What does it mean to be a faithful and wise servant.
Let’s start with wise. How can we be a wise servant?
- James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
- If we want to be a wise servant all we need to do is ask God and He will give it to us.
- How do we do that? We need to come to God in prayer. Just like how Solomon asked God for wisdom and it was granted to him.
- But remember, this wisdom is not just any wisdom. This is wisdom that only God can give. Wisdom for what? Wisdom for teaching. Wisdom for understand the Bible. Wisdom for being a faithful servant of God.
- Does it mean that God does not given wisdom for our school work and for our businesses? Of course He does. But you see, there are many people who don’t believe in God who have that sort of wisdom. It’s not that God wants to take credit for everything, but that many of us can work hard and study hard to supplement that. And many people in the world do just that.
- However, we cannot be a wise servant unless we are asking God for this wisdom. And the reason that many of us have this untapped wisdom from God is because we are not putting ourselves into that position to need it.
- To teach someone about Jesus, to witness about God, that takes a type of wisdom that only God can give. No book learning can supplement except the Bible and Bible only.
- So this wise servant, he understands what it means to pray, he understands what it means to study the word, he understands that he needs this wisdom because he has to give people meat in due season.
How about the next characteristic? Faithful servant. What does it mean to be a faithful servant?
- That word faithful means to be trustful, to believe, to be sure and true.
- What does this faithful servant have to believe? He needs to believe that Jesus is actually going to come back and even though God delays, what He has said will come to pass.
- How do we know this? All we need to do is compare him to the evil servant.
- Matthew 24:48
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming.
- Matthew 24:48
- The evil servant says in his heart that the lord is delaying his coming. He thinks and believes that Jesus is delaying and not coming back. As a result, he fails to watch but does quite the opposite.
- So what can actually keep our faith strong and our belief strong that Jesus is coming back? That even though He hasn’t come back for a long time, that His timing is perfect and that He will come?
- We have to watch!
- Watch what though? The signs of the times? Yeah probably. There are events out there in the world that show that Jesus is coming back really soon. But everyone sees those events and catastrophes yet not everyone is lead to believe that Jesus IS coming back soon. There must be something that will keep our faith strong.
- It is comparing the scripture with what we see in the world.
- The foundation of our belief is tied up in scripture, in the Bible.
- Romans 10:17
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- John 7:38
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
- If we would keep watch with our eyes in the scriptures, our faith would be strengthened every day and we would never come to a point to think that Jesus is delaying His coming or that He’s not coming back at all!
Here’s the contrast to that wise and faithful servant. The evil servant.
- Matthew 24:48-51
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- He says that the lord is delaying his coming. And not only that, he also begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with those that are drunk.
- We’ve already looked at the reason why he would say that Jesus is delaying His coming. It’s because he’s not spending time in the scripture. He’s not spending time in prayer.
- And because of that, he goes opposite to what the other servants are doing. He actually goes out and beats the other servants, he persecutes them.
But why? Why does this evil servant do all these things?
- It is because he is getting drunk! What does the Bible say about getting drunk?
- Luke 21:34-36
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
- This passage actually links drunkenness with being caught up with all the cares of this life. It sounds like one of grounds in the parable of the four grounds. The good seed that was choked with the cares, riches and pleasures of life. His focus was wrong. And because of that, even the good seed that was scattered out there was choked away when it began to grow.
- And in Luke, it says that because of that, that day will come on them unawares. It will become a snare to them.
- But Luke 21 also offers up the solution. Watch there and pray!
- Could it be that many are being caught up with literal drinking and getting drunk, and also with the cares of life because they aren’t just applying these 2 simple solutions? Watching and praying?
- There are many that try to drink away their problems. Drink away the stresses of life. Thinking that this release will help them deal with stress in school or stress in work or even stress in their relationships, or financial stresses or just stress in life in general. We turn to drinking and partying instead of finding strength and peace in the word of God.
- Look at what else drunkenness is connected to in the Bible.
- Romans 13:13
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
- It is connected to rioting and chambering and wantonness, strife and envy.
- Rioting – that’s causing trouble.
- Chambering – it means cohabitation. Obviously this is not referring to marriage but rather living together before marriage.
- Wantonness – it means filthiness, lasciviousness which means unbridled lust. That is found in fornication or adultery, it is found in pornography and sexual immorality.
- We see all this today. People are caught up with all these things. Why?
- Romans 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
- Because they aren’t putting on Jesus Christ. WE aren’t putting on Jesus Christ!
- Romans 13:14
- And so our lives are full of trouble. Full of sin. Full of immoral behaviour.
- Let’s look at another text.
- Ephesians 5:18
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
- If we want to avoid being drunk, we need to be filled with the Spirit. And the only way for that to happen is to pray! Nothing else will take the place of prayer.
- And one last text in regards to drunkenness.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:7-8
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
- Those that are drunk are drunk in the night. We need to be children of the light, to walk in the day. Those that are awake in the day time are those that are sober. What gives light for us to walk in the day?
- Psalms 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
- It’s the word of God, the Bible.
- Psalms 119:105
- And when you study in the armour of God in Ephesians, you will see that it is all connected to the Bible. And right after the armour then we are told to pray with all prayer in Ephesians 6:18.
But you know what? Many of us have heard about prayer and reading the Bible so much already. Why is it that we still don’t do it? How can we strengthen our resolve in the right?
- If we would be willing to teach the Bible, it will make us to read and to study and to pray like we have never done before. I’m sure all teachers can testify of this fact.
- Though it is stressful to teach the Bible, at the end we realise that we have read more of the Bible and we have prayed even more. It comes around to be a blessing to each of us as well.
- You see, teaching others is not simply to save others. It is also to help us grow in our spiritual journey and help us to be watchful as well.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
- This is not just a principle found in the Bible but a principle found in life.
- When we seek to water others, we ourselves will be watered. When we seek to be a blessing to others, we ourselves will be blessed.
- The student that helps their fellow students and friends end up remembering more, understanding more, and seeing more clearly the material that they are learning because he/she is seeking to understand so that they can explain it to others.
- When we are caught up with ourselves and look at our own lives, that is when we become selfish and self-centered. That’s when problems seem to grow bigger. But those who seek to bless others even when they themselves are going through some sort of trial or hardship, we will find that our own perplexities seem to vanish to seem smaller in comparison to those that are in need.
So let’s learn to seek to be a blessing to others. This is not the mandate to enter into heaven. But somehow, in the process of watering others we will find that God will be right there beside us to strengthen us to help them and at the same time that strength and wisdom overflows in help to our own problems and challenges of life.
When Jesus comes, it is my hope and prayer that He will find all of us busy helping others, busy ministering to others, busy being a blessing to this whole world.