In the Gospel of Luke Chapter Nineteen, Jesus spoke a parable to His followers because He was nearing Jerusalem the place of His crucifixion and the end of His mission in the world. The people have the expectation that the kingdom of God would appear immediately, Jesus use this parable “The Parable of the King’s Ten Servants” to set matters straight that the kingdom is not immediate but will still be a while before it comes. This is the parable (Luke 19:12-14). “A certain nobleman (Jesus) went into a far country (Heaven) to receive for Himself a kingdom (kingdom of God – the universe) and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten talents, and said to them, ‘occupy till I come’. The ten servants represent the fullness or completeness of all believers or followers and the ten talents represent the fullness or completeness of all that we will need to run our lives until His return to us or our meeting Him in heaven if He tarries.
The Lord left the world forty days after His resurrection to return to heaven and the Father; to continue His ministry which now includes priestly duties, intercession, advocacy, preparation for His return to earth and settling of the believers with Him eventually. Ten days after His ascension He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to lead, guide, teach, and bring to our remembrance all that He (Jesus) has taught us. The Church was formed on the Day of Pentecost and the work began.
The Lord commanded “Occupy till I come”. That in His absence we should be busy until He returns for us. The question now is what does He expect of us while He is away and when He returns.
There are five major areas the Lord will want us to pay attention to and these areas are:
>> The growth of the church and its readiness as a body waiting for Him.
>> Our individual or personal readiness to meet Him when He comes.
>> Our relationship with one another as members of the same church of God.
>> Our responsibility to the world at large.
>> How we have fared in relation to the enemies of the church led by Satan.
The Church’s Readiness and Growth
The church began on the Day of Pentecost as a result of the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by the Lord (Joel 2:28, 29). “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place…..” (Acts 2:1-4). As a result of the indwelling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached one sermon, and three thousand people from eighteen nations were added to the church (Acts 1:5-13, 40-46). And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. In addition to the daily addition, the teaching and preaching on another occasion brought in five thousand men besides women and children (Acts 4:4). The growth of the church continued until the first generation of Christians including Apostle John who lived to be ninety-two years old passed on. People like Peter, Paul, John, Mary Magdalene, and the rest of the apostles and disciples invested all that they had so that the church grew and was established.
Our Lord Jesus expects us to continue diligently in this work and to give priority to it over our own work. God the Father gave Him (Jesus) all authority and this authority He had given to us to prosecute the work of growing and establishing the church on earth.
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. Amen.
He also expects us to do the following:
To gather the lamb and the sheep together and feed and care for them physically and spiritually with the word of God.
The elders to be good shepherds of His flock
The sheep must bear fruits with bountiful harvest.
The church should be ready and awaiting His return (Ps. 45:3)
The church should persevere, that is, enduring hardship with patience (Rev. 3:10)
The church should continue to acknowledge God by praise, worship and givings (Ps. 86:12. 13)
The Lord expects the church to continue working hard, teaching, preaching, evangelizing, administering, caring, etc.
The work is urgent and important therefore we must redeem the time. (Eph. 5:`16).
The church is to continue fighting Satan’s influence in the world and keeping the saints from Satan’s bad influence on them.
The church is to continue spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the earth even to the remote region of the world.
The church must encourage believers to keep the Sabbath, that is, encourage attendance of church programs especially Sunday Services. “Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy” (Exod. 20:8 -11).
The church must not fall asleep or be caught sleeping. The church must be at all times attentive. (Matt. 13:24-30). Failure to pay attention can destroy the church because of its enemies. We must be good stewards of the Lord. We must be like soldiers at attention awaiting for our commander.
The church must remain strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Heb. 11:13). The church must depend on God.
The church must remain steadfast in prayer and service to the Lord. The church must be steadfast with stability in faith and practice. The doctrines of the church must be protected from world’s influences.
The church must be “John the Baptist”, that is, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (Isaiah 40:3-8).
The church must be making earnest and humble petition to meet the needs of the church in its areas of needs. Doing intercessory prayers for others as the Lord use to do (John 17). Prayers must be made regularly to protect evangelists and missionaries.
The church should watch out for the tares among the wheat or the wolves among the sheep to separate them before any damage is done (Matt. 13:25, 38).
The church should pay attention to the doctrine of the gospel and teach it with all seriousness.
The church must train people for discipleship, and evangelism, church administration, missionary duties and pastorship.
The church must teach people to be godly, faithful, truthful, and trusting in the Lord (Ps. 22:8; Ps. 32:10; Prov. 3:5)
The church must prepare for the tribulation that is to come (Matt. 24:21, Jn. 16:33) and the church must endure it (2 Thess. 1:4)
The church must remain godly (Ps. 1:5). Christ died for the ungodly so that they can become godly (Rom. 5:6; 1:18). The church must also remain faithful to God (Pr. 2:22; Ps. 78:57)
The church is to keep watch for Jesus Christ’s return (Is. 52:7-9) and continue to intercede on behalf of God’s people that stumbling blocks be removed from their ways (Is. 57:14)
The church must not be disobedient to the heavenly vision. Jesus lives, teach, and preach the gospel (Acts 26:19)
The church must not be weary or tired or discouraged because the Lord tarries (Is. 40:31; Gal. 6:9; 2 Thess. 3:13). He will come soon.
The church must not wander, stray or be aimless in its movement. It should not allow the ungodliness of the world to affect its doctrines. The church should remain stable and steadfast as the One who formed the church – Jesus Christ the Son of God.
The Believers’ Readiness
As followers of Christ who make up His body, much is expected from us before He returns and we must be diligent and faithful less His statement “If I return will I find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8) will come true. He wants to find faith and in appreciation of all that He has done for us we should endeavour to make Him find us faithful and full of faith.
What then can the believer do while waiting for His return: we can do many things including:
Respect leaders of the church and find way to cooperate with them (I Thess. 5:12). We are to avoid doing things that will grieve them as they carry out their duties to the Lord. “Do not touch My anointed and do My prophet no harm” (I Cor. 16:22).
Hold church leaders in highest esteem. Say “thank you” to your leaders for their efforts (I Thess. 5:13).
Live in peace with everyone. Search for ways to get along with fellow Christians (I Thess. 5:14). Don’t be provoked. Be angry but do not sin (Eph. 4:26)
Uphold the weak by loving them and praying for them (I Thess. 5:14)
Be patient with everyone. Stay calm no matter what (I Thess. 5:15)
Be joyful because God is in control even when things look bad (I Thess. 5:16). Rejoice and be glad in the Lord.
Pray without ceasing. Pray for the church, yourself, friends, neighbuorhoods, country, leaders etc (I Thess. 5:17)
Give thanks always to God because He is always doing something for you. Make a list of all the gifts God has given you, and thank Him for each one (I Thess. 5:18)
Do not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit of God that is in you. Cooperate with Him. Next time He prompts you to do something do it. (I Thess. 5:19)
Do not despise prophecies. Receive God’s word from those who speak for Him (I Thess. 5:20). Read and study the Bible.
Avoid every kind of evil. Avoid temptation, immorality and iniquity. This will make us unacceptable to Christ. (I Thess. 5:22)
Count always on God’s constant help. Rely on God’s power not yours or other sources (I Thess. 5:23).
Be spiritually minded all the times. Worldly things will pass away.
Be faithful to God (I Pet. 5:12) and stand in faith (Eph. 6:13)
We are to watch and stand fast in the LORD (I Cor. 16:13)
We must strive to enter through the narrow gate (Luke 13:4) and use the way of the cross. Any other way leads to destruction or hell.
We must subject ourselves to authority of the church, God, and government put over us and we in turn must exercise authority over our family for the love of God. The family must remain strong for the Lord.
Whatever talents or gifts we are given by God must be used to the glory of God to edify the church first. We shall give accounts of them to God.
We must be awake to righteousness (I Cor. 13:34) and put on Christ (Rom. 13:11-14). We must forsake our sins and return to God (Isa. 55:6,7)
We must overcome temptation, backsliding and falling away.
We must increase and be fruitful. We must produce abundantly to compensate for God’s efforts on us.
We must have the new heart and the new spirit God promised the believers. (Eze. 36:26). We must have the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23; I Cor. 12:4-11)
We must wait upon the Lord in order to renew our strength and soar like the eagle (Isa. 40:31). Flourish like a palm tree and grow like cedar of Lebanon (Ps. 92:12-14)
In all our ways we are to acknowledge God (Prov. 3:6; I Jn. 2:23)
Jesus wants us to abide in Him and His words to abide in us (Jn. 8:31; 15:15). So search the scriptures for His words.
We are to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, from blood, and every form of evil (Acts 15:20; I Thess. 5:22). We must abstain from drunkenness which dulls the mind and makes one to lose self-control. “Do not be drunk with wine” (Eph. 5:8). “You shall not commit adultery or fornication” (Ex 20:14; Heb. 10:26; Matt 5:28; Rev. 2:22.
We are to bring up the children in the training and admonition of God (Eph. 6:4). We are to do good, like the Good Samaritan of the Bible. We should not be afraid (I Pet. 3:6) We should not provoke our children.
We are to guide jealously our salvation. Don’t allow anything or anyone to jeopardize it. We must strive to be perfect.
“Keep my command to persevere” (Rev. 3:10). Only those who persevere will receive a “crown of perseverance”
Be ready to serve Christ/God in any capacity He chose. Make yourself available vessel for His use.
We are to put on the “whole armor of God” that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11)
Jesus wants us to pursue our everyday living including our personal business but He wants us to pay attention to our association with God too. Give unto God what is God’s in terms of our time and our other resources. Remember that “man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3, 11-15)
Jesus warns that we should be prepared for suffering as a result of our belief in Him. But the Bible says “For our light afflictions, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17)
If we are afraid while waiting for Him, Jesus says “Do not be afraid” (Matt 14:27). “If you are doing good you will not be afraid of any terror” (I Pet. 3:6)
We must rebuke the devil and resist him and he will flee from us. (James 4:7). We are to draw near to God.
God says “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruits. Take wives and beget sons and daughters,……” (Jer. 29:5-9). Young men should take themselves a wife, and married ones should love their wives (Hos. 1:12, Ep 5:25)
Jesus wants us to confess our transgression (PS. 51:3) so that we can receive forgiveness. He wants us in all our ways to acknowledge God, and He shall direct our paths (Prov. 3:6) and finally He wants us to acknowledge Him as Son of God so that the Father can accept us (I Jn. 2:23).
Jesus wants us to use brotherly love to sternly warn and bring back those who are erring in faith, backsliding, committing heresies etc as Apostle Paul did when in (Gal. 3:1) called the people of the Galatian church “Foolish” because they erred in their move away from the truth of salvation by “grace” to salvation by “work”
We are to be on the lookout for the devil (Satan) who is roaming the world for prey. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like roaring lion, seeking whom to devour” (Eph 5:8). Satan wants to destroy God’s work and stop the growth of the church. You are God’s workmanship so be careful because you are a target.
Jesus wants us to be kindly affectionate to one another as Christian brothers and sisters and for married men to give their wives the affection and assistance due to them (Rom. 12:10; I Cor. 7:3). “Husband love your wife”.
We must walk with God blameless (Gen. 17:1), humbly (Mic. 6:8), shun darkness (Jn. 12:35), in newness of life (Rom 6:4), walk according to the instruction of God (Isa. 30:21), walk prudently when we go into God’s house (Eccl. 5:1), walk in the counsel of the godly (Ps. 1:1), not with craftiness handling the word of God (Gal. 5:16), not walk in trespasses (Eph. 2:1-2), walk in love (Eph. 5:2), walk worthy (Col. 1:10), and walk with the Lord (Rev. 3:4).
We must flee lustful desires and the wrath of God to come (Matt. 3:7). We must not continue to sin willfully (Heb. 10:26). We are to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness (Jam 1:21).
We must lay aside every weight that will slow us down (Heb. 12:1), we must be clean (Rev. 1:5), stop wickedness (Job 34:12; Ps. 37:10); Isa. 55:7; Jer. 8:6; Jer. 17:9), be steadfast in faith.
We should learn to hear His voice and know His voice (Jn. 10:4; Heb. 3:15; Rev. 3:20). There will be other voices including Satan’s and demon’s.
We should seek the perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2) and work to do it (Heb. 13:21). We are to continue trusting God and be not wise in our own eyes.
We must get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Pro 4:5). The fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom (Pro. 9:10). If you lack wisdom ask God (Jas. 1:5). Wisdom of the world (I Cor. 3:19, Prov. 11:30; 2 Cor. 1:12. See also Matt. 10:16; 2 Tim. 3:15)
We must make sure that the word of our mouth and the meditation of our heart is acceptable to God (Ps. 19:14). We must also receive the mind of Christ and put our thoughts in subjection to Him. We must allow the word of Christ to dwell richly in us (Col. 3:16), we must not stumble in word (James 3:2), let the word of God define the truth (Jn. 17:17)
We must not exploit others or pervert justice or be proud in sinning. All these are sinfulness against God (Is. 5:8-15)
We are to continue keeping or observing the commandments of the Lord (Jn. 14:15). We can not dwell in sin and expect grace to abound. God forbid.
We are to let our waist be girded and our lamps burning like men waiting for their Masters or the five wise virgins waiting for the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13). We must observe the time and watch for the signs of His coming (Luke 12:54-56; 21:25-28), at the same time we should be careful by making sure we are not deceived (Luke 21:8).
We are to watch and be prayerful that we may be counted worthy to escape the persecution, trials, temptations, and tribulation that will come to pass and that at the end we may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
We must pray without ceasing that we may be rapture worthy.
We must be born again (Jn. 3:7) and remain born again. This is a condition for qualification for redemption.
We must continue to thirst for the living water of God (Jn. 4:10, 14) and continue to worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24, 25). God does not want you to represent Him with anything He has made or that you have made.
Our relationship to one another as members of the Body of Christ (The Church of Christ)
The Church which is His body consists of all regenerated souls, each one redeemed by the Blood of Christ and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the spiritual head of the Church. The Church has no physical head.
Jesus expects His Church to be united, working together for the good of the body. When He comes what does He expect to find:
The Church is more than an earthly organization. It is Christ’s body and like a body it has many parts that must work together. Any part of the body that fails affects the rest and makes the body to suffer. Today the body of Christ is suffering because of the divisions into denominations that are competing cells instead of cooperating cells.
Enemies of the church ridicule the church as despicable, useless organization. They say churches are established to make money and they regard it as money making ventures. A lot of the churches are certainly proving them to be right because of the high level of commercialization the church has turned into.
Church attendance is dwindling despite the command of Heb 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is”.
People accept the Church’s benefits without accepting its responsibilities.
There should be discipline in church that must bring seriousness to church members. This will enable them to listen and learn and change as a result of the word of God preached or taught.
We must firm up our religious belief and bring back into the church the “doctrines of the apostles” which enables the people of that time to live according to the word of God.
We must respect the church by generously giving to the church. Stop giving the lowest denominations of your currency to God. It is sign of disrespect and that is the reason why many are not blessed. They are stingy to-wards God but expect Him to be generous towards them. By the measure you give you receive back.
Many for one reason or the other have detached themselves from the church. This should not be because it means you are detaching yourself from Christ who is the head of the church.
Our talents are to edify God and the church but today many who received such talents will rather sing to the world for gain. Many who are gospel singers don’t sing in the church and others are either hip-hop, fuji, rhythm and blues or jazz singers.
Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others” (Eph. 2:3,4).
We are to be honest and truthful with one another, avoiding swearing but letting our Yes be Yes and our No, ‘No’ (James 5:12; Matt. 5:33-37)
We must not be violent but peaceful with one another (Gen 6:11; Rom. 1:28-30)
We must help one another particularly the weak defenseless ones among us such as orphans, widows and aged (James 1:27; Rom. 14:1). We must make the weak strong (2 Cor. 12:10; I Cor. 4:10; Heb 11:34)
We must bring back the erring one or backslider (James 5:19, 20)
We must give those that are thirsty and hungry the gospel living water and living bread (Is. 44:3, 55:1; Jer. 2:13; Jn. 7:38, Jn. 4:10).
We must be united (Phil 2:2; I Cor. 3:6; Rev. 7:17; 22:17; Ps. 133:1; Eph. 4:3; Ps. 86:11) and love one another (2 Jn. 1:5)
We must deal with erring members but we must not forget the weightier matters of the law such as mercy, love, and understanding.
We must visit widows and orphans, we must not neglect nor forget them (Ps. 146:9, James 1:27). We must visit those in prison too to give them hope.
We must be steadfast, that is, loyal with stability in faith and practice of doctrines (Heb. 2:38)
We shall work with other people and cooperate in inter-denominational programs (Is. 2:4)
Uphold the weak by loving them and praying for them.
Comfort the faint hearted
Warn the unruly.
The Church’s responsibility to the world at Large
The church of God is in the world and is part of the community or committee of nations. It has responsibilities to wherever it is situated.
The church shall work towards peace with her neighbors, subjecting herself to civil authority as long as it is within the bound of divine authority over the church.
The church shall contribute her own quota in the development of the community it exists in.
The church shall work toward peace in the community of its existence.
The church must learn to endure persecution and endure hardship or loss. This should work perfection in us (Heb. 2:10)
There will be mocker and scoffers deriding the church, we must learn to ignore them or scoff the scoffers by our successes.
We are not to put our trust in this world because the “Foundation of this world is unstable” (Ps 82:5)
We are not to love the world (I Jn. 2:15) and we are not to conform to this world (Rom. 12:2)
We are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers of the world (2 Cor. 6:4)
We must do charitable works helping the poor and the needy with food, clean water, clothing, shelter and providing health care to them.
How the church has fared in Relation to Its Enemies
We are to depart from Satan’s kingdom (Is. 52:11). We are to flee from among them.
We are to engage them in battle when instructed to do so after much fasting and prayer.
We are not to worry about our lives, God will take care of us and defend us (Luke 12:22-32). We are not to be afraid of them. The ones that are with us are more than those against us. The one inside us is greater than the world.
We are to resist the devil (Eph. 5:9; James 4:7) and he will flee from us.
We are to stay away from Satan and satanic activities (I Pet. 5:8)
We are to avoid the snares of the enemy lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life. (I Jn. 2:15)
To conclude this paper, I will quote Eph. 5:17-20 and Matt. 16:27 which say “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. “(Eph. 5:17-20). ‘For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).
Maranatah! Come quickly Lord.