lördag 15 augusti 2009

THE TALENTS by C.H. Mackintosh

Plain Papers on the Lord’s Coming
C. H. Mackintosh
Copyright © 1907
edited for 3BSB by Baptist Bible Believer in the spirit of the Colportage Ministry of a century ago
~ out-of-print and in the public domain ~


It only remains for us now to consider that portion of our Lord's discourse in which He again takes up the deeply solemn subject of ministerial responsibility during the time of His absence. That this stands closely connected with the hope of His coming is evident from the fact that having summed up the parable of the ten virgins with these most weighty words, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour,” He goes on to say, “For as a man traveling into a far country, who called his servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”

There is a material difference between the parable of the talents and that of the servant in Matthew 24:45-51.
- in the latter, we have ministry inside the house.
- in the former, on the other hand, we have ministry abroad in the world.
But in each we find the grand foundation of all ministry, namely, the gift and authority of CHRIST.

“He called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”
The servants are His, and the goods are His. No one but the Lord CHRIST can put a man into the ministry, as none but He can impart spiritual gift. It is utterly impossible for any one to be a minister of CHRIST unless He calls him and fits him for the work. This is so plain as not to admit of a single question.

A man may be a minister of religion; he may preach the doctrines of the Gospel, and teach theology; but a minister of CHRIST he cannot possibly be unless CHRIST calls him to, and gifts him for, the work. If it be a question of ministry inside the house, it is “whom his lord hath made ruler over his house.” And if it be a question of ministry abroad in the world, we are told that “He called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods.”

This great root-principle of ministry is powerfully embodied in these words of one of the greatest ministers that ever lived, when he says, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (I Timothy 1:12).

Thus it must be in every case, whatever be the measure, the character, or the sphere of ministry. The Lord CHRIST alone can put any one into the ministry, and enable him to fulfill it. If it be not this, it will be either a man putting himself into the ministry, or his fellow man doing it, both of which are alike opposed to the mind of GOD, and to all the principles of the true ministry as taught in the Word.

If we are to be guided by Scripture, we must see that all ministry in or out of the house must be by divine appointment and divine ability. If it be not thus, it is worse than worthless. A man may set himself up as a minister, or he may be set up by his fellows; but it is all utterly vain. It is not from heaven - it is not of GOD - it is not by JESUS CHRIST; and, in the sequel, it will be made manifest and judged as a most horrible and daring usurpation.

It is of the very last importance that the Christian reader should thoroughly seize this grand principle of ministry. It is as simple as it is solemn. And, moreover, that it rests on a basis truly divine cannot be questioned by any one who bows down - as every Christian ought - with unqualified and absolute submission, to the authority of the divine Word. Let the reader take his Bible, and read carefully every line therein which bears upon the subject of ministry. If he turns to the parable of the house-steward, he will read, “Whom his Lord hath made ruler.” He does not make himself ruler; neither is he appointed by his fellows. The appointment is divine.

So, also, in the parable of the talents, the master calls his own servants, and delivers unto them his goods. The call and the equipment are divine.

We have another aspect of the same truth in Luke 19.
“A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”

The difference between Luke and Matthew appears to be this: in the former, human responsibility; in the latter, divine sovereignty is prominent. But in both the great root-principle is distinctly maintained and unanswerably established, namely, that all ministry is by divine appointment.

The same truth meets us in the Acts of the Apostles. When one was to be appointed to fill the place of Judas, the appeal is made to the Lord, “Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen; that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship.”

And even where it is a question of local charge, as of deacons, in Acts 6, or of elders, in Acts 14,
it is by direct apostolic appointment.
In other words, it is divine.

A man could not even appoint himself to a deaconship, much less to an eldership. In the case of the former, inasmuch as the deacons were to take charge of the people's property, these latter were, in the grace and lovely moral order of the Spirit, permitted to select men in whom they could confide; but the appointment was divine, whether of deacons or elders. Thus, whether it be a question of gift or of local charge, all rests on a purely divine basis. This is the all-important point.

Again, if we turn to the Epistles, the same great truth shines in full and undimmed luster before us. Thus, at the opening of Romans 12, we read, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us,” etc. In I Corinthians 12 we read, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him” (verse 18). And again, “God hath set some in the Church, first, apostles,” etc. (verse 28). So also in Ephesians 4, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

All these Scriptures, and many more that might be quoted, go to establish the truth which we are intensely anxious to impress upon our readers, namely, that ministry in all its departments, is divine - is of GOD - is from Heaven - is by JESUS CHRIST. There is positively no such thing in the New Testament as human authority to minister in the Church of GOD. Turn where we may, throughout its sacred pages, and we find only the same blessed doctrine as is contained in that one brief sentence in our parable, “He called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”

The whole New Testament doctrine of ministry is embodied here; and we earnestly entreat the Christian reader to let this doctrine take full possession of his soul, and exert its full sway over his conduct, course and character. *

* We do not, by any means, restrict the application of the “talents” to direct, specific, spiritual gifts. We believe the parable takes in the wide range of Christian service: just as the parable of the ten virgins takes in the wide range of Christian profession.

But it may perhaps be asked, “Is there no adaptation of the vessel to the ministerial gift deposited therein?” Unquestionably there is; and this very adaptation is distinctly presented in the words of our parable, “Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability.”

This is a point of deepest interest, and it must never be lost sight of. The Lord knows what use He means to make of a man. He knows the character of gift which He purposes to deposit in the vessel, and He shapes the vessel and moulds the man accordingly. We cannot doubt that Paul was a vessel specially formed of GOD for the place he was afterwards to fill, and the work he had to do. And so in every case. If GOD designs a man to be a public speaker, He gives him lungs, He gives him a voice, He gives him a physical constitution adapted to the work which He designs him to do. The gift is from GOD; but there is always the most distinct reference to the ability of the man.

If this be lost sight of, our apprehension of the true character of ministry will be very defective indeed. We must never forget the two things, namely, the divine gift, and the human vessel in which the gift is deposited. There is the sovereignty of GOD, and the responsibility of man. How perfect and how beautiful are all the ways of GOD! But alas! man mars everything, and the touch of the human finger only dims the luster of divine workmanship. Still, let us never forget that ministry is divine in its source, its nature, its power, and its object. If the reader rises from this paper convinced in heart and soul of this grand truth, we have so far gained our object in penning it.

But it is not improbable the question may be asked, “What has all this subject of ministry to do with the Lord's coming?” Much every way. Does not our blessed Lord introduce the subject again and again, in His discourse on the mount of Olives? And is not this entire discourse a reply to the question of the disciples, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the age?” Is not His coming the great prominent point of the discourse as a whole, and of each section of it in particular? Unquestionably.

And what is the next prominent theme? Is it not ministry?
Look at the parable of the servant made ruler over the household. How is he to serve? In view of his Lord's return. The ministry links itself on, as it were, to the departing and the return of the Master. It stands between, and is to be characterized by, these two grand events. And what is it that leads to failure in the ministry? Losing sight of the Lord's return. The evil servant says in his heart, “My Lord delayeth His coming,” and, as a consequence, “he begins to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.”
So also in the parable of the talents. The solemn and soul-stirring word is “Occupy till I come.”

In short, we learn that ministry, whether in the house of GOD or abroad in the world, is to be carried on in full view of the Lord's return.

“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them.”
All the servants are to keep continually before their minds the solemn fact that there is a reckoning time coming. This will regulate their thoughts and feelings in reference to every branch of their ministry.

Hearken to the following weighty words in which one servant seeks to animate another, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:18).

Does not this touching and weighty passage show how intimately the subject of ministry stands connected with the Lord's coming?

The blessed apostle - the most devoted, gifted, and effective workman that ever wrought in the vineyard of CHRIST - the most skilful steward that ever handled the mysteries of GOD - the wise master builder - the great minister of the Church and preacher of the Gospel - the incomparable servant - this rare and precious vessel carried on his work, fulfilled his ministry, and discharged his holy responsibilities in full view of “that day.” He looked forward, and is still looking, to that solemn and glorious occasion when the righteous Judge shall place on his brow “the crown of righteousness.” And he adds, with such affecting sweetness, “not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”

This is peculiarly touching. There will be a crown of righteousness in “that day,” not merely for the gifted, laborious, and devoted Paul, but for every one that loves the appearing of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST.

No doubt Paul shall have gems in his crown of peculiar luster; but, lest any one should think that the crown of righteousness was only for Paul, he adds these lovely words, “unto all them also that love His appearing.” The Lord be praised for such words! May they have the effect of stirring up our hearts, not only to love the appearing of our Lord, but also to serve with more intense and wholehearted devotedness in view of that glorious day!

That the two things are very closely connected we may see in the sequel of the parable of the talents.

We can do little more than quote the words of our Lord.
When the servants had received the talents, we read, “Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 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 besides them five talents more. 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. 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. 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.”

It is interesting and instructive to note the difference between the parable of the talents as given in Matthew, and the parable of the ten servants, in Luke 19.
- in the former, it is a question of divine sovereignty;
- in the latter, of human responsibility.

In that, each receives a like sum; in this, one receives five, another two, according to the master's will. Then, when the day of reckoning comes, we find in Luke a definite reward according to the work; whereas, in Matthew, the word is, “I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” They are not told what they are to have, or how many things they are to rule over. The master is sovereign both in His gifts and rewards; and the crowning point of all is, “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

This, to a heart that loves the Lord, is beyond everything. True, there will be the ten cities and the five cities. There will be ample, distinct, and definite reward for responsibility discharged, service rendered, and work done. All will be rewarded. But above and beyond all, shines this precious word, “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

No reward can possibly come up to this. The sense of the love that breathes in these words will lead each one to cast his “crown of righteousness” at the feet of his Lord. The very crown which the righteous Judge shall give, we shall willingly cast at the feet of a loving Saviour and Lord. One smile from Him will touch the heart far more deeply and powerfully than the brightest crown that could be placed on the brow.

But one word ere we close.
Who would not work? Who hid his lord's money? Who proved to be “a wicked and slothful servant?”

The man who did not know his master's heart - his master's character - his master's love.

“Then he which had received the one talent, came and said, Lord, I know thee, that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 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 strewed. Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming, I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 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.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

How awfully solemn! How striking the contrast between the two servants! One knows, and loves, and trusts, and serves his lord. The other belies, fears, distrusts, and does nothing. The one enters into the joy of his lord, the other is cast out into outer darkness, into the place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. How solemn! How soul-subduing is all this! And when does it all come out? When the Master returns!

NOTE. - We may add, in connection with the foregoing remarks on ministry, that every Christian has his and her own specific place and work to do. All are solemnly responsible to the Lord to know their place and fill it, to know their work and do it. This is a plain practical truth, and most fully confirmed by the principle upon which we have been insisting, namely, that all ministry and all work must be received from the Master's hand, carried on under His eye, and in full view of His coming. These things must never be forgotten.
~ end of chapter 10 ~

Fridshälsningar Leif Berg

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Luther on ecumenism and papacy

History of the Papacy by J.A. Wylie: "...the Church (so-called) of Rome has no right to rank amongst Christian Churches. She is not a Church, neither is her religion the Christian religion. We are accustomed to speak of Popery as a corrupt form of Christianity. We concede too much. The Church of Rome bears the same relation to the Church of Christ which the hierarchy of Baal bore to the institute of Moses; and Popery stands related to Christianity only in the same way in which Paganism stood related to primeval Revelation. Popery is not a corruption simply, but a transformation. It may be difficult to fix the time when it passed from the one into the other; but the change is incontestible. Popery is the gospel transubstantiated into the flesh and blood of Paganism, under a few of the accidents of Christianity."

Martin Luther

Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call non-essential, and, therefore (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones) is unfruitful and unnecessary.

To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the word of God.

Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call non-essential, and, therefore (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones) is unfruitful and unnecessary.

To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the word of God.

The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise. (What Luther Says, II: 1019)

Ah, my dear brother in Christ, bear with me if here or elsewhere I use such coarse language when speaking of the wretched, confronted, atrocious monster at Rome! He who knows my thoughts must say that I am much, much, much too lenient and have neither words nor thought adequately to describe the shameful, abominable blasphemy to which he subjects the Word and name of Christ, our dear Lord and Savior. There are some Christians, wicked Christians indeed, who now would gloss things over to make the pope appear against in a good light and who, after he does so and has been dragged out of the mud, would like to reinstate him on the altar. But they are wicked people, whoever they may be, who defend the pope and want me to be quiet about the means whereby he has done harm. Truly, I cannot do this. All true, pious Christians, who love Christ and His Word, should, as said, be sincerely hostile to the pope. They should persecute him and injure him…. All should do this in their several calling, to the best of their ability, with all faithfulness and diligence. (What Luther Says, II: 1072)

What kind of a church is the pope’s church? It is an uncertain, vacillating and tottering church. Indeed, it is a deceitful, lying church, doubting and unbelieving, without God’s Word. For the pope with his wrong keys teaches his church to doubt and to be uncertain. If it is a vacillating church, then it is not the church of faith, for the latter is founded upon a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it (Matt.16:18). If it is not the church of faith, then it is not the Christian church, but it must be an unchristian, anti-Christian, and faithless church which destroys and ruins the real, holy, Christian church. (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, Church and Ministry II, The Keys, p.348)

All this is to be noted carefully, so that we can treat with contempt the filthy, foolish twaddle that the popes present in their decrees about their Roman church, that is, about their devil’s synagogue (Rev.2:9), which separates itself from common Christendom and the spiritual edifice built up on this stone, and instead invents for itself a fleshly worldly, worthless, lying, blasphemous, idolatrous authority over all of Christendom. One of these two things must be true: if the Roman church is not built on this rock along with the other churches, then it is the devil’s church; but if it is built, along with all the other churches, on this rock, then it cannot be lord or head over the other churches. For Christ the cornerstone knows nothing of two unequal churches, but only of one church alone, just as the Children’s Faith, that is, the faith of all of Christendom, says, ”I believe in one holy, Christian church,” and does not say, ”I believe in one holy Roman church.” The Roman church is and should be one portion or member of the holy Christian church, not the head, which befits solely Christ the cornerstone. If not, it is not a Christian but an UN-Christian and anti-Christian church, that is, a papal school of scoundrels. (Luther’s Works, Volume 41, Church and Ministry III, Against The Roman Papacy, An Institution Of The Devil, p.311)

I believe the pope is the masked and incarnate devil because he is the Antichrist. As Christ is God incarnate, so the Antichrist is the devil incarnate. The words are really spoken of the pope when its said that hes a mixed god, an earthly god, that is , a god of the earth. Here god is understood as god of this world. Why does he call himself an earthly god, as if the one, almighty God werent also on the earth? The kingdom of the pope really signifies the terrible wrath of God, namely, the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. (Luthers Works, vol.54, Table Talks, No.4487, p.346)

C. H. Spurgeon on Popery

"It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. It wounds Christ, robs Christ of His glory, puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread in the place of the Saviour....If we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls, though we loathe and detest their dogmas...."

-- C. H. Spurgeon

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Frälsningens väg!

Heb 11:25 Han ville hellre utstå lidande med Guds folk än för en kort tid leva i syndig njutning;
Heb 12:2 Och må vi därvid se på Jesus, trons hövding och fullkomnare, på honom, som i stället för att taga den glädje som låg framför honom, utstod korsets lidande och aktade smäleken för intet, och som nu sitter på högra sidan om Guds tron.
Heb 12:3 Ja, på honom, som har utstått så mycken gensägelse av syndare, på honom mån I tänka, så att I icke tröttnen och uppgivens i edra själar.
Heb 12:15 Och sen till, att ingen går miste om Guds nåd, och att ingen giftig rot skjuter skott och bliver till fördärv, så att menigheten därigenom bliver besmittad;
Heb 12:16 sen till, att ingen är en otuktig människa eller ohelig såsom Esau, han som för en enda maträtt sålde sin förstfödslorätt.
Heb 12:17 I veten ju att han ock sedermera blev avvisad, när han på grund av arvsrätt ville få välsignelsen; han kunde nämligen icke vinna någon ändring, fastän han med tårar sökte därefter.
Heb 10:36 I behöven nämligen ståndaktighet för att kunna göra Guds vilja och få vad utlovat är.
Heb 10:37 Ty "ännu en helt liten tid, så kommer den som skall komma, och han skall icke dröja;
Heb 10:38 och min rättfärdige skall leva av tro. Men om någon drager sig undan, så finner min själ icke behag i honom".
Heb 10:39 Dock, vi höra icke till dem som draga sig undan, sig själva till fördärv; vi höra till dem som tro och så vinna sina själar.

Ord 25:26 Såsom en grumlad källa och en fördärvad brunn, så är en rättfärdig som vacklar inför den ogudaktige.

Upp 3:16 Men nu, då du är ljum och varken varm eller kall, skall jag utspy dig ur min mun.

Se Ljum, sammanblandad, mixad, förväxlad, utbytt, utväxlad, ersatt, avlöst, efterträdd, liknöjd, likgiltig!

2Ti 4:7 Jag har kämpat den goda kampen, jag har fullbordat mitt lopp, jag har bevarat tron.
2Ti 4:8 Nu ligger rättfärdighetens segerkrans tillreds åt mig, och Herren, den rättfärdige domaren, skall giva den åt mig på "den dagen", och icke åt mig allenast, utan åt alla som hava älskat hans tillkommelse.

Jesus HATES the deeds of the Nicolaitiane, which I also hate.

Rev. 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitianes, which I also hate. Nicolaitianes -To conquer the people or laity, these "deeds" had become in Pergamos a "doctrine" (Rev. 2:15)


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