The small fellowship we attend in England received a most urgent warning this week - that time is short and we have to step up a notch. The speaker was Graham Walker, who told us: 'Salvation is a free gift, but rewards are earned...'
Graham looked at two of Jesus' parables about a nobleman who went away for a long time, leaving people in charge of money and talents, and then came back expecting a return on his investment. Yes, that sure sounds like Jesus, who has gone away and has left His followers in charge of money, the gifts He has given them, and the talents He has placed in them. He wants a return on His investment, folks!
Read for yourself in Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27. In the Matthew parable, the servants were left with different amounts. The servant with five talents used what he had been given and made another five talents for his master. His reward was to be put in charge of many things. Ditto the servant with two talents, who gained two more - put in charge of many things because he had proven himself faithful. The servant who hid his one talent and did nothing with it was denounced as wicked and lazy, and thrown into the outer darkness. This parable shows that whatever you can do, although it may seem small, do it and you will receive a reward.
In the Luke parable, ten servants were all given the same, one mina. When the master returned, he called the servants to account. One had gained 10 minas for him, and was set over ten cities. Another had gained five and was put over five citiess. One wrapped his mina in a hanky and did nothing with it. He was denounced as a worthless slave and his mina was taken away and given to the one who had 10. This is serious stuff!
Graham said: 'This should be a wake up call for us. As the church, we look to the Lord's return; we need to do our jobs!' He said the rapture of the church* could come at any time. The fact that he was speaking on Sept 16, 2012, made this all the more pointed, because it was the Jewish Feast of Trumpets - the feast which points to the rapture of the church, the Bride of Christ.
'We need to do all we can to tell people that they need the Lord; it is essential that we do that,' he said. 'Are we doing all we can for the Lord? Are we using every talent He's given us?
'Our job is to take the gospel out. People can ignore it, which is the same as being against it, but we will have done our job. Time is running out.
'This is a plea from my heart. I hate to think of anyone here going to Hell. Scripture gives us all the warnings we need. There is a way of escape. I pray today that if anyone here does not know for absolutely certain that they are born again**, please speak to one of us after the service - and anyone who hears this message. Our job is to be faithful witnesses.'
You can get Graham's message and much else from the Tongham Christian Fellowship website http://www.yeshuaspeople.com/
As we were putting this article together, a lady in England phoned us. Although she is a recent widow, she is carrying on with the little street stall she and her husband ran, selling Bibles and Christian material, and witnessing to people at the market, often passing out free material to poor people who need to hear the gospel. Is she going to get a reward or what? Her husband already has his! I hope this inspires someone out there to start doing whatever it is the Lord is telling them to do!
*The rapture of the church is the 'catching up' of all true Christians from the earth to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. The signs of the times indicate that the rapture is very near. See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and I Cor 15:51-52.
**The term 'born again' is what Jesus used when speaking to Nicodemus in John's gospel chapter 3. 'Unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.' You must be born again! This is a spiritual birth which occurs when you believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him completely for your salvation. It is supernatural, something God does, even though you may not feel a thing at the time.
A good prayer: 'Dear Jesus, You said we have to be born again. Please help me. I am a sinner (remember and name your sins). Please forgive me. I put my trust completely in You. You died on the cross for sinners and only You can forgive me. I believe you were buried and rose from the dead on the third day, like the Bible teaches. Please make me one of your people. Please cause me to be born again.'
A good prayer if you are a Christian: 'Oh Lord, I want to be a good steward of Your money and the gifts You have given me. I want to hear You say "Well done, good and faithful servant." Please help me use my money wisely, not giving to religious rascals and charlatans, but giving as You would have me give. Please help me also use my talents wisely, and not waste my time. I want to lay up treasure in Heaven, Lord! I want to get a reward, not a rebuke! Please help me today to do something for You!'