by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Luke 17:1-10
I. Many denominations today struggle with the concept of obeying God.
A. Oh, they give lip service to the concept, but they find it appalling that anything we do affects our salvation
B. Most claim that all that is needed is faith and God does the rest.
C. Some realize that even faith is an action on man’s part and so they claim that faith comes from God.
D. I clipped an article about Barna Research Group
1. They were upset by one of their findings. They asked people if it was true that “God helps those who help themselves.”
2. 75% agreed.
3. But the researchers think it is false. “Why if man is able to determine his destiny then God has no role in our salvation! He is merely man’s assistant.”
E. I believe we can clarify the situation by looking at unprofitable servants mentioned in the Bible.
II. A disobedient servant is unprofitable
A. Some people talk like they are good servants, but they surely don’t act the part - Titus 1:16
B. Matthew 21:28-31 - Notice that action counts and not simple claims.
C. If we do not keep the Lord’s commandments, we are liars - I John 2:4
III. A servant who does nothing is unprofitable
A. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), a master is leaving town for a period of time. He gives three servants varying amount of funds, the amount in accordance with the servant’s ability. The first two were able to achieve profits with their lord’s money, but the last doesn’t even try to invest the money. He hides it and returns it to the Lord on his return.
B. Here is the response - Matthew 25:26-30
C. Did the actions of these servants affect their rewards when their lord returned? Why, of course.
D. A servant who will not serve is worthless to the master.
IV. A faithful servant does his duty - Matthew 24:45-47
A. We have to work on our salvation - Philippians 2:12
B. The servant in Luke 17:7-10 did his duty. It was expected of him. Yet, the servant (not the master) view himself as unprofitable for merely doing what was expected.
C. The problem is with people who think they only owe God faith.
1. They act as if anything beyond faith is “above and beyond the call of duty.”
2. The disciples had a rough time with the concept of having to forgive someone who wronged them multiple times a day. They asked Jesus to increase their faith.
3. Jesus’ answer was that it was their duty.
4. Their problem was in their own view their worthiness. - Luke 9:46, 22:24
a. Because they saw themselves as great, they thought giving forgiveness multiple times was going beyond the call of duty.
b. If they saw themselves as merely doing the expected, they would not have had that hard of a time forgiving others.
5. Their exaggerated view of themselves was a weakness in their faith, demonstrated in their reluctance to do as God asked of them.
D. Notice that the faithful servant doesn’t expect the master to serve him, even when the servant had been working hard all day - Luke 17:7
1. We work at our jobs, as our Lord commands, but at the end of the day or the end of the week, our thoughts turn to taking time for ourselves.
2. So many are upset at making time to go worship God each Sunday or spending a few hours in study of God’s word.
3. “I spend long hours working. When do I get any time for myself?”
4. What does our Master think of such service?
V. While masters on earth do not thank their servants for merely doing what is expected of them, our Master has promised a rich reward to his faithful servants.
A. We can never say that we are owed this reward because we are merely doing what is expected and often we perform poorly at our duties.
B. We cannot say that obeying God is something extra we do for him. To do so shows pride beyond our place.