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The Last Days Parables covers the Ten Virgins, The Talents and the Sheep and Goats. Jesus used these teachings to show what it means to be prepared for His return. 

The Last Days Parables

Harmony Of The Gospels Series-37, Mt 25

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Here we are, in the middle of the climax of Jesus' life, just days before His death on the cross, and things seem almost peaceful.  What's remarkable is the lack of controversy. Jesus is spending some final quality time with His followers, preparing them for things to come. Last lesson, we covered his teaching on the end times. Now, we'll find out what He expects us to do to be ready for the end times. The most shocking thing about this teaching is how few of us are actually doing what Jesus said to do, to be ready for His return. What are we supposed to be doing? Is it our job to meet the needs of other Christians or the needs of the world? Is it our job to use His gifts and His money to provide an exclusively "Christian" environment for us and ours, or to risk it all, offering love in "non-Christian" environments? Should we build buildings for strangers to meet in, or build love in our living rooms and use the "building" money to spread love to people who will never enter the buildings?

Jesus uses three stories to illustrate what He expects of us while we await His return. He's already given several warnings concerning His return. Israel is a great Illustration for us of people not ready for His arrival. The question for us is, will we be any more ready? Though it's tempting to point fingers at this church, that denomination, or the other person, let's focus, instead, on ourselves. There may be some illustrations concerning current "church" life, but let's learn from them by applying the illustrations to the use of our gifts, our time, our treasure. Are we moving ahead or just moving around? We'll find out today, because, in Mt 25…

Jesus is clear about how He will measure our productivity as His followers.

1.  The Parable of the Ten Virgins:  Planning and Preparation: vs 1-13 His first lesson involves a strange marriage custom we don't fully understand, but the message rings loud and clear…the wise servant of God is the one who cares enough to plan and prepare. The wise virgins were prepared for the unexpected delay of the Groom. I remember when I first started to answer my calling as a full-time servant of God, my mentor told me I should get a college degree. I thought that would be a waste of time, after all, I was already 36 years old. He didn't convince me, but a few years later, I felt the Lord nudging me in the same direction. Thank you, Jesus! My Biblical education has been an invaluable tool to give me confidence and prepare me for God's work. I'm many times more effective than I was when I was in doubt about some Biblical issues.

Many of us bounce around without any preparation or planning for anything we do, and say, "Aw, that's good enough for God…He'll bless it even if it isn't perfect." Nothing we humans can do is perfect, but that's no excuse to do less than our best. The virgins that expected someone else to make up for their lack of preparation were called foolish, and kept from the banquet. The question we need to ask ourselves is, can we do better, plan better, be more prepared? Jesus told this whole story to let us know we need to be ready for His sudden return, even if it's delayed. That takes preparation. But what does being prepared mean?

2.  The Parable of the Talents:  Productivity over Protection: vs 14-30 Now that He's told us to be prepared for His return, He begins to define what "prepared" looks like. Jesus uses the story of the talents to describe how we should use what He gives us. A talent was an amount of money…more than $1,000, but the story applies as much to the time, gifts and abilities as it does to the money God gives us. Each of three servants gets an amount the master already knew he had the ability to manage. Two servants risked the master's money, doubled it, and were rewarded for their efforts. The third servant protected the master's money so that all of it would still be there when he returned. This servant was called useless. Why? He protected the money! He returned 100% of it! He didn't lose a penny! He didn't spend a penny on himself! Why would he be considered useless? Because the master gave him the money so he would put it to use to produce something. How many lessons do we need?

Continued at The Last Days Parables-2

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