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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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To Seek And To Save

Parable of The Pounds

Luke 19.11-27
(Resourced from C. H. Spurgeon)

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A.     The Emergence Of The Servants [- THERE ARE HERE TWO SETS OF PERSONS] 

1.      The Slanderers (vs 14) [- The enemies - An Historic Story – C.H. Spurgeon - I confess I never thoroughly saw the meaning of this parable till I was directed by an eminent expositor to a passage in Josephus, which, if it be not the key of it, is a wonderfully close example of a class of facts which, no doubt, often occurred in the Roman empire in our Savior's day. Herod, you know, was king over Judaea; but he was only a subordinate king under the Roman emperor. Caesar at Rome made and unmade kings at his pleasure. When Herod died he was followed by his son Archelaus, of whom we read in Matthew's account of our Lord's infancy that when Joseph heard that Archelaus was king in Judea in the room of his father Herod he was afraid to go thither. This Archelaus had no right to the throne till he obtained the sanction of Cesear, and therefore he took ship with certain attendants, and went to Rome, which in those days was a far country, that he might receive the kingdom, and return. While he was on the way his citizens, who hated him, sent an ambassage after him, so has the Revised Version correctly worded it; and this ambassage bore this message to Caesar:—"We will not that this man reign over us." The messengers represented to Caesar that Archelaus was not fit to be king of the Jews. Certain of the pleadings are recorded in Josephus, and they show that barristers nineteen hundred years ago pleaded in much the same style as their brethren of to-day. The people were weary of the Herods, and preferred anything to their cruel rule. They even asked that Judaea might become a Roman province, and be joined to Syria, rather than they should remain under the hated yoke of the Idumean tyrants. It is evident that in the case of Archelaus his citizens hated him, and said, "We will not have this man to reign over us." It pleased Caesar to divide the kingdom, and to put Archelaus on the throne as ethnarch, or a ruler with less power than a king. When he returned he took fierce revenge upon those who had opposed him, and rewarded his faithful adherents most liberally. This story of what had been done thirty years before would, no doubt, rise up in the recollection of the people when Jesus spoke, for Archelaus had built a palace for himself very near to Jericho, and it may be that under the walls of that palace the Savior used the event as the basis of his parable. Those who lived in our Lord's day must have understood his allusions to current facts much better than we do who live nineteen centuries later. The providence of God provided that observant Jew, Josephus, to store up much valuable information for us. Read the passage in his history, and you will see that even the details tally with this parable. There is the story.] [—Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.), 1960 The servants and the pounds – Luke 19.13-14] 

a.      [Wrongful Hatred - They hated him without cause. Perhaps the dukes of our Lord’s day had plenty of reason to oppose the Herod’s and their ruthless reign.  But those that hate the Lord Jesus Christ cannot justify their vehemence.  What was the character of our Lord Jesus Christ?] 

(1)   [He treated each individual with respect and honor.  He dress like them and did not lavish himself among them so as to humiliate them.  He met their needs, and often their desires, with grace and kindness. Everything our Lord said or did he accomplished with mercy, grace, and great sacrifice.  There is certainly no basis for their hatred of our Lord.] 

b.      [Willful Hatred - As he claimed to be the King of the Jews, they especially hated his royalty.  His lineage was one that none could match.  Born of the house  of David. Yet, they willfully choose to hate him the more.] 

c.       [Wandering Hatred - Indifferent hatred - Do any of you hate him? "No," say you. Yet are not some of you who do not oppose him treating him with greater contempt than if you did oppose him? You pass him by altogether, he is not in all your thoughts; you act as if he were not worthy even to be opposed: you make nothing of him. He is not among the objects for which you live. Sometimes you may speak with a partial admiration of his character; but earnest admiration leads to imitation. If Jesus be a Savior, what worse can you do to him than to refuse to be saved by him? I charge you indifferent ones with being, in the core of your hearts, his worst enemies. Oh that you would repent of this, and turn unto him, for he is coming again, and when he comes he will say, "As for these mine enemies, slay them before mine eyes." The expression is full of terror. To be slain before the eyes of injured love is doubly death. The Lord by his grace deliver us from so dread a doom! —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

2.      The Servants (vs 13; Psalm 16.16; 1 Cor 6.20; Gal 6.17; John 3.3-7; 1.12-13; Rev 3.20; Rom 12.1-2) [- The other set of persons were his servants] 

a.      [Born Servants Bond Servants or Salves - the original would justify the translation, his bond-servants. Those who were not his enemies were his faithful servants. I suppose that the nobleman had bought them with his money, or that they had been born in his house, or that they had willingly bound themselves by indentures to him.  Does the idea of being our Lord’s slave repulse you?]  

[We were never free till we came under bonds to Jesus,
and we grow in freedom as we yield to him.

—Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)]

(1)   [Born Servants (Psalm 16.16) – As our Lords servants We take a great delight in owning him as Master: like David, who said, "I am thy servant"; and then again, "I am thy servant"; and then again, "and the son of thine handmaid." He was born a servant, born of a mother who was also herself a servant. After all this he added, "thou hast loosed my bonds." Servitude to Christ is perfect freedom, and in every respect we have found it so —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

1 Corinthians 6:20 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Galatians 6:17 . . . I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

b.      [Reborn Servants (John 3.3-7; 1.12-13; Rev 3.20) – Not only are we our Lord’s servants by birth, but more notably we are our Lord’s servants through our re-birth.  The new birth is that supernatural act whereby our Heavenly Father responds to our conscious decision to be wholly consecrated to Him.  It is our reasonable response to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and our willing submission to His mastery of our will, being, and life.] 

[John 3:3-7 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. ]

[John 1:12-13 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ]

[Revelation 3:20 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ]

c.       [Resolved Servants (Rom 12.1-2) - Willing Servants – Servants with all our affection and being.] 

[Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ]

B.     The Engagements of These Servants (vs 13; Mark 13.32) [- Their lord was going away, and he left his ten servants in charge with a little capital, with which they were to trade for him till he returned. He did not tell them how long he would be away, perhaps he did not know himself—I mean the king in the story: even our Master says,]  

[Mark 13:32 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. ]

1.      This Was Respectable [(honorable)] Work [- They were not entrusted with large funds, but the amount was enough to serve as a test. It put them upon their honor. If they were really attached to their master they would feel that he had placed a confidence in them which they must justify.]  

a.      [Honorable trust - Slaves are not always to be entrusted with money; in fact, the tendency of bondage has been always to take away from men the quality of trustworthiness: our bondage to Christ has the opposite effect, because it is no bondage at all. These servants of the master were treated in some respect as partners, they were to have fellowship with him in his property. They were his confidants and trustees. His eye was not watching them, for he had gone into a far country, and he trusted them to be a law unto themselves. They were not to render a daily account, but to be left alone until he returned. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

2.      This Was Resourced Work (Amos 8.11) [- It was work for which he gave them capital - They were not capable of managing very much. If he found them faithful in "a very little" he could then raise them to a higher responsibility, I do not read that any one of them complained of the smallness of his capital, or wished to have it doubled.]  

a.      [Trade With It! Each one had a pound in his hand, and his lord only said, "Trade therewith." He did not expect them to do a wholesale business on so small a stock, but they were to trade as the market would allow. He did not expect them to make more than the pound would fairly bring in; for, after all, he was not "an austere man." "Take that pound," he said, "and do your best.—Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

(1)   [Do Not Fight With It! What they had to do with the pound was prescribed in general terms. They were to trade with it, not to play with it.  They were asked to live among their Lord’s enemies and even trade their Lord’s goods with their Lord’s enemies.  It would not be easy and they must be wise and harmless in their enterprises.  They must leave God’s enemies to our Lord and be faithful with their trust.] 

(2)   [Do Not Hoard It! No doubt certain of them might have thought that the pound would be useful to purchase them comforts, or even luxuries: one would buy a new coat, and another would bring home a piece of furniture for his house, and others would solemnly say, "We have our families to think of." Yes, but their lord did not say so; the master said, "Trade therewith until I come." They were neither to fight with it, nor hoard it, nor spend it, nor waste it, but to trade with it for him. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

(3)   [Do Not Display It!  They were not to glory over others who had not so much as a penny to bless themselves with; for though they were little capitalists, that capital was their lord's. A tradesman who is prospering seldom has much money to show; it is all wanted in his business. Sometimes he can scarcely put his hand upon a five-pound note, because his cash is all absorbed: his golden grain is all sown in the field of his trade. Speaking for myself, I cannot find any room for glorying in myself; for if I have either grace or strength, I certainly have none to spare. I have barely enough for the work in hand, and not enough for the service in prospect. Our pound is not to be hung on our watch-chain, but to be traded with. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

b.      [Trade For Our Lord - Trading represents a life which may be called common-place; but it is eminently practical: and it has an exceedingly practical effect upon the person engaged in it. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

(1)   [No Specific Trade - They were not tied down to a special kind of trade. The man who made his one pound into ten chose the best form of business. He sought not that which was most pleasant, but that which was most profitable. So you are left, dear friends, to choose your own line of service for your Master, only you must trade for him, and for him everything must be done well. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

(2)   [The Best Kingdom Return - At the present time no trading pays better than the mission to the Congo, or to the hill-tribes of India: large dividends come also from dealings with the poorest of the poor in the slums, and as much from widows and orphans who are in extreme destitution. When men have to lay down their lives for the Lord Jesus, after a life languished away with fever, the returns are amazing. Where the need is greatest our Lord receives most glory. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

1)      [The Best Return in Contemporary Christianity – Today the need is for Christians and Churches who recognize the Soverignty or Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the providential preservation of the Word of God.  Above all things in our day, it is clear that there is a famine of the Word of God today.]  

[Amos 8:11 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: ]

(3)   [Trade for our Lord’s Kingdom - It is left to you to judge what you can do, how you can do it, and where you will do it. Do that which will most surely win souls, and that which will best establish your Lord's kingdom. Exercise your very best judgment, and get into that line of holy service in which you can bring in the largest revenue for your glorious Master. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ]

c.       [Trade For Your Growth - The work which he prescribed was one that would bring them out.  ] 

(1)   [Trading in hard times - The man that is to succeed in trade in these times must have confidence, look alive, keep his eyes open, and be all there. Our times are hard, but not so hard as those described in the parable when the faithful servants were trading in the midst of traitors; they had need of sharp wits. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

(2)   [Trade develops a man's perseverance, patience, and courage: it tests honesty, truthfulness, and firmness. It is a singularly excellent discipline for character. When this nobleman gave his servant the pound, it was that he might see what stuff he was made of. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

(3)   [Trade requires discipline - Trade with small capital means personal work and drudgery, long hours and few holidays; plenty of disappointment and small gains. It means working with might and main, and doing the thing with all your heart and mind. In such a manner are we to serve Christ.]  

(4)   [This trade requires vision - You are to trade for the Lord Jesus Christ in a higher and yet more emphatic sense than that in which you have traded for yourselves. With your physical strength, your mental faculties, your substance, your family, with everything—you are to bring glory to God, and honor to the name of Jesus. It is to be your life-business to work for Jesus, and with Jesus.] 

(5)   [This trade is not about provision - They were not to provide for themselves from this pound.  As bondservants they lived under their master’s roof, and were clothed, sheltered and fed from His house.  No instead they were to Trade With It!] 

3.      This Was Reasonable Work [– let us notice that it was work suitable to their capacity.] 

a.      [It was suitable for them - Small as the capital was, it was enough for them; for they were no more than bondsmen, not of a high grade of rank or education.  They could not complain that they were placed in a business which was too heavy for them to manage. ] 

b.      [The Lord Jesus Christ does not ask you to do more than you can do; he does not break you down with cares beyond your capacity. We have not yet reached the limit of our powers: we can yet do more. Jesus is no exacting master; it is only a false and lying servant who will call him "an austere man, reaping where he has not sowed." Nothing of the kind. He has given us a light business: our work for him is suited to our limited powers, and he is ready, by his Holy Spirit, to assist us. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 


1.      They were to believe in the Masters return as a King [- The citizens did not believe it. They hoped that Caesar would refuse him the throne; but we are to be sure that our noble Master will receive the kingdom.] 

a.      [His servants were to regard their absent master as already king, and they were so to trade among his enemies that they should never compromise their own loyalty. They were of the king's party, and of no other. It is a very awkward position to be in, to trade among people that are enemies to your king: you need in such a case to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. . . .We have to bring glory to God out of men who hate him: we have to magnify our Lord among men who would, if they could, again crucify him. We have to go in and out among them in such a manner that they can never say that we side with them in their rebellion, or wink at their disloyalty. We cannot be "Hail fellow: well met!" with those whose life is a practical insult to the crown rights of King Jesus. We must above all things prove ourselves loyal to our absent Lord, lest he appoint us our portion among his enemies. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

b.      [I find that the original would suggest to any one carefully reading it that they were to regard their master as already returning. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 

c.       [THE SECRET DESIGN OF THE LORD. Did it ever strike you that this nobleman had a very kindly design towards his servants? Did this nobleman give these men one pound each with the sole design that they should make money for him? It would be absurd to think so. A few pounds would be no item to one who was made a king. No, no! It was as Mr. Bruce says, "he was not money-making, but character-making." His design was not to gain by them, but to educate them.—Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

(1)   [First, their being entrusted with a pound each was a test. This nobleman said to himself, "When I am a king I must have faithful servants in power around me. My going away gives me an opportunity of seeing what my servants are made of. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

(2)   [It was also a preparation of them for future service. He would lift them up from being servants to become rulers. They were, therefore, to be put in a place of measurable responsibility, and to be made men of thereby. They were to be rulers over a very little—say a pound, and that which came of it, and this would be an education for them. In the process of trading they would be in training to rule. The best way to learn to be a master is to be first a servant, and the reason why some masters are hard and tyrannical is because they do not know the heart of a servant by experience. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.)] 

2.      They were to believe in the Masters reward as a King  [- Though there may be degrees of glory, the only difference will be in the capacity of the blessed to contain it. All the vessels will be full, but they will not be all equally large: the man of the ten pounds will simply be a larger vessel, full to the brim; and the man with the five will be less capacious, but quite as full, to his own glad amazement and joyful bewilderment. —Spurgeon's Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) ] 



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