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Lesson 34
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Lesson 34

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Ten Virgins (25:1-13)

Servants with Talents (25:14-30)

Sheep and Goats (25:31-46)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Kingdom, virgins, bridegroom, wise, foolish, oil, watch, servants, talents, gained, good and faithful, wicked and lazy, sheep, goats, one of the least of these, everlasting punishment, eternal life.

II.    Segment Analysis

1. It continues the theme of being watchful. Compare 25:13 and 24:42,44.

2. When Christ returns, He will receive His bride, the church (Rev 19:7; 21:2)

3a. They all took lamps. They all slumbered and slept. They all arose and trimmed their lamps.

3b. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

4a. Whether the oil represents the Holy Spirit or good deeds, we should learn from the wise virgins by preparing ourselves spiritually. We need to abide in Christ by living righteous lives (1Jn 2:28; cf Rev 16:15). Only then will the bridegroom acknowledge and welcome us (cf. Mt 25:12).

4b. We cannot wait until Christ comes to start preparing ourselves because that would be too late. We also cannot rely on someone else, such as our spouse, parents, or minister, to enter God’s kingdom.

5. If we indulge in our desires in this life rather than be spiritually sober, we are actually choosing to distance ourselves from God. That is why the bridegroom said to the foolish virgins, “I do not know you.” They confessed the Lord with their mouths, but in their hearts and conduct they were far from God (Jas 4:4,5).

6. We must put them to use to help and build up others.

7a. This is the principle on which God’s requirement is based, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Lk 12:48). God expects us to give our best according to what we have received (2Cor 8:12). So we should each fulfill our responsibilities without comparing with the work of others.

7b. The servant’s blame on the master all the more proved his wickedness and laziness. He used the excuse that the master would make unreasonable demands and expected him to give beyond his capacity. As we can see in the previous question, this was far from the truth. The master’s concession in 26 does not mean that he agreed with the servant. He was telling the servant that even if he was a hard man, the servant could have at least given the talent to the bank.

8. If we do not put our God-given talents to work, we may eventually lose these talents and come under the punishment of our master.

9. God is fair because He does not require from us what we have not received. He is gracious because He considers us worthy and has entrusted to us talents of great value. In the parable, the faithful servants were given the authority to rule over many things because they had been faithful over few things. Likewise, the reward we receive from God will be much greater than our efforts deserve.

10. The third section does not begin with “the kingdom of heaven is like.” This is because the prediction in 31 and 32a is not an analogy but will occur exactly as Jesus predicted. The parable only starts with 32b “as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”

11. Humility and love. The sheep were humble in that they served the least of the brethren (40; cf 18:4,5).

12. The word “least” here is probably used according to human standards. These least of the brethren would be those whom the people of the world look down on. But the King calls them “my brethren.” In God’s kingdom, even the least significant member (i.e. by worldly standards) is honorable.

14. The righteous were not aware that they were doing these things to the Lord because of their humility in believing themselves to be “unworthy servants” who were only fulfilling their duties (Lk 17:10). The ignorance of the wicked showed that they had looked down on the little ones, not realizing that they were the King’s brethren.

  We should serve all our brothers regardless of their social or economic standing. While doing so, there is no need to keep record of our good work.

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