Today Derek will be examining the Parable of the Talents. He uses this parable bring out the concept of how we must take what God has provided and invest it for the benefit of others. Scripture points out that even Paul offered himself as a slave to the Corinthians so they might inherit the kingdom of God.
In Matthew 25 verses 21 and 23 . This is the parable of the talents and you remember one man received five talents and another received two and another received one. You know I have discovered there are many, many one talent Christians. You know what many of them do? They take their one talent and they bury it.
I preached on this once to a congregation to which I had been an elder. I preached to the one talent Christian and when I said, “How many of you have to admit you haven’t been using your one talent? You need to repent.” About half the congregation came forward immediately. And I realized what a tremendous loss the body of Christ suffers because the people who have one talent think, “Well I don’t have much. There’s not much I can do.” And Jesus said to that person with the one talent, “If you couldn’t make money with it you should have invested it with the bankers and you would have got interest.”
So it’s not always wrong to get interest. You see? Some people think it is. I don’t think it is. If you get interest out of lending money to a brother in need, that’s wrong. But if you get interest out of lending to somebody who’s going to do business with it and make a profit, it’s perfectly legitimate to get interest.
Something more I want to say, it doesn’t come to me. “Lord, if You wanted me to say it, just help me to say it.” Yes, it’s very important. Don Double will say “Amen” to this. Listen, Jesus said “You can’t use it yourself then invest it with the bankers.” What does that mean to the one talent Christian? It means invest in another person’s ministry. Find a ministry that’s really bringing forth fruit. You can’t do much with your one talent but you can invest it in another ministry. And I would like to say to you when you take up the offering tomorrow for Donald Double and a few other people like Derek Prince, just bear in mind if you’ve only got one talent we can use it for you. Is that right Don? Amen.
I would like to say something about our ministry. I won’t take long, but our particular slogan is Reaching the Unreached and Teaching the Untaught. And when we first began that early in the 1980’s we were a little ministry and we were going into debt—about ten thousand dollars a month. You can’t do that for long and stay afloat. So Ruth and I went off to seek the Lord on our own for a little while, and while we were seeking Him He spoke to us. He said, “Don’t sell your material. Give it away because the people who really need it can’t afford to pay for it.” So we came back to our workers and we said we’ve decided we have to give the ministry away. I mean they were shocked. They could hardly believe it. But you know what, since we gave the material away we have never been in the red! The Bible says “Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over."
In those years since we made that decision we have reached more than eighty nations with my material. It has been translated into at least sixty languages. My radio broadcast is in thirteen languages other than English, including Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Arabic. I think at the present time radio is the best means to reach the Arabic speaking world, because in many cases you cannot go and preach the gospel openly. But the hungry people will pick it up and act on it.
Our broadcast goes from the Seychelles. And you know radio is a strange thing. I don’t understand but sometimes when the conditions are right it will reach a long way. And one of our broadcasts reached the Yemen which is a totally closed Moslem nation. And one young man heard just enough to get interested, wrote for material, and received Jesus as his Savior. Amen. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
Now let me just take Paul as a pattern of what I’m talking about. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 5. Now this is spoken as the letter indicates to the Corinthians and I want you, I’ll point out what kind of people they were. But Paul says,
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
But the Greek says your slaves. Notice there are three steps. First of all set aside yourself. You don’t have anything to give from yourself. Set it aside. Don’t be self-centered. Don’t be self-promoting. Set that all aside. Then you preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. You lift up Jesus. Jesus said, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men to Me.” And it’s always true when you sincerely and humbly lift up Jesus He begins to draw people. And then it says your slaves for Jesus’ sake.
Now listen, Paul had been educated in the best rabbinic schools. He was an orthodox Jew. And you may not know the orthodox Jews but for many centuries, I don’t think in the time of Paul, a Jewish orthodox man always prays two things every morning; “thank God I’m a Jew and not a Gentile, I’m a man and not a woman.” That’s what is built into their thinking. Paul had the same attitude. He was a student of one of the best Rabbis. What do you think it meant Paul to go to Corinth, which was a big wicked port city, and lay his life down and say to those people “We are your slaves. We’re here to serve you.”
What sort of people were they? Well it’s very interesting. In 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 9 to 11, Paul writing to the same people says this.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”
Do you know that incidentally? You can call yourself by any label, but if you’re unrighteous you will not inherit the kingdom of God. A lot of Christians don’t know that. Now then, Paul goes on,
“Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor reviler, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
That’s a long list of people who will not get to heaven. And let me say, you can be born into the kingdom of God but never inherit it. There’s a long period in your life between when you are born again and when your eternal destiny is finally settled. And then this is what I want to point out. Paul says,
“And such were some of you.”
What kind of people was he writing to? Let me give you the list—fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners. And to those people this proud Jewish Rabbi said, “We are your slaves.” Can you say that to people? Do you dare to go to people and say, “We are your slaves.”
Now I spent five years in Africa as principal of a teacher training college for African students. And I had many weaknesses and I made many mistakes. But one thing was very clear to me from the first day. I was there to serve the African people. And my name is still remembered. Don can bear witness to that to this day, thirty years and more later, my name is still remembered among them because I was their servant.
You know one thing that delighted me. I’d been ministering in London for about six or seven years and there you had to force the gospel on people. When I got to Kenya I couldn’t believe it. There were people who actually wanted to hear the gospel. I mean it was incredible to me. It took me a long while to get adjusted.
You know that Africa is a much more Christian continent than Europe today. You know that? And they’re sending missionaries to us. Thank God for them. Send them, Lord, we need them. They’re grateful people because they know that Britain, British Christians, in many cases brought the gospel to their nation. Now they see our desperate spiritual need and they’re willing to bring it back. And I think it was Don was telling me about a Nigerian pastor in England who paid six million pounds in cash for the property on which to build their church. You know why they’re wealthy? Because they give.
You’ve all heard of Kensington Temple where God is blessing in a unique way? I was some years back, I was with Winn Lewis (?) who was the former pastor, and he said to me personally, “Would you like to know when the move of God really started in Kensington Temple?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “One day seven Nigerian sisters came to me and said, ‘We’re going to fast and pray twice a week for your church.’ Since then we’ve taken off.” Thank God for the Nigerians. Amen.
Listen my dear Christian brothers and sisters, none of you here is more British than I am. I’m as British as the flag. I’m just planted in a different country. How many of you would take time to fast and pray for your nation?