Monthly Archives: December 2022

Study–Gospel of Matthew 25:1-30

The Gospel of Matthew is distinguished from those of Mark and Luke by the presence of five great discourses. The final discourse, usually called “the Olivet Discourse” is found in chapters 24 and 25.

These five discourses are marked by occurrences of the closing phrase “when Jesus had finished all these words” (7:28, 11:1, 13:53, 19:1, and 26:1). Thus, Matthew 25 continues unbroken from the end of Matthew 24 answering the questions his disciples had asked. It is not until Matthew 26:1 that we see the end of this discourse in Matthew and read “when Jesus had finished all these words.”

The content of Matthew 25 maintains the strong theme already seen introduced at Matthew 24:36: the disciples must be alert and occupied in the work Jesus had set before them, in. This theme continues into chapter 25 ending at Matthew 26:1. So our interpretation of each of these three parabolic narratives must contextually reflect what we see in chapter 24.

For example, it is important to see that the content of Matthew 25:31-46, the sheep and goats judgment, is part of the encouragement Jesus gave to the disciples to not give up. Look at the way Jesus continues to speak in a number of parables continuing to encourage those disciples and this fact must guide our interpretation. This is important.

So let’s look at the first two of these well-known parabolic narrative-pictures which Jesus uses to stress the importance of the disciples being about his business. In each we see two groups of people: the wise and foolish girls, the ‘well-done’ slaves and the ‘worthless, lazy’ slave.

V1.  “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.

-the kingdom of heaven will be comparable: This opening phrase reminds us of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom in Matthew 13.-virgins: Jesus paints a typical marriage scene with the custom of a group of girls (teenagers?) waiting for the coming bridegroom. The virgins represent those expecting the soon coming of the Son of Man.

V2-4.  Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take extra oil with them; but the prudent ones took oil in flasks with their lamps.

-five were foolish, five prudent: Some will be prepared for the coming bridegroom but not all. The disciples are warned to be properly prepared.

V6-6.  Now while the groom was delaying, they all became drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there finally was a shout: ‘Behold, the groom! Come out to meet him.’

-groom delayed: Some will ask where is he? Or say that He will never come. These will be ‘asleep’. This was played out e,g., see 2 Peter 3:4.-at midnight: The coming of the groom will seem delayed but he will come at an unexpected time, though imminent, for these girls–a few hours hence at the most! Certainly not a very long time. In fact they have been told that the Divine Groom will come within the lifetime of some of those listening (Mat 24:30-34).-the shout: compare with 1 Cor 15:51ff , 1 Thes 4:17-18.

V7-11. Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish said to the prudent ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ However, the prudent ones answered, ‘No, there most certainly would not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the merchants and buy for yourselves.’  But while they were on their way to buy, the groom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Yet later, the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’

-on their way to buy: the disciples can be too busy, distracted by worldly matters & miss the groom.-and the door was shut: just like Noah and God shut the door.

vs12-13.  But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ But be on the alert then, because you do not know the day nor the hour.

-truly: assuredly (amen), I do not know you: These are the foolish girls. But the true elect know the Lord. (Compare this with Mat 7:22-23 and Genesis 7:16)

-you: That is, the disciples he was addressing, not people ages away. This will be critical for them. It is not addressed to us today as that day has already long past.

-the day nor hour: He does not say ‘the decade or the age’ when he will come—it’s much closer.

Now let’s look at the second of the 3 passages of promises and warnings that Jesus gave his disciples.

V14-15. For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.

– about to go on a journey: Of course, Jesus is the man soon to leave them and ascend to the Father

– entrusted his possessions to them: Jesus has taught them the Kingdom of God and commissioned his disciples to teach all peoples what he taught them.

-to one he gave . . : Jesus will also give various gifts, talents and tasks to suit each disciple’s ability

V15-18. The one who had received the five talents immediately went and did business with them, and earned five more talents. In the same way the one who had received the two talents earned two more. But he who received the one talent went away and dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.

went and did: risk taking no problem—he trusted the Master to supply and to bless obedience

-hid his master’s money: fear was in his heart lest he lose what was not his, so he had no intention of following his master’s orders. Disobedience.

V19-23. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have earned five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your master.’ “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have earned two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your master.’

-after a long time:  but not centuries! Just longer than they expect! (see also 2 Peter 3:3-4)

-well done . . . : the master keeps his promise, the disciples are assured of rewards for faithfulness

V24-29. “Now the one who had received the one talent also came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed. 25 And I was afraid, so I went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you still have what is yours.’ “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You worthless, lazy slave! Did you know that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed? 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore: take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

– money back with interest: this servant didn’t even have some earnings from interest to give back.

– worthless, lazy slave: the servant was severely castigated by the master

-take the talent away from him: he loses any small credit and another receives it.

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 And throw the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

-buried talents: if a talent is not put to service, it is taken away—a warning to the disciples.

-outer darkness: this worker is deemed worthless and becomes eternally lost.

Thanks for reading so far. A future article will treat the rest of Matthew 25.

Christmas is Popular

By David Pellowe of The Good Sauce

iBible 2022, RevelationMedia

Nearly every Australian can’t wait to put up their lights and decorations.

Retailers rush to sell them as early as possible, and tell us all it’s Christmas.

Of course, no one actually says it’s the celebration of the birth of God’s Anointed One, His Divine Son clothed in humanity, born in poverty to a working class family in Roman-occupied Judea-Samaria.

‘Progressives’ have helped us move on from anything anchored in history.

No commercial or official public observation of the season acknowledges the profoundly spiritual significance, and the fulfilment of the long-prophesied life and mission of Jesus the Christ.

Secularists have helped us vandalise the transcendent and scorn anything incomprehensible without the supernatural.

The nations which officially celebrate His birth with two extra days off work or penalty rates — a social phenomenon repeated again to remember His sacrificial death — don’t get much reminder of the morally crucial reasons for Christmas, or the pointed lessons we should take from it.

Yet we live in a culture which boasts of its ability to achieve moral excellence without a Moral Law Giver, and proceeds to take great pride in all kinds of immorality and ethical relativism.

Christmas should make intellectually honest people so incredibly uncomfortable they demand a resolution to the neo-liberal hypocrisies Christmas exposes.

Instead, we lie about the meaning of Christmas, and fill each other’s heads with all kinds of warm and fuzzy distractions to drown out the voice that won’t go away, that voice which never quits whispering, “God is real, and worse, you desperately need Him!”

Anything but the Truth at Christmas.

Here are three culturally confronting things everybody should remember every time they see a Christmas coverup like reindeer, elves, gingerbread houses, toy soldiers or “happy holidays”.

 “Peace on earth”

When Jesus came to earth the first time, it was as a servant on a mission to solve a problem.

The problem was there was no possibility of peace between humanity and God.

The solution was always going to be Jesus giving His life 33 years later in the place of you and me to satisfy divine justice for our multiple moral failures and restore the possibility of peace between us and God.

It was knowing this that a vast, heavenly army of angels appeared to the shepherds the night of His birth announcing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased!”

Not coincidentally, those shepherds worked in the village where lambs were specifically born and raised for future sacrifice in the temple for people’s sins, according to Jewish law.

This pointed to the purpose of Christ’s birth and life mission, and so the meaning of Christmas.

The culturally confronting lesson here is one Jesus later taught, and that is that everyone “who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.”

The Good News of Christmas is that’s not the end of the story, but just the beginning.

God saw us already condemned, and sent His Son to earth to be born miraculously and to miraculously make peace possible between us and God.

 “Wise men with three gifts”

No, there weren’t three wise men, or three kings, and they didn’t visit baby Jesus in the manger.

A class of wise men and priests who were astrologers, also known as “magi”, traveled from the Persian kingdoms of the Middle East, a few years after Jesus was born.

There’s no way such wealthy elites would have risked traveling in a small group of three, and it’s implausible their caravan would have brought small quantities of gifts to present to Someone they described as “born King” Who they came to worship.

They brought three types of gifts, and instead of teddy bears, baby rattles or toys, each of the gifts was prophetically symbolic of the significance of this unique child’s birth and life mission.

Gold, frankincense and myrrh were extremely precious gifts, more helpful for a king than a baby.

Gold certainly symbolised Christ’s royalty and is easily recognised as bestowing great honour as well as wealth on what was probably previously a not so well off family.

It’s unlikely they tossed Him their spare change in coins.

Frankincense is an aromatic resin that was more expensive in those days than the average home could afford to use as air freshener in the out house.

It was used in Persia as incense in ceremonial worship of a deity.

In this way, the magi demonstrated their understanding of not only Jesus’ royalty, but His Divinity.

Myrrh was used in the ancient world as a perfume and anointing oil, and was also used in healing.

Most importantly as it relates to the meaning of Christmas, it was an ingredient in the mixture of spices which was used to prepare bodies for burial.

These gifts together indicate that the Divine King of the Universe humbled Himself as humanity with a mission to give His life to save the world.

Christmas is not about whatever you want it to be about.

 “Santa Claus”

Santa’s name, adapted over various cultures to modern sounds we find harder to understand in English, was actually Saint Nicholas.

Say that with an exaggerated Scandinavian accent out loud and you may see the similarity, depending on how well you do Swedish impersonations.

Saint Nicholas was the Christian Bishop of Myra, in modern-day Turkey, about 300 years before imperialist Islam was invented.

History tells how he was born to wealthy parents, gave away all his wealth to the poor and oppressed, and was jailed just for being Christian.

Santa Claus was the first pro-life Christian activist.

Upon his release from jail, he preached against killing unwanted babies, a common practice then too.

Many babies were conceived in sexual rituals at the Temple of Diana.

Locals eventually pulled down and destroyed the pagan temple, convicted by Santa’s preaching.

I love Santa Claus: a real, historic person and an unapologetic, public Christian whose love for Jesus confronted and helped change culture.

We need more culture warriors like him today!

Far from letting Santa distract you or your kids from the real meaning of Christmas, let his story remind you that Jesus was born, lived and died to destroy the curse of sin and evil.

His sacrificial death then invited people around the world to peace: restored friendship with God in such a way that it lifts up people and nations brave enough to confront their sinfulness.

The lessons Christmas teaches our culture is that we’re not okay.

We’re sin-infected and already condemned without the opportunity Christmas represents to make peace with God, as the angels testified to shepherds who knew exactly the blood price which sin demands.

It teaches that Jesus was not just a man, but the Divine King of Kings Whose birth was the beginning of a mission to die so that we might have eternal life.

Christmas is not just a time for family and penalty rates, prawns and backyard cricket.

Santa teaches us it’s a confronting celebration of the One Who has the power to shatter false religions and calibrate cultures to the Kingdom of God.

His Gospel brings hope for real justice, liberty, peace and mercy to citizens and societies that are willing to honestly hear the sermon of Santa’s life: the real meaning of Christmas to culture.

REVOLUTIONIZE” your Christian walk

By Andrew Strom.

Practical steps that will “REVOLUTIONIZE” your Christian walk:

For many years now I have studied the accounts of past Revivals
and Revivalists. But when you study this topic, one of the things
you see very quickly is that we in the church today are living well
below the level of Christianity that should be considered ‘normal’.
(-Even a lot of “Spirit-filled” believers today). When you see what
kind of Gospel was preached and what kind of Christian life was
lived in the Revival days of old, you start to hunger for that kind of
Christianity again. And you start to see that there is a kind-of
“Revived” life that is very attainable for us all today – but so few
are walking in it – or are even told that it exists.

In many ways, what I am talking about is the ‘Normal’ Christian
life. It is nothing else but the “new creation” life found in Romans
chapters 6 – 8. There is nothing “amazing” about it at all. Yet it is
so far above the kind of Christianity that we have been led to
expect, that many think it “unattainable”. How very sad – because
it is the free gift of God to us all.

Is it possible to walk before God in a constant state of being
‘clean’ before Him – and knowing it? Is it possible to walk with a
truly pure heart and clean conscience as our “normal” state –
every day? Is it possible to live in true victory over sin – at a
practical level? Is it possible to have the strongholds of sin and
pride in our fallen nature so dealt-with that they hardly bother us at all?

The answer to these questions is ‘Yes’. And one of the key things
that our website has to be about, is how to come into this kind of
Christianity – how to literally have a “personal Revival”.


As all Scripture and Revival history shows – a true Revival begins
with “Deep Repentance”. And in our personal lives, it so often
begins with making a “list” – literally – of ANY sin or compromise
or “cloud” that is in our life – and confessing those sins to God
with real sorrow and repentance. Any person who cannot make a
‘LIST’ like that – and spend time confessing their sins before God
(-and forsaking them!) – is not really serious about becoming
‘Revived’. This is the first place to start.

In fact, please stop reading this right now. Please find a piece of
paper and write down a List of every sin or ‘doubtful’ thing in your
life. Ask God to “shine His light” into your heart and show you
everything that you need to repent of. Then simply get alone with
Him and go through that List – repenting of each thing one by one –
deeply confessing and forsaking them before the Lord.

I believe a lot of people will have a “Personal Revival” just through
doing that! -In fact, I know of many people who have literally been
‘revived’ through this simple process. So please – DO IT NOW! This
first step is so important that I do not believe there is any point
reading further until you have gone through it.

THEN – “WALKING” in it:

Now, after you have been through this Repentance process, what
you are left with is a CLEAN CONSCIENCE. [-This is assuming
that you have already been through the other basic steps found in
Romans 6 – 8. ie. WATER-BAPTISM (-a “death” to the old life)
and also RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT (-without which we do
not have the ‘POWER’ to walk in a truly ‘Revived’ state). Please
see my other articles for more on these two steps if you need to].

Assuming that you have these basic things in place, and that you
have now REPENTED DEEPLY by confessing your sins to God
one by one, you should now sense a RENEWED COMMUNION
with God through having a totally CLEAN CONSCIENCE before
Him. Is that what you are sensing?

The Bible speaks many times of having a conscience that is
“sprinkled clean” by God. -And what a precious thing this is! In
fact, it is fair to say that the Christian life consists of- (1) GETTING
a clean conscience, and (2) KEEPING it clean! -It is pretty much
as simple as that!

So how do you “walk” in a ‘Revived’ state before God? -Simply by
walking in a way that KEEPS YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAN. That
is what Romans 8 is all about! -That is what 1 John 3 is all about!
-Keeping your heart PURE before God. -Getting a clean
conscience and WALKING IN IT – by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Special blessings to all.