Ardoch Parish Church

Sunday 15th November 2020

15th November Order of Service pdf

Download a copy of the Order of service

Ardoch Church extends a warm welcome to Gordon Roy who conducts our Service today

Hymn: I lift my eyes to You

I lift my eyes to you, whose throne is in heaven x2  

Like a servant to his master, Like a maid to her lady’s hand x3  

I lift my eyes to you, whose throne is in heaven x2  

We have stood the torments, The laughter of the proud x3  

We lift our eyes to you, Lord for your mercy 

Phyllis McLeod reads from

Matthew Chapter 25: v 14-30  

Hymn: Ye servants of God

Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim, 
And publish abroad his wonderful name: 
The name all-victorious of Jesus extol: 
His kingdom is glorious, and rules over all. 
God ruleth on high, almighty to save; 
And still he is nigh, his presence we have: 
The great congregation his triumph shall sing, 
Ascribing salvation to Jesus our 
Salvation to God who sits on the throne! 
Let all cry aloud, and honour the Son: 
The praises of Jesus the angels proclaim, 
Fall down on their faces, and worship the Lamb. 
Then let us adore, and give him his right: 
All glory and power, all wisdom and might, 
All honour and blessing, with angels above, 
And thanks never-ceasing, and infinite love. 

 Gordon’s sermon:
Who wants to be a millionaire?

Are you glad to see the TV programme back with a new presenter? Did you see the contestant winning a few weeks ago with the million-pound question being about pirates? But never mind the TV programme, who wants to be a millionaire? Would it change your life? Would it shape how you spent your money? How you spent your time? How hard you worked? Whose company you kept? Where – and how – you lived?

Well that is what’s on offer here – in more ways than one.

But first we’ve got a bit of catching up to do with Jesus. Since we last read in Matthew back in September, Jesus has stayed in and around the temple at Jerusalem, telling parables about the Kingdom, answering questions, warning the teachers of the Law – and therefore us too—about hypocrisy, then speaking out about the destruction of the temple and the end of the world. By the start of chapter 25, Jesus is in full flow again telling a parable about the ten bridesmaids waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. This is a very common Biblical image of Christ’s return and indeed of our relationship with Christ. They had all been invited but only half of them were ready and only half of them went into the feast. The time that they had spent waiting had been wasted and they were not ready to take up the bridegroom’s invitation.

So when we start reading today and the first verse says “so it is like a man going abroad,” then the “it” is the same “it” as the previous parable. This parable builds on the previous one to tell us how we are to wait for Christ’s return.

That waiting involves working. And it’s very well-paid work.

Although we talk of this parable as “the parable of the talents,” the translations that we use in Ardoch and Blackford speak for the parable of the bags of gold. It’s just a quirk of translation that we use the same word “talents” to mean a gift or skill as people of Jesus’ day used to refer to a unit of weight measurement. That’s the first clue about how much these three servants were given; it wasn’t counted out—it was weighted out. A footnote in the NIV Bibles helps here: “a talent was worth about 20 years of a day labourer’s wage. Let’s do the maths.

Before taking these figures back to the parable, just look at them in our context. Although it would take about 65 years to earn a million pounds at this rate, but add inflationary increases or promotion along the way, and many of those in current employment can expect to earn over a million pounds – pre-tax of course. Many reading this today are no longer earning a salary but the principle the value of what we earn over our life time remains. How much of that does God trust us with? All of it? How much does he say we can get by on? 90% of it, because the first 10% belongs to him. Are we OK getting by on the equivalent of £900,000 or are we not trusting God with that and cutting back on our offerings to the work of the local church and to Christian ministry elsewhere?

Back at the parable, the master has gone and it’s time to put at least 20 years’ salary to work; two of them get on

with it and one buries it in the sand, showing no interest, in more ways that one in the work that his master has engaged him for; the mission that he has been equipped for.

On return, both of the first two servants receive the same commendation; “well done, good and faithful servant.” What would it be like to hear that said by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Notice the two servants get the same commendation. It’s not about the size of what they generated; it’s about what they did with what they had. They were given a huge amount and putting it to work they produced more for the kingdom.

When we accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, we become millionaires in his service. He gave himself for us; gave his life for us; gave us immeasurably more than we could have asked or imagined – and calls us to respond by re-investing his resources for the kingdom. All that we have is from him. So, we don’t need to compare what we produce with others, because it all came from God. God’s commendation comes not based on what we did in relation to others but in relation to what he gave us.

Which is what makes it so sad to look at the third servant. The master made him a life changing offer – which of us wouldn’t find £300,000 lifechanging? And he didn’t want to know about it. More to the point he didn’t really know the master. Look at what we know already of the master; he trusts and invests in his staff, he gives them all they need to become a success, he recognises their success. He lets them enjoy the fruits of their labour (v28, the one who had five bags now has ten). He is generous and gracious and the third servant’s defence does not stand up. (v24: ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.) the servant could equally be translated as saying “I saw you as,” (next week that Greek word is translated “See” several times) The master replies, “OK so that’s how you saw me, That’s not who I am; and you didn’t even live up to your own impression of me and your own moral code. You don’t even know me; if you knew me you’d look at me in the manner of Psalm 123 not look on me in fear. So I have nothing more to offer you.”

And he’s thrown out as worthless; like salt that has lost its saltiness. The parable is told to teach us how we are to wait. In expectation, developing our relationship and knowledge of the master and working for his kingdom.

Who wants to be a millionaire? Here’s today’s million-pound question

May we work this through before God knowing that we will all have to stand before him one day and give that final answer; more of that next week in the final parable of Matthew 25. Amen.

Hymn: Take my life and let it be

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise. 

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee. 

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee. 

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne. 

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.