Occupy Till I Come
November 14th, 1954 @ 7:30 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-14-54 7:30 p.m.
Now the reading of the Word is in the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, the third gospel. In your Bible, turn to it. It will help you as I preach from it tonight: Luke, the nineteenth chapter, beginning at the eleventh verse and reading through the twenty-seventh. Luke 19:11:
And He spake a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
And He said therefore: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered unto them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Occupy till I come.’
And that’s my text.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’
And it came to pass that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, ‘Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.’
And he said unto him, ‘Well, thou good servant; because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.’
And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.’
He said unto him, likewise, ‘Be thou also over five cities.’
And another came, saying, ‘Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin.
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man. Thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapeth that thou didst not sow.’
And he said unto him, ‘Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down and reaping that I did not sow.
Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with interest?’
And he said unto them that stood by, ‘Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.’
(And they said unto him, ‘Lord, he already has ten pounds.’)
For I say unto you, that unto everyone which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
But those enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me.’"
That’s an unusual parable, and it’s not only a parable. Jesus took it out of real life out of a little page of history. When our Savior was a child in Egypt in exile, a very small baby, having fled away from the face of Herod the King, that wicked and terrible monarch – while He was down there in Egypt, Herod died; and he left his kingdom, the kingdom of Judea, to Archelaus, his son, just before he died [Matthew 2:13-23]. And through all the years before his last illness, in his will, he had given the kingdom to Herod Antipas; but just before he died, he changed his will and gave it to Archelaus.
Now, when the will was read on the death of Herod the Great at Jericho – when the will was read, the army immediately proclaimed Archelaus as king; but before he deigned to assume the title of a king, he made his way to Rome in order that he might be confirmed in the kingdom by Augustus Caesar. When he went to Rome, there was a deputation of Jews from Judea who inveighed against Archelaus, and among them was Antipas. They said, "We don’t want this man to reign over us."
Augustus compromised and gave Judea to Archelaus, with the title of an ethnarch, and gave Antipas Galilee and Perea. When Archelaus came back, he slew all of those enemies who had journeyed to Rome to speak against his receiving the kingdom.
Now that happened when Jesus was a child. And through the years of His life, the story, much repeated, became very familiar to Him. So as He passed through Jericho, in the same place where Herod the Great died, in the same place from whence Archelaus had gone to ask for the kingdom – to receive the kingdom from the hands of Augustus Caesar – as He passed through the city of Jericho, He was in the midst of an electric excitement.
When He came to Olivet and He entered Jerusalem – that was the days of the triumphal entry – everybody believed that the Kingdom was immediately at hand [Luke 19:11]. Everybody believed that Jesus was to be the Messiah promised of God. All the people around Him, by the thousands and the thousands, they were at a fever pitch [Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:12-14]. This is the day that John the Baptist had introduced [Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:15-16; John 1:22-27; 3:28-31]. This is the day of Isaiah and Zechariah the prophet [Isaiah 62:1-12; Zechariah 9:1-17]. This is the day of the glory restored to Israel.
"Why, this man Jesus," they said, "He can take an army; and if anybody is slain, He can raise the soldiers from the dead. This man Jesus can feed five thousand men with just a little handful of bread [Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:12-27; John 6:1-14]. This man Jesus can do wonders and miracles. With Him as our Lord and Messiah, the kingdom is certainly at hand."
So that great multitude, thousands around, that great host of people, believed that immediately, immediately the kingdom of God was to appear [Luke 19:11]. They felt that this Lord Messiah would defeat the enemies of the Jews. They felt that He would throw off the Roman yoke. They were persuaded that He would restore the lost glory to Israel.
And in that electric excitement, in that fever pitch, they were surrounding Jesus making their way through Jericho on the road up to Jerusalem, to Olivet, down into the Holy City. It was a time propitious and auspicious.
In the midst of that, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, the prophesied City of God, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear, Jesus spake this parable unto them. And the meaning of it briefly is this: that the King is to be rejected, that the King is going away, and He’s going away for a long time. But in His going away, He’s going to entrust the matters of His Kingdom to His servants. But some day He’s coming again; and when He comes again, He will call all of His servants before Him, and He will ask them to give an accounting of their trust, of their stewardship. And then, at that final day when the Kingdom comes, when the Lord returns in that final day, God will reward us according to the faithfulness by which we have been stewards of the trust He has committed to our care.
Do you see one tremendous truth here in this parable? The King is to be rejected, and the King is to go away to a far country, and the King is to stay a long time. And in that period of time – we call it the age of grace, this dispensation. We call it the age of the Holy Spirit. We call it the age of the church. It can also be called the age of our stewardship, the age of our holy committal, the age, the day, the time, the era, the dispensation when the King is gone away; and during this time and this day and this age, He has entrusted to our care the matters of His kingdom.
And my text, Occupy Till I Come. And He delivered unto those servants the matters of the kingdom, "the stewardship of the mysteries of God," as Paul calls it [1 Corinthians 4:1]. And He said, "Occupy till I come" [Luke 19:13].
In other words, the things that we have are not ours, but they belong to the King. They belong to God, and we have them in our hands for a brief little while. The air that I breathe is not my air. It belongs to God. The land on which we live is not our land. It belongs to God. The stars that shine above us and the sunshine of the day is not our sunshine. It belongs to God. The time of our life and of our ministry is not our time. It belongs to God. This is not our world. This is not our home. This is not our land. This is not our firmament. This is not our place. It belongs to somebody else. It belongs to God; and God says, "Occupy till I come. Until the day I return, I commit it to your care."
And this is the way that He judges His stewards in the day of His coming.
When the Lord returns and establishes a kingdom, what kind of a kingdom shall it be? Well, when we think about the coming Lord and the New Jerusalem, almost all of us speak of it in terms of the apocalyptic description of the New Jerusalem.
The Kingdom comes, and it’ll be a beautiful city. It’ll have golden streets. It’ll have gates of pearl. It’ll have all of the habiliments and the embellishments and the accoutrements that only God could endow a holy city [Revelation 21:10-27]; and we think of the kingdom of God and its consummation in the form of those beautiful descriptions. I don’t have any fault to find nor do I seek to inveigh against it. It’s of God, and it’s in the Bible. But there is something in that kingdom that I have never heard anybody stress, and I have never heard anybody mention; and it’s in my text, and it’s in this parable tonight.
The kingdom of God in its final confirmation is far more than a beautiful city. It’s far more than the New Jerusalem. The Kingdom of God, when He comes and when it appears, the Kingdom of God is a divinely-ordered society for a divinely-redeemed people. And in that society, in that Kingdom that is to come, the Lord God shall have stewards, faithful trustees, faithful men, who will reign with Christ in that Kingdom [Matthew 19:28-29; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6 ].
Did you ever hear anybody preach on the text? I never did in my life – those passages in the Bible, and especially in Revelation where it says, "And we shall reign with Him forever and ever" [Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 11:15, 20:4, 6; 22:5]. We shall reign with Him forever and ever.
In the Kingdom that is to come, the Lord shall have by His side administrators, faithful trustees, and rulers; and they will have different segments and sections of that Kingdom. Like in the government of the United States, you’ll have a great leader, our president. Then you’ll have the governors of our states. Then you’ll have the leaders of our districts. Then you’ll have the judges of our counties.
So in the Kingdom of God there shall be a divine and holy organization for a redeemed and holy people, and we shall reign with the Lord God. Some shall have ten cities. Some shall have five cities. Some shall have one city. Some shall be lesser in the administration of the Kingdom of God.
But in this era now, in this time while the King is gone away, the Lord is testing His stewards. If we are faithful in the matters of the Kingdom, some of these days, in the coming of the Lord, He shall place us in that Kingdom, give us a place to reign by His side according to our devotion, according to our faithfulness, in our trusteeship here in this world in the matters that He’s committed to us now.
And the king, when he comes back, he calls in his servants, and he says to the first, "How did you do?" [Luke 19:15] And that servant said, "Lord, I took this pound that you gave me, and all that I received, the pound alike" [Luke 19:16]. That’s a picture of the mystery of the Kingdom of God. They’re given all to us alike [1 Corinthians 12; Colossians 1:26-27; 1 Peter 4:10]. They’re not just given to me. They’re given to him. They’re not just given to him and to me. They’re given to us. They’re not given just to us, they’re to all of us. All of us receive the mysteries of the kingdom of God alike. All of us have it. It’s our trusteeship. It’s our stewardship.
And the Lord came to the first servant and said, "How’d you do? How’d you do?"
And that servant said, "Lord, look how I did. I was true. I was faithful. I worked. I cried. I poured into that cause my utmost and my best, and here’s the increase, Lord. Look, here’s the increase" [Luke 19:16].
And the Lord said, "Good, good, thou faithful servant. Because you’ve been faithful in this, I’ll make you ruler over ten cities" [Luke 19:17].
And he came to the second, "How’d you do? How’d you do?"
"Lord, I did my best for Thee. I was faithful, and I was true; and Lord, look, I have an increase. Five pounds has gained five other pounds" [Luke 19:18].
And the Lord says, "Good, good, faithful servant. Be ruler over five cities" [Luke 19:19].
In this period of time, this age of grace while the King is away, this is our age of stewardship; and the Lord has placed into our hand all of these things that He’s given us. And some day when He comes again, He will judge us according to our faithfulness [2 Corinthians 5:10]. And the purpose of this stewardship is that God shall develop among us men and women, people, saints who can reign with Christ in that glorious and coming kingdom.
Another thing in this parable: a pound. I think the Lord used that purposely. How much is a pound? Oh, a pound is ten dollars, fifteen dollars. It could not be beyond thirty dollars. It was a small amount of money. He gave to each one a pound, a little bit; and when he came back, he asked for a reckoning of that little bit. Why do you suppose he did? He needed the money? Hmmm. He was busted and broke? He was bankrupt? He needed what these people could give? Listen. He had just received the kingdom! [Luke 19:12]
Well, what is he interested in, then, about these little pieces of money and how they did? I don’t think the Lord when He comes, nor God in heaven now – I don’t think He needs anything that we have. Nothing at all. He already possesses it.
He says so. He says, "The gold and the silver is Mine." He says, "The cattle are Mine on a thousand hills" [Psalm 50:10]. In the fiftieth Psalm, He says, "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee" [Psalm 50:12].
I don’t think God needs our gifts, our money, what little bit we can offer. I don’t think He needs it. Well, then, why the reckoning? Why does He call his stewards here? Why does He look upon how they did with what they had? Why does He want it?
I’ll tell you why. It isn’t because God couldn’t do this without us. It’s because God is developing great stalwart Christians among us. God is developing true stewards among us; and God says, "I can’t do that without first testing My people and committing to them these possessions in order that they might grow and be able to know and to learn and to understand how to use them and to be faithful to Me remembering all of it is Mine."
Did you ever think in the Old Testament, the Jew, when he brought his gift to God – did you ever think what became of that gift? Many, many times it was burned up. It was burned up, but it had to be the best that the Jew could bring. And it was burned up many, many times – the finest gifts, the first of the flock, the best of the firstfruits. God demanded it [Exodus 13:2, 12; 22:29-30, 23:19, 34:19, 26; Leviticus 1:3, 3:6, 9:2, 22:18-24; 23:12, 18; Numbers 6:14, 18:12, 29; 19:13, 17; Deuteronomy 14:23; 2 Samuel 24:24; 1 Chronicles 21:24; Nehemiah 10:32-39; Proverbs 3:9; Ezekiel 46:4]. And when it was brought, they burned it up as a whole burnt offering [Exodus 29:18; Leviticus 8:21; Deuteronomy 13:16; 1 Samuel 7:9; 2 Chronicles 29:18, 28; Psalm 51:19].
Why? God didn’t need the first of the flocks. God didn’t need the firstfruits of the fields. All God wanted to do was that the man be taught faithful stewardship [Malachi 3:1-18]. This thing belongs to God. It’s not mine. It’s His; and this is a token. This is an evidence. This is a mark of my trusteeship. "Occupy till I come." It’s God’s, and not mine.
And the great purpose of God in this stewardship program is not that He needs us to run His kingdom and couldn’t live without us. We don’t complement God in bringing back to Him what He’s given to us, but God does it in order to develop in us stalwart characteristics that we might learn here to be the rulers in that Kingdom that is to come.
I read this past week about a neighbor that watched his farmer friend across the way. The man had six boys, and the farmer just worked those boys hard. And his friend came to him and said, "Sir, you don’t need to work those six boys so hard in order to make a crop." And the farmer replied. He said, "Neighbor, I’m not worried about raising a crop. What I’m doing is raising boys."
That’s the same thing about God and His Kingdom’s work. God’s Kingdom’s work isn’t dependent upon us. He could raise converts from the rocks if He pleased. These very stones He could make into children of Abraham if He so chose [Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8]. But what God is doing is developing us. He’s growing us. He’s making us. He’s committed these things into our care that we might learn how to be true and faithful unto Him.
So we look at His stories and at His stewardship, and He committed these things into the care of His servants. Let’s see how they fare: how they fare now and how they’ll fare in the coming day of His Kingdom. Well, how do they fare now?
Well, whenever I see a church that is faithful in its matters of stewardship, I’ll show you a church where the people are growing spiritually, where they’re fine and strong, where they’re faithful and good. When a fellow brings his tithe into the storehouse, he not only makes it possible to have meat in God’s storehouse, but he also opens the windows of heaven and lets in the blessings that are so full and great and rich that our hearts cannot receive them [Malachi 3:10-12].
Whenever you see a church that’s spiritually decayed, this is the way the church will be run: they’ll have raffles and lotteries and bingo parties and bazaars, and they’ll have a thousand other things in order to raise money for the kingdom work of God. They’ll invite us over to a dinner and sell tickets to the dinner in order to raise money for the church. It’s an eloquent testimony that the people are bankrupt in their hearts, in their souls, in their stewardship.
I don’t know how many preachers I run into – innumerable – and they have difficulty with their budgets. They have difficulty with their stewardship appeals. They have difficulty with their monetary programs. Why? Because the people are faithless.
Men of God that are true stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Christ never fall into those needs and into those lacks. All of it is provided by the servants of the Lord. I say again, not only does the tithe provide meat in God’s house, the care for all of our needs, but it also brings those rich treasures of blessing that exalt the ministry of the church and make it holy in the sight of God. Now, our stewardship here, that’s that.
And what of it in the day that He comes? Now there are three classes of people here that He speaks of in His parable. The first class: the citizens hated him – sent a message after him saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us" [Luke 19:14].
"And those enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me" [Luke 19:27]. That’s the first class.
There are people who say, "I will not bow my knee before Jesus Christ." There are those who say, "I will not confess the Lord Jesus as my Savior." There are those who say, "If you were to preach a thousand sermons, and if I were to listen to you all thousand times, I still would not go down that aisle and take the Lord as my Savior. We will not that this man shall reign over us."
Then what in this great and final day of reckoning? Then what? "Then shall the Lord slay them by the word of His mouth and by the rod of His anger" [Isaiah 11:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:15].
"Oh, Preacher, but I don’t believe in the wrath of God, and I don’t believe in the judgment of God, and I don’t believe in the perdition of God, and I don’t believe in that final day of awful reckoning." But God says it. I cannot but tremble before Him for you and you and you.
"I will not have this Man reign over me." Then in that great and final and terrible day, it means an awful judgment and a terrible perdition [Revelation 20:11-15]. "Bring those enemies that would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before Me" [Luke 19:27]. That’s the Lord God speaking.
Hell is an awful place. Damnation is a terrible thing. Perdition is an unspeakable destiny; and the man who dies outside of Christ, who refused to bow the knee before the Lord Jesus Christ, the man who refuses to have Jesus reign King over his soul and heart and life – that man someday shall be destroyed in the presence of God [Matthew 8:12, 13:41-42, -50; 22:13, 24:50-51; 25:30; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 13:25-28, 16:19-31; 2 Peter 2:4, 9; Revelation 19:20, 20:13-15]. Oh, that tonight, that tonight you might turn, that you might come, that you might confess the Lord Jesus as a Savior! They’re the first.
The second: there’s a fellow here that came before the Lord and said, "Lord, this stewardship that you gave me – Lord, I kept it laid up in a napkin. I didn’t do anything with it. It was such a small thing, such a little thing. I didn’t think it mattered, Lord. What I could do, what I have – just a pound, ten dollars, twelve dollars, fifteen, not more than thirty at the most – Lord, I didn’t do anything with it. I didn’t do anything with it" [Luke 19:20-21].
"Now, Master, had I been wonderfully gifted, I would have done something for Thee. Yes, I would. Were I rich like" – and call a man’s name – "O Lord, what I would do for Thee if I were rich like that man!"
Ate lunch with one of the richest men in America, lived here in Dallas; ate lunch with him a few weeks ago. As I listened to him talk, there were two things that stuck in my head. One was the following – this is Tuesday – the following Saturday he had to put two million dollars on the barrel head for a tremendous enterprise he had just taken over – two million dollars the following Saturday. I remembered that; made an impression upon me.
The second thing I remembered was the next day, Wednesday, he had to put down six hundred thousand dollars or a certain building he was building in a great city of America would absolutely be stopped. And he said to me and my friend as we ate lunch together, he said, "That’s what I’ve got to do this week: six hundred thousand dollars by the close of the bank tomorrow and two million dollars by the close of the bank this week. That’s what I’ve got to do."
You will not find as you work among people; you will not find that the estate, big or little, the amount of their riches, makes any difference in their willingness or their heart to give. The poor man with a little will find it as difficult to give as a rich man with much; and the rich man with his millions will find it as difficult to give as the poor man with his little. The rich man has a thousand places to invest and they turn like wheels in his head, and away he goes after mammon. And the poor man will find a thousand uses for what little he has in his hands. The difference is in the heart. It’s in the soul.
This man said, "Lord, I kept it here in a napkin. I didn’t honor thee with it. I didn’t do anything with it. Here it is kept in a napkin." Some of our people think, "Lord, if I were a great light, how I’d shine. If I could be some Pharaoh somewhere, if I could just guide whole navies into the fort, Lord, how I’d shine." But this little light of mine, this little light of mine – what that story go?
When the big ship guided by the great light sought to make its way into the harbor and the lower lights weren’t burning, the little lights weren’t shining, and the great ship foundered and went down. And the fellow wrote that song, "Let the lower lights be burning, send a gleam across the waves!" ["Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," Philip P. Bliss, 1871]. That’s it. That’s it.
All of us are given the mysteries of the kingdom of God. All of us are stewards of the manifold mercies and grace of the Lord, and we all have it. I have a little given to me. You have some given to you [Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 18, 27-31]. All of us share in that stewardship together. And it’s not how big or how little. It’s not how talented or how untalented, as another parable explains, but it’s how faithful we are. Did we do good? Did we do our part with what God gave us? And this man didn’t do anything, didn’t do anything. And the Lord said, "Thou wicked servant. Thou wicked servant. Thou wicked servant!" [Luke 19:22] It is a violation of the gift and stewardship of God when we don’t do our part in the Kingdom and patience of the Lord Jesus.
And this third group, this third group: they came and said, "Lord, look, look. We took Thy gift, what we had, and we did our best with it. And look at it, Lord. Look. Look what happened. Look what happened." And it always turns out that way.
Somebody says to me, and they always say it wherever I go, somebody says to me, "Pastor, we know how it is over there in Dallas. We know how it is in Dallas: that tremendous program of yours, that vast stewardship appeal of yours. We know how it is. Every other one is a millionaire." One of you are a millionaire. One of you are a millionaire. Ha! Boy, I never saw such a poor bunch in my life. I never did. "Full of millionaires," they tell me, "millionaires everywhere. Here, there, there; millionaires everywhere." That’s what they say to me. Everywhere I go. "Why, it’s simple," they say, "If we were in Texas, and if we had a church of millionaires, we’d have a program like you have too." No, sir. No, sir.
Those faithful stewards came before God at His appearing and His coming and His Kingdom, and they said, "Lord, this little bit you gave me. This little bit you gave to me–look, Lord. Look what I did with it. And this little bit you gave to me and this little bit you gave to me." That’s the way it is with us. The little bit God’s given to me, and the little bit God’s given to you, and the little bit God’s given to us – when we come before Him, "Look, Lord, look what it’s done. Look what it’s done. It’s made this church. It’s made this program. It’s made this gospel witness. It’s made this tremendous ministry possible. Look, Lord. Look what it’s done."
And the Lord was delighted, and the Lord was pleased; and the Lord said, "Because you’ve been faithful in that which is little, I’ll also make you a steward over that which is much [Luke 19:17, 19]. In the Kingdom of God that is to come, you have this place, you have this place, and you have that one. You’ve been faithful here. I’ll give you the rulership to reign with Me over this segment of the Kingdom that is to come there" [2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:9-10, 20:6].
Oh, and with what joy and with what gladness do we face that ultimate and final prospect! Doing it now for then. Doing it for Jesus here, for all that means, now and in the world to come. Doing it gladly, doing it gladly [2 Timothy 4:6-8]. When the Lord shed His blood, He never begrudgingly made the sacrifice. He did it gladly [John 10:11, 17-18]. And when we face this appeal and this task, I thank God for the privilege and the opportunity. I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I can put my name there, that according to the way God has prospered me, I can turn back, give back so much to Him.
May I close now? I have a wonderful friend who’s the president of one of our Baptist colleges, and he had a little boy – a little bitty fellow. He couldn’t talk very plain – just a little bitty boy. And this little boy called his daddy "Tata," called him "Tata;" just a little bitty boy. And he went to school – he went to Sunday school with a nickel in his hand, with a nickel in his hand. Came back home at noon, and he had the nickel in his hand. His dad called him over there to him and sat down by his side and said, "Son, you still got your nickel."
He said, "Son, I thought you took that to give it to the Lord."
"No, sir," said the little boy. "It’s mine, and I’m going to keep it. I’m going to keep it."
"Well," said the daddy. He said, "Son, let’s look at that just a little bit." And he had there in the living room a globe; and he pulled the globe over there where he and the little boy were seated together, and he – he said, "Son, Africa here. See Africa? See that place right there in Africa?" And he named a missionary and a missionary’s wife that the little boy knew. He’d been through school there and been in their home.
He said, "Sonny boy, you know the only way that missionary and his wife can live there in Africa is when you and I give our nickels and our dollars to God; and if we don’t do it, they couldn’t be over there telling those people about the gospel."
And he went over there to the globe, beyond – across the ocean over there to Recife and to Sao Paolo; and there were some who had been in their home and in the school that the little boy knew. They were there; and he said, "Son, without that nickel, without our nickels, you know they couldn’t be down there telling those poor people about the Lord."
And the little boy had been to the state orphan’s home. And he said, "Son, and those children you saw out there at the state orphans’ home, our Baptist orphans’ home," he said, "Son, and we couldn’t support them, and they wouldn’t have anything to eat without that nickel and without mine."
And he talked to the boy that way, and then he looked at the little fellow and he said, "Son, what do you think you ought to do?" And by that time the little boy was greatly moved. But being a little man, he kept back the tears but his chest heaved up and down as he breathed hard, and he replied, "Tata, I’m going to take my nickel back. And, Tata, I want another nickel to take along with it." That little boy got the idea.
God could run His mission program without a thing you and I could give Him. God could build His kingdom without an offering that you and I might ever bring. God could do His work without you and me altogether. He could. Aren’t you glad that He doesn’t? Aren’t you grateful that in the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, He has committed to our care a faithful stewardship?
And I don’t see in that program sums and figures and dollars and cents. I see in that appeal this blessed church, and its teaching ministry, and its communion, and its fellowship, and all that it means to us and to others. And I see the faces of the children in our orphans’ homes, and I see the mission fields and our many friends who are there preaching the gospel of Christ. And I see the blessing that comes through our hearts as we’re faithful in these things God has committed unto us. "Occupy Till I Come. Use until I come." And please, God, our best for Thee until He comes.
Now, let’s sing our song. Let’s sing our song; and while we sing it, while we sing it, while we sing it, somebody, you, into that aisle and down here to the front: "Preacher, tonight I give my soul and my heart and life to Christ, and I do it now. My life is not mine. It belongs to God, and I give it to Him gladly tonight. Here I come."
"Pastor, here we are to place our lives into the fellowship of this church, and here we come." While we sing and while we make appeal, anywhere, in the balcony around and from side to side, while we sing, will you come? Will you make it now? In God’s will as He shall say the word, shall lead the way, will you come and stand by me? "Pastor, I give you my hand, my heart, my gift to God;" or, "Here we are, Pastor, all of us, into the fellowship of the church." Or one somebody, you, while we stand and sing, make it now.
OCCUPY TILL I COME
Dr. W. A. Criswell
A. The story of Archelaus: from Jericho to Rome
B. Jesus passing through Jericho to Jerusalem (Matthew 21:8-9, Luke 19:40)
1. People expected kingdom to appear immediately (Luke 19:11)
2. In response Jesus told this story
C. The meaning: the kingdom postponed (Ephesians 3:5-6, 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
1. In the meantime God has given us a stewardship (Luke 19:12-13)
II. The coming kingdom
A. Shining city
B. Divinely ordered society for a redeemed people
III. Purpose of God: development of faithful stewards
A. We are all given alike
B. God does not need anything we have (Haggai 2:8, Psalm 50:10, 12)
1. Old Testament sacrifices burned up (Leviticus 1:3-17)
2. God is trying to grow us that we might be fitted to enter His kingdom
IV. Here and the hereafter
A. When the citizens use what God has given them well, everyone prospers (Malachi 3:10)
B. When He comes
1. Those who would have nothing to do with it (Luke 19:14, Matthew 24:41)
2. Those who do nothing (Luke 19:20-22)