First of all, Jesus says in chapter 24 verse 4-5 – “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Then again in verse 10 – “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” And again in verse 23 – “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.”
He gave this same warning in Luke 21:8 Jesus said “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” Also in writing to the Churches, he says in Revelation 3:3 – “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
Let me make this a little more personal; Read these scriptures with the thought that Jesus is speaking to you. “Watch out that no one deceives you! For many will come in my name…and will deceive many. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people!…and will perform many great signs and wonders to deceive even the elect! Watch out that you are not deceived!”
You don’t have to worry about anyone else, you are not to be deceived! How can we not be deceived? He says “Remember what you have received and heard; hold it fast!” It is hard to be deceived if you know the truth. It is hard to be deceived if you know God’s Word. It is hard to be deceived if you know the signs and the seasons and the “birth pains,” and these are the things to “watch” for. Don’t look at and listen to others, even prominent preachers and teachers or even me! Know for yourself the things that determine the last days.
Satan is called the “great deceiver!” and the “father of lies!” (John 8:44) He will use what-ever means he can to deceive people, even God’s people! So how do you know what is real and what is fake? What is truth and what is a lie? Let me take you to Acts 17:11 – “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true!” That’s it! If you want to know if what someone said; or if they themselves are true; examine the scriptures!…And, keep watch!
Second, in all three parables we find a reward and a consequence. In the parable of the home-owner, we find the reward in verses 46-47 – “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” We find the consequence in verse 51; “He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In the parable of the Ten Virgins, we find the reward in chapter 25 verse 10 – “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.” We find the consequence in verse 11 – “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
In the parable of the Bags of Gold, we find the reward for the two good servants in verse 21 – “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” And, we find the consequence in verse 28 – “So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Who-ever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The wording of the five foolish virgins in our text is all too familiar to our reading of Matthew’s Gospel – “Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Emphasis mine)
The homeowner put his servant in charge while he was gone; “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” He probably gave him specific instructions and expectations while he was gone. Jesus did so as well. In Matthew 28:16 – “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In the Book of John, 13:34-35 Jesus said; “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
So, this then begs three questions; Are we keeping watch? Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing? Are we looking forward to hearing the words “Well done, Thou good and faithful servant?” Don’t leave it up to the preachers. We are all called to be witnesses of what God has done and is doing in our lives. We have all been given the “ministry of reconciliation” and we best be about the Father’s business!