Introduction: Imagine parents whose children repeatedly rejected
them. The children even went so far as to claim their parents had
died (when they had not) and then asserted that they were children
of another couple! One day the real parents lost their lives
rescuing their ungrateful children from a fire. That is a picture
of faithfulness. That is the picture of what our God has done for
humans. As followers of God, what does He expect of us when it comes
to being faithful? Are we called to be firefighters? How do we get
to the point where God calls us ( Matthew 25:21) a “good and faithful
servant?” Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Wedding Faithfulness

    1. Read Matthew 25:1. We have television shows where twenty
      women will compete to marry one guy, or twenty men will
      compete to marry one woman. Do we have ten potential
      brides? Or, is this a polygamous marriage and we have ten
      brides? (The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
      suggests that these are the bride’s attendants. The groom
      would go to the bride’s home to take her back to his home
      for the marriage. Thus, these attendants are waiting with
      the bride for the groom to come.)

    2. Read Matthew 25:2-4. How important was it for these
      attendants to be ready at whatever time the bride came?
      (Very! They were not just some of the friends, they were
      a part of the wedding.)

    3. Read Matthew 25:5-9. Let’s talk about the “wise”
      attendants for a while. How can they be wise and fall

      1. Who was it who woke them up? Someone more faithful
        than they were?

      2. Did the wise love the foolish “as themselves”
        ( Matthew 22:39) when they refused to split their
        extra oil with them?

    4. Read Matthew 25:10-12. The wise and selfish attendants
      go in, and the foolish are shut out because they were
      working hard to buy more oil. Does this seem fair to you?

    5. Read Matthew 25:13. Jesus suggests the problem is that
      the foolish did not “keep watch.” What would you say if
      you were a foolish (but smart) attendant? (I would point
      to the fact ( Matthew 25:5) that all of the attendants
      fell asleep. No one was properly keeping watch!)

      1. Something else troubles me. Why would the groom say
        that he never knew them? They were just late!

      2. When Jesus says “Keep watch, you don’t know the day
        or hour,” is He talking about weddings? (No. Matthew
        25:1 says this is about “the kingdom of heaven.”
        Christians understand Jesus to be telling a parable
        about His Second Coming – the time when Jesus takes
        us home to heaven.)

    6. Let’s examine this story more deeply to understand what
      Jesus is trying to teach us. What were the most
      important factors for a favorable outcome? (Having an
      extra oil supply and being ready at the right time.)

      1. What factors have no impact on the outcome of the
        story? (Having some oil, having a lamp, falling
        asleep, having to be alerted by someone else to the
        coming of the groom.)

    7. Our lesson is about being faithful. In light of Jesus’
      parable, what do you think it means to be faithful?

      1. What is the oil and where do we get an extra supply?

        1. The traditional answer is that the oil is the
          Holy Spirit (see Zechariah 4), but how does
          that fit with the idea of an “extra supply?”

      2. Read John 16:7-15, but specifically focus on John
        16:13-15. Based on this, what do you think it means
        to have an extra supply of the Holy Spirit?
        (Understanding God more fully. The deeper our
        understanding of the Bible, the more “oil” we have.)

        1. What does this say about whether the wise
          attendants were selfish? (You cannot instantly
          sell or share a deep understanding of God. Each
          person must, through the power of the Holy
          Spirit, study to know God.)

    8. Why was being asleep not important to the outcome? (This
      shows that we can be mistaken, we can be asleep, we can
      fail to understand things correctly, but if we have this
      deep understanding of God, if we have a desire to know
      Him, then He will waken us to truth at the right time.)

    9. Why was being chosen as an attendant, being part of the
      bridal party, having oil and a lamp irrelevant to the
      outcome? (Being a Christian, being a church member, having
      some degree of the Holy Spirit in your life, and even
      being a “light” do not guarantee the outcome. God is
      looking for those who take their Christianity seriously.
      Those who have an intense desire to know and do God’s
      will. Those are the faithful. Those are the ones who God
      knows ( Matthew 25:12).)

  2. Servant Faithfulness

    1. Read Matthew 25:14-15. On what basis did the master
      decide to distribute his property? (By the relative
      talents of the servants.)

      1. I have this idea that God can work wonders through
        anyone. The disciples seemed to be ordinary people.
        On the other hand, Moses and Paul, seem
        extraordinary. What does that teach us about
        faithfulness? (If you were born with natural
        talents, God expects more of you. What you can do
        with God’s blessings is extraordinary.)

        1. What if you are like me, and you see people
          around you who are more talented? (God has
          important work for us. We should not be envious
          of those with more natural talents.)

    2. Read Matthew 25:16-23. Notice the final score – ten
      talents for the one guy and only four for the other. One
      fellow has 100% and one fellow has 40%. Forty percent is
      a very failing score in my class. Why are they both
      called “faithful?”

      1. How does this fit into the “extra supply” lesson
        that we just learned from the story of the wedding
        attendants? (The smarter you are, the more natural
        ability you have to understand God’s word. (But see,
        1 Corinthians 1:20-21.) Natural talent may mean you
        are given more opportunities, but it plays no role
        in the final verdict: “Well done, good and faithful
        servant! … Come share your master’s happiness!”)

    3. Read Matthew 25:24-27. If the fellow had put the talent
      in the bank and collected interest, would he have been

      1. Did this fellow get a break from the master because
        he only started out with one talent? (No – at least
        not from the obligation to do something to advance
        the master’s interests.)

      2. What must we do to avoid the fate of this one talent

    4. Read Matthew 25:28-29. Why give the one talent to the ten
      talent guy as opposed to the faithful four talent guy?

      1. What does this teach us about the nature of our
        natural talents? (They are not static! I started
        out talking about natural abilities, those we had a
        birth. But, this reveals an important Bible secret –
        that the same God who endowed us with natural
        talents at birth can expand and improve those
        talents during our life if we put them to work for

    5. As you consider these two stories, what picture do you
      now have about the meaning of faithfulness? (First, it
      means that through the power of the Holy Spirit we study
      to better understand the will of God. Second, it means
      that we take that understanding, combine it with our
      natural abilities, and we go to work to advance the
      interests of our Master. We advance the Kingdom of God.
      We are not troubled by people with more natural talent
      who seem to be able to do more, but we know that if we
      are diligent, God will bless us with more “natural”

    6. Friend, this is a challenge. Will you decide, right now,
      to partner with the Holy Spirit to seek to more
      completely understand God’s will? As your understanding
      of God’s will improves, will you use your natural talents
      to advance God’s will? If so, look forward to these
      words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! … Come
      share your master’s happiness!”

  3. Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Meekness.