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The Faithful Servant and the Evil One
In that last great day, when Christ comes again, every faithful servant of God shall be publicly recognized, honored, and rewarded by Christ; and every false prophet shall be publicly exposed and damned.
A Faithful Pastor
First, our Lord gives us a brief description of his faithful servants (vv. 45-47). While this text may be properly applied to all God’s saints in their various capacities in this world, for all true believers are the servants of God, it speaks specifically of pastors and tells us four things about that man who is called and gifted of God to preach the gospel to his people.
1. His Character — “Faithful.” — God’s servants are, above all else, faithful men. Some are highly gifted, some less. Some are very educated, some not very educated. Some are very sociable, some not so sociable. But they are all faithful to God, his gospel, and his people.
2. His Position — “Ruler over his household.” — God’s servants are not lords over God’s heritage. They have no desire for that responsibility. But they do rule the house of God, just as a faithful husband and father rules his house (1 Timothy 3:5; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:7, 17). As there can only be one husband in a family, there can only be one pastor (overseer and spiritual ruler) in a local church.
3. His Work — “To give them meat in due season.” — Every gospel preacher feeds the church of God with the sweet meat of free grace, with knowledge and understanding, as he is himself taught of God (Jeremiah 3:15).
4. His Reward (vv. 46-47). There are rewards for faithful service, both in this world and in the world to come. These are not rewards of debt, but of grace; not according to the rules of law, but of love. Old John Trapp said, “Christ is a liberal pay-master, and his retributions are more than bountiful.”
While there is no indication anywhere in Scripture that there are degrees of reward among the saints in heaven, we are encouraged to faithfulness by the promise of it being rewarded by our God. As faithfulness honors God, God honors faithfulness. In this world, faithfulness in one form of service is rewarded by greater opportunities of service. Faithfulness in small things is rewarded by being given greater things (Luke 19:17). In the world to come, we shall inherit all the bounty of life everlasting and see the results of our faithfulness around the throne of our God!
The Unfaithful Servant
The unfaithful servant is also described by four things (vv. 48-51).
1. His Presumption — “My lord delayeth his coming.” — Being an unbeliever, he soon grows weary of waiting upon the Lord.
2. His Abuse (v. 49). His abuses are two: 1st, He beats his fellow servants. He puts them under the law. Rather than comforting them (Isaiah 40:1-2), he threatens and beats them. 2nd, He lives for pleasure, to the gratification of his lusts, rather than for the glory of God and the good of men’s souls. False prophets, rather than serving Christ and his people, serve themselves.
3. His Surprise (v. 50). When the Master comes, he will take the self-serving prophet of deceit by surprise.
4. His Ruin (v. 51). Pretending to be the servant of God while serving Satan and himself, he shall justly have his portion with hypocrites in hell.