IDEA: Fear may keep us from doing wrong, but it seldom motivates us to do right. TEXT: "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth' " (Matthew 25:24-30).

PURPOSE: To help listeners understand how fear and devotion may be the opposites.

In Matthew 25:24-28, Jesus pictures a man who buried a large amount of money rather than invest it, and who says that he did this because he feared his master.

In the parable, whom does the master represent, and whom does the servant represent?

I. In these parables, is there reason for people to be afraid of God and of Christ?

The answer is yes because of what could happen: weeping, gnashing of teeth, outer darkness. In all of the parables there is punishment.

II. What does fear of God accomplish?

It depends on what has motivated the fear.

It could be my sinfulness.

I know that my father is coming home from a trip. I might ordinarily be glad he’s coming, but because of my naughtiness, I’m afraid.

It could be my view of God. I may think He is a hard stern judge who is never satisfied.

The fear of God can often keep me from doing wrong things.

It is less likely to get me to take risks which involve love.

I can stop drinking, but that’s not the same as loving sobriety.

In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders were successful in telling people what they were not to do, but without a love for God, they were not successful in getting people to show grace