- Sermon Notes
Be Found Faithful
In Luke 16 Jesus is teaching His disciples and it is literally a lesson in discipleship. Remember that a disciple is someone who’s learning, but not just gaining information, a disciple is being changed because of what he is receiving from his teacher. Jesus is unveiling a great truth, He is revealing great wisdom that will build up our lives and increase us spiritually.
Now, the Pharisees are also listening as Jesus teaches His disciples and they scoff at Him yet again. Remember that they were grumbling because Jesus welcomed sinners and the outcasts of His day even to the point of eating with them.
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus taught a parable about the prodigal son and it was a great lesson on the heart of our Father in heaven who welcomes sinners, prodigals and outcasts; everyone who comes back to Him is welcomed with open arms.
Chapter 16 is a lesson in how be a son who is faithful, even in the little things.
Jesus is also teaching here that we cannot separate our spiritual life from how we live in the world; they have a great impact on each other. Not only that, but how we live in this world, now, has a great impact on how we will live in eternity.
But to teach this lesson, Jesus uses a parable that in many ways is very shocking. It’s shocking because He uses a dishonest and worldly steward to teach us something about eternal life.
The steward is responsible for his master’s finances. As we’ll see, this becomes a lesson also in what Jesus calls “unrighteous mammon,” the money and stuff of this world.
I. Use Unrighteous Mammon for God’s Favor
- First of all, Jesus is not telling us to follow the example of dishonesty, of course not.
- The steward is of the world and so we should not be surprised that he acts worldly.
- The point Jesus is making is that if the sons of this world are praised for acting shrewdly, how much more should sons of light live by the wisdom of heaven?
Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”
- In fact, Jesus says a shocking, yet absolutely true statement in verse 8, “The sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.”
A. We are just stewards of all we have
- The steward in the story is literally a steward; he is hired to manage the financial affairs of this wealthy man. It’s actually fairly common for wealthy people to hire others to manage their financial affairs.
- The steward in this story squandered the rich man’s wealth, he probably spend it on himself and therefore would be guilty of misappropriating funds.
- This was reported and he called the steward to give an account of his stewardship and then he would be fired.
- But in an act of clever shrewdness the steward took advantage of the opportunity, while he still had his position, to make friends with his master’s debtors so they would help him in the future.
- The point is that he knows he must give an account so he uses the opportunity to prepare for the future and uses shrewdness or worldly wisdom to get it done.
- What’s interesting is that his master actually commends him, not for being dishonest, but for acting shrewdly by preparing for what lies ahead.
Illus – in the Proverbs there is wisdom to be learned from observing the ant. Worldly foolishness and immaturity is about living in the moment and not considering the consequences in the future.
Proverbs 6:6, 8, Look to the ant, O sluggard, observe her way and be wise… She prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.
- Let’s apply this to our own lives. First of all, we are also just stewards of all we have. Everything belongs to God and we must give an account of what we do with the life that God gives us, with the resources God entrusts to us, with the children under our care, with the people God has asked us to touch.
B. Be spiritually wise with earthly mammon
- First of all, we live in a dark world of unrighteousness and have to use unrighteous mammon as a daily part of our lives.
- But as we walk through this dark world, we are to walk according to the light of the wisdom of God’s Word.
Psalm 119:103-105, How sweet are Your words to my taste!... From Your precepts I get understanding …Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.
- God’s wisdom applies to every area of our lives and the wisdom we need to understand here is that earthly mammon has heavenly consequences.
- Frankly, we need far more wisdom when it comes to money and finances. But not only do we need wisdom, we need to change our heart. We only need to look at the Pharisees to see what was wrong.
- Jesus is telling us that we need to use earthly mammon to produce eternal treasures, because what we do now has heavenly results.
Matthew 6:20-21, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- In other words, we need to make heavenly use of unrighteous mammon. The money that God places at your disposal, use it in such a way that you will be reaping eternal benefits from it.
- There will come a time when earthly mammon will lose all its value.
Illus - Someone once said to a pastor, “My uncle died a millionaire.” The pastor then responded, “No, he did not.” “How can you say that? You didn’t even know my uncle.” “Because I know that no one dies a millionaire, everyone dies penniless.”
Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Illus – Let’s imagine you could actually take it with you and you put it all into gold and stuffed your pockets with it, and then met Peter at the gate… What exactly is the currency of heaven?
II. Choose Whom You will Serve
- Too many people make the pursuit of what Jesus calls unrighteous mammon, what we would call money, the greatest focus of their lives.
- In verse 14 it’s clear that the Pharisees were lovers of money and therefore scoffing at the great wisdom of Jesus’s words.
- You can’t be a lover of money, a lover of unrighteous mammon, and a lover of God at the same time.
A. Be faithful in the little things
- In verse 10 we hear the famous words, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.”
- In other words, the use of mammon is an indicator of hidden character. Jesus uses the opposite to make His point, “If you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you?”
- By true riches He means the spiritual riches of God’s kingdom. Show your heart after God by how you use unrighteous mammon, God is saying, and spiritual riches will be entrusted to you. God wants to entrust spiritual riches.
2 Chronicles 16:9, The eyes of the Lord search to and fro throughout the whole earth in order to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
- There are several Scriptures that give us some insight into what God wants us to understand.
Luke 12:21,31, “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God… But seek first His kingdom, and these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 25:34-40 What you’ve done to the least of these…
B. No one can serve two masters
- In verse 13 Jesus gives us the capstone of His teaching, “No servant can serve two masters.”
- In other words, you cannot serve God and worldly and unrighteous mammon.
- You cannot have money as your driving purpose and also have God as your master, it is simply impossible.
- This is why Jesus said that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He didn’t say it was impossible, he said it was difficult.
Matthew 19:24, “I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
- What would it take for a rich man to enter heaven? He would have to realize that he was poor and wretched and blind.
Revelation 3:17-19, "Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see."
- This is why Jesus talked about “the deceitfulness of riches.”
Mark 4:19, "but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful."
- Riches make people think they are better than others; there is a superiority that comes with it and they can’t imagine singing the words, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Instruct those who are rich in this world…
Illus - for some people, these are words that touch them in a place that causes them to wince. But could it be a bit like when we go to the doctor and he pushes on us here or there and we wince at the touch. “It’s not supposed to hurt there,” he says, “this needs to be healed.” The same is true at the touch of the Holy Spirit, “it’s not supposed to hurt there,” He says,” this needs the healing touch of the Great Physician.”
- The call here is for us to choose this day whom we will serve. May we say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we serve the Lord.”
- It’s all about the heart. Jesus says that we cannot have two masters; He wants us to decide that we want the Lord as our Master.
- It’s all about what we are desiring and pursuing and searching and longing for.
Proverbs 2:1-5, My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding… If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasure, you will discover the knowledge of God.
Luke 16:1-17 NASB