I. THE SUBJECT IS RICHES.
A. The story begins with a certain rich man.
1. The steward who was in charge of managing his affairs was accused of wasting his goods. Perhaps he was embezzling.
2. He called him to give an accounting of his stewardship for he was going to be fired.
3. The steward found himself in a dilemma, he was not able to do hard labor, and he was ashamed to beg.
4. He struck upon a crooked scheme, he decided to call in his masters creditors and to reduce their bills.
a. The first one he cut the bill from one hundred measures of oil to fifty.
b. The second he cut the bill of one hundred measures of wheat to eighty.
5. He figured he would use his present position to set himself up for the future which he knew was coming.
6. Many have difficulty with this story because at this juncture the lord of the servant commended him for his wisdom, or shrewdness.
a. He was not commended for his honesty, he was very dishonest.
b. He was shrewd.
B. In commenting on the story, Jesus said that the children of this world in their generation, were wiser than the children of light. How so?
1. You know that your time here on earth is limited, that one day you are going to die.
2. So many of you are making absolutely no provision for the eternal future.
3. Some of you who are well off here on earth, are going to be paupers in heaven.
a. Let us say that for fifty years you have been squandering your riches on yourself, doing very little for the kingdom of heaven.
b. You will then spend your eternity destitute.
c. Now let me quickly assure you that the poorest man in the kingdom of heaven is far better off than the richest man in hell.
C. The moral of this story, spoken to the disciples. They were the stewards to whom God was going to entrust His goods. They would be responsible to use them wisely. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, He has entrusted you with His goods, everything you have has come from Him, you are responsible for how you spend His money.
1. God will one day call on you to give an accounting.
2. If you are wise, you will take the opportunity that you have now to set yourself up for eternity.
II. THE APPLICATION TO THE STORY. MAKE USE OF THE UNRIGHTEOUSNESS OF MAMMON OR MONEY, FOR MAMMON WAS THE GOD OF MONEY. THAT WHEN YOU FAIL, THEY MIGHT RECEIVE YOU INTO THE EVERLASTING HABITATIONS.
A. Basically Jesus is saying that the dollar is not the currency of heaven.
1. A very strange experience is to be in a foreign country and be very hungry, and have nothing but dollar bills in your pocket.
2. The restaurants in so many cities will not take American dollars. They want schillings or whatever currency they use in that country.
3. You may have a thousand dollars in your pocket, but you cannot buy a sandwich because the dollar is not current there.
B. Gold is not the currency of heaven, they use it for asphalt up there.
1. In order to buy goods in a foreign country you must go to the bank and exchange your dollars for that which is current in that land.
2. When traveling to a foreign country if I am going to arrive on the week-end when the banks are closed, I seek to exchange some money here before I leave, lest I get in the country and find I cannot get a loaf of bread or a glass of milk until the banks are opened.
C. When you arrive in heaven, you will find that there are no exchange banks there.
1. Your only opportunity to exchange for heavenly currency is now.
2. If you wait until you arrive at the gate of heaven you will be too late.
III. JESUS THEN SAID, "IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FAITHFUL IN THE UNRIGHTEOUS MAMMON, WHO WILL COMMIT TO YOUR TRUST THE TRUE RICHES?"
A. Jesus seems to be drawing a contrast between true riches and false riches.
1. The false riches are the riches of this world, that are measured in bank accounts and material possessions.
2. I read of a prospector who was searching for gold in the Panamint Range of the Mojave Desert. He was evidently trying to walk out in that desert heat carrying two heavy bags. The exertion of trying to carry the heavy load was too much and he was overcome with heat prostration and dehydration. Realizing that he was about to die, he scribbled his last words on a piece of paper that was found clutched in his hand. It read, "I died rich." They opened that bags that he had been carrying and found them filled with iron pyrite or fools gold.
3. Some of you may think that you are going to die rich, but you are deceiving yourself, you will be an eternal pauper. The riches you possess are false riches.
B. The true riches are the eternal riches.
1. Jesus told us not to lay up for ourselves treasure on earth, where moths and rust can decay and thieves can break in and steal, material riches are not true riches, but lay up treasure in heaven.
2. True riches are not measured by how much you have in your account in the local bank, but how much have you deposited in your heavenly bank account.
3. God has an interesting way of accounting your deposits, it is not how much the deposit was, but how much did it cost you.
a. Remember the story of Jesus standing with His disciples and watching the people put their money in the Temple offering receptacles.
b. The rich were coming by and with great pomp and ceremony were dropping in their large contributions.
c. A little widow passed by and dropped in a mite, which is less than a penny. Jesus turned to His disciples and declared that she had given more than the rest of them, for they were casting in of their surplus, but she was giving of her livelihood, for that was all that she had.
4. James said,
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
5. The church of Laodicea was saying of itself, we are rich, we are increased with goods, we have need of nothing, but Jesus said to them that they did not know that they were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
IV. The bottom line is, "You cannot serve God and mammon".
A. No man can serve two masters. The key word is serve.
1. Your loyalties will be drawn ultimately to one or the other.
2. There will come a time when you will have to make your choice between serving God or serving mammon.
3. There are many people who have been turned to God by their riches, and many who have turned from God because of their riches.
4. Money is not evil, it is amoral.
a. It is the love of money which is the root of all evil.
b. Once you have submitted yourself to be ruled by your riches, you have embarked on a life of misery, because you will never have enough.
c. Paul said, "Godliness with contentment is great riches."
d. Contentment, that is the missing ingredient for all who have allowed money to master their lives.
B. Luke tells us that there were some Pharisee's who were covetous who heard what Jesus was saying to His disciples and they derided Him.
1. You do not know how hard it is for me to teach you this lesson today.
2. I believe that it is a shame and disgrace to our Lord the way some people beg and plead for money for the work of the kingdom. So many times it is not the kingdom of God that they are interested in, but their own kingdom.
3. I am paranoid about talking about money in church because of the horrible abuses.
4. I have what psychologists would classify as an approach avoidance conflict.
a. I know it is necessary for me to teach you the whole counsel of God, that is why I go through the whole Bible.
b. I hate to teach on the subject of money because it has been so abused.
5. I feel accountable for you, God has called me to teach you His word, one day I will have to give an account of my stewardship to Him.
a. I do not want you to arrive in heaven as a spiritual pauper, and turn to me and say, "Why did you not tell us these things teacher?"
b. I do not want you giving me dirty looks throughout eternity, thus I have told you. You can do with it what you wish.
c. When we get to heaven, I want you to smile when you see me.