Message Follow Up - Week 8, 2021
One of the effects of the gospel of grace growing deeper in our hearts is that our usual white-knuckle grasping and hoarding of the monies that God gives us to steward are loosened one finger at a time. Disciples are aware of their Master, of the treasure that they’ve found in him, and the treasure that awaits them on that final day, thankfully living for the glory of God and generously giving for the expansion of the kingdom of God both locally and globally. Disciples of Jesus, by God’s grace, shrewdly utilize our God-given possessions in this world to ensure our eternal future. And we do so because we are increasingly aware that our Master is our Savior and Lover of our souls, our Redeemer, and Friend, our Provider, Our very present help in trouble, our eternal hope and absolute desire, our Treasure of all treasures.
The Sermon Text
“He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:1–18 ESV)
The Main Point of the Sermon
Disciples of Jesus shrewdly utilize their God-given possessions in this world to ensure their eternal future.
A Disciple is Aware of Eternity
A disciple of Jesus is to be aware of eternity and plan shrewdly with the usage of what Jesus calls “unrighteous wealth” that he gives us to steward. Disciples of Jesus steward the resources of this world that God gives us with eyes on eternity.
- What might it look like to utilize the “unrighteous wealth” of this world so that when all is said and done, and we enter into eternity, we are received into the eternal the eternal dwellings?
- How does your budget reveal where your eyes are fixed? Here, like the shrewd men and women of this world who may very well be significantly generous but are living for THIS world, or like the shrewd disciple whom Jesus exhorts us to be – ones who think with cleverness and ingenuity about how to utilize the unrighteous wealth of this world with eternity in full view?
A Disciple is Aware of His Character
The principle Jesus is speaking to here is really just how you handle the small stuff is a clue to whether you can be trusted with greater responsibility because it speaks to a disciple’s character, his or her integrity. Far from being insignificant what we do with the finances that God has given us is an enormous thing. To God, it speaks about our character. Our faithfulness. The depth, and perhaps, reality of our discipleship.What might it look like to utilize the “unrighteous wealth” of this world so that when all is said and done, and we enter into eternity, we are received into the eternal the eternal dwellings?
Are we faithful with what God has given us? What do our budgets reveal? Are we generous with what God has given us? Or do we have a myriad of excuses as to why this doesn’t apply to us in our specific condition.
What might faithful financial stewardship look like? Rather than list off a handful of ideas, let me share a quote from Randy Alcorn and leave it with you to prayerfully consider.
“What things in our lives are we doing, related to money and possessions, which demonstrate a powerful work of the Holy Spirit of God, which are so great and radical that they suggest to those around us that it must be the Holy Spirit of God—not just something that a person would come up with on their own?” — Randy Alcorn
A Disciple is Aware of His Master
Each of us are mastered by something or someone. Or perhaps many things or someones. But for a disciple of Christ, it must not be so. There is but only one master for a disciple of Jesus. There are certainly temptations to duplicity in our affections. Oftentimes, of course, the way we steward the money God has given us reveals what it is that might be mastering us. Jesus is simply raising the danger we run into here by saying there is zero ability to serve both God and money.
- Does your giving here locally reflect the generosity of your master?
- Do we realize the danger that exists regarding the possibility of idolatry in our own lives regarding these things?
- Are we aware that we might be serving another master of than God? Things like money or something else that has our hearts? There is hope in the fact that God does in fact know our hearts and so he is working as your Savior and Lord to expose you and lead you to repentance. Don't turn away from his correction if he is challenging you in this area or convicting you that you might have a financial Idol. The reality is he knows what it is that you tend to hold onto tightly.
If when accounts are rendered and it becomes known in heaven that it was your sacrificial giving that provided the copies of the gospel of John which led a whole tribe out of paganism to faith in Christ, will not that whole tribe show towards you an eternal gratitude which they will not show towards me who spent my spare cash on some luxury for my own enjoyment? (David Gooding)
The children of this age are smarter than the children of light when it comes to acting in their best interests. They are motivated by self-interest and self-preservation and concern themselves only with this world. The sons of light should be concerned about the world to come, but they act more like the rich man in the parable that follows. If the children of light understood what their true self interest is, they would be motivated by it to act no less decisively and boldly than the children of this age, and they would then concentrate their energies on serving others. They would use whatever worldly opportunities they have to attain otherworldly ends by helping the needy in this world. (David Garland).
Unfaithfulness in money transactions is a sure evidence of a rotten state of soul (J.C. Ryle).
Sometimes Christians say they would give more to help the poor and spread the gospel if only they had more to give. “I don't have that much money right now,” people say, “but if I had a million dollars, I would give so much to the church and so much to my favorite ministry.” Such talk can be cheap, but there is an easy way to find out whether it's really true. The way to see what we would do with more is to see what we would do with what we already have. (Philip G. Ryken).
“What things in our lives are we doing, related to money and possessions, which demonstrate a powerful work of the Holy Spirit of God, which are so great and radical that they suggest to those around us that it must be the Holy Spirit of God—not just something that a person would come up with on their own?” (Randy Alcorn)
Every time we reach into our pocketbooks we are pulling something out of our hearts. There is no middle ground here. We would prefer to do the very thing Jesus tells us we cannot do: serve God and money. If only we could serve God with some of our money and then serve ourselves with the rest of it. Better yet, if only we could use most of it for ourselves and then give God whatever is left! But Jesus says we have to choose. Our hearts have the capacity for only one dominating love. This affection, and this affection alone, is what we will serve. (Philip G. Ryken)
Everything we own belongs to God. If we are using it wisely, then our expenditures will be able to pass some simple tests: Does this purchase reflect my ultimate spiritual priorities? Does it take adequate account of the world’s great need for the gospel? Is it the best use of my money, or is there someone somewhere in the world who needs it more than I do? Is this an expense that will seem like a good investment in the light of eternity? When our spending meets these standards, we are in a good position to honor God with our money (Philip G. Ryken).
RESOURCES FOR THIS WEEK
SONG: CHRIST OUR TREASURE