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A Shrewd Man of the World

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2020 8:00 am

A Shrewd Man of the World

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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October 13, 2020 8:00 am

We hear a lot about how Christians should be loving, self-giving, kind, generous. We dont hear much about how Christians should be shrewd. You know: clever, crafty, sly, cunning. Whats the message for the loving, generous Christian in Jesus parable about the shrewd, clever man of the world?

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We hear a lot about how Christians should be loving, self giving, kind, generous, we don't hear much though about how Christian should be shrewd, you know, clever, crafty, sly, cunning, what's the message for the loving, generous Christian in Jesus parable about the shrewd clever man of the world. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in Luke 16 Jesus tells about a shrewd manager who gets caught with his hand in the till and then buys friends we can get a new job with his boss hires him.

So what does all this have to do with Christian conduct.

Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce, one of the tragic things about sin is that it makes us different. Even the things that are for our own good, like someone under the influence of drugs. A time of danger can come and go and the person who is trapped by his sin hardly has sense enough to make provision for his own defense for the future in this were a lot more foolish than the animals who did not sin. Geese have enough sense to fly south in the winter rodents.

Provisions for a time when there is no food. Some animals well hibernate, but people just go on and on to their own destruction.

Even when people are around, point out how dangerous their course of action is or what will, or exceptions to this, of course, and one of these exceptions is the case of a man who occurs in one of Rice parables looking at these parables of wisdom and folly in this is a parable about how man was very wise from the point of view of the world's wisdom. He was a manager is Stewart who was in charge of the property of another man, presumably a very rich man and because he had authority over the rich man's possessions was able to do with them pretty much what he liked he would be like Abraham's servants was to him are like. Joseph was the Potiphar said in Genesis that Joseph had control of all Potiphar's good, so that part of her didn't have to take concern for anything except the food he ate and there was a store to have this kind of authority over the goods of his master, but unlike Abraham's servants or Joseph, both of whom are models in every respect.

This man was dishonest and he used Masters goods to enrich himself in the story begins at the point at which his dishonesty was found out master calls them in and asked what is this I hear about you give an account of your management because you cannot be my manager any longer as man is faced with a crisis. What is he going to do is going to lose his job so he sits on quickly and figures things out, he says I'm not strong enough to do manual work and sitting around a desk doing accounting that he didn't have much physical strength is that I'm too proud to beg. So what should I do well. He said I know what I'll do and calling in those who were in debt to his master.

He began to write off portions of their debt. One man owed 800 gallons of all of oil so he said sit down and change, and I'm in to reduce the 800 400 and he called in another and he said how much do you owe that man man said I will thousand bushels of wheat. Well, he said here take the bell and make it 800 what else to do. By this was so, endear himself to his master's debtors or else. Perhaps this is what he had in mind. So implicate them in his dishonesty that when he lost his job as he surely would they would be willing to take him into their own home, and when our Lord gets the end of his story. He concludes that this way the master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly because he said the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with her own kind that of the people of the light. I tell you use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it's gone will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. This parable has presented difficulties for some people because they've imagined it here. The Lord Jesus Christ the son of God is commending dishonesty course that's not what he's doing. Read the parable closely you'll find that even in the telling of the parable.

Our Lord does not condemn a command. The dishonest manager is rather his master sort of has admiration for anybody who's this clever, but even then if you talk about what is commended for its certainly not his dishonesty at this one thing is one thing only it's his shrewdness. It was smart enough to figure out what he was up against and to make a move in his own self-preservation what our Lord is saying is all people should be so wise and should apply this kind of worldly wisdom, but merely to getting by on this world and physical or financial sense, but to the spiritual things spiritual issues of life which are far greater because you see the issue. Each of us is a steward for God. All we have.

We received from God we misused it. We've cheated our master day of reckoning is coming. Are we going to stand before him in that day when our Lord is saying here is be shrewd enough to prepare for it bothers you time. Now there's is one point the worldly man's shrewdness.

When you look at it in a number of different ways. I think we can break it down ways in which he was shrewd.

The first of these for which our Lord would certainly hold him up before us as a model is that he saw the issues clearly say he didn't fool himself with the situation was needed was facing. Clearly he notably was discovered. He knew his dishonesty would come to light the newly lose his job would be wise thing if those of this world would have that same clarity of thought when it comes to spiritual things and facing the fact that one day each one of us must meet God of the things that really distresses me about the modern minds is the way in which, in our time. So many people can keep so many contradictory ideas floating around in their head and so many subjects all at one time, without seeming to have any sense of obligation to eventually sort them out and come down on one side of the other talk about religious things and people. On one occasion will say they believe in God, and another occasion whether not so sure. Maybe there is a God. Maybe the resident maybes personal babies not I can think of arguments for the pros and I can think of arguments for the Collins said, put it like this. Think it through in these terms. If there is no God then you are free to do whatever you please.

Your your own God is nobody who has any ultimate authority over you.

But of course in that case your life only have such meaning as you yourself can give it.

There are no absolutes. There is no destiny there is no greater purpose in life. It's above and beyond you, but if on the other hand, there is a God and that God is your creator and you are his creature and you owe him allegiance, and right there.

Your problem begins because you've not given and that allegiance you've gone your own way and if there is a God, you got a great problem that you better begin to work out. Secondly, this lot is either revealed himself very hesitant. Now, if he hasn't revealed himself. You don't know anything about it because you don't in any way of knowing, even if he's there and you don't know anything about them you write back in the first category is if there was no God might be what would you might as well Havens if there is it because is no way of knowing him, and there's no way of getting any absolute meaning in life and certainly no salvation or anything like that. Do the best you can live on the other hand, there is a God is God is revealed himself then it is your duty as his creature as well as the part of wisdom to seek that revelation you have to say. Where has God revealed himself and what has he told us about himself and what does that put upon me one obligation which I do right here you see your problem is increased because not only have you not demonstrated your allegiance to this God which you owe him. If he is your creator but you haven't even searched out his revelation as a matter fact done precisely the opposite you run away from God. Every time he gets close to you. You delve into something else in order to drowned out that voice of God within the soul. This is coming to me. I'm here to reach you. I want to draw you to myself. You say no, no, you push it away come to the issue of Christ is Christ the revelation of God or not. If he isn't well he had some good teachings that you can draw from. If you like but you certainly don't have to take them very seriously. But it is God when he speaks with the authority of God and with the truthfulness of God and what he says is something with which you better reckon, especially when he talks about his death because he was all preoccupied with his death. He said my death is the all-important thing I've come to give my life a ransom for many. It's necessary that I don't like the Old Testament forecast my death, I'm coming to die in the place of the ungodly, in order that they might have salvation through faith in me is not God. He could be mistaken and that you can dismiss that and say well that doesn't make much sense in terms of our modern way of looking at things, but if he is God. That is the truth and there is no salvation in any other way. The part of wisdom is to come to God through Christ faith in his atoning sacrifice, which is what the Bible teaches in Jesus Christ himself for say and this is true old man of the world and that enough sense to think through the issues clearly is a great example to you and perhaps a smarter person than you are. If you haven't been able to do this and haven't done it already. Jesus would say look, look at this man and learn from them. At least in that respect. Something else I think we can learn from this man and his shrewdness, but simply that he cared about the future he cared about what was going to happen to it. I add that because we can imagine a situation where an individual would see the issue clearly and not care.

He would say well the jig is up.

Somebody is squealed on me, to be found out. There is no way of avoiding that if I don't take my books to the mastery of come and get them but after all, I've had my fun. It's been good while it lasted. Who cares what's going to happen when the future burst upon me.

I'll receive it with a shrug. This man was like that this man really did care. He cared what happened to him. He cared about his future and so we did everything he knew to do to prepare for it is a wonder that people in our day will care about the things that are going to happen to them in this life desperately won't take any care about what's going to happen to them in the life to come.

I think our Lord Jesus Christ would say learn from this shrewd man of the world because he not only saw the issues clearly cared about the outcome third thing he did was provide for the future. He wanted influence the outcome not only saw the issues you not only cared about what was going to happen. He did something about it.

What he did was this little bit of dishonesty, of reducing the debt that to his masters, debtors load, I think of where to apply that in the spiritual why we have to say the very least that the person was aware of the problem that they have before God that they are in rebellion against God that they miss use the gifts of God that they are a sinner and therefore under the wrath of God and cares about the outcome really cares about what eternity will bring that such a person should flee the Lord Jesus Christ was the way of salvation provided by not only just and righteous God, but a merciful God cares about us and what's going to happen to us far more than we care about ourselves as God is made the way of salvation in Christ and invite you to come to him. He says I have sent my own son to do the very thing you need to pay the penalty of your sin and to open the door in the newness of life and introduce you into such a richness of fellowship with myself, that you wouldn't believe it was possible unless I make it known very least, we have to apply the parable in that way. It is interesting however that is our Lord begins to talk along these lines, he begins to apply to the use of money interesting.

It doesn't seem to fit. It just fits into the context. However, bracketed by two parables and had to do with money. Furthermore, the very end of this parable has to do with it because as our Lord gets to the end, he begins to talk about the Christians use of money or the religious persons used of money need introduces a number of aphorisms that don't have so much a logical connection as they do, simply an application in the area. What we do with our wealth.

What he says is this use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it's gone you'll be welcomed into eternal dwellings and number two. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with watching whoever is dishonest with very little also be dishonest with much so if you not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth will trust you with true riches.

And if you've not been trustworthy with someone else's property. It will give you property of your own hands number three no servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and money are interesting you say he's saying I believe that one of our problems. One of the reasons why we do not see the issues clearly and do not care about the future and do not provide for ourselves and the sense of seizing upon the provision God is made is that money captures our thoughts. It imprisons us within the system and we think that if we laid up for ourselves on our somehow we've done all that could possibly be done and we forget that there is an eternity in which the money that we have here is not going to carry any weight at all. What does Jesus mean when he says use worldly way wealth to gain friends for yourselves in heaven he doesn't mean that you buy friends in heaven. Certainly you doesn't mean that you buy God's favor.

What he means is this you take your money now and you use it on yourself and when you die in, it's gone. The benefits are gone and the money is gone, but he says you know if you have sense enough to use it to help other people. Those that are needy family, friends, neighbors, others were more neat even than your own immediate circle and about all of you use its to help Christians who are destitute then when these one to heaven. Some of them before you, you have friends there who will testify to how generous you were with your substance and how you help them.

Men that is the only way in which the money that you have here can be laid up as a treasure in heaven. The second points is somewhat different. He said there's this matter trusted somebody can't be trusted with a little bit. They can't be trusted with much see our Lord is saying what you do with your money is in some sense a revelation of who you are.

If you can't be trusted to use money in the spiritual why you can't be trusted to do anything in a spiritual way. On the other hand, if you commit yourself in this area God will bless you in other areas in the trust you with even greater blessing. He says learn from that and then finally the third point. The obvious one. You can't serve God and money at the same time. All a lot of people who try to or claim that they tried to, but it can't be done doesn't mean that you can have money and serve God at the same time but you can't serve God and money at the same time, because either God is going to determine how you use your money or your money is going to determine your view of God is 1 Last Way in which this man is an example Dawson shrewdness and is the speed with which he operated the same thing would be true spiritually is a put it off. Don't delay these things. The situation is desperate. You don't know how long life is you don't know whether if you miss an opportunity now. You never have that opportunity again and God is the God is offering you in grace the way of salvation some years ago. John Gerstner told a story that really applies to this point. He and his wife had been on a mission tour. They were in cashmere they come back from shopping spree in one of the little boats take you around through the canals and waterways and their little boat adjuster pulled up alongside a larger junk where they were going to get out as they did another boat went by and there was a slight collision of water splashed on the men, the man who owned their houseboat gestured to them frantically to get out, get up on the shore and Gerstner remember starting to his wife and saying see how excitable this fellow is why a little bit of water splashes on us and you would think it was the greatest catastrophe in the world know it's all right because Ray said take it easy and the man kept gesturing more furiously and babbling away in his dialect.

He said it's okay because Rick, it's okay.

And finally, the men got so desperate, he broke out of his dialect and he replied in English, it know okay and at this point, they began to get the message and they got out of the junk up on the shore and the house boat owner through his grandchild up to them and he climbed out himself and they turned around and look where the boat had been in it. It sunk in the undertow it carried away if they waited a moment longer, they would've gone down with it. That's the message is not okay your relationship to God is not okay.

You need a Savior, and the sooner you learn those facts. It's not okay in the Jesus Christ is the Savior. The sooner you take that step, which is necessary for salvation casts behind you all depended on in the past and leap into the arms of that one.

It was the Savior in whom alone is able to save and was willing to save and offer to salvation. Now, in the day of his grace. Let us pray our father, bless these truths to our hearts. Granted the urgency of spiritual matters by the power of your Holy Spirit might press itself upon our minds and hearts of our father, we ask that nobody might go on from this place with a strong ground from here saying well that's interesting philosophy but it is really matter. We can face it later.

These are issues of our father so work in hearts and minds of those who have not come to you through Christ might see the issues crystallizing in their mind and recognize their deep need and see Jesus is the way of salvation and come to him, our father, grant that granted in large measure, and in large numbers for Jesus you're listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse.

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