Share This Episode
Finding Purpose Russ Andrews Logo

Luke Chapter 16

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
January 18, 2023 12:30 am

Luke Chapter 16

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 193 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


January 18, 2023 12:30 am

Today, Jim Briggs takes us through the first few verses of Luke Chapter 16.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick

Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network.

This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net, or come to our website at www.findingpurpose.com.

Connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be in Jerusalem. So we are part of the large crowd tonight, you and I, and we're with Jesus. We're following him through a region called Perea.

It's to the east of the Jordan River. And remember, he is journeying resolutely to Jerusalem. He has a mission, and he's on the mission. And along the way, in these small towns, these small villages, he stops and he teaches. In ministry, you know that he started to use parables more and more, to the point that he almost used parables exclusively to illustrate spiritual truths, spiritual principles to those who had ears to hear. Remember he said, to you who have ears to hear.

But he also used parables to conceal the truth from those who persisted in unbelief. You do remember, in fact, I mentioned this last time I was up here, that this is all part of a large section starting in chapter 13 and actually finishing up in chapter 17 and verse 10 of this journey. And you remember maybe back in chapter 13, there was a question that was given to Jesus that said, Lord, will those who are saved be few? That was in chapter 13, verse 23. And Jesus started to use parables to explain and to reveal that, in fact, the number would be many. He said that one day they will come from north, south, east, and west, but he did say that it's only to those who respond to my gracious invitation to enter the kingdom. And it's only those who enter the narrow door of true discipleship. It's important, I think this is a key to help us understand what Jesus is trying to teach tonight.

It says that he directed his comments to his disciples. Now it's important to remember that the word disciple, as you know, is a follower. And there are lots of people at this point that are continuing to follow Jesus. It's important to remember, though, that not all of those disciples are converted believers.

This is a mix. It includes believers, certainly, but it also includes curiosity seekers. It includes Pharisees, as we see, and scribes. And so he's speaking in all of these stops as he's giving these parables. You remember in 15, he's really speaking, the parables in 15 that we covered last time we were together were really directed at the Pharisees. They were more of an evangelistic teaching. What he was trying to do was to convince the Pharisees to repent and to call upon Jesus as the true Messiah. But now it says that he turns to his disciples, and really what he's doing here is he's turning to the believers here.

Because he's gonna give them a lesson now. He goes from an evangelistic lesson now to a discipleship lesson. Remember back also in 14, he already gave some discipleship, he already had a discipleship course.

About the cost of discipleship. And so now he's returning to another lesson on true discipleship. And so he directs his comments to disciples.

So now the Pharisees, as we know, are listening because later in this same chapter, you see that not only did they hear him, but they were ridiculing him for what he was saying. So anyway, the Lord is sharing this story, and the story is about this unjust manager, and he uses this story to teach them an essential lesson about what it means to be a true disciple. Remember back in 14, the cost of discipleship, he gave some stipulations that said, you have to do these things in order to be my disciple.

In fact, if you don't do them, you cannot be my disciple. So it's in that same vein here now that he's giving them this essential lesson about discipleship. He also says the disciples, this word also is important because it points back to probably the parable we just studied.

The prodigal son. And so Jesus is now expanding on a truth that he's already covered, and we'll look at that in a little more detail. But this parable is really meant to build on the truths that he's been teaching all along. So let's take a look at the story.

Take a look down at your Bible. We see some characters in here. We see some interesting things happening. The story pictures, as I said, this rich man. This is a wealthy landowner and his manager. And the owner seems at first to be completely unaware of the fact that his manager has been behaving in a very scandalous way. It says that a report came in, an accusation came in that said that the manager was wasting his master's possessions.

Okay, so there's the problem. A whistleblower has tipped off the landowner here and said that he's heard tale of this manager squandering money, probably through extravagant living. Now somebody's probably watched him, witnessed him. Of course, this is a story, so it's all conjecture. But he probably witnessed this man wasting these resources through extravagant living.

Now it's not hard for us to understand what's going on here. This is embezzlement we're talking about. And this is something that happens today, right? Everybody in here has at least read something in the newspaper about embezzlement. We've seen some huge stories of embezzlement and fraud. This is typical embezzlement, though. I saw one report that said 75% of employees have admitted to committing theft at their company.

75%. Now I've also, from this same report, it said 95% of companies have been victims of embezzlement. Embezzlement costs companies about a million dollars annually, and very often these crimes go unnoticed, or at least for a period of time. But in this case, the manager has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. So he's been caught red-handed, and this is a problem. You see, this is a manager, and in ancient times, a manager or a steward had a very special role. So in your notes and in your lesson, you realize, or you studied about managers or stewards, and you saw that they were responsible for overseeing a household or an agricultural business.

That's what this guy's responsible for. This person would have had high social standing. He would have been a man of respect. He acted on the behalf of his master in all the affairs of his household or his business.

This position demanded a high level of trust. And the Bible says this. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4, 2 that it was required of managers that they be found faithful. So here we've got a guy who's not only going against the rules of being a manager, he's going against God's law for managers as well. So this manager has been misappropriating his master's property for quite some time. He stopped at some point being a manager of goods, and he started to act like an owner of those goods. And like the prodigal son that we read about back in chapter 15, he's been accused of squandering these possessions. Remember the prodigal son had gone off and he squandered his inheritance. The difference here is, of course, this man is squandering not his inheritance, but somebody else's things, his master.

And so that leads us to this careful consideration. So the master calls him, calls him on the carpet and says, what is this I hear about you? Turn in your account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.

I want you to notice something. The manager doesn't offer a defense, does he? Another thing that's important is that the master of the manager doesn't give him a chance to respond. He doesn't give him any leeway. He doesn't say, I'm going to take a look at your accounts and if I find this to be true, then you're done, but if I can't find any evidence, then you can stay. He absolutely says, you're out of here, you're done.

Right? So he wants him to clear his desk. He wants him to pack up his things and leave at the end of the day. But before he does that, he says, I want you to go and I want you to collect all the receipts, all the disbursements, all the cash on hand, all of your records, and I want you to bring them to me by the end of the day. Well, I want you to think for a minute what this must have been like for this man. So for a manager of a household, he had a place to stay, he had food on the table, he had an income, he had position in the culture, he had a great relationship with those that he worked for, and now all of a sudden, this guy is faced with losing it all. So put yourself in his mind for a minute. You can imagine his mind is racing at this point.

What am I going to do? Not only was he out of a job, but he was out of a job. He was out of all the things that made him who he was.

Right? And so the clock is ticking on this guy. He has a very short amount of time in order to pull something together, the rabbit out of the hat, before he was out on the streets. So he returns to his office, and again, I want you to picture this guy, he's probably pacing back and forth, and back and forth, wondering what am I going to do? How am I going to earn a living? Where am I going to live?

What am I going to do about my life? And so his choices are limited. I want you to notice that as he's thinking about this, he's thinking about all the choices that he has. Well clearly, he can't be a manager somewhere else.

Words are going to get out of what he's done. There's no way anybody's going to trust this guy to come and manage their affairs. And so really, the only things that are left are these jobs that he really doesn't want to do. He says, I'm not strong enough to dig. I'm not a collar guy.

I think his hands are probably soft. And he's not qualified, he's not cut out to go dig a hole somewhere. And he says, I'm too ashamed to beg.

Well, digging and begging are probably just about the lowest job on the totem pole. And this guy says, I can't do that. But what's he going to do?

These are both shameful options. I think it's interesting, he's thinking about the fact that he can't beg. He's not really got the idea yet that he's done something so shameful that to beg might be a step up. What's he going to do though? The clock is ticking, as I said, and his entire future depends on his next move. So he needs to consider carefully.

Well suddenly, it says he has a bright idea. I know what to do, he says, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses. And this leads to a plan. So here's the plan. Realizing that he needs friends, he needs friends that are going to welcome him into their house and take care of him after he's lost his job, he comes up with this brilliant plan. This manager is unrighteous, but he is resourceful. And so he decides that he's going to meet all of his master's debtors and he's going to offer substantial discounts on all the amounts that they owe.

When he comes to them later, he's done all of them this great favor and they're bound to let him into their houses and care for him. And so that's what he does, so one by one. To the first debtor, who owes 100 measures of oil, he says take your bill, sit down quickly.

Look at that word, quickly. He's moving fast, he's got to get stuff done. By the end of the day, he's got to get all the books done. He says write down quickly, write 50. So for 100 measures of oil, he says cut it in half. He's got what?

Do it, just do it. Okay, alright, well you're the man. And to the next, who owed 100 measures of wheat, he says take your bill and write 80. Well because he was still acting as manager, remember he hadn't lost his job yet. The stipulation was you go gather all your things, bring them back, and then you're out of a job. So he's still acting as a manager, so he's completely within his rights.

He's still acting on behalf of the master. And so he has them rewrite the agreement on what to pay. While the actions are unrighteous, while the actions are unethical, they're not unlawful. Well, now the amounts described in verses five and seven are what we call, or excuse me, what was called land rents. Land rents, these guys are not paying in money, they're paying in kind. Or wheat on somebody's land, then you pay not in money, but in kind. And this was usually done by paying a percentage of the final harvest. So the amount of land required, as you start looking at these numbers, the amount of land required to produce that kind of a crop that would yield that kind of a percentage are huge. Men of very considerable means. That's what we get from looking at these numbers. 100 measures of olive oil is about 875 gallons. That's roughly worth about three years wages.

Now 100 measures of wheat equals about 10 or 12 bushels, and I found that that's equivalent to about eight or nine years of wages. So by reducing these debts, 50 and 20 percent this manager is showing astonishing generosity. Now remember, these guys are coming to him because he represents the master.

They probably don't know anything about what's going on. He's just giving them the deal of a lifetime. And so they're rewriting these scripts so that they can give them back to him, and this is going to go in the books. And so now think about this too, these are just the first two in the list of all the debtors for the master.

These are just examples. So you're thinking this guy probably has a whole list of tenants that he's going to go and speak to, and he's going to do this same thing with. So summoning each tenant, each debtor, he carries out this plan, and this plan, because of the amount that he's offering them, he's going to be set for life.

Pretty good plan. Well, how can we be certain though that the deal that he's making with these guys are going to be honored? Well, in Jewish society, and even in many Eastern countries today, there was this law of reciprocity. Thank you, Jeff, appreciate it.

I knew Jeff would come through. What that means, maybe I'll get Jeff to explain it, the person is obligated to reciprocate. Reciprocity, thank you. That's the law right there, right? So that's the law.

Thank you. Jeff, I'll scratch your back a little bit later. So what the manager was doing here is he's quickly securing future goodwill from his new best friends, right? And later that day though, the time runs out. So he has to gather up all the scripts, he's got to take all of his books, and he's got to go meet his manager, and the boss and the manager review the accounts. And it suddenly becomes clear what has happened.

The amount of land that is leased by these guys for olive and wheat producers would have yielded substantially more than what the master is reading in these agreements. Well, this leads to a rather interesting twist in our story. You're the boss, this guy comes to you, he swindled you, you become aware that he's been swindling you out of your fortune for who knows how long, and you give him an opportunity to gather all of his stuff and you find out that he swindled you again. What do you do? What is your response? What do you say to your manager?

Well, it's a bit of a surprise, isn't it, that when we read here what happens, the answer is not, you are in for it, buddy. The answer is the master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. All right, this is a head scratcher, but you probably saw in your notes, you saw maybe in your studies that this word for shrewdness, phronimos, means cleverness, practical wisdom, or prudence. Phronimos appears 14 times in the New Testament, and you get some idea of the meaning of this word as you start to look at some of these passages. I've written them in your notes.

You can take a look at them there. Here's these words of mine, and does them will be like a wise man, a phronimos man, who built his house on the rock. Matthew 10, 16, behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise, there's that word again, as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 25, one through four says, then the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom, five of whom were foolish, five were wise, there's the word again.

When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flax of oil with their lamps. So in all these cases, it's about looking at something that's gonna happen in the future and acting wisely. Of course, the master is not commending the behavior, the manager's dishonesty here, but the audaciousness of the scheme that this guy's just pulled off. His decisiveness in light of the crisis before him, guaranteed his future. Like I said, he's set for life, and the master here is praising his cleverness, his phronimos, and his foresight. So what lesson are we supposed to learn from this?

As I said, this is kind of a difficult one. Frankly, this parable is a little confusing to me, and I wonder if it's confusing to you. There's someone such an unsavory character here.

I mean, this guy is, I mean, he is rotten to the core, isn't he? And yet, Jesus uses him as a prominent figure in this parable. What lesson are we supposed to learn from the dishonest manager? Surely Jesus is not advising that his disciples adopt or imitate the behavior of this dishonest individual. These are examples of shady characters to teach an important spiritual lesson.

Here's some examples. Do you remember when Jesus described his second coming? He says, for you yourselves are fully aware, 1 Thessalonians 5, 2, that the day of the Lord will come like a what? Thief in the night. Well, I'm sure that he's not advising that we adopt thief-like behavior here, but like a thief, what he's saying is that he's gonna return unexpectedly.

And catching everyone by surprise. Luke 18, Jesus introduces another parable of the persistent widow, where one of the characters in there is an unjust judge. And he uses the unjust judge to teach the necessity of faithful and persistent prayer. And to show the goodness of our righteous God. So as we also saw in Matthew 10, Jesus admonishes his disciples to be wise as what?

Serpents. And so Jesus oftentimes uses these unsavory characters to help us to learn spiritual truths. And that's what he's doing here. He's offering up this unsavory character so that we can learn spiritual truths by observing his actions. One way that we discern the main point of a passage in Scripture, or certainly in this parable, is to actually take a look at the characters that are involved.

So that's what I wanna do now. Let's dig a little deeper in here and take a look at the characters and see what we can learn from them. Lesson one really comes from the shrewd manager.

Jesus here is, as I said, clearly not recommending that his disciples imitate the unrighteous behavior. But there was a valuable lesson that he was trying to teach here. The lesson about how prudent and decisive this man's actions were in the face of the coming crisis. Is that knowing everything about, knowing that everything that he had in life, everything that made him who he was, his very life was, or at least his livelihood, was about to be taken away from him. The manager sat down and considered what he should do. And then he used everything that he had.

Everything available. Of course it wasn't his, but he was using everything that was available. And he used what little time he had remain. He made friends to help with his welfare in the future.

Anticipating what was facing him, he became singularly focused on securing his future. So that's really kind of the lesson. That's what Jesus is saying.

This is the good quality. What does that sound like to you? To me, what I thought of was the quote by Jim Elliott.

Jim Elliott was one of the five missionaries killed in an attempt to evangelize a group of indigenous people in Ecuador. And he once wrote in his journal, he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. This manager is giving up what he cannot keep. At the end of the day, it's all gonna be gone. He gave what he could not keep to gain what he could not lose.

As I said, because of what he's done, he's assured that he's gonna be cared for, he's gonna have a home for the rest of his life. So this makes this interesting observation, though, in verses eight and nine. Take a look with me. Luke 16, eight and nine says that 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 eternal dwellings. So Jesus is pointing out here an interesting fact. That unbelievers are wiser than believers when it comes to planning for their future. Well-being.

That's quite a charge. The unrighteous wealth that he mentions there is not wealth that's obtained illegally or dishonestly. This is simply money that we use and enjoy in this world. That's all that means. But he says that the sons of light, sons of light are believers.

The sons of light is a term that just means believers, his true disciples. They must use this worldly means to gain friends right now, so that one day they will have this grand reception in heaven when it fails. Notice when he says, when it fails. This is the treasure that we're laying up for ourselves in heaven.

Right? It won't fail. Everything here on earth ultimately will fail us. This lesson falls flat unless that you think back on what Jesus has been teaching since chapter 3. Remember this crowd of elite religious people that are puffed up with pride, and they have this tremendous sense of entitlement.

They're grumbling because Jesus mingled with sinners. However, Jesus had revealed that he had come to seek and save the lost. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net, or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night on our YouTube channel. Find out more at findingpurpose.net.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-19 00:36:28 / 2023-01-19 00:45:41 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime