Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 16
Outline of the Book:
I. Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.
II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
I. Instruction in the Light of Rejection, Luke 12:1-19:27.
14. Concerning wealth, Luke 16:1-31.
a. The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-9.
b. Principles on the righteous treatment of wealth,vs. 10-13.
c. Rebuke of the Pharisees’ love of money, vs. 14-18.
d. The rich man and Lazarus, vs. 19-31.
In this Chapter, we have four main sections; The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-8; Principles on the righteous treatment of wealth, vs. 9-13; Rebuke of the Pharisees love of money, vs. 14-18; The rich man and Lazarus, vs. 19-31. The theme that ties them together is, “Overcoming temptation with faith.” They are also an image of the need for disciples to be wise and generous with the resources God has given them. Beginning with the parable of the unjust manager, Jesus is calling for faithfulness and wisdom in handling money, followed by a series of exhortations that emphasize various points related to it. Then a shorter section rebukes the attitude of the Pharisees and declares the arrival of a new era, which although new, does not change the ethical standards that God requires. Then, we are given the story of the rich man and Lazarus that emphasizes the eternal results of unfaithfulness, which is demonstrated by one’s unrighteous behaviors regarding wealth here on earth, versus faithfulness. The whole point is that Christ’s followers, unlike the Pharisees, should not be lovers of money.
a. The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-9.
This first section uses a negative scenario to emphasize the positive. We will see that it is first a rebuke against the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and ours as well, yet, it uses the negative to teach a positive position. As such:
Vs. 1-4, deal with not gossiping, slandering, or maligning others. Yet, if we are the recipient of it, we are to trust in God and not ourselves.
Vs. 5-8, deal with personal faith.
Vs. 9, deals with the point that good stewards must be shrewd.
Vs. 1-4, deal with not gossiping, slandering or maligning others, yet if we are the recipient of it, we are to trust in God and not ourselves. There are three parts to this in analogy to the Pharisees, and all who reject God’s plan:
- The warning for mishandling God’s gracious privileges and responsibilities, vs. 1-2.
- The error of taking matters into your own hands rather than trusting in God, vs. 3.
- Falsely trying to secure your eternal blessings, vs. 4.
In Chapter 16, we have two storylines that are only recorded in Luke’s Gospel, just as the previous three parables of the lost sheep, coin, and sons of Luke 15, are only found in Luke’s Gospel.
1. The warning for mishandling God’s gracious privileges and responsibilities, vs. 1-2.
Luke 16:1, “Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.”
Jesus is addressing His “disciples,” MATHETES, once again with a parable, and later will address the Pharisees. He once again was using the analogy of a “rich man” PLOUSIOS ANTHROPOS, as in Luke 12:16, but also that of a “manager,” OIKONOMOS that means, “a manager of a household or steward.” Here, the steward was “reported,” using the verb DIABALLO, which is only used here in the NT, that means, “slandered or accused.” Lexicons disagree on whether this was a false accusation or just simply an accusation against him. Whether a true or false accusation, it appears it was done maliciously. In either case, today we might say using the idiom, “he was thrown under the bus.” The accusation against him was that he was “squandering,” DIASKORPIZO, “scattering, dispersing, wasting, etc.,” (just as the Prodigal son did in Luke 15:13), his boss’ “possessions,” HUPARCHO. So, we see a malicious accusation that is brought against this man.
Luke 16:2, “And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager’.”
When his boss “heard,” AKOUO, about the accusation, he asked him to “give an accounting,” APODIDOMI HO LOGOS, (give a statement or declaration) “of your management,” OIKONOMIA, “stewardship, administration, or management.” This word is used here three times, vs. 2-4. Paul uses it to describe his God given ministry, 1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25. It is also used to identify the various dispensations of human history that God created for the administration of His Plan, Eph 1:10; 3:9; 1 Tim 1:4. Here, it is used literally for the management of his boss’ business or estate, where the boss asks for the books to be brought up to date, accounted for, and reconciled.
Next, it appears some things might have happened in between, or that the boss believed the accusations against the manager without any evidence because the boss, “the rich man,” jumps right to firing this manager, “for you can no longer be manager,” GAR DUNAMAI OUK ETI OIKONOMEO.
In Jewish law and society, this would have been an illegal thing to do, because there was apparently only one piece of evidence. The Law of Moses taught that you need two or three pieces of evidence to convict someone, Deut 17:6; 19:15, as we noted in Luke 15:32.
Therefore, we see that the worker was accused of mismanagement and the boss asks him to reconcile the accounts and then leave.
2. The error of taking matters into your own hands rather than trusting in God, vs. 3.
This is the beginning of operation Human Good works.
Luke 16:3, “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; I am ashamed to beg’.”
Just like the Prodigal son did, this steward takes matters into his own hands, i.e., Operation Human Good.
Knowing that he was about to be fired, the manager takes some action to save his own skin, as it were, “What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me?” Here, he recognizes his boss as being His “master,” KURIOS, “supreme controller, owner, lord, master, etc.,” and that He is taking away his management responsibilities, APHAIREO, “take away, cut off, or remove,” with OIKONOMIA.
This is a veiled warning from our Lord that the Pharisees were about to lose their position of leadership over the dissemination of the worship of God.
The steward also takes recognition that he is incapable of doing anything else, “I am not strong enough to dig,” OUK ISCHOU, where the emphasis is a lack of power he truly possessed, with SKAPTO, “to dig,” one of the hardest lines of work. SKAPTO also emphasizes cultivating and planting seed, so we see witnessing and evangelizing by analogy. The Pharisees could not do this on their own. In addition, he recognized, “I am ashamed to beg,” AISCHUNO EPAITEO. In other words, the Pharisees did not have the fortitude to lower themselves; they did have humility of soul; they did have the strength to serve on their own and they did not have the requisite humility.
By analogy, we always must operate under the power and strength of God to execute the Christian way of life, and possess great humility.
3. Falsely trying to secure your eternal blessings, vs. 4.
Luke 16:4, “‘I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes’.”
“I know what I shall do,” tells us he devised a plan to try to win the good graces of the people so that when he is removed from his job, he will have a place to land. Therefore, his big plan is to “win the people over” so that they will be gracious towards him once he is out of a job, “the people will welcome me into their homes.” He uses the Verb DECHOMAI in the Aorist, Middle, Subjunctive, Third person, Plural that means, “They might receive, accept, or approve,” EGO, “me,” EIS, “into,” AUTO, “their,” HO OIKOS, “homes.”
Therefore, his solution was to “suck up” to the people and try to win them over, rather than turning to God in repentance. This is the analogy of the Pharisees trying to persuade the people to accept them rather than turn to God in repentance. As such, this is a works for salvation program, which does not save anyone. He was trying to save himself rather than accepting God’s plan of Salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ, just like the Pharisees were doing.
On another note, this part shows what can happen to someone when they are gossiped about, maligned, slandered, falsely accused, etc. It can have a detrimental effect on their lives. Therefore, we should not gossip about, malign, or slander anyone. In addition, if we are the recipient of gossiping, maligning or slander, we are to trust in God to provide a solution rather than trusting in ourselves to solve our problems. Remember, God has 11 Problem Solving Devices (PSDs) that we are to have within our souls, ready to be deployed when any outward or inward attack or temptation tries to take us over. They include:
- Naming your sins to God the Father, (Repentance / Rebound), Psa 32:5; 1 John 1:9.
- Filling of God the Holy Spirit, John 14:26; 16:12-14; Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16.
- Faith Rest Drill, Psa 37:4-5; Rom 4:20; Heb 4:1-3.
- Doctrinal Orientation, Heb 11:1; 1 Thes 4:13.
- Grace Orientation, Eph 2:8-9; 3:20; 2 Cor 12:9.
- Authority Orientation, Rom 13:1-7; Eph 5:21-24; Titus 3:1-2.
- Personal Sense of Destiny, Eph 3:16; Phil 4:19; Rom 9:23.
- Personal Love for God the Father, Rom 5:5; 8:28; 1 John 4:19.
- Impersonal, Unconditional Love for Mankind, John 3:16; 15:12-17; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; 1 John 3:23.
- Sharing the Happiness of God (+H), Prov 3:13; John 15:11.
- Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 2:1-20; Eph 3:17; 1 Peter 1:8.
In this negative scenario, the steward puts his plan into action to solve his problem on his own, rather than turning to and trusting in God.
Luke 16:5, “And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’”
“He summoned,” PROSKALEOMAI, προσκαλέομαι, “summon, call to oneself, or invite,” “each one,” HEKASTOS HEIS, “of his master’s debtors,” HO HEAUTOU KURIOS HO CHREOPHEILETES. CHREOPHEILETES is only used here and Luke 7:41. It is made up from CHREOS, “debt,” and OPHEILETES, “one who owes.” Therefore, it means, “the one who owes a debt.”
In Luke 7:41, Jesus used it to teach on forgiveness, which He taught Simon the Pharisee. Here, Jesus used it to also teach about forgiveness of debt. In both, we see a sense of mercy on the part of the one who forgave the debt, as well as a sense of relief for the one forgiven. Therefore, if the Pharisees would have a heart of forgiveness then they too would be forgiven.
“And he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’” This uses the root of the previous word which is the Verb OPHEILO that means, “owe or indebted,” with KURIOS for “lord or master.” This represents the indebtedness we have to God for our sins.
Luke 16:6, “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty’.”
“A hundred measures of oil,” is HEKATON BATOS ELAION. BATOS means “bath,” which was a Hebrew liquid measure. It is only used here in the NT. It is approximately equal to one-tenth of a homer, about 6 gallons, or 22 liters. ELAION means, “olive oil.”
“‘Take your bill,” DECHOMAI, in the Imperative mood of command, GRAMMA, “and sit down quickly,” KAI KATHIZO TACHEOS, “and write fifty’,” GRAPHO PENTEKONTA. This “50” in the Greek might just mean a round number. So, this might have been a way to simply say round it down, or maybe it is the precise amount. Fifty is the number of jubilee or deliverance. It is made up of 5, the number of grace, multiplied by 10, the number of perfect order. So, we see the perfect order of grace in this situation, in the forgiveness of the debt.
Luke 16:7, “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty’.”
This time the steward only asks, “how much do you owe,” using POSOS and OPHEILO for “owe or indebted.” This person owed “A hundred measures of wheat,” HEKATON KOROS SITOS. KOROS means, “Kor, or a measure.” It too is only used here in the NT. KOROS of the NT is the Greek adaptation of the Hebrew word KOR, which represents the largest dry measure used by the Jews. A KOR equaled a “homer,” the Hebrew word for donkey; hence, originally, a “donkey load.” The same as 10 ephahs, cf. Ezek 45:11. As such the HOMER/KOR equaled about 10 bushels, a little over 48 gallons, or 220 liters.
This time the steward only commands them to “take your bill and write eighty,” DECHOMAI SU OH GRAMMA KAI GRAPHO OGDOEKONTA. ODGOEKONTA is only used by itself here in the NT. It is from OKTO, eight.” It is also in the number 84, in Luke 2:37, which was the age or years of widowhood, of Anna the widowed prophetess who received the baby Jesus and His parents in the temple. Eighty is made up of 8, the number of new beginnings and resurrection, times 10, the perfect order. Therefore, the number 80 represents the perfect order in new beginnings. As 50 represented the perfect order of grace in the forgiveness of debt/sin, 80 represents the perfect order of new beginnings aspect, as a result of the forgiveness of debt/sin. Therefore, we see cleansing with new beginnings in these two scenarios.
Luke 16:8, “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.”
When “his master,” KURIOS found out what he had done, he “praised him,” EPAINEO, “to praise, approve or give a public mark of esteem,” used also in Rom 15:11; 1 Cor 11:2, 17, 22. Therefore, his master praised his forgiveness and restorations.
Here the “steward,” OIKONOMOS, is called “unrighteous,” ADIKIA, “injustice, wrong, wickedness, wrongdoing, unjust.” This has given thought that the accusations against the steward were correct, but it just might be a continuation of the thought of the slander brought against him.
The reason he was praised by his master was “because he had acted shrewdly,” HOTIS POIEO PHROMINOS. PHRONIMOS is the adverbial form of the Adjective PHRONIMOS, “prudent, sensible.”
Bertram writes, “Cleverly resolute action is imposed by the hopelessness of the situation and the resultant urgency. In acting as he does, even the worldly man can be a model for the children of light,” (“PHREN,” Kittel, 9:234).
Then Jesus makes a statement in regard to the people of His day, “For the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.” Here the Adjective PHRONIMOS is used for “shrewd.”
Our Lord is saying in the parable that the everyday person is wiser than the way the Israelites are acting towards one another. In this worldly scenario, the steward was doing things to benefit himself. He was forgiving debt/sin. But, for the Israelites, especially the Pharisees they were not forgiving the sins of others and operating out of selfishness from their self-righteous, legalistic, arrogance.
Therefore, we are commanded to be shrewd in our dealings with the unbelievers of this world to win them over for Christ. Not in a sinful way though!
Luke 16:9, “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
“Make friends,” POIEO PHILOS is the command from our Lord here. The means to do so is “by the wealth of unrighteousness,” EK HO MAMMONAS, “wealth or property,” also in Mat 6:24; Luke 16:11, 13. This type of wealth is “of unrighteousness,” HO ADIKIA. This seems like an odd thing for the Lord to say, given what comes later in vs. 11, 13. But this is a principle by analogy. In other words, we are to be like Paul stated when trying to witness to the unbelievers of the world in 1 Cor 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”
This does not mean we use sin to court the sinner, or that we flatter or manipulate to achieve the goal of greater good. It simply is an analogy of someone in the world’s way of doing things that were shrewd, as an example of the shrewdness a believer must have to win the unbeliever.
The analogy continues by saying, “so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.” When the wealth of others fails, EKLEIPO, “ceases, fails, dies off, or come to an end,” “They will receive you” uses the Aorist, Middle, Subjunctive of the Verb DECHOMAI, “receive,” with AIONIOS SKENE, i.e., an “eternal tabernacle, tent, booth, or dwelling.” This is speaking of the worldly unbeliever. But as you know, they cannot give you or anyone else an eternal dwelling. Only God can give anyone an eternal abode. So once again we see the worldly analogy, this time of securing an eternal dwelling place for yourself. In the steward’s case, it would be a worldly one, which in actuality is the Lake of Fire.
Therefore, by analogy, our Lord is saying here, “Forgive the sins of others, (in the perfect order of grace), just as God has forgiven you, and you will have a perfect order of new beginning / resurrection, as you dwell in your eternal abode given to you by God. Therefore, we see the worldly analogy that Jesus is using, (speaking in their own terms since they were worldly people), to make the point of what they should be doing in the reality of the spiritual life.
This parable taught us the image of God and Jesus Christ as the master of the house, which teaches us about the Lord’s ownership. At the same time, it teaches us about our stewardship. Those who serve God are stewards or servants in the house. He is the owner, we are stewards. The theme of stewardship runs throughout Luke 16. We relate to the steward, as Luke 12:42 asks, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?” The Lord gives us the answer in Luke 16. Now, in vs. 10-13, we have principles for being a faithful steward.
These verses are concerned with our faith in God. We are to do our duty and trust in His grace for our reward. Here, we see the Character we are to have in vs. 10, the Consequences of our actions in vs. 11-12, and the Challenge we are given in vs. 13.
Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”
This is the character portion. The principle of the first half of this verse is similar to the praise and promise of reward in Mat 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17. It is the positive aspect of this verse.
Mat 25:21, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master’.”
“He who is faithful,” is HO PISTOS that means, “trustworthy, faithful, reliable, credible.” It is the standard for living the Christian way of life, as we trust in God for our every need and are consistent with the intake and application of His Word.
“In a very little thing,” reminds us of the faith like a mustard seed analogy in Luke 13:19; 17:6. The Greek uses the Dative of Superlative Adjective, ELACHISTOS, “smallest, least, etc.” It is also used in Luke 19:17, “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities’.”
“Is faithful also in much,” EIMI PISTOS KAI EN POLUS. If we are faithful in the minute details of life, we will be faithful in the bigger areas as well. Demonstrate your faithfulness to God in the small, or finer points of life. Do not gloss them over, thinking they are insignificant or meaningless. For example, do not take the pen that your business provides for you to use on the job to use at home or for you own affairs, unless they give you permission to do so. This may seem trivial or insignificant, but if you are thinking about what is the right and wrong thing to do with something on that scale, you will be thinking about right and wrong on much larger issues as well. Remember a sin is a sin, whether large or small. Therefore, if we major in the minors, we will be graduates in the grand scheme of life. As such, work to be faithful in the small areas of life and you will also be faithful in the seemingly more significant things as well.
On the negative side, the second half of this passage calls out the one who is not thinking righteously regarding the smaller, less significant things of life, “And he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Here, we have the same Superlative ELACHISTOS but with ADIKOS that means, “unjust or unrighteous.” Luke’s Gospel only uses this here and vs. 16, and 18:11. It is also used sparingly in the NT, including these verses.
1 Cor 6:9, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.”
1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
2 Peter 2:9, “Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment.”
Therefore, if we are operating sinfully in small matters, we will also act sinfully in larger situations, i.e., “is unrighteous also in much,” EIMI ADIKOS KAI EN POLLO.
Here, we see the principle in financial matters and frankly all matters. We are to operate faithfully, which means, we must have the mental attitude and actions that align with God’s Word, will, and plan for our lives. But, if we do not, we will not be faithful towards God when the real crisis hits. The steward of God is to be faithful in all things.
Luke 12:42, “And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?””
1 Cor 4:2, “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”
“This isn’t simply a matter of ability; it’s a matter of character. That’s why the terms “faithful” and “unrighteous” are used. We’re looking at the character of the disciple. Character separates the good steward from the bad one. The Lord doesn’t say in verse 10 “unskilled in little;” the Lord says “unrighteous in little.” When the disciple fails to be a good steward, it is like promising God to take care of his things but then not doing it. It’s cheating the Lord.” (Christ-Centered Exposition.)
Luke 16:11, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”
This is the consequences portion. Here, we have the Conjunction EI, which is a first class “if” statement of cause and effect. The “cause” statement come first, “if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth.” It uses PISTOS once again, but with the negative OUK for “not been faithful.” Then we have the object of the unfaithfulness, “in the use of unrighteous wealth,” EN HO ADIKOS MAMMONAS. As we noted in vs. 9, MAMMONAS or MAMMON, is only used in Mat 6:24; Luke 16:9, 11, 13. It means, “wealth, property, material goods.” it represents the materialistic wealth of the world / Satan’s cosmic system. Therefore, if you steal a pen from the office, you have not been faithful in the use of worldly wealth.
The then statement is, “who will entrust the true riches to you?” It uses the Interrogative Pronoun TIS, “who,” with the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb PISTEUO, with the Adjective ALETHINOS, “true, dependable, genuine, or real,” and the Dative of HUMEIS, “to you.” “Riches” is added for context to define the “true” as wealth in comparison to the unrighteous wealth of this world. The “true wealth” is God’s blessings both in time and especially in eternity. This is the first time ALETHINOS is used in the NT, which governs its use throughout the rest of the NT. It means that which is Godly or Divine, established by God, or absolute.
Therefore, we see that God will not bless us in time or eternity, if we are unfaithful towards Him with the things or responsibilities we have in this world. That is why in all things and matters we are to be trusting in Him and relying upon Him.
The Pharisees were given much to be faithful with, but they were instead unfaithful, even in the small matters and details of the Law, as they twisted them to be a works for salvation program, rather than being a representation of what God would do for them. We too, as believers in the Church Age, have been given much, and therefore need to be faithful to God in handling those things. If we are not, we will have loss of reward. If we are, we will be blessed even further by God, 1 Cor 3:12-15. That is what we noted in Luke 12:48b, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
Luke 16:12, “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
This is another way of saying the same thing as in vs. 11, regarding our responsibilities as stewards of God. In heaven, we will move from being stewards to being owners together with God. We move from being heirs and coheirs with Christ, Rom 8:17, to owners together with Christ in God’s kingdom. If we are not faithful in time, our eternal blessings will be lacking.
Here, we have another if – then statement. The Protasis is, “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s,” KAI EI OUK with the Aorist, Middle Deponent, Indicative of GINOMAI, “have been,” PISTOS EN HO ALLOTRIOS. ALLOTRIOS is an Adjective used as a Substantive here, that means, “belonging to another, strange, foreign, or hostile.” In other words, the riches or wealth belongs to someone else that has been entrust unto you to manage. If we are unfaithful in the use of those things, is the “if” statement.
The “then” or Apodosis statement is “who will give you that which is your own?” TIS with the Future, Active, Indicative of DIDOMI, “give,” with HUMEIS HO HUMETEROS. HUMETROS is an Adjective that means, “your own, yours, or belonging or pertaining to you.” This is the possessive form of the Second Person Plural Pronoun HUMEIS.
This is an interesting statement, because typically what is yours is yours to handle and manage without the permission and authority of others. But here, it states that we will not even be given what is rightfully ours.
In relationship to the Pharisees, they were rightfully given the law, the temple, the profits, and the promises. They had a right to these things especially the Unconditional Covenants. Yet, because of their unbelief, they would lose out on what they could have rightfully had.
The same goes for the unfaithful believer of the Church Age. God has set aside blessings and rewards for you in eternity past. But, if you operate unfaithfully / sinfully, He will not grant you those rewards in eternity. For analogy, imagine that in eternity past, God has filled a room with blessings and rewards in heaven just for you that is 1,000 feet, by 1,000 feet. But to obtain those rewards you have to function faithfully. If you do, at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ, He will grant them to you. But if you operate unfaithfully, He will not be able to grant them to you, 1 Cor 3:10-15. As a result, what was set aside for you, what was yours, is now lost due to your unfaithfulness.
Therefore, that is what is meant in our passage when Jesus says, “who will give you that which is your own?” The answer to this rhetorical question is, “no one will give you what was yours,” if you have been unfaithful. And in the same manner, the Pharisees were unfaithful in their dealings with the religion God gave them to protect and preach while in this world; therefore, they would not receive the eternal blessings He had set aside for them.
“The subtle truth here is that all material things belong to the Creator; we are merely caretakers (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:14). If we prove unfaithful in this God-given task, what right do we have to claim our heavenly reward, that which is ours forever?” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
This is the challenge portion. It is the main principle, which is also a very famous one. It is also used in Mat 6:24.
First, we have the principle, “No servant can serve two masters,” OUDEIS OIKETES DUNAMAI DOULEUO DUE KURIOS. Then is the practical aspect to support the principle, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”
Here, we have a “love – hate” relationship supported by a “devoted – despise,” analogy. In the first part, “Hate” MISEO, means, “hate, detest, abhor, etc.,” and “Love,” is AGAPAO. Notice the negative is first and then the positive. In the second part this is reversed, as “devoted,” is the positive and comes first, which is the Verb ANTECHOMAI, “to cling to, hold fast, or adhere to.” Then the negative follows with the Verb KATAPHRONE for “despise or think against.”
Therefore, we find that we cannot have split allegiances. We can only have one true allegiance in our lives and that should be with God. If we have sin in our lives, our allegiance is with the world, Satan’s cosmic system, which is designed to hate God. Therefore, if we love the things of this world, we will end up hating God.
John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
Therefore, just take note as to who or what the world loves, and who and what the world hates. Then you will be able to see where your allegiances should lie regarding the people and things of this world. Yet, in all situations, our allegiance should be with God and the things of God.
1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Mat 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
That is why this verse ends with “You cannot serve God and wealth,” OUK DUNAMAI DOULEUO THEOS KAI MAMMONAS. Here, and above, the language is actually stronger in the Greek, as they use the Verb DOULEUO that means, “be a slave to or be subject to obey.” It speaks to the obedience we are to have towards God and His world compared to the material things of this world. As it states, we cannot serve both at the same time. If we are enslaved to the material things of Satan’s cosmic system, we will not be servants of the Lord. Yet, if we are servants of the Lord, we will not be enslaved by the things of this world. The choice is yours!
Remember that the master has exclusive possession of the slave. Slavery is not a part-time relationship. The slave is obligated to serve his master at any and all times. Likewise, the Christian must yield himself totally to the service of God. There is really no such thing as part-time Christianity.
Therefore, we cannot worship two gods. We must make up our minds. Will we serve the false god of money and possessions, which amounts to idolatry, or will we serve the One true living God who owns all things?
Col 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
“The point is that we must keep our priorities straight. Wealth is to be used, not served. If all our efforts are to go to serving our Master, God, then the proper use of wealth is in service to God, not self. In a sense, the Unjust Steward is an illustration of this, for he certainly did not worry about wealth, but rather used it as a tool for his own self-preservation. The Christian, however, does not serve self, but God, and therefore any wealth he controls should be used for God’s purposes. (Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:6-10).” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
In conclusion, these passages define for us what it means to be “faithful.” It means that we have good character, keep the consequences of all situations in mind, and keep God first and only as Lord in all that we do.
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