Vol. 19, No. 44 – November 15, 2020
The Gospel of Luke
a. The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-9.
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.”
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.
b. Principles on the righteous treatment of wealth, vs. 10-13.
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.
c. Rebuke of the Pharisees’ love of money, vs. 14-18 – Good stewards must be obedient.
Luke 16:14, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.”
Once again, we see the Pharisees “listening,” the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of AKOUO, to Jesus’ teaching and rejecting Him and His teaching, as they were “scoffing at Him,” the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of EKMUKTERIZO, ἐκμυκτηρίζω that means, “ridicule, sneer at, deride, or scoff at.” It is only used here and Luke 23:35. Therefore, we see that their scoffing continued throughout our Lord’s ministry, even while He hung on the Cross.
Luke 23:35, “And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One”.”
EKMUKTERIZO is a compound of EK “from” and MUKTERIZO, “to mock, sneer,” that comes from the noun MUKTER, “nose.” It literally can mean, “to turn up one’s nose,” but comes to mean, “to despise, deride or scoff.” We have noted in the book of Proverbs how the nose was used as a euphemism for mocking or scoffing, Prov 1:26; 12:8.
The reason they were scoffing at Jesus was because of His teachings on the appropriate attitude towards wealth, which was contradicting their “love of money.” The phrase, “who were lovers of money,” uses the Adjective PHILARGUROS with the Verb HUPARCHO that means, “be, exist, have, or possess.” PHILARGUROS, φιλάργυρος means, “avaricious or fond of money.” It is a compound word from PHILEO, “to love or have affection for,” and ARGUROS, “silver or money.” As such, it describes those obsessed with concern for money. It is only used here and in 2 Tim 3:2, in the NT.
2 Tim 3:1-2, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy.”
We have further instructions in the NT to “not be lovers of money,” APHILARGUROS, as it will have a detrimental effect on your spiritual life. In that, we see the requirements for being a Deacon of a church, which includes not being a lover of money, Heb 13:5; 1 Tim 3:3; cf. Titus 1:7.
Heb 13:5-6, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 6so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?””
1 Tim 3:3, “Not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.”
Paul also wrote how the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and has a negative effect on the soul, 1 Tim 6:10. There, Paul used the cognate noun form PHILARGURIA, which is only used there in the NT.
1 Tim 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Remember, the scriptures do not say “money is the root of all evil,” it states “the love of money is….” Money is a necessary commodity in the world. It is the means of stating the prices of goods and services as well as expressing debts, salaries, wages, rents, etc. It is a medium of exchange whereby goods and services are paid for and debts are discharged. Money is necessary for the function of an economy. It is not carnal or sinful for the believer to possess money or use money in a legitimate way. Money is legitimate, its accumulation is legitimate and its use is permissible. The function of money is part of the work ethic. There are monetary principles in the work ethic: earning money, saving money, spending money, giving money, and investing money. Therefore, it is not wrong or sinful for believers to possess money, even in large amounts. It is a tool or resource we need and are to use wisely. It glorifies God when it is part of your escrow blessings.
On the other hand, its illegitimate uses include: bribery, trying to buy power, influence, or love, or to corrupt character. Money becomes a wonderful slave or a cruel master, depending on your spiritual condition, Jude 11, “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” The deceit of Balaam was monetary lust. Therefore, do not ever let money become your master, because, if you love money, it means you are inordinately lusting after it, and lust for money can destroy the right priorities for life, James 4:13-14.
James 4:13-14, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Remember, money cannot buy salvation, (the spiritual death of our Lord was the purchase price for our salvation). Money cannot buy love, it is not a means of happiness, nor is it a means of security, Mat 6:24‑33. Money cannot buy everything. There are many other things that money cannot buy, such as security, perfect happiness from God, stability of soul, or peace of mind.
Money corrupted Solomon, Eccl 5:10-6:2, also Balaam as we noted above, Rev 2:14-15; and Ananias and Sapphira of the early church, Acts 5:1-10. Therefore, money does not mean prosperity, Prov 11:28, or capacity for life, Prov 13:7, 11.
Prov 11:28, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”
Prov 13:7, “There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.”
For the unbeliever, there are dangers regarding money as it cannot buy salvation, Mark 8:36‑37; 1 Peter 1:18‑19. It causes the rich man to have faith in wrong objects, Mark 10:25. The “eye of the needle” was the small door in the main gate of the city. One man could just barely get through the door. The camel could not fit through the door, and in analogy, the rich man cannot buy his way into heaven. Therefore, money hinders the unbeliever from seeking salvation, as we will note in vs. 19‑31. Money may have credit with people, but it has no credit with God, Prov 11:4.
Prov 11:4, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
The righteousness of God is the credit you need to live with God forever. That is gained by faith, i.e., believing in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Some questions we can ask ourselves to see if we are lovers of money or not include:
- Does my pursuit of money interfere with obeying God?
- Do I always look for something that will benefit me financially, regardless of how it affects others?
- Am I more concerned with what my cost will be instead of allowing myself to be moved by compassion?
Money related to right perspective and mental attitude is taught in 1 Tim 6:3-11, 17-19.
Luke 16:15, “And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
In this passage, Jesus exposes the fundamental sin of the self-righteous Pharisees as they “justify themselves,” which is DIKAIOO HEAUTOU. DIKAIOO means, “to justify, render innocent, or pronounce righteous.” They were doing this regarding themselves, “in the sight of men,” ENOPION HO ANTHROPOS. That is why we call this “self-righteous” arrogance. They justify their thoughts and actions as being holy and righteous against their own standards rather the standards of God, cf. 2 Cor 10:12.
2 Cor 10:12, “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
Luke also uses DIKAIOO in Luke 7:29, 35; 10:29, 18:14. The last two, Luke 10:29; 18:14, are similar in application to our passage.
Luke 10:29, “But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?””
Luke 18:14, “I tell you, this man, (the tax collector, sinner), went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Yet, those who are truly justified by God live be faith, as Paul stated when quoting the prophet Habakkuk, Hab 2:4, in his letter to the Romans, Rom 1:17. Cf. Rom 4:3 with Gen 15:6; and Rom 4:7-8 with Psa 32:1-2. See also Isa 53:11; Rom 3:30; Gal 3:8.
Isa 53:11, “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.”
Rom 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith”.”
Rom 3:30, “Since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.”
Gal 3:8, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you”.”
Even though man may try to justify himself by his human good works, “God knows your hearts,” DE THEOS GINOSKO HUMEIS HO KARDIAS. This phrase is used in the Scriptures to describe the fact that God knows the inner thoughts of a man, not just the outward appearance as man sees, 1 Sam 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chron 28:9; Prov 21:2; 24:12; Acts 1:24; Rom 8:27.
1 Sam 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”.”
Prov 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.” Cf. Prov 16:2; 24:12.
For the hypocrite, like these Pharisees, this fact is unbearable because he realizes that his actions fool neither himself nor God. Therefore, even though we may hide our thoughts from man, there is no hiding of our thoughts before God, as He knows every one of them. God knows our attitudes, our motives, our feelings, and everything else that is under the surface regarding the thoughts of our souls. Our problem is our heart. As Jer 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
We may fool ourselves and others, but we will not fool God. God knows who we are all the way down to the bottom of our souls. As such, we should not try to fool God, as we try to fool others and even ourselves. Therefore, knowing that God knows your every thought should lead you to have great honesty and integrity in your thoughts and your actions. If you have been putting on a façade for others, stop what you have been doing and start operating in the integrity of God with great faith as His Word flows through your soul.
This doctrine should be a great comfort for you, the believer, as you realize that human judgments upon your actions are not important. You realize that you serve a Master who judges your motives more than your accomplishments. You seek to please no one but God. Paul states that the goal of Christian instruction is love coming from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith, 1 Tim 1:5.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-120 & 20-121 & 20-122
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!