Friends or Lovers? (Our Relationship to the Mammon of Unrighteousness)

FRIENDS OR LOVERS?
(Our Relationship to the Mammon of Unrighteousness)

I. The Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples about a necessary balance of
faithfulness in both righteous things and unrighteous things. LUK 16:1-13.

II. Some have interpretted Christ's lesson from the unjust steward as a license for questionable or shady business dealings where practicality or profit may override
principle.
A. Purloining (pilfering, misappropriation of resources, especially where there is a breach of trust) cannot be justified, especially where it is done to buffer the consequences of other sins. TIT 2:9-10; 1CO 6:8.
B. There are times when godly deception is justified (JDG 6:11-12) but honesty is the best policy in all things. 1TH 4:11-12; 1TI 2:1-2.
C. Christ also taught his disciples from a parable about a nagging woman and an unjust judge (LUK 18:1-8) but this does not justify persistent complaining or unrighteous judgment.
1. This is an example of reasoning from the lesser to the greater, from the inferior to the superior. If an unjust, carnal judge with limited patience and longsuffering avenge a nagging petitioner, would not the perfectly righteous Judge in due time avenge His own elect which have ongoing, genuine petitions?
2. Likewise, the account of the unjust steward.
a. Carnal men are deemed wise for providing ahead for themselves when they have been notified of their loss of stewardship.
b. Therefore, the saints should be at least this wise because they
have been advised that their life is temporary after which there shall be a judgment (HEB 9:27), so they should be "...laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come..." (1TI 6:19).

III. The steward (one who supervises the domestic affairs of his master and regulates household expenditure) had wasted his master's goods and was called into account for it. vs. 1-3.
A. Sin cannot be hid. Sooner or later, it will be revealed and there shall be an
accounting. 1TI 5:24-25; ROM 14:12.
B. The discovery and judgment of the steward's sins were sudden and
unexpected. So shall it be to those who have spent their lives in this world only thinking of themselves. LUK 16:19-23; 12:16-21; PSA 73:3, 17-20.
C. v.3. The steward may have had valid limitations on what else he could do ("...I cannot dig...",) but pride ("...to beg I am ashamed...") is not such a
valid limitation. PRO 8:13; 16:18-19.
1. It is not a shame to beg when there is nothing else one can do.
LUK 16:20-22.
2. It is a shame to beg when one could work but will not.
PRO 20:4; 2TH 3:10.

IV. The steward decided to do something to buffer his fall. vs. 4-7.
A. This is much like the politician or company executive who knows he is
going to lose his position and so uses his influence while he can to court the favor of some business which will be his landing pillow.
B. The steward's worldliness and pride drove him from one error to another
rather than repent and beg forgiveness. MAT 18:26-27.
C. We go in the wrong direction when we try to cover one sin with another.
2SA 12:8-9; PRO 28:13.

V. The lord of the steward commended him for his wisdom. v.8.
A. Worldly people have a strange value system!
B. It is a general observation that worldly people have a more keen business acumen than the saints. GEN 25:27.
C. The saints should be at least this wise in THEIR generation, making provision for the next world. MAT 6:19-21; 1TI 6:17-19.

VI. The Savior then advised his disciples to learn a lesson from the unjust steward and be faithful in financial matters. vs. 9-13.
A. These instructions are especially weighty to gospel ministers, who are "STEWARDS of the mysteries of God" (1CO 4:1).
B. It is wise for ministers to be diligent in business and, when possible, to have a safety-net in event of the loss of a ministry. ACT 18:3; PRO 22:3.
C. If a person is unfaithful in financial and everyday matters, he has no business seeking the ministry. vs.10-12 c/w 1CO 4:2.
D. While diligence in worldly matters is required, a balance must be struck.
1. We may be friends of the unrighteous mammon but not its lovers.
v.13 c/w 1TI 6:10.
2. The fashion of this world is for our use, not abuse. 1CO 7:29-31.
E. Those who know and faithfully do these things will receive the true riches. v.11 c/w EPH 3:14-19 ct/w LUK 8:14.

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