The unfaithful steward who wasted his master’s goods . . .

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Shared Thoughts, Wake Up!
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In Luke chapter 16 Jesus tells His disciples about a certain rich man who had a steward who had wasted his goods. The setting for this discourse is that He was speaking to His disciples, but not only to them, for Luke also says in verse 14 that “the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him.” Now Luke doesn’t share what exactly the Pharisees were saying, but the Greek word translated “deride” was only used twice in the NT, with the second place being in Luke as well when Jesus was on the cross.-

Lu 23:35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

In both places it is noteworthy that such was the response towards Jesus. There wasn’t any dignified attempt to reason or refute Jesus; it was an eruption out of the abundance of their hearts of iniquity as they spoke, a blatant display of arrogance by corrupt religious leaders against the greatest Rabbi of eternity. Their outburst of unashamed scoffing and ridicule was meant to convey their total rejection of Him. What makes this even more shameful is they were doing it in a vain attempt to justify their own selves. I am sad to say I have witnessed this type of behavior with the same motive among those professing to be Christian, leaders included.

Lu 16:15 And He said unto them, “You are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

Consider how astonishing this is, that those who were claiming to be leaders, confident teachers and “stewards” of God’s word where actually standing there ridiculing God in the flesh. I don’t know about you, but I find that an extremely frightening thing. How could those to whom were committed the oracles of God have wandered so far from the truth that they actually ended up loathing the Truth incarnate right before them? Are we to believe it is possible that such a deterioration of one’s faith towards God could actually take place in a true believer? Maybe we ought to look at Jesus words to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation –

Rev 2:2 I know your works and your labor and your patience, and how you cannot bear them which are evil. You have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and proved them liars:  3 And have borne and been patience, and for my name’s sake have labored and not fainted. 4 Nevertheless, I have somewhat against you because you hast left your first love.  5 Remember therefore from you have fallen and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent.

Jesus openly acknowledges that the Church of Ephesus was not only laboring in patience and was unwilling to tolerate those that are openly evil, but also that they exposed some who claimed places of the highest authority in the church as being liars. Those are strong words of affirmation of their knowledge and understanding of His word, but be that as it may, they had still fallen away from the very purpose God had sent His word to them in the first place.

They had left their first love, the pure motive required for acceptable service and worship for Him who loved and died for them. At that point they were merely going through the motions of Christianity. This is not to say they had no love for God, just that their love for God grown cold and was perhaps replaced with that seductive “love of ministry,” doing the work of God. You don’t think it can’t happen, it does. We get so busy doing all the right things we know to do that ultimately we can literally get too busy for God.

First, it starts because the believer so loves God they get busy doing what they feel needs to be done for the Kingdom of God. We all have justified it with “If we don’t do it, who will?” But still we really love the work because we know its right, plus it makes us feel good; so we patiently labor on and on and on. But then, some end up missing those times of refreshing because being so busy they inadvertently neglect their personal quiet time and communion with God. This is a sure fire recipe of how to grow weary in well doing. Soon, because the joy has faded we foolishly look for other things to make us feel better; after all we deserve a break today. So we began to seek consolations in the flesh, finding pleasure in some of the supposedly benign things of the world. But before long we have unwittingly moved away from loving God, to loving the work of God, and once wearied on to loving pleasures and taking our ease. Remember Paul’s admonition of those who err, those lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, who ended up only having a form of godliness? He isn’t saying they don’t “love” God, just that they love pleasures more. But how did they get there? Haven’t you ever asked God how you ended up where you were at some point and time in your life?

Why is it we always need to be reminded that even though we are saved by grace, that it’s not just grace alone. It is grace through faith . . . and that real faith works by love! Absolutely it is God’s grace alone which effectually works our salvation, but the instrument through which grace works is our faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. By God’s design it is “grace through faith,” indicating that faith is like a conduit that ascends in humbled belief towards heaven through which saving grace freely flows to meet the needs. However remember, faith works by love.

The greatest commandment of God is that with all our heart, mind and strength we are to love Him. That is not to imply that if we so love, that we have now turned the balances on God and He is obligated perform accordingly. No, we will never live long enough or have enough to offer unto God to make Him obligated unto us. Rather it is when we hold back in our hearts, being partial in our love, that we cause God in His holiness to reject our love as half-hearted and unworthy of His acceptance.

Look at Paul’s teaching to Timothy about proper obedience to God’s word-

1Ti 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

Even though the KJV presents plenty clear enough, I absolutely love the way it was written in the Weymouth’s NT

But the end sought to be secured by exhortation is the love which springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith.

The Holy Spirit through Paul is telling us that real faith, saving faith, the kind of faith that satisfies and accomplishes God’s will is not successful because of the exactness of its performance, rather because of the purity of the motivation behind it. Is our faith working because of love for Him? Yet the Church of Ephesus had fallen from its first love and therefore no matter how meticulousness their performance of the truth, they were still on a slippery path steadily declining away from a pure love for the Truth. Dare not think that this was but a slight thing, their waxing just a tad cold in their love for God, for He strongly admonishes them to repent lest He comes to them and removes them from their place with Him.

Read what Jesus said to the Church of the Smyrna and then soberly consider His words against the state of the Church of Sardis –

 Re 2:9 . . . I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Re 3:1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things. I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.  

In churches all across this country the Spirit of God is whispering the same words to thousands of believers, “You have a name that you live, and are dead.” There is no life in being called by the name of “Christian.” The name “Christian” is supposed to give witness to is that you are in truth a lover and follower of Christ, who is your Life. If you have ceased to walk in the Spirit, then you are walking again in the flesh . . . so how does that effect the “the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus?” Paul tells what that law is –

Ro 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

So how could Jesus tell the Church in Sardis that they were in fact dead if He was still dwelling in them? But Jesus tells them that they were dead, howbeit not all, which is why there was yet hope for them before God’s longsuffering and grace were frustrated bringing His judgment upon them.

Re 3:2 Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die. For I have not found your works being fulfilled before God.  3 Remember then how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who overcomes, that one will be clothed in white clothing. And I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

The fact regardless of the name by which they call themselves, they were unrighteous and dead. Longsufferingly, not willing that any perish, the Lord admonishes them to hold fast and repent lest their name be blotted out of the Book of Life. But sin works a negative conversion in the saint, waxing them worse and worse. Who then cannot but tremble when we read Jesus words to the Church of the Laodicea-

Re 3:15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Don’t make the mistake that Jesus identifying “cold” with being indifferent towards Christ versus “hot” as being on fire for Him, but rather as most drinks are intended to be served either cold or hot, when they become lukewarm neither are acceptable.Such was the state of the Church of the Laodicea, and the rest of the words against them terrifyingly sound like too many churches in these last days –

Re 3:17 Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,  18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see.

It is this Church of the Laodicea that sounds closest to those Pharisees who were covetous and derided Jesus. For as Jesus witnessed against them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” But how did they get there? What was happening in all these churches? Can it be that because they became careless as stewards they slipped in their love and unintentionally ended up unfaithful? Certainly we shouldn’t think they meant to end up there, right?

Let’s look into Jesus’ accounting of the rich man and his unjust steward –

Lu 16:1-8, And He also said to His disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward. And he was accused to him, that he had wasted his goods.  And he called him and said to him, “What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you may no longer be steward.”  And the steward said within himself, “What shall I do? For my lord is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.  I know what I will do, so that when I am put out of the stewardship they may receive me into their houses.”  So he called every one of his lord’s debtors and said; to the first, “How much do you owe my lord?”   And he said, “A hundred baths of oil.” And he said to him, “Take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifty.”  And he said to another, “And how much do you owe?” And he said, “A hundred measures of wheat.” And he said to him, “Take your bill and write eighty.”  And the unjust steward’s lord commended him because he had done wisely. For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

It is clear that this “lord” was in fact a rich man and not our Lord Jesus, though the parallel is undeniable. That being said, the steward can be anyone of us to who Jesus has committed the truths of His Word as well as the giving of His Spirit to whosoever asks of Him with acceptable hearts. What we see with this unjust steward is that he loses either one of two things for his lord, fear or love, or even both. To observe the importance of having at least one of these, consider God’s word to Israel when He gave her His oracles to live by –

De 10:12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? But to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

In this verse we see the two things that God requires from His stewards with all their heart and all their soul; fear and love. Not everyone is going to immediately serve God out of love; many are saved first by fear being plucked out of the fire. But once tasting and seeing the Lord is worthy of our love because of His love He has saved us, we should naturally fall in love with Him. For this is what true Christian growth is, a return and increase of our love for Him and others. Nevertheless, fear (of God) is the beginning of wisdom in any relationship with a superior . . . which obviously the unjust steward was lacking.

We are not told how he wasted his master’s good, if it was through improper storage and handling, careless bookkeeping, embezzling, or trying to win favor with the creditors, though it is obvious that the latter was certainly the conclusion of his sins against him. It was certain however that his unfaithfulness was going to find him out and leave exposed before all lawful grounds for him to be accused. Consider the words Jesus once spoke to the Pharisees.

John 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom you trust.

The very Gospel preached unto us which has saved us and brought us to Christ will also testify against us if we do not walk according to the truth of it. Remember Paul’s rebuke to Peter?

Ga 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

God’s word is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; regardless if it’s the Law or the Gospel. They both are the same sword of the spirit that is quick, sharp and powerful, piercing and dividing asunder of soul and spirit, forcing a decision upon men to trust and obey or not. By the light of His word we all stand naked and exposed before Him while His offer of possibly being clothed with His righteousness is but for a season presented to us . . . if we will but only fear and love Him with all our hearts.

In these last hours, most “Christians” in name only are no longer walking according to the truth of the Gospel. When Jesus said “the love of many” would wax cold, He wasn’t speaking of the unsaved worldlings, Jesus was speaking of the Church. Like those Pharisees, many “Christians” today are openly covetous and friends with the world, calling themselves by names of life while being the walking dead in their trespasses and sins; one can scarcely tell them apart. Because the liberal feel good pseudo-churches warmly accepts them, they imprudently believe that just because they verbally said they have accepted Christ, He must now therefore be accepting them.

How did this “acceptance” nonsense ever replace the commandment of God for all men to repent, believe, be baptized and pick up their cross and follow Christ? Soon, very soon these unjust stewards (ministers of darkness and unrighteousness) will stand before God accused by His Law and Gospel and be eternally damned for defiling the temples of God (whose temple you are) with such worthless wood, hay and stubble doctrinal nonsense. They are wells without water.

Meanwhile, they tell their congregations they don’t really owe their Lord that much. They might as well say, “If you ever open up your bibles, just go ahead and cross out that call to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable and write in there instead anything that makes you feel good. Obedience is optional, since it’s all freely given only by grace. Why there is nothing we can do to deserve it or must do to receive it. Have faith and just accept it.”

Lies! All lies! Damnable lies that will sink men into the lowest depths of hell! Faith works by love! Once again, saving faith is the like a conduit that ascends towards heaven in belief through which saving grace flows to meet the needs. Faith is inseparable from faithfulness. It makes one a just steward of his Master’s riches. Listen to what Jesus told His disciples and the Pharisees –

Lu 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

What is this “mammon of unrighteousness” that Jesus tells us to make friends with? Consider James warning to the rich men –

Jas 5:1 Come now, rich ones, weep and howl for your hardships coming on. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their poison will be a witness against you, and will eat your flesh as fire. You heaped treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the laborers reaping your fields cry out, being kept back by you. And the cries of those who have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth, and lived wantonly. You have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

The only way to make friends with “mammon of unrighteousness” is to be obedient to God and return that which you have been unjust with. Do you think that it doesn’t matter how you have managed you worldly wealth? Have you closed your hand to the poor? Have you robbed God with tithes and offering? Have you obligated men of God called to labor in the house of God on your behalf to go work in the fields because you held back their wages? Don’t you know that they who preached the gospel are to live by the gospel, meaning that is where their livelihood comes from? How many missionaries and preachers are not sent because God’s people are bad stewards and will one day therefore have their stored up wealth and ill-gotten gain cry out as a witness against them?

Listen to Paul’s words to the Church of Galatia –

Ga 6:6 But let him who is taught in the Word share with the one teaching in all good things.  7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.  8 For he sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.  9 But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint.

Oh how sad it is that so many fail to see how this “sowing to the flesh” or the spirit is solidly connected to the responsibility of those taught needing to obediently communicate to the needs of the teacher; so that he may be free to give himself to prayer and study of God’s word and minister back unto them and others. Yet clearly he who sows to his own flesh neglecting the house of God will only reap corruption. But not only that, by “sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.”

Now do not think that simply giving you money to a preacher or Church will cause you to reap life everlasting, cause it won’t. Listen again to Jesus words to His disciples –

Lu 16:10 He who is faithful in the least is also faithful in much. And he who is unjust in the least is also unjust in much.  11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you?  12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who shall give you that which is your own?  13 No servant can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The truth is many claiming eternal life under the name of Christianity are simply carnal and covetous religious folks who are nothing more than unfaithful stewards. If they cannot out of fear or love be faithful to God with the increase He has allowed them, then why would He give Him the true riches? This is not my doctrine, Jesus said it right there above. Many “believers” simply are not maturing in Christ because they are selfish, carnal and still living in the world and have comfortably joined themselves to like-minded covetous men in the pulpit are more happy to golf with sinners than eager to pray for them. Is it no wonder that America is what it is with such men in the pulpit?

Listen, it isn’t really about the money. It is about becoming new creatures in Christ. It is about crossing over from death into life . . . remember the Church of Sardis? We have been given exceedingly great and precious promises from God that we can and must be partakers of the divine nature of Christ formed in us. But in order for that to happen we must reckon ourselves dead to this wicked and perverse world and alive unto Him. To be redeemed is to be bought with a price and to be no longer your own.  Listen to what God said to Ezekiel –

Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are Mine. As the soul of the father, also the soul of the son, they are Mine. The soul that sins, it shall die. 5 But a man that is just and does what just is and right,  6 and has not eaten on the mountains, nor has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor has defiled his neighbor’s wife, nor has come near a menstruating woman,  7 and has not ill-treated any man, but has given the debtor’s pledge back to him, has robbed none by violence, has given his bread to the hungry and has covered the naked with a garment;  8 he has not given out on usury, nor has taken any increase, he has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has done judgment between man and man,  9 has walked in My statutes, and has kept My judgments to deal truly, he is righteous, he shall surely live, says the Lord Jehovah.

Notice the call to be righteous with you money? Notice the call to be cease from sin and keep God’s statutes and judgments? Most importantly, notice how God says “all souls are Mine?” What the world needs to hear is not that they need to accept Jesus as their savior, or even that they need to make Him Lord of their life. The fact of the matter is Jesus Christ is Lord, everyone’s Lord whether they like it or not. Their souls are His and the lives they live are His. There is absolutely nothing anyone has that doesn’t belong absolutely to God. We are all His workmanship, both the unsaved and saved alike. He formed us in the womb and gave us the gift of life that we might have the honor and privilege of serving Him, and though our sins separated us from Him, He so loved us all He gave us all a sure remedy in Jesus Christ crucified, dead and buried and resurrected.

Like it or not, everyone is a steward of the Lord. You are a steward of the Lord. The question you have to ask is will there be anything crying out against you and accusing you before the Lord? Do not despise the goodness and longsuffering of the Lord meant to bring us to repentance, to give us an opportunity to make friends with our mammon of unrighteousness. He exposes our sins so we might repent that He might be able to give us His greater riches whereby we can know the mysteries of His kingdom, more importantly, know Him and be known by Him. The journey towards obtaining faith as a grain of a mustard seed can only be made by just stewards, are you willing?

Let the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus set you free. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, live for the King.

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

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