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The Parable of Jesus: Kingdom Always First

Chris Buttery
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Is it possible that successful businesses display far more smarts than the church today?  Jesus seemed to think so.  Find out in what way, and how God's children need to rise to the occasion.

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  • September 6, 2014
    12:30 PM
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Now I have a philosophical question for you here. The Smalling. And I need your help. I heard this sad story the said tale of a man who went on an ocean voyage and. He took with him. A large bag of gold coins and according to the story. That was his net worth that was everything that he owned in that bag. Now wasn't long before. A terrible storm blew up and. The passengers on that ship. Were at risk of losing their life. And then the coal came out for everyone to abandon ship. Now the man. Strapped. The Gold. Around his waist and he did so hoping to save it. Along with himself and he jumped overboard. And he sank to the bottom. So here's the question. As he was sinking. Did he have the gold or did the gold have him. Did he have the gold or did the gold have him. You know the HOF the parables of Jesus told have to do with money and had to do with material possessions one. Out of every six verses. In Matthew Mark and Luke. Deal with the same topic. Now all of these references. Appear to make money the second most populous subject. In the entire Bible. So why this major focus. Well according to the experts. Two of the greatest causes of stress in life. Issues related to. Time management number one. And finances. Money. Number two. And this isn't surprising considering how people are doing these days in two thousand and thirteen. Consume a bankruptcy filings what. Over one million in the United States. That means today close to twenty three. Thousand Americans declare bankruptcy. Each week. S.M.R. research asserts that. Forty three point seven million households in the United States that's fifteen percent of the households in the US. Have less than one thousand dollars in liquid assets. And five percent of the households have a net worth of. Zero or less. So how to. People react to such situations well. They borrow more money. That's what. Consumer debt has risen to one point seven trillion dollars. And it continues to rise in a recent survey. Twenty seven percent of people surveyed by. The Los Angeles Times described their personal finances as. Shaky at best. Forty percent said they had trouble paying insurance premiums cop payments. And other installments on a monthly basis. Donald Olson. Quipped. The average American is busy buying things he doesn't want with money he doesn't have to impress people he doesn't even like. There is an aspect of life that financial matters. Don't touch. And that's why. Jesus spent so much time talking about money and material possessions. One of those times is found in the Gospel According to Luke and I'd like to invite you to turn there with me. To Luke Chapter sixteen. And we're going to read verses one through nine. One of those times where he talked about finances is here. In this particular parable of the unjust. Stew would be unjust. Steward all the shrewd. Astute shop smart manager. So here it is. Luke Chapter sixteen. And we'll start with verse one. There was a certain rich man who had a stupid. And an accusation was brought to him that this man was squandering all wasting his goods. So we called him and. Said to him. What is this I hear about ch you give an account of your stewardship for you can no longer beast you would then the steward said within himself What shall I do. For my master is taking the stewardship away from me I cannot dig. I'm ashamed to big. I have resolved what to do that when I'm put out of the stewardship. They may receive me into their houses. So we cold. Every one of his mosque is dead as to him and said to the first. How much do you owe my Moscow. And he said. One hundred measures of oil. So he said to him. Take your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty. And then he said to another. And how much do you owe. So he said a hundred measures of wheat. And he said to him Take your bill and write. Eighty. So the musta. Commended. The unjust to it because he had dealt. Shrewdly. For the sons of this world a more shrewd in this general in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you make friends for yourselves by on righteous Mammon. That when they fail. You may receive you. Into everlasting. Home. That's the story the story. Of the unjust. Steward all the shrewd manager. Now this is probably one of the most misunderstood parables. In the Bible. Many people when they read this passage. Wonder if Jesus is actually commending all speaking well of dishonesty. But that's not at all what he's saying. Instead in this particular story Jesus is using a clever. Crook. As an example of kingdom. Always first mentality. Kingdom. Always first mentality. Now when I. When I worked in the restaurant business. And that's. That's just my fancy way of saying that I worked in the fast food industry. When I was young. We always had this motto. That we lived by. And it was custom is. Always first. Now in Australia we don't. We don't abbreviate. You know. Create a lot of acronyms like we do here in the US. But this time we were just we would call it calf custom is always first a team of us. Always work by this motto and it helped us work. Very very efficiently. We satisfy the hungry customers in record time. Kept the premises squeaky clean we close shop. A lot sooner than most. Shift. Teams did. And all of this brought in larger profits for the company. Interesting lay most of AL team. Were promoted to manager positions by the age of eighteen. The motto of this motto customers always first shaped. Everything that we did and helped us make the right decision and it motivated us. Toward excellence in all things. Kingdom. Always first. Mentality not necessarily customers always opposed to Kingdom. Always first mentality within the framework of our walk with God will actually help us do the same thing. So let's understand the parable. First to understand the parable who was. Jesus talking to this one tells us he was talking to his disciples and then you when you jump down to verse fourteen. Monks Now Jesus often addressed his stories to his disciples. But oftentimes other people gathered around in verse fourteen it tells us that some of the religious leaders had come. And they gathered around to listen to Jesus story. Stories as well. And it's interesting when we talking here about the Pharisees. It seems as though Jesus enjoyed. Shocking. Self-righteous people. He says you. Your Pharisees you say. You all the most religious people in town. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you a model I'm going to give you an example. And your example is a crook. A thief. Someone who doesn't and unjust you had a shrewd manager. So let's unpack this parable. Look at those one and two. Again. There was a suden rich man who had a steward and an. Zation was brought to him that this man was wasted his. Was wasting his goods. So the rich man got word that this. Manager. The one who had given responsibility over his goods. Had mismanaged. His goods. And so the rich man cold the steward and said to him. What is this that I hear Batu give an account of your stewardship for you can no longer be stupid. Now obviously the. The. The rich man had heard enough and had gathered enough evidence. In so much to declare that this. Manager the steward could no longer work for him. But he said Go ahead. Get your books in order and give an account of your stewardship you can no longer. Be steward. Now the Bible teaches that God is the owner of how much friends. God is the owner of. Everything. And there's no doubt about it we use. Nothing on earth that we use as truly as we use it for sixty seventy eighty ninety years and that's basically it but then we posset on to somebody else. You never really saw. A pull pulling a U.-Haul trailer. One day one day. Just as. This man in this story had to give an account. To his own Are you and I will one day have to stand before God and God's going to ask us what we did with the money he entrusted to us while we were here on Earth. Now in this parable the man was a crook. As know why about. No way of getting around it this crook knew he'd lose his job. Because of his dishonesty. And so he planned a clever scheme. And the next verses describe exactly what he did to get some credit is who owed some money. To his boss and this is what he said he said basically. To one guy how much do you owe. The guy said to him. I owe eight hundred gallons of oil. And that's basically what I want is it here he says. He says a measure. Measure there is about eight or nine gallons. He's got one hundred so I have hundred nine hundred gallons of oil. And so the steward says Cup the bill in half. And we'll call it even then he goes to the next guy. And he says What do you own he says a thousand bushels of wheat it was about ten to twelve. Bushels per measure. And so he said we'll cut that down to eighty. And then we'll be good to go. Now at the collection. At that rather than the conclusion of the collecting of the funds. The must to give his evaluation and look at that again in verse eight. And will read the first part. So the must to commend did. The unjust you would. Because he had dealt shrewdly. That's very interesting is that it seems as though he's commending his. Mismanagement of his money. He commended him. Now. Jesus is not commending. This shrewd manager. Because that's the reason he's being dismissed. He's not commanding that. But what he does say. Is that this man was. Smug. He was smug in the cleverness with which this man brought his Korea. And conduct to a climax. Was amazing. And the fire in this. With which he carried out his plan. So worthy of noble objectives. That the rich man could not help admiring the stupid shop nests and. Diligence. What did the crook do that received the commendation of this particular rich man even of Jesus. There were three things. First of all you see that in verse three. Those three he says then the steward said within himself. What shall I do for my master is taking the stewardship. Away from me I cannot dig I am ashamed to beg the managers saw danger on the horizon. Starvation in fact he saw danger on the horizon. He saw the storm coming. So he looked ahead that's one thing that he was commended for. He looked ahead. Number two you see this in verse full. I resolve. What to do that when I'm put out of the stewardship. They may receive me into their houses that is the credit as you see. That will take be in this menu that if he was kind. To these dead as they would be all Blige to welcome him. When he was out of a job so he had a plan in mind. That's the second thing and then the third thing. He acted quickly. He called in each one of his muscles dead as and said and noticed his response in those six six Take your bill and and do what act one. Quickly. Sit down. Do with this let's sit down quickly. So the actor. The rather the manager acted quickly and. With purpose and intention. So in this parable. Jesus reveals to us all teaches us. Three very important principles to employ. When managing the goods that we've been entrusted with look ahead. Make a plan. And work that plan. Now. That's not bad advice is it. Have a plan. Look ahead. And work the plan quickly. Handle In other words handle what God has given you. Wisely. Handle what he's given you wisely. Plan for the future. Stay within your budget and yes you ought to have a budget. If you are the money you ought to have a budget. Lay that thing out. Live within your means. Stay within your budget. Save for emergencies. Plan for a. Modestly secure retirement yes you want to do that. Get out of deadly. Debt as quickly as you can. That's always a good thing to do. And if you're in trouble financially deal with it. Quickly right away. Don't let it go on don't procrastinate. Those are some principles some things that Jesus says here in order to encourage us to handle and manage his goods. Wisely Now while these are very valuable. Practical lessons for us here this morning. That we should adopt the last half of the parable. Jesus makes some spiritual. Applications and I'd like to spend the remainder of our time looking at Villers. So the. First lesson. That he reveals and that he shares with us is that Jesus reveals to us the best use the greatest use of our time. Out talents and our treasures. Look at verses eight and nine. So the must to commend of the unjust you would because the adults shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you make friends for yourselves. By on righteous. Mammon. That when they fail they may receive you into an everlasting. Home. What is Jesus talking about. G.'s in verse eight Jesus is saying that the worldly wise. Display. More wisdom and. Earnestness in serving himself. Themselves. And promoting their own interests. Then does the professed children of God in this service. To him and promoting. God's interests. Now to make profits companies invest a lot of money. They train their employees. They advertise they. I mean they do all types and they sit down and they count the cost and they figure this thing out. To make profits they do these things they spin they want. They were trained they train their employees smile be pleasant with the customers go out of your way to show that you kid. Proficiency in the task. Efficiency. In work. As in my restaurant days customers always firsts. Why because companies want patronage. They want their business. They want they want. Money. They want their money. There's some things that we can learn. As a church. From a company's enthusiasm. We don't want anyone's money and on and on. We want souls for the kingdom I meant. Souls for the kingdom of heaven is anything we can learn from a company a business is enthusiasm there are a number of people here that have their own business. And you have dedicated to making sure that that business succeeds and Jesus say is that the world. More was in their business then the Church of God is in handling the most important business in the universe and that is the salvation of men and women man. It's like Jesus stories down the gauntlet. It's like he throws down a challenge does any. They wiser out there than us in here when it comes to the work of God. While we think about the. Commitment and the sacrifice just to make money. Now Jesus is saying. More wisdom. More energy and more sacrifice is seen in the lives of business men and women. That is sometimes. Seen in the church when it comes to winning solves. And no. They're not wiser because they sacrifice relationships. To make money. But they are wiser. Because they. More committed and more determined to succeed. Then the people of God up. Man talk about a challenge. Talk about a challenge now this nine is interesting. And I say to you make friends. For yourselves by on righteous Mammon. That when they fail they may receive you into everlasting what is Jesus talking about. What's he saying. Sounds a little strange. Jesus is saying use the will only wealth. To gain friends so that when you get to heaven. That welcome you in. Was Jesus talking about. A few things that Jesus is not saying he's not saying that you can buy your way into heaven. Can't do it. He's all saying you can pay for your salvation you can't do that either. He's not saying we can bribe God. To get to heaven. Is not saying that. Salvation is a free gift and what we need to do is simply walk. Except in receive it by faith what's the point then. The greatest use of our resources this is what Jesus is saying. The greatest. Use of our resources is to use this temporary resource for permanent good. Yet. Yet we can become so engulfed in spending money on ourselves. That on those who need to be saved. The point is here. The point is that we need to invest in getting people to heaven. That's in investing getting people to heaven that's the highest and best use. Jesus said. You'll be welcomed into eternal. Dwellings or in eternal. Everlasting home. Heaven. Should be full of people that are excited to see you. When you get there. Now know. Not that they're going to get their head of you. We're going to get there together. First one is for sixteen seventeen makes it very clear. The dead in Christ arise first. We your lives remain should be caught up together with them in the clouds. To meet the lonely and so shall we have a be with the Lord we go there together. But when we get there. They ought to be folk that run up to you and say hey because of you. Because of your time because of your talents because of your treasures you're investing in getting people to heaven. I'm here. And that's what Jesus is saying here. Heaven should be filled with people who are excited to see use best use of our resources. Is to use this temporary resource for a permanent good. Now individually. Giving trends need to be consistent with our mission isn't that right. If we believe Jesus is coming soon. What's it going to say about where we put our money where we invest out time and now. Talents. What does that tell us you say there is nothing more important right now should be. Then getting people ready for the soon return of Jesus so. The first lesson that Jesus teaches us here. Is that he shows to us. Out the greatest use of our time. Talents and treasures which is investing it in getting people there. I meant. That's the first lesson. And the second lesson. Jesus reveals interest in my checkbook. And in my calendar. Jesus reveals interest in my checkbook and in my calendar. If you would check out our checkbook which you can. But if you want to check out our calendar which you can. But if you would. This should be able to tell you something about Gin and my priority our family's part. If we were to survey our expenditures over the last few months. Where would you find yourself. How important what would it show what was important to you over the last several months Sure. If you look over your calendar. Would it find. Would you be able to see what was important to you. Would I be able to see what was important to you if I looked at your calendar sure. Notice versus ten through twelve. In Chapter sixteen of Luke. Jesus said He who is faithful in what is least is faithful. Also in much. And he who is unjust in what is least. Is unjust also in much. Therefore. If you have not been faithful in the I'm righteous man and that's just worldly wealth in. Earthly money. If you are not being faithful in unrighteous mammon. Who will commit to your trust the true riches. And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's. Who will give you what is your own. Who will give you what is your own Jesus is saying that if I'm faithful with what I have. Then God can trust me with with more. Trust me with more of it. Not just here on Earth now but also and eternity. Beyond. Some people anxious and looking forward to getting. To getting to spend an eternity with Jesus but here. Here in this world right here right now. They don't show what they ought to be doing for God. They know it because they're you going to be doing everything for God. And then I show what they should be doing for God here folks want to live forever but they don't know how to how to live a day or a week. I can say that spending quality time with John is important to me. But if I only squeeze in some focused time here or there. It really isn't a high priority is it. What we say. Doesn't often mean a lot. What we do. Means a whole lot more they still actions actions speak louder than words. Likewise how we spend our time. Our talents out treasures tell us something about where our heart really is. In fact God even uses money to test us. That there is a direct relationship in the Bible between. What I do with my money. And the spiritual depth in my life. That's clear in passage of the passage passage. Number three. Jesus asks for first place. In my life. All of the time. All of the time he doesn't. He's not looking for you to just carve out a little time. He's to be number one. All of the time. Kingdom. Always first mentality. Jesus summarizes all of this in Luke sixteen Those thirteen. No servant. Can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other. Or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon. Jesus lays it out black and white all we could say green and white couldn't wait. He's definitely not vague in this verse Jesus in reality says when you really get down to it. The choice is very very simple it comes down to two things. God. All money and things. Is there anything in the Bible that teaches us how you can know that God is or has first place in the book of Deuteronomy Chapter fourteen you're welcome to turn that cell last verse here. Deuteronomy Chapter fourteen. Verse twenty two and twenty three there is a non-self. There is a non-self. Notice what Asus. Deuteronomy Chapter fourteen vs twenty two and twenty three. Notice what Moses said You shall he said You shall truly walk. Ties. All your increase. Look at verse twenty three. And you shall just jump down to the middle. He says and the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil. All of the firstborn of your hoods and your flocks. That you may learn. To fear the Lord your God. Always a few may learn to fear the Lord your God always always in other words. The purpose of time I think. Is to teach you to always put God first. In your life tithing is God's way to help us keep Al keep our mind keep. Keep us focused keep us on track. Each time we. Five. We remind ourselves that what I have is not mine. It's God's. And we just manages of it each time we tie. We learn to be generous and unselfish because naturally. Where grasping and. Selfish. Each time we return ten percent to the. God's work we're not we're not just learning. We're not only learning to put God first in allows but we also reveal that he is. He is first. In our lives at all times. And this includes giving free will offerings and. To the Cause of God there's many different areas in which we can give. Also how we spend our time. And whether we using out talents. To the fullest use in the church are other indicators as to whether we possess. Kingdom. Always first mentality. You remember the story of Joseph Joseph. Sold into slavery. And he basically worked his way up ended up being in part of his home. And he was a became a faithful. Steward he exhibited those traits of characters that it did him to his master. And so by promoting the mosque as his mosque his interests as. If they were his own. Joseph found himself promoted. To be the steward of part of his household. Joseph is a good example for you and for I admit for me to be stewards of that which we have good stewards. Not just not advancing my own interests. But managing that which God is in trust to me as though it were my very own. Stew it's good manages So how you do and how you doing in Christ's kingdom always first in your life. Some might be feeling good about where they are and that's that's OK. Just make sure that you're doing. The way God asks you to do. Make sure your life is in harmony with His will. Reza revealed in the Word of God Some here might be saying today. You know need to be doing better. I need to give more time. To the service of the Lord to his church I need. I need to. And you have a little bit of ownership. On that. Ownership here at this church. I come and go each week but I don't really pay much attention to what's going on I don't really really hear it sometimes if I can be here in the week to try to help. Tidy up a clean up and do something for. I need to have a little more ownership. Chris I need that I need to be faithful. In my time and in my offerings are no I've slacked off. And I need to do better I need to get back to it. And so if that's you thank you for being honest with yourself and being honest with God. But don't stop there. Be intentional about the steps you're going to take. And immediately stop taking them. But the most important thing for each one of us here is to make sure that we're spending time with the one who really loves us. And the one who gave Himself for us. The truth is that is what bask in the love of Christ we're going to want to do. What to do. We'll be motivated to do his bidding as. We spend time with the one who loved us. All along. Will be prompted by right impulses and right. Motives to please him. Who has done. So much for us from here on out. Kingdom. Always first. Mentality. What he said this. Media was brought to you by a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free. Sermon audio. And much more. If you would like to know more about if you would like to listen to more service. Leave a visit or.

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