Thursday, 10 March 2011

LUKE (Chapter 16) - The purification of the holy place in order to come to “the end of all flesh” (Part 5)


In and by Christ, we must be willing to be delivered from all unholy desires for earthly things (such as: money, unholy sex, fame).
This chapter, too, we are to see in the light of the veil (i.e. the curtain that separated the Holy Place and the Holy of holies) of the Israeli Tabernacle: hereby is meant the breaking off of all (powers of) sin in our flesh – by the union with His body that was broken for us, and His blood that was shed for us – in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
We will now have a closer look at those sins, which will always reveal the (sinful) flesh by the unholy desire for (much) money and property; for unholy and unrestrained sexual experience and for receiving fame and honor (thus applause) from people.

In and by Christ, we must be willing to be cleansed of all Mammonish idolatry.
The Scriptures start with the greatest and most committed sin: namely the desire for (much) money, riches and possessions. It is the dance around the gold calf, the worship of the mammon, which is done in many ways and in all intensity in this world... The Scriptures warn us emphatically for this: "For the love of money is the root of all evil..." (1 Timothy 6:10).
Luke 16 verse 1-8: "And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, 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 unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."
The Lord here pictures the way of life of a dishonest steward. He was a man who had no difficulty using his lord's money for himself. But these dark practices of his were discovered, and his lord dismissed him and asked him to account for his stewardship. But, being self-centered and unjust, he looked for a way to still be able to provide for himself, after his dismissal, if in a dishonest way... He even made his lord's debtors accessories to his dishonest practices, that he might blackmail them later, when he would be pressed for money, with the papers they themselves signed in hand. He did this for the purpose that these debtors might not deny him the necessary money as part of the loot, for fear to be accused by him of being accessories to the deceit. And that lord praised the well thought-out action of that dismissed steward, whereby he insured the future for himself.
The Scriptures then make a comparison and compare the action of the children of this world regarding their future, with that of the children of God. And the Scriptures conclude that worldly people insure themselves more carefully of a "good" (earthly) future than the children of God do regarding their eternal future. Children of God should manage their finances as carefully and honestly as possible, yet with a "loose hand" as well; that hereby neither the "100 measures of oil", namely the 100% ministry in the Spirit they owe their heavenly Father nor the "100 measures of wheat", namely the 100% ministry of the Word, are influenced unfavorably. The child of God should rather spend his money on the labor of the Lord. And those who receive this money will thank God for the (generous) gift and pray for the mercy and blessing of the Lord for the (generous) giver. This last thing is said in different words in the following verse:
Luke 16 verse 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."
According to the Lord the being of the mammon (as it is the god of the money) is unrighteous and in practice we also notice this to be so. Often "trade" in essence is swindle; one often competes with one another in a dishonest manner, and one recommends things as being "fantastic", while one would not want to buy them oneself. The stain of unrighteousness clings to money... Therefore the Lord advises us to rather make friends with this "unrighteous mammon". Whereby is meant that we had rather, by means of gifts from a loving heart, act in such a way with our money that, if we should be in need (this is: when we, spiritually seen, are lacking towards the Kingdom of God), God will be gracious towards us to call us (again) to repentance and to His mercy. It goes without saying that such a child of God could still be lost if he does not want to respond to God's gracious call to repentance.

Luke 16 verse 10-13: "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. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? 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. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
God here compares two things with each other, namely the earthly possessions and the heavenly (and thus divine). Money and goods on the one hand, and the divine, heavenly gifts on the other. He then calls the gold (or money), thus everything that is meant by the unrighteous mammon, "least" in the life of a child of God! And so it has to be! God, His Word and His labor, working in and through us by the Spirit, must be for us "much" (namely the most important) in our life, and finances "least" (namely the least important). If, however, we are unrighteous (thus dishonest) in finances, then we are clearly (still) bound to mammon, and the Lord then cannot (and will not) let us share His spiritual gifts and riches. The Lord has also made us stewards over all the money he entrusts us with. The money belongs to this world, because it is necessary for buying and selling; it is not something special which belongs to the Kingdom of God. Therefore the Word says that money is "that which is another man's"; that we, who subjected our heart and life to Him and His Kingdom, must spend well. If we are dishonest in money matters, then He will not give us the portion in Him, He already gave to us in His Word. For if He would entrust those heavenly and divine matters to us, then we – because we have not yet been delivered from this mammon, from the unholy desire for (more) money and possessions – would use these (divine) powers for ourselves, and not for the good of His Kingdom. If we still have such a wrong (namely self-centered) condition of the heart, then another (in this case satan) will be ready to give us his spiritual powers and anti-anointings. Let us therefore heed this warning! Therefore it is very necessary that we, as children of God, show our preference, strongly and keenly, with regard to our God Who blesses all, with regard to our Savior; while we must use "the filthy lucre" with a loose hand. We cannot serve God and mammon.

Luke 16 verse 14-15: "And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."
"Love of money", as we already saw, is "a root of all evil!" For it is an all-controlling longing for (more) money... With the Pharisees this dark desire was firmly rooted in their heart, because of which they were a bad example as religious people and leaders of the Jews of that time. But God is not to be linked up to the gold (with the love of money in a human heart), because the darkness has not a single part of the Light (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Woe that servant of God who falls by the stealing-in of the mammon. For, when one has received special gifts of the Spirit, such as that of healing, then great amounts might be paid in collections. And instead of spending these collections, with a wise heart, on the building up of the Kingdom of God, such "laborers of God" build themselves villas (with all the frills), and also see to it that they have large bank accounts... They began in the Spirit, but they clearly end (up) in the flesh... Let us not follow them. Let us watch ourselves that we do not long for (more) money, for this is an idolatrous and magical power. Only when we are sincere and steadfast in the Lord, the mammon (i.e. the [idol] god of money and possessions) cannot get us in his power.
When a religious leader (clearly) is guilty of an idolatrous form of love of money, and is accused thereof, then his reaction may often be like that of the Pharisees in Jesus' days: "They derided (scoffed at) Jesus!" in answer to His accusation, in an attempt to justify themselves (verse 14). And "self-justification" is a form of pride..., which was the reason the Lord said: "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

CLICK HERE if you want to read this study (Chapter 16) – that is to long for the Blog.

By E. van den Worm