The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 16-2] (Luke 16:1-13) Make Friends for Yourselves by Unrighteous Mammon

(Luke 16:1-13)
“He also said to His disciples: ‘There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ 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. I have 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 master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 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 master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt 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 unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 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 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? 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.’”
 
 
Should I Serve the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit by Using Unrighteous Mammon?
 
We can realize our insufficiencies if we discern the light from darkness in our lives and examine whether or not we are living in the light or in darkness. When we examine our lives before God, many flaws and shortcomings are exposed. However, when we transferred them all to the Lord, He saved us and gave us an opportunity to serve His righteousness. Even though we are too insufficient to lead our lives as the light of this world as perfectly as Jesus or the Apostle Paul did, when it comes to serving the Lord and being faithful to God, who has given us the grace of salvation and faith, we ought to be as faithful as God has apportioned us.
In today’s Scripture passage, Jesus taught His disciples through a parable: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’”
My fellow believers, just as we are insufficient, so was the steward here wasteful and insufficient. Even though we have received blessings from the Lord in His time, in both body and spirit, we are insufficient people who don’t measure up to these blessings. The steward heard from his master that he would be fired. His stewardship was about to be taken away from him because his master had heard that he was wasting his possessions. Knowing that he would have to make a living elsewhere if fired, the steward became worried about how he could make his ends meet. With this in mind he called and gathered together his master’s debtors and told them to calculate how much debt they owed him.
He asked one of the debtors, “How much do you owe to my master?
“A hundred measures of oil.”
“Then write fifty quickly while I am still the steward.” Then the steward said to another debtor, “How much do you owe?”
“A hundred measures of wheat.”
“Take your bill, and write eighty.” In this way, the steward reduced the amount owed by the debtors.
For whom did the steward take such an action? Was it for his master? No, it was for himself. He knew that he was about to be fired by his master and would have to make a living elsewhere, and so he thought that if he did a favor to his master’s debtors by forgiving some of their debts while he still had his stewardship, these people would take care of him later.
Our Lord said that though the steward’s actions were unjust, he was wise. Those who have not received the remission of sins yet are faithful to the world. That’s because they think that this world is their home. So it may seem as though the children of darkness who are faithful to the world are wiser. But what about us? As those who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, to whom should we be faithful? Where should our allegiance lie while we the born-again are living in this world? Should we be faithful to God or the world that persecutes us?”
Our Lord told us to make friends by unrighteous mammon. This world has uprooted the redeemed and cast them out. We are not welcomed by worldly people, for we are not faithful to the world as they are. Therefore, even though our bodies are living in this world, at least our hearts must be faithful to God. A wise life is one that’s faithful to God with all the heart. This is the lesson today’s Scripture passage is teaching us. Through the parable of the unjust steward, the Lord is teaching us clearly where we should place our allegiance.
How should we then demonstrate this allegiance? My fellow believers, when we examine our hearts and thoughts before God, neither is that virtuous. Although some of them are spiritual, there are many aspects that are not spiritual. When we look at such shortcomings, we have neither any excuse before God nor any face. The wise thing for us to do is to be faithful to Jesus, the Master of the Kingdom of God where we will go and live, with everything that He has permitted us in this world, including the possessions and time that He has given us. This world is not our everlasting home. God Almighty will transform the born-again into glorious bodies and make them live forever in the Kingdom of the Lord. It is not in this world that we will live forever. To whom then should we be faithful? We should be faithful to God. We are the Lord’s stewards. A steward should manage his master’s assets wisely according to his wishes rather than squandering them. He has the duty to manage them wisely both for himself and his master.
Whom should we then serve in our lives? Whom should we serve with all the possessions, time, thoughts, minds, strength, and circumstances that the Lord has permitted to us? It’s none other than the Lord. We must be faithful to the Lord always. That is the proper life for us the born-again. As those who have been entrusted with the things of the world to take care of them temporarily, what’s the wise way for us to live? We should be faithful to the Kingdom of God. Our allegiance should lie with the kingdom where we will enter and live in the future, and with our fellow saints. Do you understand what I am saying here?
What does it mean that we should make friends by unrighteous mammon? The things of the world are all unrighteous. What did the Lord say we should do with them? He told us to make friends with them, so “when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” If we spend what our Lord has given us on the spreading of the gospel, there is no faithfulness to the Lord that is greater than this. Faithfulness is what’s demanded from every steward. All of us must think carefully about the light and darkness, and we must grasp which way is the wise way to live. What is the wise course to take? A wise life in this world is not one that’s lived for the world, but one that’s lived for the Kingdom of God. What should we do to live the rest of our lives in this world wisely? If we were faithful to this world and society, and accumulate all the possessions and treasures in this world, would we be able to take them all when we move onto the next world? No, that’s not the case. We should make use of what God has permitted us on this earth until the day we go to the Kingdom of Heaven. When we enter Heaven, the Lord will reward us for our faithfulness, saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21).
 
 
We Will Go to Heaven and Live There for Eternity
 
God will transform our weak bodies into glorious bodies and we will enter His Kingdom and live there. We are now living as the redeemed, as those who have received the remission of sins. Even though our thoughts and minds are truly evil, the Lord has entrusted such insufficient people like us with an extremely important task. This task is none other than serving the gospel of the Lord. If we preach this gospel, the precious Word of God, many people will receive the remission of sins. The Lord has entrusted such a great and glorious work to us.
My fellow believers, to where should we be faithful? Should we be faithful to this earth and this world? Or should we be faithful to the Kingdom of God? We should be faithful to the kingdom where we will go and live in the future—that is, we should spread the gospel so that many more people would be born again, and we should please the King of the kingdom where the born-again will enter and live. That’s the wise life. We need to reconsider here what is the wise way for us to live the rest of our lives.
We have received the remission of sins. We are God’s own people. Just as the Word of God says, “You are citizens of Heaven,” we are indeed citizens of Heaven. We are the saints of the Most Exalted. We are the people of the Kingdom of Heaven. Our lives should therefore be faithful to our kingdom. Such a life is the life of the wise.
That’s what today’s Scripture passage teaches us. The Lord continued on to say, “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.” Through this parable, the Lord is telling us to live wisely while in this world, teaching us that we should not serve both mammon and the Lord as though we were serving two masters. To live wisely is to please the Lord, the Master of our future kingdom. Do you believe in this?
For what should we live the rest of our lives? No matter how much one invests in the world, how much charity work he does with orphanages and social services, and how much he helps the less fortunate around him, unless he receives the remission of sins, he cannot avoid being cast into hell in the end. Unless you receive the remission of sins and are born again, God does not recognize any of your good deeds in this world. Amassing the riches of this earth by being faithful to it is not serving the Lord; it is just being faithful to this world, even if you were to donate $500 million on your deathbed to establish a scholarship so that the less fortunate children can get an education. Such deeds have nothing to do with God.
If you offer God, who has saved your soul, even a small amount from your possessions to expand His Kingdom—say, $500—you will surely be rewarded for this. If you don’t have that much money and offer an amount that’s even smaller than this, you will still be rewarded. If someone lived to spread the gospel of the Lord and expand the Kingdom of God within his means rather than serving the world, then this person would have led a wise life. It’s such people whom God blesses, saying to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” When the Lord comes again, He will praise those who have been serving the gospel faithfully, saying, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:34-36). Like this, if we live for the people of God, try our best to lead sinners to receive the remission of sins, and use everything the Lord has given us for this purpose, the Lord will compensate us fully.
What is living wisely then? It’s all about faithfully carrying out the pleasures of the King of the kingdom where one will go and live. The unrighteous steward, knowing that he would be cast out by his master, reduced the debts of the master’s debtors. To whom was this steward faithful? He was faithful to himself. The Lord said that this man was wise.
The Lord said, “Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon.” We must be faithful to the Kingdom of God and the spreading of the gospel. Do we have enough faculties to do this? Are we 100 percent perfect and holy? Although we’ve been made perfect by believing in the Lord, are all our acts also perfect? Are our minds and thoughts perfect? Are our plans perfect? We have many insufficiencies. How can people like us then be approved by God and live wisely? There is no other way but to be faithful to the Kingdom of God.
Being faithful does not mean that you have to offer everything. Rather, it means doing your best to fulfill your assigned task and carrying out the pleasures of the King of the kingdom where you will go and live, and this is done for yourself. This is what is meant by faithfulness.
The Bible has many seemingly strange passages. Today’s Scripture passage is one such instance; it commends a liar for being wise. When I was in seminary, I was given an assignment to write three sermons based on this passage. But when I read the passage back then, I couldn’t understand why Jesus said that the steward was wise even though he had lied. So I turned to a commentary and copied it off as it was, and I just got a passing mark for turning in this assignment.
Today’s Scripture passage speaks to the born-again clearly: Live faithfully; live wisely; and do not live in vain. Even though you may have no possession now, you must still live a wise life. You should live wisely for yourself. You should live for the kingdom where you will go and live in the future. You should live for the reward that you will receive when you go to this kingdom. So, my fellow believers, do not let your allegiance lie with useless things.
Some mothers are so protective of their children that they give all kinds of gifts to their children’s teachers, including money. But do you know how these mothers treat God’s Church? Even as they cozy up to their children’s teachers with their gifts, when it comes to God’s Church, they neglect it with indifference. If you are one of them, stop behaving like this. It’s so foolish. Don’t live a foolish life. You have to realize where your allegiance should lie. Strictly speaking, it’s foolish for you to live for yourself just fleshly and amass riches on this earth. If we use our wealth appropriately according to our spiritual desires, then it would be wise, but it is foolish to accumulate so many riches in this world that they cannot even be spent in our lifetime.
I once heard of an old woman in the United States who, upon her death, was discovered to have stashed away hundreds of thousands of dollars under the carpet of her home. But the cause of her death was malnutrition. What a foolish act was this? Who will spend all this money? As the woman died without any kin, the government took the money and spent it on a public project. It’s foolish. Do you want to accumulate your wealth on this earth? When this world burns during the Great Tribulation, it will burn together.
Think about it carefully. What kind of life is the most worthwhile for us to lead on this earth? It is one that is lived for oneself. Serving the gospel is also for our own sake. We will be commended and rewarded by the Lord, the King of Heaven, for having spread the gospel diligently in our lives. There is the Millennial Kingdom waiting for us. We have to live properly for our own sake. We have to live for ourselves rather than for anyone else. Is this too strange for you? But strictly speaking, this is right.
My soul and body will be transformed to live in the Kingdom of the Lord for eternity. That’s why I am preaching the gospel, so that I can gather more people to live with me. There are so few people who will live in that kingdom with me. So I am spreading the gospel diligently. I believe that the Lord will never put the faithful together with the unfaithful. Although I do not know exactly when the Lord will reward me with the Millennial Kingdom, I believe that this reward is coming for sure. I believe that seeking the Lord’s interest is seeking my own interest. I am convinced that when the saints seek the Lord’s interest and serve the gospel, they are in fact serving the interest of their own families and descendants. Believing in God is in one’s own interest. We must believe in God in order to receive the remission of sins and enter Heaven. We must live wisely. Do not be faithful to useless things. You must live a wise life.
 
 
Jesus Told Us to Make Friends by Unrighteous Mammon
 
Jesus told us to make friends by unrighteous mammon. Even making friends requires money. Without money it’s difficult to not only make a living but also to maintain personal relationships. It’s hard to make friends. So you have to make money to make friends. You have to make money to preach the gospel to your friends. Spreading the gospel inevitably requires the money that the Lord has given us in this world. Why must our saints make money on this earth? It’s to spread the gospel and make friends. Money should not be made in a wicked way. It should be made in a way that neither breaks the law nor bothers your conscience, and with this money you should serve the gospel.
The reason why the saints must work diligently to make money on this earth is to make spiritual friends. Try spending your hard-earned money on your friends for the sake of the gospel, treating them to a nice dinner and taking the opportunity to bear witness of the gospel to them. In all likelihood, this will aid you in preaching the gospel to them. But if you just try to preach the gospel to them without spending any money, it won’t make a dent.
We need to remember here that the Lord told us to live wisely. To live a wise life, we need to make money. We have to do our best to make money in order to spread the gospel. A hundred thousand dollars that are spent for the world are worthless. But if $100,000 is spent for the gospel, it will bear fruit by ten-fold and a hundred-fold. If you drink in a fancy bar and tip the bartender $100, you won’t likely hear any thanks. But if you spend $100 for the gospel of the Lord, no one will complain from behind your back, but this money will be used for a truly worthy cause. Like this, you should spend your hard-earned money wisely.
Through today’s Scripture passage the Lord has told us clearly, “Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon.” Money is indeed important in spreading the gospel. Of course, the gospel cannot be spread only by money. Also needed are faith, prayers, God’s Church, spiritual leaders, faithful workers, various tools such as books and computers, and so on. But that doesn’t change the fact that money is also necessary to spread the gospel. We must carry out this work faithfully. Put differently, rather than being faithful to anything else, we should spend our possessions for the Lord, for the spreading of the gospel, just as we have one Master to serve. The Bible says, “The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives” (Psalm 37:21). The righteous are eager to give. This is their disposition. Jesus said that those who give are more blessed than those who receive.
Except for full-time ministers, everyone must make money. Strictly speaking, even the full-time ministers should make money to serve the gospel just like the Apostle Paul did. Everyone must know how to spend it appropriately on his family and the Church. If you and I were to hang onto our money as though we would live for a thousand and ten thousand years on this earth, we will never be able to serve the gospel. This is serving the world. Between the gospel and the world, which will we serve more? The wise thing for us to do is to set aside some of our possessions for essential needs such as living expenses for our families and the education of our children, and spend the rest on the gospel.
At the end of our lives, we will look back and see how we led our lives before God. Whatever little that was given, those who used it appropriately before the Lord will receive the glorious crown of righteousness, but those who lived for the world will face punishment rather than a crown. Such people will be scorched by the Lord, saying to them, “Why did you live just for your flesh when I entrusted you with My righteous work?”
A wise life is one that’s faithful to the gospel. The Bible says that whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, we should do everything for the Lord. The Lord is demanding our loyalty. Even though every human being is weak and insufficient, those who are faithful follow the Lord with all their strength, and the Lord will commend whoever serves Him to the best of his abilities regardless of whether his service is good or poor. However, if one hides his possessions for himself even if he has plenty of wealth to share, he is not being faithful to the Lord, nor is he wise.
We ought to live wisely. When we turn to the Pauline Epistles, we see that there were certain brothers and sisters who followed the Apostle Paul and served him and his ministry. The Churches Paul had served with God’s Word should have served him, but some brothers and sisters who followed him did so instead of these Churches. The Apostle Paul called such people His coworkers, describing them as the workers of righteousness, his brethren, and God’s messengers. Although these people did not preach the gospel themselves, they had worked with the Apostle Paul to raise financial resources for his ministry. It is because of their faithfulness that the Apostle Paul called them God’s messengers.
My fellow believers, I ask you to work hard for the gospel. I wish you prosperity. At the same time, however, don’t just try to prosper for yourself, but live for the gospel.
Some people take a look at church members and think to themselves, “It looks like everyone in the Church is poor and I am the only one who is rich. I’d have to give up everything for equalization.” So they stop attending the Church. Such people are not faithful. Does anyone in the Church ever demand that they give up all their possessions? No, of course not! God knows very well that we all have to take care of our families and provide for their basic needs of food and clothing. Do I ever say to our brothers and sisters to make a lot of donations because they are rich? No, this is just what someone greedy thinks on his own. Regardless of how much or little we have, as long as we have the God-given health, time, and intelligence, the proper thing for us to do is to work hard to make money, and spend this money to serve the Lord and spread the gospel. The right thing to do, in other words, is serving the Lord to the best of our abilities.
Those who have the means should serve the Lord diligently in the fields that they can best serve Him. Some people say that although they want to serve the Lord faithfully, they can’t do this because they don’t have any money. But money is not the problem; anyone can make it. Our Lord said that deep poverty abounded in the riches of liberality. The less your heart is set on the world, the more it is set on God. However, if your mind is set more on the world, then relatively speaking, your offerings to God will become less.
My fellow believers, if you and I are not engaged in the ministry of God on a full-time basis, then we should work hard to make as much money as possible in this world. Money is such that if the born-again are really determined to get it, and they do their best and pray to God, then they can succeed better than anyone else. Is there anyone among us who can’t make any money? If I had not gone into ministry, I could have worked hard and made a lot of money no matter how hard it might be. If one were absolutely determined to serve the gospel materially, he could make at least $2,000 - $3,000 a month. Money is always on the move, circulating from one person to the next. All you have to do is just grab it. You can all do this. So, my fellow believers, I admonish you all to work diligently, make a lot of money, and live a wise life by spending this money not just for yourself but also for the gospel.
Many people nowadays are having a hard time trying to make money because their educational credentials are too high. One can make and save money better if he is simple and ignorant. People give up after trying just a bit because they want to live for themselves and they do everything only for themselves. If it’s for the gospel, you must work with all diligence and dedication. Only then does $10 turn into $1,000, and then turns into $10,000. The Bible says that the ministers who give up their bodies for the gospel, for their kingdom, are blessed. But if the ministers of this kingdom eat and drink only for their own welfare, the Bible says that they will face a great woe.
My fellow believers, you must be diligent. Don’t be indolent to waste away your days. If you work hard for a day, you could make at least $50, but if you sit around at home doing nothing as a lazy man saying, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” then poverty will visit you like a hungry lion in no time (Proverbs 26:13). How will you find any time to preach the gospel if you are lazy? There are so many different places where you can go and preach the gospel according to the times: If it’s cold and windy, you can go to hospitals to preach; if it’s too hot and humid, you can go to the air-conditioned banks to preach. Today and tomorrow, there are many places where you can go to bear witness. If you spread the gospel to the souls in every corner of the world who haven’t been saved, your life would be far more worthwhile than just living in indolence.
My fellow believers, we need to make money with a determination. Jesus told us to make friends by unrighteous mammon. Money, too, should be made for God and for souls. When we spend the money, it should be spent for ourselves and souls. That is wise. Work hard to make money for God’s sake and the sake of other souls. Spend it for yourself, and for the gospel. This is the truly wise life before the Lord. Don’t try to make money just for yourself, but instead, pray to God, saying, “Lord, help me make a lot of money. Help me serve the gospel as much as I can.”
We must live wisely. What merit do we have? All that we have is that we have received the remission of sins. Even if we were holy, what benefit would this bring to God, and even if we sinned, what harm would this do God? However, God has saved us and He has something that He wants from us, His saved people. He desires our loyalty. Even though we are insufficient, He wants us to be faithful to Him. For whose sake? For the sake of the King, God’s Kingdom, and other souls. Although we will all be rewarded for our faithfulness in the end, that is not why we are faithful to God. Live a worthwhile life. There isn’t much time left to your life; live it for a worthwhile cause while you still can.
Our lives are like a river. As the river flows, so does life go by fast. Christmas is just around the corner, and we will soon bid farewell to this year and give New Year’s greetings to each other. Time will continue to pass by us like this, and soon flowers will blossom in the hills, summer will be here in no time, and it will be time for our summer discipleship training camp. Autumn will then be upon us with its falling leaves, and we will be once again holding another winter discipleship training camp. We will then add another year to our age.
If a paper boat is floated at Inje Discipleship Training Center on the river that passes by it, it will soon flow down here. It doesn’t take much time for the water to flow from Inje to here. Once time passes by, you cannot turn it around. That is why we must live each and every day wisely. We must live wisely without relying on others. Though you were born from your parents, don’t go to them with hat in hand. You should be thankful to them for having raised you this far.
My fellow believers, I admonish you all to live wisely. I ask you to be faithful to God. Only those who are faithful to God do not serve this world, and those who serve the Lord can be truly faithful to God. Those who are too attached to the things of the world cannot be completely faithful to God, nor can they receive His blessings.
God listens and pays attention to the prayers of those who are faithful to His work, and He is deeply interested in everything that’s related to them. He bestowed His grace on them. However, if we don’t carry out God’s work after being saved, and we are not only unfaithful to the work of the Lord but even give up on it, then God will also give up on us. He will say, “Since you are not interested in Me, I have no interest in you either. I’ll see you at the end.”
Why would God be interested in anyone who doesn’t even fulfill the small task that’s been entrusted to him? We see with our own eyes that even if one is insufficient, if he attends the Church and serves the Lord faithfully in whatever way possible, then God blesses him no matter how well or poorly he does his job, and He bestows His grace on him when he prays to Him for his needs.
The life of the light is led for Heaven, for other souls, for the gospel, and for the Lord. It is not led for oneself. It is neither led for the earth nor for the world. Jesus told us to make friends by unrighteous mammon. If we don’t serve the Lord with our bodies and our possessions, they will be used to commit sin. Unless we use our bodies and our possessions for the Lord, we will all invariably spend them on useless things. That is why the Lord told us to make friends by unrighteous mammon.
We must lead our lives wisely and faithfully. Turn around and examine your life to see what it is that’s really wise. Once your life passes by you, it will never return. So, my fellow believers, let us all live faithfully. Let us live wisely. When given a choice, let us do the kind of work that will elicit God’s approval and blessings. Let us not invest too much of our lives into the useless things of this world rather than serving the Lord. Just as the Word of God tells us to make friends by unrighteous mammon, I pray to the Lord that He will give us the wisdom to indeed make friends by unrighteous mammon and use the things of this world, our bodies, our minds, and our possessions for a precious cause before God.