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Irreligious Part 8

July, 2018

Sample text



Irreligious Part 7

July, 2018

Luke 16:1-9

1Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg—


4I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6“ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ 7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’“ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’


8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly (Clever/intelligent). For the people of this world are more shrew in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.


Alright, let's start by talking about context! Right, context is always important to understand. So, what’s the story about? Most likely it’s about a rich guy who lives somewhere else but he owns a farm and some land.

However, we see in this story that the guy doesn't live on the farm.

Instead, he hired someone to look after the place.


Ok. Until here everything is good, right! And from here on everything goes sideways! Because someone calls Bob and says Hey Bob I have to talk to you, your property manager is wasting all your money!


Can you believe it, the same thing happened to Leonard Cohen. His manager took all his savings. Verse 1: There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions and someone told him. Verse 2: So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’


End of story! You stole from me! You don't qualify anymore. You have lost your job! So, now comes the interesting and strange part of the story.

This property manager is shroud, what’s shroud? He is clever!


So he calls the people who owe money to his boss. He is making a plan to save his bud! I am too old to work! Lost my job! Verse 3 I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— So what choice do I have I goanna cheat the system!

Let’s read it it's amazing!


4I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6“ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ 7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’“ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’


So, that's his plan. Pretty simple! I let go of some of your depts. and you help me later! Once I am out of the job you have to do something for me!

And its huge money the olive oil deal alone is about 22.000 dollars and the cheating on the wheat is about 18.000 dollars its big-time money.

So, in a worldly way, he is very clever!


And by the time the landowner hears about it’s all done. This is a great story! About a crime that saved the managers future! And now comes the scandal of the story And really you have to pay attention and try to understand Jesus says:


8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly (What’s shrewdly? Clever/intelligent/smart). For the people of this world are more shrew in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.


What!

Hey, what’s going on?

What’s wrong with Jesus do you get it?

How can Jesus tell us a story like this and say that's great!

How can he say, that's the smart thing to do!!

How does that fit together with justice?


And of course, the Pharisees and the religious are upset about Jesus!

So, we need to stop here for a moment and talk about it! This is the most difficult parable in the NT! There is not one comentary on my shelf that agrees with another! Everyone comes up with a different explanation and they are experts.


So, what do we do? We do what we always do, right? We always say let’s go back to the greater context. And if you do this, this story becomes interesting because the story before this one is "the  parable of the lost son". 


Now here is the parallel I want you to see in the greater context

Both guys have messed up and squandered the money of the father figure and both guys are talking to themselves. Do you ever talk to yourself? Oh..., I know what I gonna do. I will go to my father and ask him

if I could just become one of his slaves, that's a good plan! I messed up! Now, I gonna fix it become a slave!


Only, that's not what the father wants, right!

What the father wants is rehabilitating his son!

The father wants to forgive his son and clean him up!

And it is the religious people who can’t accept this!

Because it is scandalous! It's undeserved!

It's the forgiveness of the father!

Who pays the price? Jesus!


They don't understand the principle of love and forgiveness. And for our story. It makes the parable much easier because it gives us the context that explains what is going on. The parallel in our story is that the manager

also squandered the money and he also did some self-talk! He said to himself, I gonna make a plan I will talk to the debtors! I will cut a deal and then I will not have to pay for my squandering life.


See, that's the parallel, we have two people who messed up! And both of them are trying to get out of the mess. And in this second parable Jesus says: The master commended the dishonest manager Because he acted smart he acted shrewdly, he was clever! 


So, the question remains: Is Jesus condoning that we bribe other people?

I don't think so! I think that both parables show us that they are people who are guilty! Both of them were dishonest and squandered the talents.

And both stories have a surprise ending for the Pharisees.


In story one the father welcomes the squandering son! In story two the owner praises the evil manager! Now you have to remember that Jesus

tells this story to the religious! And as he is doing this! And what He is saying is that there is a new way! Religion and the law of the old testament is not the way!


The forgiveness of the father is the way back home!

The substitutional sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ is the way!

It is not your righteousness or your religious and moral efforts!


Romans 8:2-4

2For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


So, Jesus is not condoning to live shady lives and cheat people.

But he shows us the new and scandalous way to God!

That even the wicked people can be saved!

Jesus hates religion and loves sinners!


So, yes, we have to always look at the bigger picture! You have a son ho proclaims that his father to be dead! And you have a manager who squandering the money of the boss! And both can be redeemed, both can have a new beginning! They both made a plan but it’s actually a stupid plan!


Jesus is using this rather bizarre story

To show us that all people are sinners and need mercy.

And we need to come to the cross and accept the forgiveness of Jesus.

I want you to see that, this whole story is a really, really strange story.

This manager is already fired, and then he is cooking up the books!

What he is doing is illegal! The guy is a complete crook!

He is a thief! He doesn't deserve to be recommended!

I think what Jesus is doing with this parable!

Is that He is messing with the Pharisees!

Because in their mind that is impossible!

Only good people can please God!

Only religious people!

Sometimes, that's us!


And Jesus is using these parables to show them that they have no idea about God. The message of Jesus is the end of religion and the power of the Cross. At the cross, our sins are forgiven! How can He forgive sins?

And these are the kind of people Jesus is calling! The lost son and the cheating manager! The unjust, the crooked thief! The woman was that caught in adultery…


He is touching those who are untouchable… and they call Him the friend of sinners, and they are right! He loves those, who have lost their faith, like Thomas. He loves those, who are like Peter and deny to know Him. He loves those who are not loved by anyone else anymore! It is those people who are called to receive salvation for free! And that just knocks the 

He didn't say you have to become religious like one of the Pharisees

If you think of it, Jesus refused, he refused, to be respectable. He is actually reaching out to the disrespected people of this world

The Pharisees called him the friend of sinners! Thank God!

That's who he is! He is the friend of sinners!

And that is who we are! We are sinners!

Don't try to deny it or hide it!


The Pharisees were not comfortable with His message! And many times today, the church is not comfortable about it! Salvation is free for everyone! Salvation included anyone walking this planet! It is free for you, but for Him, it was very expensive! The religious of the time thought that Jesus was not respectable! They thought Jesus didn’t have the right credentials! He didn't preach the doctrine that they preached!

He didn't teach about washing your hands!


Seriously, I think that even most churches would not hire Jesus!

He would not make it through the ordination processes!

He embraced people and forgave them their sins!

He is always giving and forgiving!

Religion is always counting!


And I believe He wants us to be the same. Learn His way. Learn His forgiveness. Instead of being respectable. That's the reckless love of God!

That the one who knew no sin became sin for us!


John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.


1 Corinthians 1:18-19

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”


You are loved by God!