Prudence in Giving Unrighteous Mammon

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Bible Verses

Luke 16:1 And He said also to the disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and this one was accused to him of squandering his possessions. (3) And the steward said within himself, What shall I do, because my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. (4) I know what I will do so that when I am removed from the stewardship they may receive me into their own houses. (5) And when he had called to him each one of his master's debtors, he said to the first, How much do you owe my master? (6) And he said, A hundred measures of oil. And he said to him, Take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifty. (7) Then to another he said, And you, how much do you owe? And he said, A hundred measures of wheat. He said to him, Take your bill and write eighty. (8) And the master praised the unrighteous steward because he had acted prudently; for the sons of this age are more prudent in their dealings with their own generation than the sons of light. (9) And I say to you, Make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles.

Consider this:

[Part 1 of 3]  The parable regarding the prudence of a steward is simple and brief. Nevertheless, this parable contains a puzzling point, and this is the Lord's using an unrighteous steward to illustrate the service of a steward in God's house. ...this does not mean that the Lord is teaching us to be unrighteous as we are serving. The important matter here is the steward's prudence. In verses five through seven we see that the discharged steward, while he was still in the house, took the opportunity to do something for others in order that later they might do something for him. This was the steward's prudence. Here [vs. 8]  the Lord certainly is not teaching us to be unrighteous. Instead, He is teaching us to be prudent, that is, to do things at the right time, to take the opportunity at hand.

To make friends by means of mammon  [vs. 9]  is to help others by the use of money to do things according to God's leading. Mammon, that is, money, is of the satanic world. It is unrighteous in its position and existence. The steward in the parable exercised his prudence by his unrighteous act. The Lord teaches us, His believers, to exercise our prudence in the use of unrighteous mammon. Verse nine indicates that those who have been benefited by our proper use of money will welcome us into the eternal tabernacles. This will be in the coming age of the kingdom. When the Lord Jesus comes back and we are received into His kingdom, some of us will have a number of people welcoming us. Who will be these welcomers? They will be those who have received benefit in this age by our prudent use of money.

Let me give a simple illustration of this. Suppose you use an amount of your money to publish gospel tracts for the purpose of bringing people to the Lord. Those who have been benefited by this use of your money will welcome you in the future. They may say, "Brother, we want you to realize that we were saved through one of the tracts paid for by you."...while we are still on the way to the kingdom, we should use our money for the benefit of others. We should not use it for ourselves, for our luxury, amusement, pleasure, or indulgence. There is a great deal of need, and there is much that we can do that will be a benefit to others. This is to be prudent in serving the Lord. 

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The Father and the Prodigal Son - Part 2

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 Bible Verses

Luke 15:21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. (22) But the father said to his slaves, Bring out quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. (23) And bring the fattened calf; slaughter it, and let us eat and be merry, (24) Because this son of mine was dead and lives again; he was lost and has been found. And they began to be merry.

Consider this:

[Part 2 of 2]  When the son returned home, he was a poor beggar dressed in rags. But after the best robe was put on him, he was covered with a splendid garment prepared especially for him. With this robe on, he was qualified to match his father. The best robe put on the son is a full type of Christ as our righteousness in whom we are justified before God. Hence, putting the best robe on the returned prodigal signifies justification in Christ. As those who have Christ as the best robe, we are justified by God.

The father also told the slaves to put a ring on his son's hand. I believe this was a gold ring. This ring signifies the sealing Spirit given to a returned sinner (Eph. 1:13). This ring is a sign that a repentant sinner receives something divine, the very Spirit of God Himself. The ring signifying the sealing Spirit indicates that the returned prodigal belongs to the Father. It also indicates that whatever the Father has as an inheritance belongs to the returned son.

In 15:22 we see that sandals were also put on the feet of the returned son. Sandals separate one's feet from the dirt of the earth and strengthen him for walking. The sandals put on the son's feet signify that God's salvation separates us from the world and unto Him so that we may then take His way.

With the robe, the ring, and the sandals the returned one was fully clothed and adorned. This means that he was fully justified and qualified and could be accepted into the father's house. Then the father told the slaves to bring the fattened calf and slaughter it for their enjoyment. Thus far, we see Christ as righteousness to justify a repentant sinner outwardly, the Spirit as the seal, and the power of God's salvation separating a repentant sinner from the world. Now we see that Christ is also the fattened calf to fill us with the divine life for our enjoyment. The father, the returned son, and all the others could enjoy feasting on this fattened calf. So "they began to be merry."

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The Father and the Prodigal Son

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Bible Verses

Luke 15:11 And He said, A certain man had two sons. (12) And the younger of them said to the father, Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me. And he distributed to them his living. (13) And not many days after, the younger son, having gathered everything together, went abroad to a distant country and there squandered his estate by living dissolutely. (14) And when he had spent all, a severe famine occurred throughout that country, and he began to be in want. (15) And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed hogs. (16) And he longed to be satisfied with the carob pods which the hogs were eating, and no one gave him anything. (17) But when he came to himself, he said, How many of my father's hired servants abound in bread, but I am perishing here in famine! (18) I will rise up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. (19) I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. (20) And he rose up and came to his own father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him affectionately.

Consider this:

[Part 1 of 2]  In verse 19 we see that the prodigal intended to say to his father, "I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants." This indicates that the prodigal son did not know the Father's love. A fallen sinner having once repented always thinks of working for God or serving God to obtain His favor, not knowing that this thought is against God's love and grace and is an insult to His heart and intent. The father's seeing the son did not happen by chance. Rather, the father went out of the home to look for his prodigal's return. When the father saw his son, he ran to him and fell on his neck and kissed him affectionately. This indicates that God the Father runs to receive a returning sinner. What eagerness this shows! The father's falling on his son's neck and kissing him affectionately shows a warm and loving reception.

If we read carefully the parable of the loving father, we shall see that while the prodigal son was still squandering the father's riches, the father was waiting for him to come back. When the son came to himself and decided to go to his father, he prepared what he would say to him: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants" (15:18-19). What would you have said to the father if you had been the prodigal son in this parable? Perhaps you would have said to yourself, "...I feel ashamed and foolish for squandering everything my father gave me. I cannot bear to recall the way I have been living. I know for sure that my father will not be outside waiting for me...."

To the prodigal son's great surprise, "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion; and he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him affectionately" (v. 20). Perhaps the prodigal said to himself, "This is like a dream! I didn't call out or knock on the door, but my father comes running to me. Now he is embracing me and kissing me!"  [Continued tomorrow] 

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