Luke Chapter 16
for this week: 2 Cor 8:9 For ye know
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet
for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be
We continue our study of
the book of Luke this week as we continue in chapter 16. Last
weeks lesson was mainly on three parables. The Parable of the lost
sheep, the parable of the lost coin, and the parable of the lost son
who has come to be known as the prodigal son. We continue our
study this week with the parable of the unjust steward.
I. Parable of
the Unjust Steward
16:1 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.
16:2 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.
16:3 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
The parable of
the unjust steward is one that has been misunderstood by many. Here
in America, we have a whole different view of what a steward is
compared to those in foreign lands. We see that he commends the man
for his work, and that the word ‘lord’ is not capitalized. It
wasn’t God who commended the man, but rather his earthly master.
In an Eastern home, during the days of our Lord, a steward was an
overseer of the affairs of the whole household. He was trusted to
take care of many things, and the master of the house gave the
steward money in order to buy the necessities for the family. If
the steward was a shrewd businessman and purchased things for a
lower price than the ordinary market value, then he was allowed to
keep the extra profit for himself. As we read these verses, be sure
to keep this in mine so it will make better sense as to what is
being said. If a steward used thrift and was careful with his
lord’s money, then he could save money for the household and also
gain a substantial profit for himself. Likewise, it was possible
for an unjust steward to waste away his master’s money and not
provide properly. This could happen from reckless buying or
perhaps keeping dishonest accounts. If you’ve done much business
in the world, you find all sorts of illegal and unethical things
that go on with kickbacks and bribes. Apparently, this man was one
who had not managed his master’s money properly. The steward was
faced with the possibility of losing his job and had to do something
about it. In verse 3 he questions what he is going to do if he
loses this job.
16:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the
stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
16:5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and
said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
16:6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him,
Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
16:7 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.
The first thing
the man does is to seek out those who owed money to his master, and
he cuts the debt down that these others may pay up a portion of the
money. Sort of a liquidation of accounts receivable that was old
and unpaid. By doing so, he was losing his portion of the profit,
but gaining back the original money for the master. By doing this,
he would be in favor to those who were the debtors if he was
relieved of his stewardship.
16:8 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 master of
the steward commends him for doing things wisely. Jesus takes this
time to tell us that the children of this world are wiser in their
generation than the children of light. We need to recognize that
we are no match for the wolves out in the marketplace. Sometimes
God’s children are more worried about the ‘right now’ than what
blessings might be awaiting us if we invested our time and money
into the Lord’s kingdom. We need to look daily to the Lord for our
provision, but we should be liberal givers that the Lord might be
glorified and will give us treasures in heaven.
6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through
6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon
of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into
16:10 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.
16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous
mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another
man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
Jesus speaks of
making friend by the right use of money. (mammon) This is what we
do when we use our money to spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Money we put into those special envelopes designated for a
missionary that is above our tithe are savings we are building up to
the glory of God. In verse 10, a very real truth is taught. Jesus
say that if we are faithful in the little things, then we will be
faithful in the big things. If we aren’t faithful in the least, we
won’t be of the large things either. Sort of goes back to the
teaching in Accounting 101. If you take care of the pennies, the
dollars will always be right. So true in the work of the Lord. So
what is the least thing? Is it being faithful to the secondary
church gatherings, going on visitation, witnessing at work, maybe
calling a friend who is sick? I don’t know what is least
important, but God wants us to be faithful in the least. He says
if we can’t be faithful with the money, how can God entrust the true
spiritual blessings to us? A man who is faithful in giving his
money will be faithful in other things. Those who love money will
be unkind and evil in other ways also.
said this about being faithful in the least.
The riches of this
world are the less; grace and glory are the greater.
Now if we be unfaithful in the less, if we use the things of this
world to other purposes than those for which they were given us, it
may justly be feared that we should be so in the gifts of God’s
grace, that we should receive them also in vain, and therefore they
will be denied us: He that is faithful in that which is least is
faithful also in much. He that serves God, and does good, with
his money, will serve God, and do good, with the more noble and
valuable talents of wisdom and grace, and spiritual gifts, and the
earnests of heaven; but he that buries the one talent of this
world’s wealth will never improve the five talents of
spiritual riches. God withholds his grace from covetous worldly
people more than we are aware of. [2.] The riches of this world are
deceitful and uncertain; they are the unrighteous
mammon, which is hastening from us apace, and, if we would make
any advantage of it, we must bestir ourselves quickly; if we do not,
how can we expect to be entrusted with spiritual riches, which are
the only true riches? v. 11. Let us be convinced of this,
that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are rich
in faith, and rich towards God, rich in Christ, in the
promises, and in the earnests of heaven; and therefore let us lay up
our treasure in them, expect our portion from them, and mind them in
the first place.
16:13 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.
It is impossible
to serve two masters. We choose to either make God our master or we
follow after Satan. You will love one and hate the other. Jesus
is teaching here that if you love money, it is not likely that you
will really love God as you should.
Answers the Pharisees
Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all
these things: and they derided him.
Luke 16:15 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.
were guilty of being covetous, and they deride the Lord for what He
had taught. Jesus tells them the truth when He says they were
trying to justify themselves before men. Note God is not impressed
with what man thinks that should be highly esteemed. He says it is
an abomination in the sight of God. God knows the heart and nothing
is kept from Him. The world admires the man who has done well and
accumulated a lot of wealth and lives in a beautiful mansion. But
God looks on things totally differently. God’s heart goes out to
the man who will live for Him and use what he has to reach the
20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the
princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that
are great exercise authority upon them.
20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great
among you, let him be your minister;
20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your
20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
God wants people
who aren’t looking for a lot of this world’s goods, but are sold out
to do His will.
9:57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain
man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou
9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the
air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer
me first to go and bury my father.
9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou
and preach the kingdom of God.
9:61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me
first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the
plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the
kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one
tittle of the law to fail.
Jesus warms them
that the kingdom of God is now preached. The gospel was now going
forth since the time of John the Baptist, and Christ never came to
destroy the law. Rather he came to fulfill it which none of us
3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for
if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily
righteousness should have been by the law.
3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the
promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that
3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up
unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto
Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a
Speaks about Divorce
16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another,
committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away
from her husband committeth adultery.
Divorce is not a
topic many want to talk about today, because it has become so
prevalent in our society. While man has changed his views on
marriage, God still has the perfect plan and we should stick to
it. It says that if we put away our wives (or if a woman was to
divorce her husband), then if we marry another, we commit
adultery. Also whoever marries the woman who was divorced also
commits adultery. The scripture is plain and we need to follow the
vows we say when we get married. There are very few exceptions
that will stand up when it comes to divorce, and there is NO COMMAND
that we must divorce. God’s desire is for every family to stay
together if it is possible. Am I saying there will be no troubles
for a family if they are in church serving the Lord? No I am not.
Trouble comes to us all, but if our focus is to please God, then we
can work through almost any situation with God’s help.
10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and
cleave to his wife;
10:8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more
twain, but one flesh.
10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
10:10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same
10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife,
and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married
IV. The Rich
Man and Lazarus
16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and
fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid
at his gate, full of sores,
16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the
rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by
the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was
16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth
Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and
send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and
cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime
receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but
now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf
fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot;
neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
A couple of
things need to be clear on this teaching. This is not a parable. A
parable is a story that teaches a truth sort of like a fictional
account is written in a novel. The difference is a parable is
total truth from God and is totally true. This is a real account of
an unnamed rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Parables never use
proper names, and in this account we have two men named, Lazarus and
Abraham. Secondly, Jesus was the most tender, loving, caring and
gentle person who ever walked on this earth. This was not told to
put a great fear into us, but to warn us of the consequences of
ignoring salvation. Most everyone will agree that there is a
heaven after this life, but not many want to believe there is a
hell. Believe me, there are both places. And there are MANY
more references to hell than heaven in the scriptures, making it
clear that God is warning us that we must be prepared for the life
after death. Death is certain, and after that the judgment. All
of us will face either the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Great
White Throne Judgment. Jesus in these verses was not attempting to
portray human suffering beyond the grave without a reason. And the
reason is clear, we must be prepared to meet the Lord.
10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought
worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted
the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy
thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me,
I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge
10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
Job in the
oldest book of the bible put forth a question about death.
14:10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the
ghost, and where is he?
We can not
totally answer this question without assistance from God, but we
know all men and women spend eternity either in paradise or in the
flames of hell. Jesus has come down to redeem fallen man, and he
relays this story to these people that they might know that we must
be saved. Jesus did not begin this story with “Hear a parable”.
Rather he says “There was a certain rich
man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared
sumptuously every day:”.
This was about a
real account of this man and the beggar Lazarus who sit at the
master’s table seeking crumbs to eat. Jesus knew both men. He knew
how they had lived, and he knew what happened to each after they
died. The rich man did not go to hell for being rich, nor did
Lazarus go to heaven for being poor. One was saved, and the other
was lost. This unnamed rich man had lived for self and ignored two
of the great commandments which are to “Love God first” and “Love
thy neighbor as thyself.” While the man lived, he had the best of
things here on earth. He had no want for material things. The
beggar Lazarus, whose name means ‘God is my help’, was a man of
faith. He was a true son of Abraham as are all who know Christ as
Lord and Savior. I suppose friends or family members brought the
poor man to the rich man’s gate hoping that he might receive
sufficient alms to nourish him and prolong his life. The dogs
showed more concern for the man than the rich man did, as it says
they licked his wounds as he lay by the gate. Perhaps the rich man
never even heard that Lazarus died. At best he had a simple
burial. But as Jesus pulls back the veil of time, we see when
Lazarus died, a convoy of angels waited to take his spirit into the
bosom of Abraham, the father of the faithful. There was some time
between the deaths, but finally the rich man died, and he was
buried. Most likely he had a fine funeral with many mourners and
the best of everything to honor the lifeless clay that lay in the
casket. A lifeless body that housed a selfish spirit and cared
little or nothing for the things of God. Even as this funeral is
going on, the rich man is in the flames of hell being tormented.
Some say that there will never be such a place. That a loving God
would never do this to a lost soul. Believe me, God wants everyone
to go to heaven. He has paid the price for each soul by sending
His son to Calvary to pay for our sin debt. The debt has been
paid, but we as individuals must come to God to accept that gift.
God does not force salvation onto anyone. In the Greek, there are
different words that are translated into ‘hell.’ One is ‘Hades’
which is the grave, “Gehenna” which refers to the final abode of the
lost. But however you try to read this verse and change it around,
the man was still in the flames of hell and in torments. He first
died, and when he lifted up his eyes, he was in torments. We learn
two things here:
1. Spirits out
of the body are perfectly conscious and able to converse with one
2. There is
recognition in the unseen world.
Even the lost
can look across and see the saved in paradise, but there is a great
gulf established and it is impossible for either side to pass to the
In his distress,
the rich man prays from hell and asks that a drop of cold water be
placed on tip of his tongue. Prayers from hell are not answered.
Abraham replies “Son, remember that thou in they lifetime…” What a
horrible place to be.. in flames and remembering every sin that was
committed and not repented of for all eternity. You most likely
would remember all the gospel messages you heard but ignored. Sin
has a price, but thanks be to God that Jesus has paid that price
when we come to Him for salvation.
16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou
wouldest send him to my father's house:
16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest
they also come into this place of torment.
something? A lost man in hell suddenly has a mind for missions.
He remembers his five brothers who are still on earth and begs that
Lazarus be sent back to deal with them about salvation. He does
not want them to come into this place of torment.
16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let
them hear them.
16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them
from the dead, they will repent.
16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the
prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the
This man wants
better for his family. He doesn’t want them to wind up like him.
Jesus died for all six of these brothers, but many will not hear the
gospel, much less repent and be saved. He tells the lost man that
that they have Moses and the prophets. He says… “Nay, father
Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will
repent.” He tells him that if they won’t hear the gospel, they
wouldn’t be persuaded if one from the dead came. Today, one from
the grave has risen, and He is there urging the lost to come to
Him. There is no escape of death and the judgment. Be ready, or
you will have to be separated from God forever.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
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Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.