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Sunday English Service - 08 JAN 17 - Material Prosperity : Good or Evil?

Transcript

Please turn with me to the gospel according to Luke. I want to deal with the parable today from the 16th Chapter of the gospel according to Luke. But before I go there, I want to look into Chapter 12 and then another parable from Chapter 16, that we already looked at and make some points there that I failed to make last time as I was going through this. I showed you that the book of Luke is the most important book when it comes to talking about finances and so on. In the whole bible the number one book is the book of Luke and it is true a lot of people have pointed out that Jesus speaks more about money than anything else. The reason is simply this; the reason is that how a person looks at money and handles money; how his attitude towards money is a reflection of his spiritual life - there is a great connection between this earthly thing and the eternal life. So the idea that material things have no connection to our spiritual life is totally wrong. And we are going to go into that parable and the parable is all about how the material things in this world and how we relate to them is so important because there is a reflection of our spirituality and in what condition we are in. So that is why Jesus ends up speaking so much about these things and how we relate to them.

Now since there has been a two week gap, let me remind you where we have read; we began in Genesis chapter 1 (if you remember). We saw that God created a material world with the abundance of material resources specifically for man - for man to live in this world. He made everything that man would ever need, and then finally made man - and placed man in a place of abundance of every material resource that He would need, and commented on it saying that "it is very good". God saw that this is the condition that man must live in - this is a paradigm for human life - this is the pattern that God has set. God by doing that in the beginning; by establishing the earth in that way and then placing man right in the middle of it, then coming and having a fellowship with him there in that condition shows that this is the condition that God wants for man - this is the paradigm for human life. Now in the paradigm I have pointed out three most important things - in Genesis Chapter 1 verse 26 we see that God gave man three inalienable rights (you may call them): One is Dominion, the other is Dignity, and the third one is Delight (3D's, very important. I hope that you will remember this). Somebody told me the other day that they have put up a big poster (Dominion, Dignity and Delight) in their office. That's good because it keeps in front of you what God's vision is for human life. God wants Dominion, Dignity and Delight. Where is it found? In Genesis 1 verse 26, when God said, "Let's make man in our image and likeness and let them have dominion". There God envisions man to have dominion over everything. Next to God, man is the one in authority, and except God and His throne, man rules over everything - his authority spreads over everything in heaven and on earth. That is the way the bible presents man - he is above all creatures; he is very special. He is made in the image and likeness of God. He has dominion, he rules over everything. Everything is subservient to him - serves him and so on.

Secondly, the dignity is also mentioned in Genesis 1:26. When God says, "Let's make man in our image and likeness". That image and likeness that God gave to man - His own image and likeness - is the greatest place of dignity that man can have - you cannot rise any higher in dignity than that - you are made in the image and likeness of God. How can you go higher than that? That is the highest point man can reach as far as dignity is concerned. Man is made in the image and likeness of God. So dignity is given to man in creation.

And then third thing is Delight: When I say delight I mean the right and the ability to enjoy everything that God has created. That is also mentioned in Genesis 1:26, where God says, "Let them have dominion". Dominion not only means that man has some authority over everything and rules over everything, dominion also mean that man has a right to enjoy everything - derive enjoyment from everything that God has created. I showed you how God has created everything to give enjoyment to man, and God has created man to derive enjoyment from everything that He has created. So Dominion, Dignity and Delight is God's vision. Now throughout the Old Testament I traced many places and showed you that this is the vision that is again and again repeated time and again. That is why when He brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, He said, "I will take them to a land flowing with milk and honey, a large and vast land, flowing with milk and honey". Why? He wants them to have them to have dominion, dignity and delight once again, that is why He brings them to such a place. Now when you come to the New Testament (which is where we are at right now), people say the pictures changes, the vision changes, everything changes. Now Christians sometimes, you know, see that there is an Old Testament and a New Testament and sometimes they look at this as two different things in exact opposition to one another; you know, Old Testament is saying exact opposite of what the New Testament is saying they think - but it is not so, in reality it is one bible. It is for our convenience it is separated into Old and New and it is one bible. It is one God. And He never changes. He is not one kind of God in the Old Testament and does not turn out to be another kind of God in the New Testament. I used to think when I was little that the Old Testament God is mean and cruel, and the New Testament God was kind and good. I thought God got saved by the time we reached the New Testament. But it is not so; He is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is one bible we are talking about - so this is one bible we are talking about. So the vision does not change. It was dominion, dignity and delight in the beginning and throughout the whole Old Testament. It is dominion, dignity and delight in the New Testament also.

So I have been endeavoring to show in the last couple of weeks, in the New Testament, how that Jesus when He preached on material things, He literally presented this kind of vision for man; Dominion, Dignity of Delight. He presents Himself as the Lord of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. He begins His Ministry on this earth by doing a miracle in Cana Galilee where He turned water into wine; look at the quantity and the quality of the product; the quantity is abundance - He filled, instead of the wine jars, he filled the foot-washing jars with water; where you just pour mugs and mugs of water on your foot; to wash your the feet - so much abundance. And the quality...everybody drank it and said, "We have never drunk anything like this. Where did you keep this for so long? You are giving it at the end" This was superior to the wine that they served in the beginning; in quantity and quality it was superior, showing that God is a God of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. He enjoys doing things like that; He sees the shortages being set right in a wedding place, in any family, in any life. This is the kind of God that He has come to represent and the vision is the same. I can give you many other examples (like I just pointed that one out). He begins His life showing that He has come to bring Dominion, Dignity and Delight. But then He continues and does His Ministry and teaches a lot on the issue of money and so on. And most of it you find in the gospel of Luke. And we went to two parables; I want to go back to it and just point a couple of things before I go to the third parable.

The first one we went to was Luke chapter 12; Luke Chapter 12 we have the parable of the "Rich fool". In the Parable of the "Rich Fool" we read that there was this rich man... see Jesus tells a parable particularly about covetousness (He speaks that, He tells that first in verse 15).... He says, "Beware of covetousness, because one's life does not consist on the abundance of things he possesses". He makes the statement and then through a story/through a parable really teaches the statement that He has made. What is the statement? "Life does not consist in the abundance of things a man possesses" (that's the statement). And the parable is to explain that statement. (We need to remember that). And then He spoke a parable (next verse begins)...saying that the ground of a rich man yielded plentifully and he thought within himself (these are thoughts going within a man), saying "What shall I do since I have no room to store my crops". So He said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul you have many goods laid out for many years, take your ease, eat and drink and be merry". But God said to him: "Fool, this night your soul will be required of you, and then whose will those things be which you have provided?""So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." Now I have really detailed taught this, but let me point out once again; that this is anti-Dominion, Dignity, delight story. This is not a story against the idea of blessedness and prosperity. Jesus is not trying to teach against that; He is trying to teach about covetousness. He makes the point Himself (I don't have to explain that). This is not an anti-Dominion, Dignity and Delight story; this is not a parable that teaches that the vision has changed; it is no more dominion, dignity and delight. No! Some people believe that. New Testament the whole thing changes - poverty is glorified, and poverty is better and makes you spiritual. No, it's not so. This is a story that teaches covetousness. Now the idea of Dominion, Dignity and Delight is present here. The problem with this man is not that he had a good crop and that he had to build a bigger barn, and that he had to store up all that had come up in his crop in that barn. The problem is not that that person was successful in the business that he was doing. Surely, Jesus could not have been condemning a man for the success that he is having in business, just imagine. I understand very well; if a person is having success in a business, he must been a sharp fell a, who was probably working quite hard. This farmer probably got up 5 O'clock every morning, went out and probably had 50 people working for him. He had great managerial skills. He managed his workers very well. He was very responsible for the land that he possessed. And he knew the job - how to do it, how to sow, how to take care of his land, how to bring a good yield. He knew all those things. He did everything in time. He did work his farm in a way that it ought to be worked. You think God is going condemned someone for that - success in his business.

Next week I am going to a parable where God condemns a man who did not do anything about the talents and gifts he had. Did not produce anything good out of his life. Just laid around and God does not call him a fool; He calls him a wicked guy. So I believe that God would appreciate and applaud a person who is good a person, faithful in his job and knows what he is doing and gets some success in what he is doing. So this is not a condemnation of those who go out there and do a good business and try very hard, to really makes things work. No, this man must have worked really well and done things right to make things a success. So finally, has a great crop and he has got to build a bigger barn because the yield has been great. Now is that a problem? Is God angry because he has got a bigger barn? Lots of people have taught asceticism using this very parable. It says, the problem is God does not want us to have anything, He wants us to leave everything and follow Him. If one must follow Christ, He must live everything, does not the bible say so? (A lot of people quote that). Yea, I showed you where Jesus says that "You sell everything, give everything to the poor, and come follow me". But I also showed you many other people never sold anything, and still followed Jesus. They were rich as ever and still followed Jesus. Those verses are also there for your information. So it is not teaching us asceticism. It is not teaching utilitarianism which is the idea that you must have only what you need, and to have anything beyond what you need, is sinful. That if you have 1 rupee more than what you have then you really holding something that is now yours- you are sinning by doing so, because you have much more than you need. So those people teach that kind of thing.

The bible neither teaches asceticism nor utilitarianism. The bible only teaches one thing: Dominion, Dignity and Delight; that man ought to live with Dominion, Dignity and Delight. The truth is that this man has worked his land and received great success - God is not mad at him for his success. Then why is this man condemned and called a fool? Why does God call him a fool? Not because he built a bigger barn. He is smart, that is why he built a bigger barn. He had a good planning, that is why he was thinking of building a bigger barn. But what made him a fool is this: Jesus states first what this parable is all about, "A man's life does not consist in the things that he possesses". That is what this parable is all about. And that is the exact mistake that this man made. He thought that the things that he possesses is the end of everything. His yield, his crop has been great and he has got a good yield, now he had got to build a bigger barn and he says, "Oh my soul, eat, drink and be merry, for I have sowed up for so many years to come for you. You will have to lack (he was saying to himself). And God says, if your soul is taking away this night, to whom will all these things belong?" You know what his problems is? The problem is this: he thinks that the abundance of the things that he has is what life is all about. Life is all about these possessions that he had. He has got great yield, great crop and he is going to build a great barn, and he is going to just sit back and take it easy because he has got it made, there is nothing else. You have come, you have arrived. That is the problem with that man. Life does not consist in the abundance of things. If you have provided everything for what you need for the rest of your life and for future generation for your children and everything, that still is not enough. The question is what preparation have you made for your soul? What about your soul? This man has taught about his stomach a lot. He has got a barn full of stuff to feed his stomach. It is very unlikely that he will ever go hungry. He has got so much food stored up; but he has not made one bit of preparation as far as his soul is concerned. That is why God calls him a fool. In other words, (all this I have explained already...but let me put it in a way thatI ought to put it, which I did not maybe put it last time)It is this: the point is - God wants Dominion, Dignity and Delight. Jesus Himself brought it through His miracles and so on, in many situation. Jesus is the Lord of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. He wants it, even in the New Testament. But He wants the right kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight, not the wrong kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. Did this guy have money? Yea plenty of money. Did he have plenty of good? Yea, yea. Did he have a good house? Am sure, if he was ready to build a bigger barn, he would have had a nice house also. Was He rich yea? Yea, am sure also. But the bible does not call that Dominion, Dignity and Delight (that's the thing); does not approve that Dominion, Dignity and Delight is a godly thing. God speaks of a different kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. God speaks of a different kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight; there is a right way and there is a wrong way to enjoy Dominion, Dignity and Delight. Dominion, Dignity and Delight is not just about having a lot of money and having a nice house, and having a nice car or something like that. Some people their vision goes only as far as that.

According to the bible Dominion, Dignity and Delight is about living a blessed life - blessed by God and fulfilling God's vision in this life; doing God's Will in this life, and using every resource that God has put in our hands to accomplish His purposes in this life. This man has no place for such things; he is not thinking about God. He does not know even know that he has a soul - because he thinks that his stomach is the soul. If you asked him where is your soul? He will say, "Yea, this is my soul". Because he said, "Oh my soul, eat and drink, and be merry". Is the soul that is doing the eating and drinking and all that? No, the stomach is doing the eating and drinking. But he says, "Oh my soul, you can drink and be merry". He is greatly mistaken. He has no idea of the soul. He has no idea of how God is needed for the soul. He has no idea how his soul needs salvation. He has no idea of how he needs to receive forgiveness of sin. He has no idea of how to be assure that everything will be alright in eternity. That if he died today, that he will open his eyes before God, and stand before God; and God will look at the way he has lived, and say, "It is good". No, as far as he is concerned, his barn is full - it's good. His house is nicely is build - that's good. He has got a nice car - that's good. He has got everything stored for many years - that's good. God says, "That's not good, you fool", He says. So it is about the right kind of enjoyment of Dominion, Dignity and Delight.

Now also the theme about the eating and drinking (we talked a lot about eating and drinking), it's a big biblical theme. It begins in Genesis 1 and 2, where God makes everything and the first Chapter itself, He looks at Adam and Eve and He says, "All things these I have made you for food". (He points to all the trees and the fruit bearing trees that He has made)and He makes a point and He says, "All these trees and the fruit thereof, I have made you for food". Before man would ask where all the food is going to come from, God is pointing to the food. In the 2nd Chapter, God says, "Freely eat of all the trees, just leave out that one tree, freely (feel free) to enjoy all of the fruits that are growing in all these different trees", He says. I say therefore to you there is a right kind of eating and drinking. When you do the right kind of eating and drinking God is a wonderful father; like you and I, we look at our children eating and drinking. How many of you look at your children eating and drinking and you just enjoy it, because they enjoy it. You love to give them what they want - you love to buy them that ice-scream. Am glad children are not here, I hope. Otherwise they you want you to go get them ice-scream. I know of children who love 2 or 3 scoops of ice-scream. And every parent loves to give them what they like and seeing them eat. You think God gets mad when you eat well. Let me point out to you when God made man and put him in the Garden of Eden or when God made man and woman, He did not say:"Adam, be sure that you fast on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays". See that is Madras preaching, everybody would like that. God never said, "You better fast every other day. The more you fast, the better it is". So half the week, you spent fasting. Out of 30 days, you spend 15 days fasting. All the Madras crowd will say, "O Alleluia. Glory". God says Adam, "All these I have kept you for food, eat and enjoy. Feel free to eat of all the trees of the Garden. Just leave out that one tree I told you about. Eat of all the trees of the Garden." Look at God, He is an amazing wonderful father. Fasting only came later on - it became necessary. If we stayed the way God wanted us to stay, we don't need fasting. We will be having feasting forever in the Promised Land. We got messed up in a way sometimes just to know God, just to understand God, just to turn our eyes from the things of the world and pay attention to the things of God. Sometimes you have to leave the food aside and concentrate on the things of God, and that is what fasting is for today. Sometimes we need to do that because it is beneficial for our spiritual life today. Because we live in a sinful world, there are a thousand of things that are attracting us, drawing us, enticing us, we reject all that and turn to God, exclusively and fast and stay with him, and pray and read the Word of God and devote our time to him. Which is good. But really, God never started with the vision for fasting, for your information. I am going to hear from a lot of people, I can bet on that. They will be cursing me out. But I do not want to back off.

God's vision is feasting, not fasting. I am very positive about it, very sure about it. God it taking the people of Israel into the Promised Land, not to fast. God didn't say, "When I take you to that Land, there will be a lot of milk and honey, but do not eat all that stuff. Don't you get to enjoying all that good milk and honey stuff? Just have fasting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. No, He said, "You will live in houses that you never built, and eat out of the plantations that you never planted, drink water out of wells that you never dug. You will eat to the full, and have lack of nothing. You will lack nothing. You eat to the full and be satisfied", God says. I just get excited talking about that. Not that I just like to eat. Just the idea. I do not eat that much, but the idea that God wants me to simply enjoy everything. That He has made everything for me. And the bible talks about the right way to do it - there is a right way, a legitimate way to enjoy everything that God has made for us. This is what we have failed to understand I think many times. There is a right way, that means there is a wrong way also. And the wrong way is condemned throughout the bible. Wherever eating and drinking is condemned, that is a wrong kind of eating and drinking.

Jesus came eating and drinking. Was He a sinner? No! He is the Son of God, He had no sin. He came eating and drinking. What kind of eating and drinking? The right kind of eating and drinking. So, here also, the eating and drinking theme comes. Not only the Dominion, Dignity and Delight comes. Eating and drinking comes, because here the whole thing is this man's land has yielded much - there is so much food, so much to eat for years to come. So this is the right kind of eating; this is the blessing of God. God is not against it. Another thing, He says...in this you find a verse there, in verse 21, He says, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself and He is not rich toward God". Now notice the word, "himself". This is a guy who lays up treasure for himself. So this man's problem is one; he thinks the earthly possessions - how much grain he has got in the big barn is what life is all about; he thinks that is where everything ends - if you have got enough there, then don't worry about anything. You got no other issues. If that thing is full, them your stomach is going to be full, then why are you worried. If your stomach going to be full, then there are no other issues in life. That is what made him a food. God said, "You fool". Another problem with him is that he is a selfish guy. He said to himself, "Eat, drink and be merry". Now if he had said to his wife at least I can appreciate him. If he said to his wife, "Eat, drink and be merry. Don't worry for many years I have laid up. Even if I die you have enough for the many years to come". Or if he had said to his children, "Eat, drink and be merry. Don't worry about anything, for many years I got stuff for you". He would have been a good man. I would have called him a good man. Look at him he is wonderful husband, wonderful father. But he is talking to himself, that means that there is problem is his house. This is the kind of guy that nobody would like to live with. He is the guy who looks out for himself, lives for himself, saves for himself, hoards for himself. It looks like he is just talking to himself. He has nobody else. Where is his wife? I don't think she wants to be with him. Where are his children? I think, nobody wants to be near him. He has got a nice big house, nice big barn, he has got a big crop coming in. And he has got everything going, but nobody is near him to even talk to. This is not Dominion, Dignity and Delight that God intended. A lot of people these days have to understand that. This is not the Dominion, Dignity and Delight that God intended. When your wife can't even stand you and your children can't even stand you. And they all just want to get as far as possible away, when you turn towards yourself and you live for yourself. He lived for himself (that's the man's character)...himself... In that verse it says, "He lays up treasure for himself". He is not thinking about his wife, children and all that. No. He is laying up treasure for himself - for him to enjoy. He is the kind of guy that hides everything even from his wife and children - because he earned it, he will enjoy it. And if anything left over he may gave it to them. That is his problem, because possession is everything for him. And Jesus is teaching exactly against that. He is not teaching against possession - he is against this idea in a man's heart that thinks that possession is everything. That's what life is about; that is wrong, that is a foolish idea. That is what is being condemned here.

In the other story also, in Chapter 16, in the "Rich Man and Lazarus" story, you read about those two people; one was begging at the doors of the rich man. The rich man is sitting inside and he is dressed up so nice and he is sitting on a nice table, eating sumptuously (the bible says everything) enjoying his food. Now a lot of people think that that in itself is wrong. That sittingat the table and eating. I come from a background where they even told as that even sleeping in a bed maybe wrong, and even sitting at the table and eating may be wrong. And for all these we had verses. Even looking at the mirror to comb our hair. Everything was wrong. So I had to go and find out everything was right. So to see how far I have come I have come one big circle already. I started out there when everything was wrong. Everything of enjoyment was wrong. And I made a big tour of the bible and found out that all these things these people said were wrong, so much so that I today when I think of anything that they said wrong, I can be pretty sure that it is right. If they call it wrong, it is probably right. That is how wrong we have gone. I mean we have gone berserk over this thing. We have lost the vision that God presented for mankind, therefore we don't even know how to live. We don't even know how to think of life. Because we over simplified everything. We read some prophet condemning somebody sleeping in golden beds and condemning that, and we said, "All beds are condemned". This is how we went through the bible. But look at this man - here is a rich man, clothed in purple, (the bible says), fine linen and fared sumptuously every day, but there is a beggar named Lazarus. They both die - the rich man goes to hell, the poor man goes to heaven to Abraham's bosom. And from hell he looks down (we taught already, but just want to make a point). From hell he looks up, sees Lazarus in Abraham's bosom and he tells him, "Father Abraham I am suffering here. It is hot. I need some water. Let Lazarus dip his finger in water and bring. Just one drop of water". Just imagine the man's agony. And Abraham's reply was that nobody could pass from here to that side. It is an impossible gulf. So nobody can come through there. And then this is the story that Jesus says (see how wonderful...I wish we could have been there in the meeting and heard Jesus' story. He is a wonderful story teller.) And then this man says, "Alright if you can't come, well I am here in hell and perishing but it's alright, but at least send Lazarus to my home where I have 5 brothers, I do not want them here and suffer like me and end up in the same place. Please somebody go and tell them". Now this is where I want to point out something; and that the answer the Abraham gave - Look at verse 27, "I beg you therefore father that you will send him to my father's house for I have 5 brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they may also come to this place of torment". And Abraham said to him, "They have Moses and the prophets, 'Let them hear them'. (Now this is where I never explained this). What a strange answer. Hear this man is saying, "At least send Lazarus to my father's house to tell my 5 brothers to behave so that they do not end up like me here". So Abraham says, "No, no, we can't send Lazarus. They have Moses and the prophets" Have you ever thought about what that means? I tell you what that means. It means they have the Old Testament. Moses and the Prophets is another term for the Old Testament. Moses they say wrote the first five books and the rest of the Old Testament was often called "The Prophets". "Moses and the Prophets". The first five books and the rest of the books of the Old Testament is called "Moses and the Prophets".

Now Moses is the one that wrote from Genesis to Deuteronomy. And the significance of Deuteronomy I already showed you; how there is a lot of economic laws that are stated there; how to lend to your brother, how to lift a poor man - giving him a helping hand, how to reach out to your brother that has become poor and not charge him an interest, lend him money - open your hands to him and give him when his wants help and so on. All those economic laws and God tells them why he gave them those economic laws. He says, "If you do this there will not be any poor among you" (Deuteronomy15:4) "There won't be no poor among you" - That's God's vision - God's says, "There won't be any poor if you just do what I said". Then few verses later He says, "The poor will always be with you". Because He knows what this guys are going to do - by their greed. There is poor in this world, let me tell you, because of the greed of certain sections of society; that is why there is poor in this world. God's economic laws will lead to a position that everybody will have anything that they wanted more than in abundance; they will have more than enough if God's laws are followed. So Abraham said from heaven to the rich man in hell, "We cannot send Lazarus, let them read Moses, and they have Moses and the Prophets - he is talking about Moses' book and the Prophetic Books - Old Testament. He is referring to those "Economic Laws". In others words Abraham he is talking, saying, "Hey, you are in hell not like some people think because you were rich, you are in hell because you are not the right kind of rich. You did not follow God's economic laws. You were rich, God made you rich, God blessed your work, God gave you a place and position in the society, but you are the wrong kind of rich. That is why you are in hell. You are not in hell because you were rich, you are the wrong kind of rich. Here is a man Lazarus begging at your door, you never cared about him. There is not one verse or even one word mentioned there saying that he put some food from the plate and gave it to the man. This man had to go on and wait for something to fall from his table. He knew him very well; from the same community, from the same town; he knew him to call him by the name Lazarus. From hell he is calling him Lazarus; he knew him so well. He couldlook up and say exactly who that was. Just to see how well he knew him. But never helped him. So basically what that statement means, where Moses and the Prophets means is this: "But you are in hell because you never did what Moses told you, and what the Prophets told you. The prophets are condemning the wrong kind of rich. The rich who boast about their riches and never did anything to the poor. You are the wrong kind of rich that is why you are in hell. You tell your brothers - your 5 brothers out there, if they would read Moses and the Prophets, if they would go and pay attention to God's Economic Laws, and if they will stretch out their hands to the poor, if they do what God says, then they will not come here. That is the answer.

You know all my life I have been in church, nobody explained this to me. And you are getting it so easy on a platter. Nobody explained these things. I thought this guy is surely in hell because he is a rich guy; he needs to be in hell. A lot of our Christians said, "He needs to be in hell brother, because he is rich. God hates rich" And I also believed that. And here I learn rich is not the problem - he is in the wrong kind of rich. Did he enjoy Dominion, Dignity and Delight? Did he sit at the table and eat? Did he sumptuously eat? Was he clothed in purple? Was he wearing nice clothes or was he dressed up nice? Was he living comfortable circumstances and a nice house and all that? Yea, he did. Was that wrong? Was he enjoying Dominion, Dignity and Delight? Yes, but it is the wrong kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. Because when you enjoy everything and you have no heart for the poor, when you don't do anything, and you do not stretch out your hand to the poor, then that is a wrong kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. When you do not care about anybody. That is exactly what the story is about. The story some Christians think the story is about how a poor man will go to heaven and how if he stayed poor he will go to heaven. No! The story is about the rich, the Pharisees who are rich because if you read in the same chapter - if you read verse 13, I think - Jesus tells another parable and after that parable Pharisees mock him about that story. I am going to go to that story right now, but the Pharisees mock him and then that prompts Jesus to tell the story. This is a condemnation of those rich Pharisees who are taking advantage of the poor people and living like that. He is just telling them you are going straight down to hell, because you are not even doing what the bible says. That's exactly what He is saying to them basically - condemning them for what they are doing. He is not saying to them, "You are rich therefore you are going to hell". No, no, no. That's not right at all my friend. He is saying, because you are in the wrong kind of rich and exercising the wrong kind of Dominion, Dignity and Delight in the wrong way, which I never intended. That is not the way you live. That is why you end up there. That is the essence of the story. When Abraham said, "There they have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them". The Rich Man again says, "If one goes from the dead, they will repent". But he said to him, "If they don't hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one raise from the dead". In other words, he is again emphasizing all they need to do is just go to Moses. Where? Go to Deuteronomy. Just read God's economic laws, just go to the prophets, just take heed to that warning that the prophet gives to the wrong kind of rich and set yourself right - tell them to get right and then they will not come to this place. It has nothing to do with a dead man rising from the dead and going back and telling them. No, no, they won't believe. If they don't believe Moses and the prophets, then they won't believe him, even if he goes back from the dead. What an amazing story. What an amazing illustration. But the church mainly has missed the whole point. We have totally missed the point; we are talking about something else. As if this is talking about how if you are rich you will go to hell, if you are poor you will go to heaven. And heaven is a great gathering of the poor and all that business. It is not so.

Now go to 16th Chapter, in the beginning. Look at this parable: He also said to the disciples. So there also the dominion, dignity and delight ideas - there also the whole idea of eating and drinking is there, that man sitting and eating and drinking; his eating and drinking in itself is not wrong, the way he did it is not wrong. While a man is begging at his door, he is sitting and eating. He does not care about him. That is wrong. Alright keep that in mind - the bible is like - themes just flow just like that. Now Chapter 16 verse 1, He also said to His disciples, "There was a certain rich man, who had a steward manager (in very simple words...Rich man had a manager) and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods" (This man was squandering/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 (he says you are dismissed). Bring the account, settle it, you may leave because I hear that you are squandering all my assets. Now this man is now going to lose the job. He has got to bring back the account books and submit it and settle everything, and then he has got to leave the job. Now listen to this: Then the Steward man/the manager said within himself, "What shall I do, (now only he is thinking within himself. Some people think only when trouble comes. Until then they live in their own selfish world. Just grabbing and looting and all that business. When trouble comes it's when they are thinking. If they went to church/coming to church is a time to think, you are devoting this time to think. A lot of people won't think. They will be sitting here watching the time - when can I leave. I don't want to think.) So this man didn't have time to thinking before; serous thinking was not done. He just lived by his impulses. His impulses basically selfish; make money for self, just grab and loot, and squander and do anything unjust to just get some money. That is just the way that he lived. Now he says, "What shall I do" (thinking within himself) saying what shall I do, for my master is taking the stewardship away from me- I am going to lose my job as a manager now. I cannot dine. I cannot dig, and I am ashamed to beg. He doesn't want to work hard because he is used to sit behind a des know. He says, "I can't dig and I can't beg". That is shameful. So he comes up with a plan. "I have resolved what to do". Some people's mind works and the eyes of understanding are open when they are great difficulty and great problem. They become really wise and they really go through repentance, change and everything. So this man is going through a period of repentance and change. He says, "I have resolved what to do, that when I put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses" (in other words he says, when I lose my job, I am going to make it so that other people will invite me to their houses. I want to create a future for me, because when I lose my job no one is going to respect me because I have lived a mean life. I have just scrounged for every single penny and looted from people and did all kinds of bad things. Nobody is going to respect me. Everybody is going to kick me out once they found out I am not a manager. Nobody will want me. So I will turn the table around, be a good man. So that that tomorrow everybody will open their house and want to invite me. And want to support me. So he called every one of his master's debtors to him). This is one of the most difficult parables by the way - you will see why it is very difficult. So he called every one of his masters debtors to him - so the master's in the business where he is lending to others and said to the first (he calls all the debtors. This man is in the business of giving loans and collecting the loans). He called the debtors. He said, "How much do you owe my master? And he said, "A hundred measures of oil". (In those not only can you receive a loan in terms of cash or some commodities, so obviously some repayment was made with oil and wheat and so on). So this man says, "Yea, I owe your master hundred measures of oil". So he said to him (listen to this), "Take your bill and sit down, quickly write 50". Instantly he gives the guy a 50% discount. You know that's agood discount. And said to another, "And how much do you owe? So he says, "A hundred measures of wheat". And he said to him, "Take your bill and write 80". So, from 100 he has given 50%, and for this guy from 100 he gives him 20% discount. That is to say write about 80, that's all you owe. See how pleased the fellows will be. So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. Now this is where the parable gets very difficult. This is where traditionally everybody has had difficulty interpreting this parable. Lots of times many preaches will not touch this parable, because how can the master appreciate this guy like this. The master is crazy, because this guy went out to those debtors that owed him money and gave them 50% discount on top of all that money that he has looted from the master and damaged his master's assets. He is now given 50% discount and then given 20% discount on other guy, and who knows how much he has given to others. Only two items are mentioned here. And the master learns about it, and the bible says that he commended the unjust steward because he had dwelt shrewdly. Now how do you preach this? Now this guy has already done some bad things, being dismissed. Now after being dismissed he is doing some more damage. And this crazy master commends for whatever he has done now. He says he has acted shrewdly.

Now people have grappled with this problem, and researchers and people that study these things with a background material - to explain these difficult parables, they have really come up with some answers. They say that in those days when people lent (they were the lenders), when they lend something to others, they did it through a manager - there were business managers who were appointed. And the managers are used to giving the loan and collecting the loan. So while they were doing the job, the manager would often have his own little business going on - where he would lend say 1,000 Rupees from the master's money to the guy, and the fell a had wanted 1,000, he would give 500 of his master's and the 500 of his own so when he collects 500 with interest will come to him, and 1000 will go to the master's. He is running his own side business in there. Now his grandsons are still in Chennai, and all over the world. Is this no different? I soon as I read that I said, "My God, that just looks just like Chennai. That just looks like our country". Where this is casually done. So he is sitting there at his master's air-conditioned office, credit office and he is loaning his master's money and along with it on the side, using the master's air-conditioned office and cellphones and everything, all the computers - lending his own money and taking interest. Master finds out all about it. And dismisses him. And he says, "You are running your own in my office, you are doing your own business instead of mine. Dismissed".

So now usually if a person is dismissed from his position in this case, what will he do? The first option he has - naturally mind works like this: I am going to be dismissed, I will go home, not have a job from tomorrow. So let me secure my future. The way to secure my future is collect all the outstanding money that went from me, immediately, and I at least I can go home with a large sum and manage for some time. That is one option (safe option) - collect everything immediately. But that's a difficult option. The other option is: Use this occasion to gain the favor of the clients, so that tomorrow when you start your own business, the future will be good, because some of these clients will remember the favour that you did for them, may turn up at your business place and would want to borrow something from you and so on.

So he decided boldly on the second option. He decided that he is going to call all these people and give them a big discounts where his money will be them. He is ready to forego his money. Very wonderful option for a guy who just lived for himself, scrounging and scraping from everything, and taking unjustly from everybody. Something has happened in his heart - he now thinks about life in the right terms. He now thinks that just living for your own self you are never going to make it. You got to have the support of people. You got to have people, you go to be good to people, you got to develop friendships, and so on. Otherwise, tomorrow if you are thrown out from your job, you lose your power and position, nobody is going to respect you. Have you seen people in power? Sometimes when they are in power they are so proud, and so hottie and he did not do anything for anybody, and they behave like that. They have a lot of money and son on. So they behave like that. You watch and wait until they retire. The day they retire, they will have no respect. Nobody will even salute them, nobody will even respect them. Because all these people that lived under the cruel regime of this person they think for him to retire, from the day he retires they don't care about that person. That is the way the world is. They would never invite him into their house, they would never even greet him, and they will never even pay any respect.

But I have seen some good people that have been in great power and position, had lots of money and so on. When they were in a position of influence and power, they used that influence and power to do a good to a lot of people; got them jobs or admissions or some favour or whatever something that they could do, they were always ready to do. Plus they did it always to the people that are hurting, that were in need, that are wanting something. They always stretched their hand out to them. You know when they retire it is different; it doesn't matter to their friends that they retired. They don't look at whether he is still in working in power or not, they don't look at whether he still has got the money or not. They respect the man no matter what, because of the way he has dealt with them in the past. Isn't that right? I am telling it right or what?

This guy is worried about an issue. He says, "If I go out the way I am going out, nobody will having me in their house.Nobody is even going to say, "Please come in here sir". No, nobody will respect me. So am going to make my life different. I am going to be a changed man. I am going to give them favour. I am going to tell them, "You have a 50% discount". Now only when in this way, you can only understand why the master appreciated him and said he has dealt shrewdly, because the master in this deal has never lost anything. Only this fellow has lost. It'snot the master's money he has given discount of. The discounted money is his money. That is the way the background material people explained this. That is why the master finds out about it and he says, "Hey, he is clever". This guy is smart, he knows how to deal with it. He knows he is going to lose his job. That is the only way the master can appreciate if he has got any brain. If he is losing his money, he won't be appreciating him. It is not his money, this guy is losing his money. The master appreciates his boldness and his change that has happened in him, and the marvelous transformation that he sees in this person. That is what is happening here.

Alright let me finish this up. So the master commended on this steward, (verse 8) because he had dealt shrewdly and then look at the teaching of Jesus; now Jesus teaches. After telling the story, He teaches. I love Jesus' teaching (the story and the substance) of what the story tells. He says, "For the sons of these world are shrewder in their generation than the sons of light". In other words he is saying, look at how shrewd he is, he is such a wicked guy, he has been cheating me all this time, but look how sharp he is; he is creating a future for himself. Because he is now losing his job, he is going to go out, he wants other people favour; he wants a good standing in society so that he can develop his own future business and so on. So this guy has dealt shrewdly, the sons of this world - the worldly people are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you, "Make friends for yourself by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail they will receive you in the everlasting home". Just straight away he makes the connection, between this story and between our life. He turns the whole story around, He says. Forget about this guy losing his job and then having favour from friends where who will open their doors and so on, and receive him in. Now let me tell you, "When you live this life, when you breathe your last and go to heaven, how are you going to appear before God? What are you going to be there? And how will be received there? Have you thought about it? So he says, "Make friends for yourself by unrighteous mammon" (unrighteous wealth) he says.

Now Zacchaeus' story is very related story - similar to this. Remember Jesus went into his house. That guy was dismissed (not dismissed from his position or anything), but he came to his senses as soon as he saw Jesus and heard him preach. When Jesus walked into his house, that guy decided I am going to be a different man, I am not going to live like this. This is crooked life, I am going to end it today, and I am going to repent. So he tells Jesus, "If I have taken unjustly from anybody taxes, I will pay them back four times". Then he says, out of all the wealth that I have, I will give half of it to the poor." Now many people ask the question what about the rest of it? He is giving half of it, what about the rest? Well, when a man reaches a point where he is ready to give four times as much as he has taken by way of bribe, and reaches a point where he is ready to give half of his wealth, you don't have to worry about the rest, because there has a great change that has happened in his heart. Whatever he will do with the rest it will be in line with God's Will and Purpose and according to God's laws. He will never again with that money, with that wealth act in a way that he has been acting before. Because His life has been changed. That is why Jesus never raises the question about the rest of what he has got. Remember to the rich young ruler he said, "Go ye and sell everything, give everything to the poor. Everything give to the poor. And then come and follow me. Otherwise you can't". Why didn't he tell Zacchaeus? See that guy needed to it because there was no change in his heart. Zaccheus didn't have to go sell everything and give everything to the poor. When he said I will give 50% Jesus said ok, because he was assured by that time that this guy is never again going to use his wealth the way that he has been using it in the past. He is going to be a different man. Therefore wealth in his hand is not going to be a problem, because He is going to do the right thing with it. Do you understand me?

Now people are at sometimes when they hear with a different set of ears, I think. So I have to be careful as a preacher. Am sure somebody will come and ask, so if I give 50% brother, the problem solved. They think it's like a forgiveness deal from the department. 50% everything is going to be ok. I am not saying that. It's not that kind of deal that you give 50% you keep 50%. No, it's about change of heart. When a change of heart happens then Lord is assured that it cannot go wrong again, because heart has changed, life will also be different. That's the thing you see. A lot of people are ready to part with 50%, but the heart never changes. They are interested in the 50% that they can keep. That's all. But Jesus never asked him anything about the rest that he is going to keep because He is assured that his heart has changed totally. Now this is a similar story: Here the boss appreciates him, and now Jesus takes that and draws lessons from it, and He says that all of us have to think about it in this way. Just like he loses his job, one day we are going to die - our life is going to come to an end in this earth. We are going to stand before God. How are we going to stand before God? Is God to look at us and say, "You have done well. Good and faithful servant. I like you. What you did is right. It is good, very good." Is He going to call what we did as very good or he is going to say it is very bad? That is the issue, He says.

Now listen to this, "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" What is the least and what is the much? It is said in a particular context. What does he mean when he says least and what does he means when he says is much? Read the next verse: "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches". Now you know what is the least and what is the much? The least is the earthly riches, the much is the heavenly riches and the responsibilities that God will give you. As much as you are faithful with the earthly riches, the more God will entrust in your hand things that has to do with the Kingdom of God which are higher riches. If God cannot trust you with the little bit of money, then how can He trust you with the big job of doing things in His Kingdom. That is the way Jesus presents it. The little in the earthly riches, the much is the greater riches or the heavenly riches. Then He says, "If you are not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own". Very important principle. If somebody gives you something, if you are not faithful in it, then you will probably never had your own stuff.
Let me illustrate it: I used to know a fellow, in his workplace they gave him a motorcycle. And in his house, it's like a 3 or 4 staircases that you have to climb in order to get into his house. This guy would come from work and he would ride all the way into the house with that scooter simply rattling and wanting to just fall apart. I said to him, "Why are you doing like this?" He said, "Don't worry, its company bike". And it will be as dirty as if it was in a dump. He never stretchedhis hand out to clean any part of it. They gave the bike, they are putting the petrol, just run it as long as you can. Then throw it away and they will give you a new bike. This is the approach to life. I thought to myself, "You will never going to have your on bike" Even with EMI it's not possible. Because the mentality is such. The right attitude...See these are the economic laws in the bible - you will be amazed what the bible teaches. These are fundamental economic laws. This is the way life works. If you get something from somebody, you got to be more careful than if it was your own. If it is your own, you destroy it, its okay. You can go pay for it and buy another one. But if it is someone else's you have to be more careful because it is someone else's. You feel responsible to keep it clean, keep it good, and be faithful and faithfully return it in the condition that you got it, or in a better condition than you got it. If you think like that, you can go from a bike to a car. But if you think the other way, you are working on a wrong economic basis. You can take your bible and go to church and shout "hallelujah" a hundred times a week, nothing is going to happen because the fundamental laws of prosperity of the scriptures are not honoured. That is what Jesus is teaching here. If you are not being faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own.

And now listen to this: "No servant can serve two masters; for he either will hate one or love the other or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" Now this is also a verse that is most often misunderstood. In my early days I remember; I know many preachers that used to preach well and do ministry, but they were all employed. They were doing some kind of work in the government or somewhere. And on the side, they were preaching and doing wonderful ministry. And other preachers would totally discourage them, saying, "You cannot serve two masters". God and this job, you cannot serve God and mammon. And where does the bible say that? They would always point out to Luke 16:13 that says that. It never said that. It's not about going to job and doing ministry and all that. You can very well go to job and do ministry also if you want to do that. There is nothing wrong with that. What it is saying, "You cannot serve God and serve money". You can only serve one. You can only be subservient to one. You can only obey and be led by/governed by one; not by two. You either be governed by God or by money. People are either governed by God or by money. God is their God or money is their god. For a lot of people, God they set aside and bring Him up only on Sunday. They shout few hallelujahs to Him and sing a couple of songs and put Him aside. Because they say, "Monday to Saturday belongs to me. You are not going out there and suffer. I am going to go out there and mulling through the whole thing, so you stay aside, so I would go out and do whatever I have to do to make it". That is their approach. Money governs everything. Money dictates everything. When you serve God, it is different: Money is used, it doesn't govern. You have money, you need money, you want money; and the more the better because the more you can do good things with money. But you never serve money. You possess money but money doesn't possess you. You have money under your control, money doesn't have you under its control. That is what this verse is talking about. It's talking about how you cannot be under two masters at the same time. You will despise one and love the other. You always be loyalty to one, and disloyalty to the other. Serve God, He says. What an amazing teaching Jesus gave.

Now let me just read this before I close. Verse 14:"Now the Pharisees who are lovers of money, also heard all these things. They were eaves dropping. They also heard wonderful teaching on economics, and they mocked Him", it says. You know there some people they cannot understand anything when it comes to these kind of topic, no matter how much you tell them they cannot understand. They will always try to pick one little point - you know, hopefully they are waiting. The purpose they listen to you (I know) is to wait for something that they can take a hold on to twist and turn and all that. The other day I said about (I have said a couple of things here) I said a couple of times hereabout repent. The last time I said about it was a few weeks ago - talked about repenting. I actually said in the Greek and Hebrew language, repent means to turn around, that means you are going to one direction, you all of a sudden realize that is the wrong direction you are going in. So you repent, that means you turn around. You decide I am going in the wrong direction, I am not going to do that anymore, I am going to the right direction. You completely turnaround, 360 degrees and go in the right direction - that is what repent means. I know from the Greek and Hebrew that is what it means. I have studied that for so many years. They taught us. This is one of the words that they deal with, when they teach the bible. One of the many important words. Repent; it means to turn around, and change mentally. A change that happens in the mind and in the heart. And there is a lot of deeper things to it. But basically it's a turning around. I said that. I said in Greek and in Hebrew it means to turn around. But I said notice how the English word comes out: "Repent". It's very interesting. The English word is very interesting. The English word is made up of two words: 'RE' and 'PENT'. 'Re' meaning 'again', 'Pent' means 'top'. So it sounds like when you say "repent", you are saying, "again come back to the top". You know how many people are mad for me saying that? They found one mistake because they didn't mentioned the fact that I said in the Greek and Hebrew it means "to turn". They only mentioned the English translation, "Repent", which comes one minute later. They re-winded one minute, they would have found in Greek and Hebrew it says this and I have stated that, then only point to the English word and its interesting meaning. What is wrong with that? But they are not even upset about the other things. They are upset that I have said that, "If you repent you will come to the top". O my God, you got to totally sick in your mind to even think like that. If you repent you will come to the top. You know why? Because God says, if you do what I say to you, if you diligently observe to do according to what I have said to you, you shall not be beneath you shall be above only. So what is repentance? Repentance is where a man decides that he has been wrong: his philosophy is wrong, his attitude is wrong, living for yourself is wrong, selfishness is wrong, covetousness is wrong; man decides to repent of these things - turn around and say to God, "Lord forgive me, I have been going wrong, I am wrong, sorry" and turn around to God, and give yourself to God, and repent of that sin. Then you are climbing way back to the top my friend. You are now on the steps of success. One step after the other it will take you to success because you are now employing God's economics laws to put you ahead. You will not be beneath, you will be above only, the bible says, in Deuteronomy 28. You will not be the tail, you will be the head. But these people are so mad.

I was trying to explain to one fellow. He said, you said like this: I said know I didn't say like this - rewind half a minute or one minute. You say, you see I talked about the Greek and Hebrew also, and the meaning there also. Then why didn't you put it? I said, we don't have time to put it. People just one short clip. People all over the world listen to our clips, thousands of people. And they just want one short. They know what I am preaching, they are listening all the time when I am preaching. Thousands of hours of preaching they have heard. So they know exactly what I am saying. So they just want this one punch line kind of thing, you know, that they can hear and be happy over it. So we put it for them. No, you should put that. Then why didn't you put the whole message? I said, we didn't put it for you You made a mistake of watching my YouTube stuff. It's not for you my friend Not at all for you. It is for the people that love the Word of God that I am preaching. They understand whatever I am preaching already. And I am putting it for them. And I know that if I sat down and played 30 years of my preaching all over again, you are never going to believe what I am saying. So I don't even want to bother to explain anything it to you. This is not for you, leave me alone, I said. Whoever it is for let them watch it.

Just like the Pharisees that mocked at Jesus, you can preach and explain these things so wonderfully, yet there will be mockers. Did you hear what he said? They never got the point: They never got the point about "The Rich Fool", they never got the point about "The Rich Man and Lazarus", they never got the point about this "Unjust Manager", they never got the fine points and the truth that comes out of it and the lesson that Jesus speaks. And I hope that everyone here gets the point here. That God our Lord is the Lord of Dominion, Dignity and Delight. He desires the best for you. He wants you. In case some of these people haven't heard me and they think I have misstated it, I want to be sure to tell them. Yes, if you repent you will again come back to the top where God placed you in the beginning. Come back to the top, repent of your bad ways, repent of your sins, repent of your wrong philosophies, embrace God's laws, embrace God's ways, and you will rise to the very top. That is what repentance is all about.

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