Faithlife Sermons

A Good Lesson from a Bad Example

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Philippians 4:10–19 ESV
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Perhaps some of you have heard about the dealer in oil and wheat commodities that faced a Crisis in his business some time ago. He heard that the manager at one of his branch offices was not running a tight ship. He called the man into his office to tell him what he had heard. Then he told the man that his services would no longer be required and he gave the man 30 days notice. The firing hit the man like a ton of bricks … he never say it coming. He went home that night, went to bed but sleep evaded him. He tossed and turned as he worried about his future. He couldn't start over at his age … easy living had made him soft and flabby. He thought about going to the golf club and asking some of the men there for a job. But the thought of confessing that he had been canned was more than his pride could stand. Some time in the middle of the night he had an idea … that developed into a plan. The next morning he worked his plan.
He called some of the men his office had done business with and made appointments for the day.
The first man stopped by to see him. This man had been contracted to deliver 3000 liters of oil at a certain price …there had been a downturn in the market. The man was struggling to deliver.
The branch Manager told him “Look let’s renegotiate your contract, instead of 3000 liters of oil, make it 1500” The oil dealer was thrilled as they rewrote the contract. He looked at the BM and said “I’m grateful. I hope that one day I can return the favour.”
Later that day he met a wheat speculator for lunch who had been contracted to deliver a thousand bushels of wheat. The harvest hadn't bene quit what he had expected and he had a shortfall.
Over lunch the BM said: “I know this years weather has affected the crop yield and it’s been hard on everyone. Why dont we change the contract? You owe us 1000 bushels … lets make it 800.”
They rewrote the contract right there … shook hands as they left the restaurant. The wheat speculator looked at the BM and said “You’ve been really good to me. I hope that one day I can return the favour.”
In a few weeks when the BM cleaned out his desk there were several companies who had already approached him with job opportunities. (wheat and oil companies) They saw how he had worked for them. They felt he could be a trusted and loyal employee.
When the owner found out what this BM had done he wasn't nearly as excited. But there was nothing he could do. He had broken no laws. He simply used the position and possessions entrusted to him to make some good friendships. Friends who looked him up after he was finished at his bosses company.
The owner took everything a bit philosophically: “He’s a shrewd one thats for sure. When the chips were down, this guy knew how to make the best of it.”
Someone else had a good word about that Branch Manager … Jesus
This Story not from the Globe and Mail … But Rather from The Gospel of
Luke 16:1–13 ESV
He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Jesus was a ripping good storyteller
In this story Jesus isn't commending the man’s morals … He is commending his shrewdness.
The BM in this story knows his business … and cares about his business
This BM knows his consumers --- He knows them and looks after them
This Man is SHREWD = Thoughtful, Prudent, Sensible - Same word translated wise in
Matthew 10:16 ESV
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Wise as serpents … snakes aren't particularly cute … but Jesus is describing them as cunning, shrewd … wise
Jesus is teaching in this parable that Disciples (followers) of Jesus must be shrewd
This Manager demonstrated his shrewdness in one way … He understood the value of Friends
Luke 16:9 ESV
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
JUST AS this BM made friends for the day when he was fired.
Jesus’ point - WE are to Make Friends for Eternity
I remember as a new Christian being told to store up treasures in heaven
Matthew 6:19–21 NIV
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I thought that was a great idea … How do I do that? HERE JESUS TELLS US HOW. YOU READY?
The Best way to store up treasure in heaven is to invest your money in people going there
Look again at verse 9
Luke 16:9 ESV
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
L
Make friends for yourself BY MEANS OF Unrighteous Wealth (Money) So that when IT fails (Money/life) they (Those friends) may welcome you into eternal dwellings (Heaven)
Use your position Use Your Possessions to Make Eternal Friendships
The best investment you can make is not in RRSP’s or bank accounts or real estate or silver or gold!
But in Friends who will welcome you into eternal dwellings
Before we apply this story directly we need to draw out some principles taken directly from the text … about our stewardship … The believer’s mindset toward money
Let me give you a brief definition of Stewardship (In E Bulletin Friday)
Stewardship refers to the practice of holding something in trust for someone else; it is a process of serving others by managing their assets in their absence. Stewardship is an expression of the fruit of Christ’s life, through the Holy Spirit in us. Stewardship is managing God’s resources for him in His absence.
7 Governing Principles from
1.The Christian recognizes that what we have is ours to USE not ours to KEEP– vv:2, 3, 4, 9
1.The Christian realizes that all we have will eventually be TAKEN from us
2.The Christian realizes that all we have will eventually be TAKEN from us
2.The Christian uses his/her money for SPIRITUAL ENDS – v:9
3.The Christian uses his/her money for SPIRITUAL ENDS – v:9
3.The Christian knows that faithfulness in SMALL THINGS matters – v:10
4.The Christian knows that faithfulness in SMALL THINGS matters – v:10
4.The Christian knows that the use of money is a SPIRITUAL INDICATOR – v:11
5.The Christian knows that the use of money is a SPIRITUAL INDICATOR – v:11
5.The Christian knows that EVERYTHING he/she has comes from and belongs to GOD– v:12
6.The Christian knows that EVERYTHING he/she has comes from and belongs to GOD– v:12
6.The Christian DELIBERATELY chooses GOD over WEALTH – v:13
7.The Christian DELIBERATELY chooses GOD over WEALTH – v:13
Let me repeat Christ’s Point in this Text -
The Best way to store up treasure in heaven is to invest your money in people going there
How do we make that kind of Investment? - 2 ways
We can do this Indirectly
Remember the text I opened with?
Philippians 4:10–19 ESV
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:10-19
Paul thanks the Philippians
By their giving they had a share in His Ministry of Church Planting across the then known world
Notice the words - FRUIT that INCREASES TO YOUR CREDIT (Reward)
Their gifts also wafted to the throne of God as a fragrant offering … pleasing to God
One of the ways I can invest in Friends is to invest in the Ministry of Others
Let me share three principles: RE: Your Giving
Principle number 1 - Giving is the Duty of Every Christian – (Note in verse 2 – “Each one of you) - Your first responsibility is to your local church
1 Corinthians 16:1–3 ESV
Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.
Principle number 2 - Our Giving should be regular and systematic – &
2 Corinthians 9:5 NIV
So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
2 Corinthians 9:5–7 NIV
So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Cor 9:
Principle number 3 - Giving is an Act of Worship – Giving is not God’s method of raising funds, but rather raising His children. In Stewardship we recognize that God owns everything, we are managers of His resources. Our use of them ought to express our love and devotion to His and His cause.
Hebrews 13:15–16 ESV
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Let me challenge you to think of your regular offering to the LORD differently
The church offering isn't God’s way of raising Funds
But rather it is His way of making Friends
This changes the way I give!
We Give to the Lord’s work through others first because God Gave his son
Romans 8:32 ESV
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32
WE also give to Missions:
It is a joy to be able to send out Daniella Kress to work with CEF this morning - Next Sunday she will share a report with us … I want her to come up now and we’ll pray for her as a church.
Daniella is going with CEF … to make Friends (New thought on evangelism!!!!!)
WE Have Missions and Missionaries we support through your givings that are making friends … Locally, Nationally, Globally
We also are to be making Friendships of our own
Use your position - Use your Possessions to make eternal Friends
The reason people get uptight when people talk about money in church is that we dont get God’s perspective on $$$$
Jesus talked much about money. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions.
Look at how believers are portrayed in this Parable …
Luke 16:8 ESV
The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
Sons of Light - They walk in the Light … and they see things in God’s Light … Proper Perspective
You See we view $$$ from God’s Perspective
WE View the Lost From God’s Perspective ()
When we see the Lost from HIS perspective (Lost from God and Unable to Return on their own)
When we see money as a stewardship from Him … not our own
Luke 16:12 ESV
And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
That which is another’s
When we see these two things … From God’s perspective … we will invest our assets Shrewdly … wisely … for eternal ends
… To make friends for eternity
Ralph and His wife Sandy model this for me … Ralph once told me that the Lord had gifted him to make money … and that he did.
Tickets to JDC - YFC Golf Tournament
Luis Palau crusade
Lady when I was a kid gave out gospel tracts for Halloween - Wrapped around a box of Cracker Jack
Harold - Hiring boys to work for him … pays them … shares Christ and disciples them in the barn
Stanley Tam - Founder of US Plastic Corp - Legally signed 51% of his business over to God (Legally … The lawyer thought he was nuts) - Stanley Tam generated more than $140 Million to the Lord’s work - In particular much of his resources were poured into world evangelism. Just one of the ministries it supports is in over 42 countries with 1,600 people going door to door sharing the gospel
RG LeTourneau - 6 grade dropout- Leading earthmoving machinery manufacturer with plants on four continents
He lived on 10% of his income gave the rest to the spread of the gospel … Making Friends
Sigmund Freud once told a story of a sailor who was shipwrecked out in the Pacific. He was washed up on the shore of a small island and was captured by the natives of that island.
Much to his surprise instead of ending up tied in a prison or floating in a pot he was put on the throne.
The natives wanted to make him king. They fed him the best food and he lived in the best house.
GREAT DEAL
As he began to learn the language he realized that for every silver lining there is a cloud.
He learned that every year they would appoint a new king … after hat year they would take the outgoing king to another island some distance away and let him starve to death.
Suddenly the whole proposition wasn't as bright as he thought.
As he served as King he planned for the future … shrewdly
He sent some of his trusted men who did his bidding to that island to plow the soil and plant crops.
He sent others to build houses
Others whom he enjoyed being with he sent them ahead to wait for him.
At the end of the year he didn't go there to starve … but to retire in luxury.
There was a wise sailor … who saw things in perspective … he used his position and his possessions to see to it that there would be those there to welcome him to his dwelling.
Use your position
Use your possessions to make friends who will welcome you into your eternal dwelling.
Make Friends forever
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