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Summary: Sadly, Christians are some of the most gullible, naïve folks around. Almost every week you read another story about how some trusting Christian was bamboozled by a scam where he gave away his life’s savings in some “sure-fire investment.”

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12-13-04

THE GOOD EXAMPLE OF A CROOK

Luke 16:1-16:18

INTRODUCTION

The recent accounting scandals involving big business have shaken our economy to its roots; do you remember the ENRON scandal?

I read about a third grade class in which the students were telling about the jobs their parents had.

One little boy shocked the class by saying, “My dad is an exotic dancer.”

After class, the teacher took the boy aside and said, “Now, son, is your dad really an exotic dancer?”

He said, “No ma’am, he’s an accountant and he really works for Arthur Andersen, but I was too embarrassed to say that.”

Today, we are going to look at Luke 16 to find one of the most unusual parables Jesus ever uttered.

Some Bible teachers merely skip over it or ignore it.

I call it the parable of the Crooked Manager.

It’s a story about an employee who “cooked the books” for his employer.

He used dishonest methods to give an accounting of his company’s assets.

It reads much like a deposition from the Enron or WorldCom hearings!

It’s a parable about money, which shouldn’t be surprising because of the 38 parables Jesus told, 19 of them dealt with handling possessions.

Baptism is important, but there are 16 times more verses in the New Testament on handling money than are devoted to baptism.

The Lord’s Supper is important, but there are 32 times more Biblical statements about Christian financial management than about the Lord’s Supper.

Since Jesus had so much to say about it, we’d better pay attention.

I hope you know you can trust God–but when it comes to handling God’s money, how much can he trust you?

Keep your Bibles open because we will read each section of scripture as we discuss it.

First, we will consider:

I. THE PARABLE: THE GOOD EXAMPLE OF A CROOK (1-8)

Let’s just read the parable beginning in Luke 16:1:

Jesus told his disciples, “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ The manager said to himself, ‘What will I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg–I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. The manager told him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’ Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ The Master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”


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