He That Has Ears To Hear, Let Him Hear

Money In Heaven
Published in the GOLDEN GRAIN - Volume 10  - Number 1 - April, 1935

Text: "And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitation" (Luke 16:9).

A Sermon By Dr Charles S. Price 

HIS is confessedly the most difficult of all our Lord's parables. It holds up the bad man as an example to good people; teaches that by a prudent use of money they may secure eternal blessings; and says nothing about salvation by faith.

 The key to the parable is to be found in its relationship to those of the previous chapter. There Christ speaks in defense of the publicans (tax gatherers), who had come to Him. Here He exhorts the publicans whom He has defended. They were scored as notorious scoundrels who plundered their fellow citizens under the protection of a foreign power. But they had come to Jesus and were welcomed by Him. They were among His disciples. The sight of them recalled the wrongs suffered at their hands, and Christ was reproached for receiving them. His answer to their accusers was that these were the lost He came to save. But to them He commands that they bring forth fruits meet for repentance. The best answer to their accusers was to be in the use to which they put the money they had gained.

 Every Publican was supposed to have got his wealth by dishonest means. So Christ tells them a story of a dishonest steward who was found out. When this thief saw the crisis coming he coolly set to work to prepare for the worst. He laid his master's debtors under obligation to him by reducing their accounts. That impressed them with his kindness and gave him possession of a secret which placed them at his mercy. For both reasons they would be likely to treat him civilly and hospitably when he had neither work nor home. When his master, not our Master, heard of it he was struck with the man's coolness and sagacity and commended his shrewdness in a difficult situation. And Christ commends the practical story of the shrewd steward to the children of light, and urges the use of common sense in matters of religion.

MONEY CURRENT IN HEAVEN

 But the great lesson of the par- able is that money may be so used as to secure a return in the Kingdom of Heaven; that it has a purchasing value in the Eternal World.. A golden sovereign is as truly current coin in Heaven as in the market place. There are blessings in Heaven that it can purchase; and eternal habitations that it can secure. That is the plain teaching of verse 9. And its teaching is not exceptional. In Daniel 4:19 showing mercy to the poor was laid down as part of the repentance by which peace was to be secured. In Acts 10:4, Cornelius is told that his charities had commended him to God. Paul, in 1 Timothy 6: 17-19, tells the young pastor to preach to the rich their duty to lay their riches at the feet of Christ for the needs of the poor, and thereby lay up for themselves a good foundation and lay hold on eternal life. See .also Mark 10:21; Matthew 6:19; 25:31-40. In all which we are taught that money may be so used as to secure spiritual and eternal benefit.

And this is not out of harmony with God's general method. In His law He maintained His right to the first and best of all man's possessions, and the bringing of arrears into His storehouse was the condition of His blessing (Malachi 3:9, 10). And our present experience sustains this teaching. Money here and now can be so spent as to secure gratitude, devotion and affection. And if it can bring these precious possessions to us here it ought not to surprise us that its purchasing power extends to higher and greater things. God cannot be indifferent to the exercise of qualities so near akin to His own as benevolence, kindness and compassion.

A GOOD USE FOR BAD MONEY

 The most startling thing in the parable is that even bad money may be so used as to bring eternal blessing. The mammon or money of unrighteousness must mean money unrighteously got. And it is possible even with unrighteous money to secure heavenly blessings. This does not mean that money unscrupulously made may be used to compound iniquity by devoting it to charitable and philanthropic purposes. God hates robbery for burnt offering. The first law of Christianity is righteousness. Its first demand is for restitution wherever possible, and after that charity. But a man who has made money wrongly may be converted and find complete restitution impossible, then
let him spend his ill-gotten gains in blessing his fellows, and be shall have reward in Heaven.

 There can be no doubt that the wrong use of money shuts men out of Heaven. And the wrong use of money in the teaching of Jesus means simply the selfish use of it. Dives went to Hell simply because he spent his money on himself and was in different to the beggar at his gate. The rich fool was damned for no other reason than that he lived to pile up wealth regardless of the needs of his own soul and the needs of others. And all such will be shut out from the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no place but the Pit for those who live to themselves and shut their ears to the cry of their brother's need.

 We hold our money whether it be much or little as God's stewards. It is not our own. We shall have to account for it all, both as to how we got it and what we did with it. They who use it to bless their fellows will find they have so spent it as to secure eternal riches. Neither the widow's mite nor the estates of Barnabas will lose their reward. But all the wealth of the world cannot get any man to Heaven, though unfaithfulness in its use will keep him out. Christ is the only Door, and entrance is without money and with out price. Even the right use of money is itself a work and a result of the grace that saves. But many will be saved whose life work will be lost; saved as by fire. The Revised
Version has it for they, in speaking of money. When it shall fail they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles. There is nothing surer than this, it will fail and if in the meantime you have secured no eternal habitation what will you do? They who live for IT will perish with it. Lay hold on the eternal.

 
      

     


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