Discernment

Lyons United Methodist Church

Rev. Thana Kibbe, guest preacher

(Disclaimer – this sermon is the intellectual property of Rev. Kibbe)

September 22, 2019

 

Luke 16:1-13 (NIV)

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 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.’ 3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ 7 “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.’ 8 “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. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

“Discernment In What We Have”

Today is Pledge Sunday. In preparation for today, one has to discern who they are in life, where they are at and whose they are.

Question: What would happen within a person if he or she approached difficult decisions with the confidence that God knows the situation & has a solution which he will reveal by a living Word – when it is time?

Reality: The Old Testament and New Testament messages are both the Word of God. But the New Testament message has been delivered by the Son of God himself.. Also, the New Testament word is a living & active word, capable of penetrating our deepest thoughts & motives – guiding us daily into God’s rest.

How important that we maintain our trust in Jesus – sensitive & obedient to His voice, as He speaks to us in “our” today.

From 1 Timothy, Paul urges prayer for all when believers gather. This past Tuesday I was in the Koinonia Lounge with my prayer list: local church, conference, community, our country and world. When it came to local community, I found myself in extra prayer with the Holy Spirit for the students, teachers and school officials.

It was not until later that I learned the schools were in lock down. I was trusting the leading of the Holy Spirit…in prayer.

What Paul provides in 1 Timothy as a basis for confidence in our prayers for salvation of others is this: The door to God is open! The mediator exists in the person of “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”

Thus, while we cannot know if a given individual will respond to the gospel, we can pray freely for any person, knowing that in Christ the ransom has been provided. The Savior stands ready to bring any who will believe to God.

It is important that, as well as prayer, we communicate clearly the message that the ransom has been paid. God is now ready to welcome all who respond to the gospel message with faith.

From the reading from Luke, we learn of a business manager about to be fired & he goes to his employer’s creditors and has them falsify their debts, the employer later commends the manager, not for his dishonesty, but because he looked ahead and tried to use possessions in his care to prepare for the future!

Jesus remarks that the people of the world are more shrewd in this than the “people of the light.” The money-loving Pharisees, who hear the story, sneer. But Jesus us speaking of them. Love of money means devotion to one of this world’s idols and conflicts with the love of God. Like the dishonest manager, his hearers should at least have sense enough to look ahead, beyond the present, and use possessions to prepare for the eternity that awaits them.

Jesus emphasizes this in verses (16-17). All that the Old Testament prophets have foretold will surely happen: all that has happened since John testifies to the kingdom’s rapid approach.

Thus what Jesus teaches here is that possessions should be used but with eternity’s values in view. In his grace, and when we keep informed, we can find a healthy perspective on the things we posses so they don’t become the things that have (possess) us.

God has done amazing works in the course of history. He also does amazing work in the midst of suffering, giving us the Holy Spirit to understand His word, and providing for our daily needs. When we share with others our personal experiences of how God is working in our lives, we’re giving something of much greater value than we will ever understand. We are acknowledging God’s goodness and encouraging one another along the journey of life as we give of ourselves. Doing what we can, where we can, trusting in God. Amen.

Grace Alone

Grace alone which God supplies, strength unknown he will provide.

Christ in us our cornerstone, we will go forth in grace alone.

We will go forth in grace alone.