The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 16:1-9

Trinity IX

1. This text has been called the most difficult of Jesus' parables. But it is not so difficult if a person carefully studies the words. Vss. 1-13 are addressed to Christians, the disciples, vs. 1. These vss. tell Christians to use their earthly possessions wisely, always with the thought that all things belongs to God and that they will live forever, vs. 9. Vss. 10-13 keep us from interpreting wrongly. Then vss. 14-18 describe the money- loving, Christ-hating Pharisees who refused to listen to God's Word and who wanted to be considered righteous without changing their hearts. Then another parable, vss. 19-31, tells us how not to use our earthly possessions.

2. This is our parable: A wealthy landlord hired a manager who managed the laborers on his land. The manager was accused of mismanagement and was fired immediately and told to turn in the record books. Before the manager turned in the books, without the consent of the landlord, he shrewdly but crookedly called in several laborers and made settlement of debts which favored the laborers. In this way the crooked manager made friends with the laborers so that he could live with them after he had turned in his books. Vs. 8 must be handled very carefully. The first half of this verse tells us that the landlord congratulated the wicked manager for shrewdly, though wickedly, looking out for himself. The second half of this verse tells us that the children of this world, unbelievers, are wiser in worldly matters than Christians are. Then, vs. 9 tells us that we should use the money which is usually used for unrighteous purposes to make friends for ourselves so that when we die we may be received into heaven.

3. This parable does not say that people earn heaven by their works. It is talking about the proper use of earthly goods (money, house, wife, family, car, work) in the interest of other people and the kingdom of God.

4. Luther often said: "Faith alone justifies but faith is never alone." Works never save us but where there is saving faith there are always works. James said: "Faith without works is dead." Jesus said: "Every branch in Me which does not bear fruit He cuts it off." "If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown out as the branch and is withered and people gather them and throw them into the fire and burn them." Jn. 15:2.6. The parable of the talents at Mt. 25:14-30 tells us that God expects us to use everything which He has given us to His glory and the benefit of our neighbor.

5. Our text, Lk. 16:1-9, is a parable of opposites. Just as the wicked manager shrewdly used everything in his own interest for this life only, so the believing child of God should shrewdly use everything as God wants him to use it in his own interest for the life to come. In vs. 9 "they will receive you" means "the Triune God will receive you.

6. Vss. 10-12 keep us from wrong interpretations. A person's use of his temporal things is a clear indication of his use and victory of spiritual things. Then vs. 13 warns us to serve the Lord whole-heartedly because no person can serve two masters at the same time.

7. How does a Christian pursue stewardship correctly? By simply doing his God-given duty faithfully at all times. Col. 3:2 says: "Seek the things which are above, not the things on the earth." One theologian has commented: "In the right use of earthly things given to us, we really mind and seek heavenly things."

8. Both believers and unbelievers live for the future. The unbelievers live only for this life. The believer always keeps his attention on eternal life. Jesus has already given the believer eternal life. But now the believer must live wisely and faithfully, always remembering that at the end the Lord will welcome him with the words: "Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter the joy of your Lord." Mt. 25:21.

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 16:1-9

Trinity IX

THEME: What A Persons's Use Of Temporal Things Reveals About Him


People cannot look into our hearts. But they can see our life and works. That's why Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and thus glorify your Father in heaven." Our life should show people that we are heaven-bound.






You are like Paul, like Zacchaeus, like those who asked the Baptist what to do. You are sinners. You did not come to church to tell God how good you are. You came to confess your sins. And I Jn. 1:9 says: "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And Jesus says: "The Son of man came to seek and save that which is lost." Lk. 19:10. You are forgiven. Turn now from your selfishness and serve God by loving your neighbor. Your Father in heaven is waiting for you at the door of everlasting life.

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.

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